Mention “home birth” and my eyes light up, but do you want to know where I really think is the best place to give birth?
Where ever you feel most comfortable!
For some, that means the hospital; for others it means a birthing center; for us, it means at home. I don’t want to undermine hospital births-we might end up there ourselves one day! I’m thankful they’re available and well equipped with medical personnel and state-of-the-art equipment to deliver multiples, premature or high-risk babies, perform emergency cesareans, or even simply to provide security to those who find the idea of giving birth at home a little nerve-wracking.
I don’t like being in hospitals at all. Perhaps my aversion to them comes from too much time spent there when I was little. The smells make me nauseous, the continual beeping of monitors and machinery could drive me insane, and I find clinical decor, pastel-colored walls, cold tile floors, heavy drapery, and metal accessories rather depressing.
Home birthing used to be the norm. Hospitals were created for sick people and consequently, are rife with germs. Giving birth in one would make me feel more like a patient who is ill rather than someone who is experiencing a special, natural moment in life. For these reasons (among others), I find myself more relaxed in the comfort of our own home rather than in a place that scares me.
Both of our children, Charity Sofia (2) and Judah Paul (10 months), were born in our bedroom. Charity was nearly 10lbs and came out after 12 hours of labor with her hand next to her head. I hemorrhaged and required 20 stitches, but attended a wedding four days later thanks to the incredible care of the midwives and a God-speed recovery.
Our son, Judah, was 8 lbs 2oz at birth and arrived after a quick, easy (relatively speaking :-), 3-hour labor – he even beat the back-up midwife, coming out in a single push! Each experience was as different as night is from day, yet both confirmed our decision to have them at home. Our hope is that all of the children the Lord chooses to bless us with will born here as well.
Here’s what we liked about it:
1. utilizing the pool, birthing ball, bed, bath, toilet, or stool whenever I felt like it
2. the tender care of a midwife who’s known me for most of my pregnancy and has a good understanding of how my body works, and what I do or do not like
3. listening to soothing music playing softly in the background
4. chatting to our Christian, home-schooled midwife about the many things we had in common
5. eating and drinking whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted
6. falling asleep in our own bed with my own pillow shortly after giving birth
7. the freedom to move around as I pleased without getting lost or being seen by anyone else!
8. enlisting the help of gravity through various positions (i.e. no lying flat on my back unless I felt like it)
9. no unnecessary medical interventions or distractions
10. avoiding the hassle of getting in and out of the car and the anxiety of when to leave and how fast to drive (this was one of the biggest reasons my husband was on board with the home-birth idea)!
11. having the option of going to the hospital available
12. less risk of contracting infections or disease
As much as we personally love the home birth idea, I don’t think it’s for everyone. If a mother has had complications during her pregnancy or has a history of difficulties during labor and delivery, she may be safer having a baby in the hospital. Regardless of whether all of our children will be born at home, I will always have a bag of essentials packed, just in case a trip to the hospital is what the midwife orders.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong decision about where to give birth. It truly is a personal choice that should be made in answer to only one question, “Where do you feel the most comfortable?”
So tell me, where do you feel the most comfortable? Have you ever had a home birth?
Would you do it again?
Jacinda Vandenberg is a wife, mother, homemaker, and second-generation homeschooler. She blogs at Growing Home, a site dedicated to preserving the homemaking arts and encouraging fellow keepers of the home to embrace their noble calling. When she’s not gardening, cooking, or crafting with her sweet babes, you’ll probably find her writing about her passions with one hand and holding a large mug of coffee in the other.