This post has been swirling around in my mind for quite a while. Both of my children were born at home and often, people are shocked to hear this. I think that since homebirth is something that isn’t trumpeted in Ohio, most people don’t even know that it exists.
We chose to have a home birth because I was afraid to go to the hospital. It’s true. I wanted an unmedicated birth because I was a biologist and I have a working knowledge of how medications are transported across the placenta. I wanted to do my best to avoid any and all medications, but I know myself. Sometimes, no matter my resolve, I will cave when miserable and presented with an alternative. I also know the way I handle pain and lying in a bed was going to be awful for me. I had thought about going to an actual birthing center with the soft lighting and the romanticized care, but that would involve a long car drive. Even switching hospitals would involve a drive longer than 5 minutes.
In the end, I didn’t want my babies to be born where I didn’t live. I wanted to be at peace while in labor and as someone who hates leaving her home, I knew I’d be most comfortable in my bedroom. I wanted to curl up with my newborn in my own bed, with my own pillows. I wanted to watch episodes of Friends and cuddle with our pug in the early stages of labor.
I had a plan for my births. I knew what I wanted to do. I had a trained midwife and her apprentice at my side. We were in walking distance of the nearest hospital. We were prepared for a variety of situations.
As we all know, the human body doesn’t always get the memo on my plan. Liam’s birth was harder than I had anticipated. Sylvi’s birth was in my bathtub when I had planned to just sit in there and get some relief during the contractions; who knew I was fully dilated?! I learned that with birth, a time table, a plan, an outline doesn’t work for me. My goal from now on is simply to have a healthy baby.
We’re educated and well read. I had planned a career in medicine, but wound up in research. My husband is a very talented graphic designer. We took classes, read the literature and watched the documentaries. We were prepared. Birth wasn’t something we took lightly, despite what many people thought. We knew we had made the decision that was best for our growing family.
I had decided I wanted a home birth before we were even married. Truth be told, I had read an awful lot of Wild West novels and I kind of romanticized the idea of a pot of hot water and some clean towels. However rosie-eyed I was about birth, I just knew a hospital birth wasn’t going to work for me. I wouldn’t trade our experiences for anything and will welcome the chance to do it again if the opportunity presents itself (not pregnant by the way). Home birth made sense for us and after waking up snuggled under my favorite sheets with my baby, less than 24 hours old I can’t imagine doing it any other way.