Choosing to Have a Home Birth

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenloveskev/5078919702/(pictures of Rowan)

I want to start off this post by making it very clear that no matter how you choose to give birth, you need to be proud! Stand behind your decisions and don’t let anyone else’s opinions or convictions make you feel any less or any greater about your own birth experience. We are all super women with super powers for giving birth. That means in every and any way you do it. We are all entitled to our decisions of how we give birth though too. I am totally on board for discussions and having differences, but I DO NOT agree when it puts down others or makes anyone feel bad about themselves.

I don’t know why Motherhood has to be such a battle. We should be joining arm in arm with each other in support. There are far greater battles out there to make a commotion over then the personal choices a mother is allowed to make for her family. There are starving kids, kids with out families, etc… that could use the attention that we give to fighting over choices such as to breastfeed, to cloth diaper, to get an epidural, to immunize, the list could go on and on.

Let’s all respect each others decisions and show a little more support instead. As Moms we need to remember just how hard it is to be a parent!

END OF RANT

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With that said, I did want to share my thoughts on why I wanted to have a home birth. I have been asked a lot about it and I would like to share my thoughts here on my blog. For me, it has always been very important to have unmedicated, low intervention births. I have read article after article on pros and cons and have done my research on drugs used and the downward spiral they can (remember I said they can, not that they will) lead to. Again, it’s just a personal choice of something that is important to me if possible. I never give advice to anyone on how they should give birth, but I do firmly stand behind the idea that we should all be informed. I think that is important. Yes, things can change during labor and it’s important to be open to those changes for the health and safety of your baby, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn everything you can about the process.

I loved Rowan’s birth. There were no drugs, no complications (thank God), low lights, calm music (hello Cat Power!) and was the most empowering moment of my life. I loved my midwives and I am glad I chose to have her in a birth center for my 1st child. Even after doing all the reading on how birth happens, I was still scared out of my mind. After Rowan was born I have this very clear memory of being in the hospital room that night feeling very alone. I had just given birth to a tiny little baby that I was now responsible for, Kev was trying to sleep in a small chair bed like 5 feet away, it was cold, sterile and just not home. I was scared and overjoyed all at the same time. For me, that night is not something I look back on with a lot of fondness.

I knew when we left to go home with Rowan I would never have another baby away from home (of course if all was going well) again. I could not wait to get home. As soon as we found out I was pregnant again, I was so excited at the idea of having a home birth. We are not having water birth though. I think most people think that you have to have the baby in a tub when you have a home birth, but that just isn’t for me. I am not sure where she will end up being born in the house but I’m not worried about it. I want to go with what feels right at that moment. I can not wait to already be in our home with our sweet little one the moment she enters this world.

Our midwife is the most wonderful lady ever. I trust her more than anyone with the health of the baby. I know she will make the right calls, at the right time if we need to transfer for whatever reason to our chosen hospital. I pray that doesn’t have to happen, there are no reasons why it should but of course we are prepared for all that we can.

In the end it’s what feels 100% right for us. I know it’s not a choice everyone would be comfortable with and that is totally ok. I don’t expect everyone to agree with it. For Kev and I it has been something that fits our personalities, our lives and we really couldn’t be more excited about it all.

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  1. Such nice thoughts. I wonder why we, as a society, hardly mettle when other people buy a house, car, food, clothing, yet we feel so compelled to mettle into their more personal choices, like breast feeding, diapers, and birth decisions. As far as I’m concerned, your life is yours and the choices you make for YOUR family, well, you know better than me about your family. Have a happy holiday season!

  2. I really respect your decision for home birth!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

  3. I had a home birth and it was wonderful and special in so many ways! I think that you will be very pleased with your decision.

    Blessings.

  4. More power to you, Jen. I’m having my first child in April and have been going back and forth with what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it. Thankfully the women in my life I’ve spoken with have all said the same thing: Follow your instinct and go with what you really feel is best for you. I’ve gotten some really excellent advise and have decided what I want, and I couldn’t be happier. I can’t wait to experience birth. I also have a very supportive husband who has patiently discussed everything back and forth with me. I’m very lucky to have such support from someone I love and respect so much.

    I hope everything goes well and I wish you all the best!

  5. Hi Jen, everyone has their opinion on birthing, and everyone has felt the need to share that opinion with me when I tell them I want a home birth (my 3rd baby is due in 4 weeks) Most are supportive but the one thing I get the most is “what if something goes wrong” NOT helpful! I cannot wait to have my baby with my partner here and my two other children, in the comfort of my own home, with as little intervention as possible. Funnily enough I did not want a water birth either, it just doesn’t appeal! Can’t wait to see the pictures of your new little girl, don’t keep us waiting too long!

  6. I think most of the time people are just concerned – not judgemental. After having my own daughter aspirate meconium I thank God that we were in a hospital so that she was able to be immediately triaged and cared for in the NICU and her lungs were not permanently affected. The same happened to my nephew. My niece who was just born in November was perfectly fine, but her mother (my sister-in-law) had horrible hemmorhaging and lost a LOT of blood. If she had not been in a hospital she very likely would not have made it. We were all healthy, strong young women with healthy pregnancies. And in the end we were all very lucky to be in hospitals or birth centers. I am not saying this to scare you or to judge you. I would love to be at home for my birth as well – it’s a lovely idea, but one that I can’t possibly justify, despite the fact that I want low medical intervention and am upset that photos are not allowed during the birth at the hospital. Feeling cozy and happy at home after birth would be wonderful, but at the same time it isn’t worth the life or health of me or my child. I’m generally not one to push my opinions or ideas onto others, but would feel remiss if I didn’t caution anyone planning a home birth after my own personal experiences. Please don’t feel the need to respond, I’m not looking for an argument or a fight. I just couldn’t not say it. I know that this is probably the opposite of the positive support that you are searching for. All I can say is that I wish for you an easy and healthy birth and baby. Best, Lauren

  7. I wanted a home birth too and ended up with the absolute opposite but it didn’t bother me because having a healthy baby was my main objective. Completely agree with all you say in your rant, what is with this competition called motherhood eh? I swear we women are our own worst enemies sometimes.

