I delivered my five children at four different locations. Three hospitals and then at home for my fifth. It took me awhile to come around to the idea of a home birth. But after fighting the medicalized “norms” of hospital delivery and having a healthy fear of “not making it” to the hospital in time, we chose a home birth for our fifth.
My home birth was by far my best labor and delivery of my five pregnancies. Being at home was peaceful, beautiful and simple. My top priority during this fifth pregnancy was to thrive and care for my body and my emotional health. During my fourth pregnancy, I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks due to baby’s position in the third trimester. (He was pushing on my diaphragm giving me the sensation that I couldn’t breath.) I knew that I needed personalized care throughout my pregnancy to stay ahead of any repeat problems. I wanted the person delivering my baby to know me, my pregnancy and my history.
Because of my desire to have a more naturally friendly labor and delivery and to achieve a higher level of personal care, I decided we would meet with a midwife. Midwives are trained differently than OBs to handle pregnancy and birth. They seem to approach delivery with more patience and peace and I knew that I wanted a peaceful pregnancy and delivery. With my low risk pregnancy and desire for personalized care and a natural delivery, we decided to have a home birth with a certified midwife for the first time.
I was much more closely monitored because I chose to have a home birth versus delivering in a hospital. Things like checking my hemoglobin levels at 35 weeks gestation and making sure I was taking my prenatal vitamins were regular topics of discussion at my appointments. That hadn’t happened with my other pregnancies. “Are you taking your iron/prenatal supplements?” Sometimes it’s great to be asked!
Now, that I’m on the other side of my home delivery, I see significant differences in my recovery all due entirely to how my midwives handled the birth and afterbirth. For starters, I tore with all four of my other children. At home with my fifth, because they coached me through breathing and easing baby out, I didn’t tear. In addition, they were much more patient with delivering the placenta than when I delivered my other four at the hospital. My midwife said that they have two goals while delivering 1. to make sure the mother doesn’t tear 2. to make sure the mother doesn’t hemorrhage.
My postpartum recovery has been much more gentle than my previous four. My midwife gave me orders to not pick up my older kids for the first two weeks. This ensures that I have help, but also allows my body the time it needs to recover and get back to normal without complications down the road. All of my children are close in age (about 18 months). I didn’t have such a welcomed restriction placed on me during that period with my other children.
Another point I wanted to share; I chose a midwife who believes in modern medicine when used in it’s rightful place. She carries hemorrhage-stopping drugs with her in case of emergency. She also carried Pitocin as a precautionary measure. If you are considering a home birth, be sure to ask what standard medicine your midwife will carry to your delivery. Another good question to ask is whether or not she has an assistant who will attend the birth.
Many have asked “what about…” stating that it seems safer to deliver in the hospital. However, I was much more at peace about delivering at home with a practitioner I could trust knowing that the delivery would be handled in a peaceful and natural way. I also felt confident that if I needed to be transferred to the hospital, my midwife had enough experience to know what circumstances would require that. My home birth was beautiful and my husband and I agree that we wish we would have considered having the other four at home.
This post was written by guest blogger, Joy Cherrick, and we were happy to share her story with you. What do you think about home birth for low risk women? Is it something you’d consider given the option?