Why would a reasonable woman ever CHOOSE to have a baby at home? Read along as I tell you the reasons I chose homebirth, and why it was better, for me.
By Caroline Vencil, Contributing Writer
I am a reasonable person, I am not crazy, I’m a wimp when it comes to needles, I don’t like being in pain. I’m basically the farthest thing from Superwoman in the known universe, and yet, I’ve had two planned homebirths after a c-section.
With my first son, I knew nothing. Point blank: I was uninformed. I didn’t even have enough information to make a decision on what was or wasn’t informed. So when the doctor said to me “your baby is too big, we should induce you on your due date,” I said, “whatever you say, doc!”
When the induction turned into a c-section, I knew I never wanted to repeat that experience. Some women swear by c-sections, inductions of labor and epidurals, but I had a terrible experience with all of them. My recovery was awful and I’m still dealing with the effects more than 5 years later.
I was constantly asked by friends, family, and random strangers, “why would you want a homebirth?!” To which my response has always been, and will always be, “why WOULDN’T you want a homebirth?!”
Reasons I Chose Homebirth
I spent 5 days in the hospital recovering from my c-section. It was awful. Not to mention the 2 weeks after that I couldn’t sit up on my own or move freely. They made me shower in the hospital 3 days after my c-section and I could barely do that; I needed to have my husband to help me, and even then I still almost passed out from the pain!
With my first homebirth, my son was born at 10:19 pm, I was sleeping in my own bed by 1 am with my new baby in the co-sleeper, and I woke up the next day to take a shower without help (my husband was close by in case I needed help, though).
No Leaving Home
I didn’t have to pack anything, I didn’t have to go anywhere, I didn’t need to make arrangements for my pets… I woke up in labor and went to bed that night with my new baby and that was the end of my birth day.
No Worrying About Making It to the Hospital On Time
I feel like you can’t go a week without reading about a baby being born in a car on the way to the hospital. None of my labors have been that fast (hey, a girl can dream!), but I’d much rather have the midwives come to me instead of me having to go to them.
No Foreign Germs or Pathogens
How many “superbugs” have you heard about in hospitals? I don’t really want to expose my brand new baby to THAT many germs yet! Not to mention, how awful is to take care of a newborn if YOU get sick? No, thanks.
No Chance of a Baby Mixup
It always made me uncomfortable to think about the possibility of someone walking out with my baby, or babies getting switched in the nursery. I know this doesn’t happen too frequently and that there are so many security measures in place, but this way, baby never has to be out of your sight or out of the sight of a family member at all times.
The Birth is 100% On Your Terms
Within reason, you can call the shots in labor. If you want to labor in the backyard, you can. In the shower, you can. Give birth standing up, you can! The restrictions and “rules” from doctors about the 1-centimeter-an-hour progression, or pushing lying on your back, or coached pushing, don’t apply in homebirths… unless you want them to!
You Can Have Whomever You Want There
If you want a team of doulas there, you can do that. Or if you want 100 people watching you deliver, you can do that. You want your other children there with you? You can do that too! Homebirth is all about what the laboring mama wants!
Less Stressful Environment
It’s not uncommon for people to be anxious when they go to the hospital. White coat anxiety is a real thing! But that anxiety when you’re in labor can be detrimental to your progression; your labor might slow down and that would wind up causing the doctors to give you Pitocin to speed things up.
You Can EAT!
In the hospital, you can’t eat at all in labor. You can’t even have water. They’ll give you ice chips, but that’s it.
In a homebirth, you’re encouraged to eat and drink! And frequently! Staying hydrated and nourished helps move labor along. I made amazing Laboraide to help me stay hydrated and give me electrolytes during labor!
Plus, labor just is awful; do you want to be hangry AND in labor? No. No, you don’t.
Much More Personal and Friendly
For my oldest, the midwifery group I was going to had 12 midwives and you get whoever is on-call that day to deliver your baby. I never met the woman who was there when I was in the hospital until birth day (and she looked at my chart after coming in when I had been in labor for 24 hours on Pitocin, saw my progress and said: “That’s IT?!” I could’ve slugged her!).
The same midwife delivered both of my younger sons at home. She was with me at every prenatal visit, she checked the baby’s heartbeat for the first time, she told me to stop eating sugar, she told me to spend time on hands and knees to get the baby to turn from sunny side up. In labor, she held my hand when I was scared, she reassured me over and over again that I could do this, she helped with counter pressure when I had back labor, she spent hours in my house waiting around for me to need her. I could never have done it without her. And I’ve never heard of any doctors doing all of that for a mom in labor.
I am not a doctor, so I will NOT advise anyone one way or another. Especially when it comes to birth. I am not condemning one birth or another. Do what is right for you and your baby! My hope is to let you know that there ARE options out there and that you DO have a choice in the birth you have. If I can have a homebirth, you can too.
Why Did YOU Choose Homebirth? Would You ever consider homebirth?
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