Giving Birth at Home

Admittedly, I know nothing about this topic.  I’ve had three great hospital births, and have never felt the need to explore the homebirth option.  That said, I am fascinated with homebirth stories!  If you’ve ever wondered about giving birth at home, read on for some experiences and resources from a few of my readers.

First, a guest post from Audrey.

the "home birth kit"
Image by dalelane via Flickr

Chux pads: check.

Perineal bottle: check.

Mesh panties: check.

Sterile cord clamps: check.

All the way prepared? Maybe.

I remember receiving my birth kit in the mail and sorting through it, wondering what in the world we were going to use all of these things for! Some of them were obvious, of course, but really, flexible straws? (I found out later they were simply for making hydration easier on me during labor. 🙂 )

I grew up with a mom who was a nurse and now works in Labor & Delivery, but wanted homebirths herself, and many of my friends’ parents had homebirths. I knew I did not want the intrusive procedures, did not want to have to fight for my birth plan, and liked the idea of the privacy and security of my own bedroom. So, we opted for homebirth.

Though I have never experienced anything else, I do remember thinking during labor, “If I were in a hospital right now, I would have an epidural.” At the time, that was a glorious dream. To be rid of this pain? But truly, I was grateful that I did not have that option. In my lucid moments, I did not want an epidural, and I would have regretted it later; simply not having the option “saved” me. I also remember thinking, two days after my daughter was born, “Wow, I would have to pack up all our stuff right now, then ride thirty minutes home in the car with my baby in a carseat right now, if I were in the hospital.” So glad that wasn’t my experience!

Even though I could name so many positives about the homebirth experience, I still contemplated going to the hospital when I found out we were expecting again. We were concerned about finances, I still remembered the pain and wondered if an epidural would really be so bad, and both of us would like the emergency equipment and personnel “just in case.” So I asked someone at my church about her experience. She had recently given birth at home for the first time, after having four births in the hospital, all with the same midwife. If her care provider was the same, she would truly be able to give me the situational differences, and she did! She said it was night and day.

Her babies were big (mine was 9lbs, so this was important!), and they had to come in and prick their heels to check blood sugar all the time. They interrupted her sleep. She had to share a room with another postpartum mother once (GROSS). She wasn’t at home, enjoying her baby in peace. I was convinced. After our midwife left my birth, we were alone for over 12 hours, with no interruptions, nothing to disturb our getting-acquainted and getting-sleep time.

That said, we’re planning for homebirth #2 right now, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things are the same and how they are different, but so grateful to know that I will have good care and the freedom to be a new mommy.

homebirth

Audrey is the stay-at-home mother of one Little Girl, a Marine wife, and a hopeful writer. She blogs about life lessons and gleaning wisdom from older women, inspired by her great-grandmother, Big Mommy. Baby #2 (and, she keeps hoping, #3!) will arrive sometime this November. Oh, and if she could recommend anything for new moms, it would be Earth Mama Bottom Balm. Aaaahhhh, the relief. Sitz bath herbs work wonders too!

Other homebirth posts and resources:

Again, I can’t comment personally on the safety, feasibility, or logistics of a homebirth.  Those of you who have experience can enlighten the rest of us in the comments.  😉  Feel free to ask questions and have a great discussion, but let’s (as always) keep it respectful!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Comments

  1. Lisa Milyard says:

    Thankyou so much for doing this topic! My sis-in-law had 3 of her 4 at home and that’s the way we plan to go! Another thing that convinced me was watching ‘The Business of Being Born’ I highly recommend that!

  2. Wow, I’m so excited for you; if you need anything, feel free to ask (although it sounds like you already have the support you need)!

    As to “The Business of Being Born,” I saw it as well, and there is a lot of really good information, but please be aware that it contains a good deal of nudity (women giving birth, nursing, etc.).

  3. Ruth Hill says:

    I’ll briefly share my experience.

    First of all, I had wanted to go with a midwife for almost as long as I could remember. I wanted a natural birth. I was so excited to find a midwife, and she was the mother of one of the students I taught! One of the good students. It was pretty neat.

    I was disconcerted when I realized my stupid insurance wouldn’t cover a midwife at all. I was pretty disgusted, but I stuck to my guns. I was going to do this.

    Every check-up went well. We heard the baby’s heartbeat early on. I decided I didn’t want an ultrasound–I didn’t want to find out the sex of the child. I wanted it to be a surpirse. So I went ahead with things as they were.

    In my last trimester, my blood pressure began to spike. I was overweight and under a lot of stress from work and marriage. I began the herbal regimen of trying to reduce the blood pressure and monitoring myself at home. I did have to go to the hospital once when it spiked very high right towards the end of my pregnancy. But I was told I’d be fine. I was almost at the dangerous stage, but bed rest would work.

