Labor and Birth

Shout it From the Rooftop! I Had a Home Birth!

January 5, 2011

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I had a home birth. Yes, you heard me. I birthed a baby in my very own home. Without warming beds, IVs, bright lights and beeping machines. Some would say it was courageous. Why then, do I shy away from telling most people I meet the truth?

For my first birth, medicated in the hospital, I never hesitated to share gruesome details such as degree of tears, size of clots, hours pushing etc. I felt it was perfectly acceptable to inform mothers-to-be about the horrors of birth and what to expect. I never felt judged or sneered upon. It was like sharing war stories. How much weight did you gain? Who was your doctor? All reasonable questions to the stranger in the grocery store with the two month old baby.

But wait. After I came to my senses through battling major postpartum issues the first time around, I discovered there was a better way. Women centered care with choices. Bring on the midwife. As my belly bulged with my second tadpole, people started to ask me the same questions as they did the first time around. How much weight have you gained? Who is your doctor? Answering honestly usually did me no good. They would respond with, “What do you mean they don’t weigh you?” or “Yeah, but who is your doctor?” More and more I found myself lying. Not that I was ashamed of my choices, I just didn’t want to get into it. It was easier to answer these questions with “the norm.” Dare I tell the checkout lady that I plan on having a home birth with closest family there and no doctor in sight? Nope. There are to many people in line behind me!

I do want to advocate for women and having choices. Please don’t misinterpret my story. Open mindedness comes in varying degrees. The fact is, I discriminate in who I told, and still do. Provide the right venue and amount of time and I am happy to answer any and all questions. I will throw stats and facts out left and right to those who want to know. I don’t think it is fair to those asking questions while just passing by, to bombard them with something that they may not be expecting. Homebirth comes with deep seated beliefs and trusts that can not be explained in thirty seconds.

We must, as homebirthers band together and not hold back so much. One day, having a homebirth will not garner as much confusion as it does now. To get to that point, we must share our stories with the right people at the right moments.

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  1. gatorhap says:

    I am pregnant with my third child and planning my first homebirth and I handle it exactly the same way most of the time. I don’t feel like I have the energy every time to explain myself and my choices. To make matters more complicated, I work in the mother/baby unit at the city’s major maternity hospital. I can only imagine how my co-workers’ eyes would pop out of their heads if I told them the truth. Instead, I just tell them I’m going to the hospital closer to my house.

  2. Sagekelli says:

    Really? I tell EVERY BODY. I have yet to have a bad response, the worst have been “You’re so brave. I’d love a homebirth but I know I’m just not strong enough.” Oh that made me wanna cry. I do, however say “I’m have/I had a homebirth for safety reasons.” In drive by conversations when I enevitably hear the reply “Safety? What do you mean?” I say something to the effect of “When birth is interrfered with because of policy, impatience, or fear it actually causes complications. I’d rather have a provider trained to keep normal and healthy just that, and IF there is a complication I’ll know nobody caused it and that my midwife has the skills, tools, and yes drugs to either correct it or manage it until we get to surgical assistance.Also decision to insicion time is actually about the same from home as in a hospital. You should look into it, with current hospital protocols the US looses more babies and mothers than any other developed country. I’m not brave, quite the opposite, I’m not willing to take risks. Besides at home I actually enjoyed my birth.”

    I know it sounds like a lot to explain but it takes a minute or 2 to touch on all those points and people respond positivly to hearing even one of those points…even the receptionist at my old OBs office, the middle aged dad who asked my friend how we met (through our homebirth midwife), and even a pilot at the airport who asked about my diaper bag that says “Birth. Every home should have one.”

    Some women respond by saying they had hospital births and sound guilty about it and I make sure to tell them I don’t believe anyone should care where you birth or how but that whether you have a home birth, epidural, or c-section your care should be nothing but deeply respectful and evidence based in the best interests of mom and baby and not for the provider or facility, and that currently my best chances of getting that were at home with my loving midwife. I don’t want to see every mom have a homebirth I just want to see every mom birth without fear and with total respect and true safety.

    Yes, please shout it from the rooftops “Birth is to be respected. It is not to be managed. Every woman has the strength to birth. I had a homebirth and if you want one you can have a homebirth too. No matter where or how you birth you should be treated with the utmost respect and never settle for less than that. Don’t be afraid, be educated, prepared, and well supported.”

  3. Cindy Morrow says:

    It was the same with home schooling 30 years ago…I just didn’t have the time to ‘splain myself to EVERYone. Now, nobody bats an eyelash when you say you homeschool, or were homeschooled.

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