Yes, my son was born at home. In his very own bedroom, even. (Though it was not set up for him at that time, and he did not actually sleep there again until he was almost 15 months old.)
I had dreamed about it during my pregnancy. His room has big, East-facing windows. He’d be born on a cool, gray afternoon. What sun there was would be shining through, a bit murky. There would be a warm breeze blowing in (he’s a July baby) and the room would be slightly humid. It would be like an amazing, tropical birth. Oh, and I’d be in the water. It would be perfect.
That’s not quite how it happened.
He was born in the morning. It was a rather cool day, for mid-July. The sun was shining and there was a breeze blowing in. I was in the water. I just hadn’t anticipated the several hours of difficult, intense labor leading up to it. (I thought I’d be a perfect Earth mama, randomly going into labor and drifting through it beautifully…should have known better, having already been through it once!) Now, don’t misunderstand me. It was intense, and exhausting, but it ultimately was perfect.
I loved birthing at home, and I plan to do it again with this new baby. I did have my first in a hospital and absolutely hated the experience. I was micro-managed even though I had no problems. I had interventions that I didn’t need (and which didn’t work) forced on me. My doctor argued with me when I said I didn’t want my water broken (over the phone!!), seeing as I was progressing just fine — “This is a hospital, we move things along here.”
I’m sure many hospital births are not like that. In fact, the staff at the hospital looked pretty surprised by her attitude. The on-call doctor, who actually examined me, was ready and willing to leave me alone. He, too, seemed pretty surprised by what she said and did. In retrospect, I should have fired her (long before this, but especially then) and had the on-call doctor deliver me. I wanted to. (And if you ever encounter this situation…do exactly that. Fire the doctor even though you’re in labor. Don’t put up with that.)
Anyway, it led us to decide that we wanted a different situation for our next birth. Through a series of circumstances, we found a local practice of midwives with an excellent track record (our senior midwife has delivered over 1000 babies in more than 30 years, with no negative outcomes) and decided to go with a home birth. It truly was perfect for us. We loved it. We felt so in control and involved. And Bekah, who was still shy of 18 months when Daniel was born, was able to come up less than a minute after he was born to meet him.
I’ll never forget those last, intense moments, with the midwives working to move the last lip of cervix, and Ben holding my hand and yelling at me to blow, don’t push! Then suddenly being able to push, Daniel being born (in 2 minutes!), then Ben running from the room to grab Bekah and bring her upstairs and set her on the bed with us. She was so…excited, yet totally unsurprised to see me holding a baby. “Baby,” she breathed, as she inched closer to see him. It really was an amazing experience. Three days later I was sure I wanted to do it again.
In five short months, that’s exactly what I will be doing!
What do you think of homebirth? Have you, or would you ever have one?
Top image by Stephen Cummings