All 12 of my babies have been born at home, and my midwife has attended every one of them. I’ve had 12 opportunities to change my mind about where I birth my babies, but I haven’t.
Why am I still birthing at home?
To put it pretty bluntly, I like to be in control. I don’t like not knowing if a decision I’m going to make is or isn’t going to be honored or not. I don’t like not knowing who is going to ultimately attend my baby’s birth. And, I like the freedom of being able to do what I want when I want.
Yes, I know there are risks, for myself and my baby.
But, my experience attending other births have shown me that I risk more by giving birth at a hospital. I am close enough to the hospital (30 minutes) that if there is an emergency than my husband can just drive me there. With the type of emergencies that arise during birth there is enough time to get me to the hospital if the need arises. So far my midwife has handled every emergency we’ve experienced and a hospital transport hasn’t been necessary.
One example is after the birth of my third baby, Therese. I started hemorrhaging. I remember Carla and Angie giving me some herbs (reminded me of what mud would taste like), doing uterine massage, taking me potty, and asking my husband to pray for me. There were more interventions as well but of all of them the previous ones were what seemed to work the best. She later told me that I was about to be transported. Scary thought! Fortunate for me I had competent midwifery care available to me.
Another reason I stay home is my Faith. I trust God entirely. I know that there are women that need to have their babies at the hospital and that they also have Faith in God. My intention isn’t to question them or to tell anyone how they should birth their babies. Please don’t think that.
Regarding myself however, I feel like I’m trusting Our Lord more fully by staying home and putting it all into His Hands, including the pain associated with childbirth. This can be very difficult but has always helped me grow closer to Our Lord, especially during the process of labor and birth.
Which brings me to another point. I am a big baby when it comes to pain. Logically thinking, I would never want painkillers. Realistically thinking, however, if I was in a place that offered relief from the discomforts of labor I am worried I would take it! With my position as a Birth Doula I know full well the pro’s and con’s associated with the use of painkillers. I do not want them. BUT, while experiencing the pain of childbirth I worry that if reprieve was offered to me, I would take it. Who wouldn’t? Very few women out them, all of whom I admire.
At home it doesn’t matter how much I want reprieve. There’s nothing (chemically) here that could help me. However, it does encourage me to get creative: showers, birth tub, walking, hot water compress, dark rooms, etc.
Having a baby costs money. My husband and I pay for all our family’s healthcare. We aren’t on our state’s health plan. We do use a Christian Healthcare Co-op called Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) that we are extremely happy with and has saved us a ton of money! Truthfully, this option would save you money whether you choose a home birth or hospital birth.
In the beginning we just paid for everything out of pocket. This was cheaper for us as we couldn’t afford regular insurance and we don’t feel like we can morally accept the government insurance (that’s a totally different post). What we didn’t pay for out of pocket we paid for through our labor, particularly my dear husband’s. With the number of children we worked off on her house (my husband is quite the carpenter!) we have actually doubled the size of her home! It was a great deal for her and for us. This, by the way, is only something you can work out with your midwife. I’ve never known a doctor or hospital that would be willing to accept this type of trade!
Safety of the Baby
There are germs in the hospital. This is a no brainer. When people are very sick, where do they go. Of course, they go to the hospital.
The hospital is always cleaning and sanitizing due to this but there is always that chance that something wasn’t quite cleaned thoroughly enough. Mom and baby are very vulnerable during this time and can always catch something and bring it home. If they don’t it’s possible family will bring home the bug(s) and later pass the sickness to baby.
While at home you are exposing your baby to germs it’s already been exposed to. If there is a cold virus at the home, even if mom hasn’t contracted it yet, her body will have been exposed and producing antibodies for it that was going to the baby through the placenta to prepare baby and make baby stronger and more likely to fight it off.
Less Variance From Birth Plan
I don’t choose all shots and tests that are offered in the hospital. I decline them all as a matter of fact. I know I can do this at the hospital. However, I’ve known mothers that didn’t want any tests/shots done to their baby and due to the fact that they are routine type tests the mother’s wishes weren’t adhered to. These wishes were clearly expressed in their birth plans, available to the staff.
It wasn’t wholly the fault of the staff as I understand that the mother wanting everyone to be hands off with her baby was an unusual circumstance. However, I know that if I’m at home with my baby I don’t have to worry about making sure my wishes are kept. Everyone knows my wishes with the baby and are aware of my Birth Plan.
My baby never leaves my side, period. No one touches my baby without my knowledge, period. I don’t have to worry about fighting with anyone or defending my baby, period.
Some will get upset with me about this, I know. That’s okay. That’s why some mothers are better off having their babies out of the hospital setting, myself in particular. It’s less stressful for mom, and so therefore, less stressful for baby as well.
I know that homebirth isn’t for everyone. However, if you are healthy and can find a good, competent midwife I highly recommend having your baby at home. Your baby will thank you for it.