Whaaaat? A home birth you say? Right now, you may be looking at your screen in shock and horror. Or maybe respect and admiration (I can only hope, haha!). I used to think home birth people were so ‘out there’, completely weird. Why not have your baby in a hospital where it’s safe? It’s common sense, right?
Not necessarily. With the rise of (often unnecessary) hospital interventions like inductions and epidurals comes a higher risk of side effects for you AND your baby. I’ve had two successful hospital births WITH epidurals and I loved it! Except that along with the loss of feeling in my lower limbs, I also lost a feeling of accomplishment and a sweet rush of emotions. The baby simply appeared one moment and it was like, “Oh cool, she’s got hair!”. When my first child emerged, I merely said, “Awww”, like any stranger would do upon seeing a cute new baby. I loved her, but it took a week to fully develop the mommy/daughter bond.
I also tore with both children and I wonder if it’s because I couldn’t feel anything while pushing. There’s a time to push and a time to wait for your body to stretch.
Besides all that, I didn’t love the fact that I had absolutely no support whatsoever during my labor besides nurses that walked in from time to time with ice chips. I don’t even remember the name of the midwives who delivered my first two children. Each time, they waltzed in just to catch my baby, then waltzed back out. To me, that is extremely sad!
Still, I thought there was nothing to be done about the situation. This is simply how hospitals operate, I thought, and I would have to tolerate it again when my baby boy arrived.
But then one Friday, I was at a routine midwife checkup, the day before I turned 32 weeks. My midwife began talking to me about the glucose test for the 3rd time. I’d discussed this with two different midwives at two previous appointments (it’s a large practice!) and sighed when this one brought it up again. I explained for the third time that I did not want to drink a nasty orange drink full of artificial colors and flavors, that I had absolutely no risk factors for gestational diabetes and that I eat a (fairly) healthy diet to begin with. If they could offer me a food alternative, I would take the test. Instead, the midwife offered a needle prick test as a solution- 4 times a day for 2 weeks! I am deathly afraid of needles and there is no way I could bring myself to do this. Plus, in all honesty, I can’t remember to take my daily prenatal vitamin. Four needle pricks a day would never happen!
When I attended this same practice with my last child, I discussed my reservations with the midwives about this highly fallible, inaccurate test. I mentioned the research I did regarding my extremely low risk factors, and I was excused from the test. This time, the rules were suddenly different. I was told that the doctors in my practice would “go crazy” if I didn’t have the test done by 32 weeks and I would be “dismissed”. My midwife also tried the scare tactic, telling me they have one stillborn baby at the hospital every year.
I was livid. Why did I have to be the one to compromise? Why could I not eat a normal breakfast before testing? Drink freshly squeezed orange juice and eat toast instead? Plenty of other practices have real food equivalents for the glucose test. But not in my area. Everyone on this side of the Ohio River is owned by the same, large monopoly, so I knew I had no other option but to drink the nasty drink.
I left the exam room to reluctantly schedule my appointment. The receptionist was so rigid about the urgent timing, refusing to work with my schedule, and it made me even angrier.
I stalked out to the car and began angrily texting my hubby and crunchy friends, complaining of the injustice. I heatedly wrote my husband,
“I’ll have a home birth before I let them threaten and bully me!”
And a lightbulb went off in my head. Why not? I hated the impersonal care I received at my current practice. I was still bitter about my last birth experience with the rude, angry triage nurse. I knew I was basically making a mountain out of a molehill, and I knew I was crazy to leave my practice over one sugary orange drink. But you just don’t threaten or use scare tactics on a 32 week pregnant woman, and the midwives’ lack of communication up to this point floored me.
So even though I’d never considered a home birth (not even for a minute!), I immediately texted my friend who’s had 3 babies at home. And the next thing you know, I’m one of those crazy weirdos having a home birth!
It’s still somewhat unbelievable that I chose this path, but I really believe that God had a better plan in mind all along. For such a big decision, to feel the instant peace and calm I felt in that moment tells me this was the right thing to do.
I’m writing this at 35 weeks pregnant, and won’t hit the publish button until after the birth. I don’t feel like fielding a lot of questions and concerns during my last few weeks of pregnancy. I think staying confident, relaxed, and focused is the best way to have a happy, peaceful birth. I’ll post details of my home birth experience after the little one arrives safe and sound!
Tell me, what kind of birth(s) have you had? What was your experience like?