Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a mother. Being raised with six other siblings and helping my mom any chance I could get made it an easy decision for me to want to have kids of my own. I never questioned the system or knew there was any other way to have babies besides going to the hospital. That was just the way it was done.
However, when I became pregnant, I immediately started researching and stumbled upon the option of a homebirth and was instantly curious. After much research and discussion with my husband, we decided this was the best option for our growing family.
No one would have expected me to do something like a home birth. I’m pretty sure my whole family was completely shocked when I told them I would have my child at home. I graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree in Science, planned to go to physician’s assistant school, worked as an EMT for three years, and very much believed in modern medicine.
My mother was a nurse, and my stepfather is a doctor, so I have been around doctors and hospitals more than the average person. Yet when I researched about childbirth in the United States, I found some major red flags that I couldn’t ignore.
Here is why I decided to have my first baby at home. This is not intended to be medical advice, nor do I think this is for everyone. However, if you are curious about home birth, this might help you and give you some resources to look into further.
The Comfort of Being at Home
I think this is an obvious reason but an important one. Imagine being in your own space with supportive people around you and not having to worry if you left something important for the birth. I can create whatever space I want for my birth, like dim lighting, diffusing my favorite essential oils, lying in my bed, showering in my bathroom, and once my little one is born, we can all be in our bed together.
I can begin my recovery immediately and feel comfortable throughout the whole process. I won’t have to worry about nurses whom I have never met before, doctors with who I have no prior relationship, not knowing if men or women will be taking care of me, etc.
Giving Birth is Not a Medical Condition
As I watched documentaries on home birthing, this idea was brought up consistently and made a lot of sense to me. When we enter a hospital, it is usually because we are sick or injured. Giving birth is the only time you go into the hospital healthy and have doctors for delivering a baby.
When did this become common practice? Having a child is not an illness, and most healthy women with a healthy pregnancy will not need any medical intervention to give birth to their child. Our bodies were created to grow a human inside us for 9 months and are well equipped to evacuate that child when the time is right.
Before hospitals, women gave birth wherever and whenever, and it should still be that way today. If pregnancy is high risk and there are issues with giving birth, then yes, a hospital is the safest place for mom and baby. However, that is a small population of women, and hospital births should be left for those instances.
Control Over My Birth Plan
Everyone has an idea of how they would like their delivery to go. Some women want to schedule a c-section, while others want a natural birth. Whichever you choose is completely okay and should be your decision. Unfortunately, from hearing other women’s experiences (including my mother’s), things don’t always go as planned.
Doctors now are more concerned with scheduling as many c-section births as possible so they aren’t up all night waiting for someone to deliver, or they will try and move the process along by inducing mothers by putting them into hard labor.
The underlying agenda is to get mothers in and out of the hospital as quickly as possible to make more money. The more births that are scheduled, the more money they can make. While it’s hard to think that to be true (and not all doctors do this), it is a sad reality.
Just like everything else, birthing is a business, and all parties are looking to make money.
Personally, I didn’t want anyone rushing my labor, pushing medication like Pitocin, antibiotics as preventative, or giving my child any medications straight after birth. I also wanted immediate skin-to-skin contact, which helps moms be exponentially more successful with breastfeeding. I wanted to be able to labor and birth in any position, and I did not want cervical checks or an uncomfortable environment like the hospital.
A Comforting Environment During Birth
I touched on this a little when wanting to stay at home, but there’s also a lot of evidence supporting an environment that does not make the mother uncomfortable. When women are anxious, uncomfortable, or stressed by the feeling of where they are giving birth, it can stop labor and even reverse dilation.
Things like strangers in the room, frequent cervical exams, harsh lighting, and the hospital setting, in general, all can create a sense of uneasiness and delay labor.
Check out Ina May Gaskin’s book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth for more information. Her book was very eye-opening for me, and regardless if you have a home birth or not, it can help you understand everything going on during labor and what you may or may not want for your birth.
Labor in Any Position
Studies have shown that laboring on your back in a bed is one of the worst positions for a woman to labor in. Laboring on your back became the standard so the doctor would be comfortable during the birthing process.
I want to be in the best position possible for my child to enter this world. Having a homebirth allows me to squat, lay on my side, be on all fours, in a birthing tub, or lay on my back if that’s what is most comfortable. Until that day, I won’t know what is best for me, but I will at least have the option.
Birthing My Child When My Body is Ready
It is common practice in modern medicine that if a woman is pregnant past 40 weeks, the OB/GYN will want to induce a mother. It is said that the longer the baby is in utero there is higher chance of complications becoming potentially dangerous for the baby.
However, there has been plenty of information supporting that healthy babies are born just fine at 41 or 42 weeks, and as long as my baby and I are healthy, I will wait until my body is ready to deliver. Women have been doing this for many years, and I believe a woman’s body knows when it is time to deliver their child.
How Do I Know If I Should Choose a Homebirth?
It is every woman’s right to have whatever childbirth they want to have. If she wants to have a c-section, non-medicated in a hospital or non-medicated at home, it should be her right to choose. If you are unsure of what kind of birth you want, my best advice is to do your research.
I spent hours watching documentaries, reading books, and reading other moms’ stories to find out exactly what I wanted out of my delivery.
If you want to learn more about home birth, I highly recommend reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. You can also watch The Business of Being Born, Midwife, and Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives.
If you know you don’t handle pain well and don’t think you would want to naturally birth your child, then go for a scheduled c-section! If you want a hospital birth with limited interventions, I would discuss that with your OB/GYN as soon as possible and create a specific plan notating what you do and do not want.
Having an advocate there on the day of birth will help to make sure everyone is abiding by your wishes. Remember, this is your day, and only you (and your partner) get to decide how you want it to go. Be empowered to do what is right for you and have the most amazing birthing experience!
What’s Your Birth Story?
Every mom has a unique story that is beautiful in its own way. I’ve loved reading about other moms’ experiences with this wonderful gift. I will be sharing my birth story once this little one makes his entrance into the world but until then, what is yours?
Did you have a home birth or a hospital birth? Share your experience in the comments below!