    I remember the final weeks. I had everything ready. False labor here and there. I even was in some kind of inconsistent labor a few days before the event, and then it stopped.

    Then the evening arrived. Yes, it was hard labor. About 7 hours or so. I remember that my blood pressure spiked really high, but mainly I was just weak. I remember saying I couldn’t do it at one point. I never wished for pain relief though. I just wished for the birth to go ahead. I was completely lucid through every moment of that labor. I was glad my mom and sister-in-law were there because my husband was no help at all. (We have since divorced, but that is another story.)

    I never do regret anything I did during that pregnancy except that I gained too much weight. Which I took off a couple years ago. Pretty proud of that. But it is not for the faint of heart. There were other issues–I didn’t have enough breast milk, and my daughter dropped weight which was a scary time. But God worked it all out.

    Just my brief musings.

  4. I gave birth to my first child at home. By far, it was the best birth experience! You recieve so much one on one attention by someone who genuinely cares about you. Someone who will encourage you into each stage and console you and your hubby when things are hard. While all midwives usually give birth classes so you know what to expect, in the process of natural labor, much of that goes out the window. Having someone there to make sure that we understood that all these stages of labor were normal (not fun, but normal) was very re-assuring. I too probably would have opted for the epidural if I had my first in the hospital because no one can really compare what the pain is like.
    Due to things that happened AFTER I gave birth to my first child I had to have subsequent hospital births. I had a mild seizure disorder all my life but the rush of hormones after delivery sent me into my first ever Grand Mal seizure. I ended up in the hospital several hours AFTER delivery. Due to my seizures being in a completely different category of worse, I was considered a high risk delivery and had to have a Dr catch the baby! :o) Due to the fact that my midwife was such a good friend and Godly woman, eventhough she couldn’t deliver my second 2, she did attend my subsequent hospital births. I couldn’t have done it without her cheering me on to support and encourage me through each stage.
    Personally, I think if I had not been able to do the first one completely natural at home, I probably would have caved on the epidural for the subsequent births. Because I had such a great support system in the hospital with me they knew how to keep the hospital staff out of my hair and continue encouraging me to pursue a natural birth. I found that making a birth plan and giving it to the hospital staff was very helpful for them to know I wanted the least amount of medical intervention possible. If you have to have a hospital birth I would reccomend having an advocate there who will make certain things are happening according to YOUR plan. Your hubby is going to be too busy making sure you are OK to possibly do this, so it is nice to have someone there who will fight for your desires to be met!

  5. Oh, I had two wonderful home births! Based on my experience, it wasn’t as messy as I had thought it would be and it was so much more relaxed. Awesome experiences! We ordered in Swiss Chalet for our family and my parents after Chloe was born 🙂
    Chloe was 36 hours start to finish and John was 6. I had thought with John I’d have more time so I waited to call the midwives. They arrived an hour before John did!

  6. I love those herbal “new mama” solutions! 🙂 I made a salve based on the Earth Mama one here: http://frugalgranola.com/2009/09/postpartum-comfort-mamas-bottom-salve/

    and a sitz bath here:
    http://frugalgranola.com/2009/07/preparing-for-postpartum-herbal-bath-recipe/

    Thanks for the links! I loved reading her story!
    Blessings,
    Michele 🙂

  7. Kristen says:

    I had my first baby in a hospital with a Doctor, my second baby in the same hospital with a midwife, and my third was born at home with a midwife. By far, I loved my homebirth the most. I am planning a homebirth for our fourth baby as well, due in November. For me though, each experience I had led me to a stronger desire for a more natural birth. I have not used pain medication for any of my births, but the requirement of an IV during the first birth, and fighting with the midwife to NOT have an IV with the second, to not even having to THINK about an IV with the third, I am so glad we have finally found a birth solution that works for us.

  8. I have had all six of my children at home. While I was VERY worried about the pain relief, I managed to get through it, which amazed me. With each baby I have become better about dealing with the pain. Having had some in water and some not in water, I must say that a water birth is worth every penny, as it alleviates a great deal of pain.

    Each birth was very different. Each had its own complications, but they were handled well–a stuck shoulder, a short cord, a wrapped around the neck cord (quickly unwrapped!), a placenta that wouldn’t detach, and more.

    I’d like to have them all at home, and I’m grateful to a kind midwife who I can trust.

  9. Thank you so much for covering this topic in a positive way! We have many friends and family who’ve given birth at home, both here and overseas, and all were happy with the experience. Many of them were so happy that they’ve done it multiple times; the ones who’ve also given birth in hospital say the homebirth experience was much, much better. It’s not for everyone, but I think it’s wonderful when people do it!

  10. I’m adding your blog to my blogroll. I love all the homebirth information. 🙂 I look forward to the rest of this series!

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