  8. Love hearing that you are choosing a home birth! I had Reverie at a birthing center as I couldn’t find a homebirth midwife that would drive out into the middle of nowhere. It was the best decision I ever made to not go to a hospital. Hoping next time I can just stay home though! There is something magical and wonderful about being able to give birth to your child in the same place that the child was conceived, to be able to allow the rhythm of birth to unfold in your own house!

  9. Christine •

    both of my kids were born at home and I wouldn’t change a thing. you’re going to love it (as much as you can love birthing a child lol it’s hard work after all)

  10. This is just so encouraging to read!
    As young Mothers we should really all be uplifting and encouraging each other to make the decisions that already lay in our hearts. Each Mother is different and so is each child and to celebrate our uniqueness and differences is far more beautiful than damaging a mothers belief and confidence as a mother by making them feel like they do not conform to s certain standard!
    I wish you every joy and blessing through this experience.
    I have been reading your blog a few months now and I’m always so inspired by your insights and creativity. My son Noah is just a little older than Rowan so its lovely to read your posts.
    Thank you for inspiring me and for sharing.

  11. Agreed. I had my son 100% natural but in a hospital. No IV, medical care at all, zero intervention before and after. I could have done it at home. I had a great birth. Great time ended there. Had a terrible 24hr hospital stay after. The nurses rudely handled me and my son and one of them forced formula on him when I was sleeping. I’m EBF. It was terrible. Worst experience of my life which ill not go further into. He was not breastfeeding by time we left. When we got home, he was 100% better and latching perfectly. The only issue I have is where I live there is a shortage of midwives and you can’t pay for one privately. So I didn’t have a option for home birth. I hope it’s not the same next time.

  12. This was a great read. Thank you for this Jen! I absolutely agree about moms sticking together. Can you believe I have friends that are competitive when it comes to motherhood? “How long do you plan to breastfeed? Oh, well, I breastfed for this long” etc. Its crazy!

  13. i really love this post! we originally were going for a home birth then switched to the local birth center after i let my nerves get the best of me. either way it was an amazing experience and the birth center is set up just like a bedroom and we left an hour after having him and were home in our own bed. it is amazing the difference in a unmedicated low intervention birth – i hope everyone always at least researches it as an option.

  14. I’m so jealous that you can have a homebirth! I had to have our daughter in a hospital because we live an hour away from the hoopla, and that was too far away for me to be comfortable with a homebirth. I commend anyone who can have a natural birth in a hospital because I think it is really difficult.
    I have to laugh at the chair bed! They tried to make us stay two nights and we were like get. us. out of here! So not relaxing or comfortable.
    Easy labor vibes to you!

  15. Those photos of Rowan’s birth are just beautiful!

  16. Betsy McBurney •

    In French, a midwife is la sage-femme. This blog makes me think that you are a sage femme too, so a wise woman will be cared for by a wise woman.
    All the best…

  17. I could agree more about women supporting each other on their birth/parenting choices. I too am SO proud of my birth experience. It isn’t that I think the choices I made were superior by any means. I am just proud that I educated myself about my options and was able to give birth to my daughter in the way that I felt was best for me.
    I gave birth in a birth center where en epidural was not an option, although I could have changed my mind at anytime and go to the hospital if I wanted to. I often felt hesitant to share my choice because many women would seem to assume that, because I chose to have a natural birth, I believe that others should do the same. I was really excited about my choice but I felt like it was was almost controversial to talk about and I really didn’t want to get into it with people. I think it is really great that we have choices when it comes to giving birth and think we should celebrate that.
    Well wishes to you and your family and thank you for sharing!

  18. I think that a huge factor in having a great birth experience is for the mom to feel comfortable in whatever choices she makes. I had an amazing experience with the apartment home birth of my daughter, so of course I’m biased. I know people are well meaning when they list off the reasons that birthing at home could have been disastrous for themselves, their friends, family members, etc, but the truth is that midwives are very well trained to identify signs of distress, and can make a call to transfer to hospital care when necessary. I’m thrilled for you that you are in complete trust of your midwife! I wish all woman had the same.

  19. LOVE that you are having a home birth! I am a huge proponent of women giving birth the way THEY want to, not the way society, family or even partners want them to. I do believe if that means medicated and in a hospital that is fine to! But I do love the home birth option, and am currently working on convincing my husband its how we’ll welcome baby #2 to the world!!

  20. I had my son in a water-birth center, drug-free and with midwives attending me. It was a wonderful experience… Just my husband & I, with women that we knew and trusted. Even though I had a 38 hour labor, he was posterior and asynclitic (OY!) it was an amazing time and I cherish the memories of it all.
    Before giving birth people told me I was crazy, told me I was endangering my life and the life of my child, told me I was being foolish and selfish… on and on. I think sometimes people forget that their words hold weight. Even well intentioned things can be insensitive and hurtful (especially when you’re chalk-full of hormones!).
    Kudos to you for choosing a homebirth, Jen. I hope that you, Kev and Rowan get to meet your new family member soon. Best wishes!

  21. amy jean •

    I’m so happy for you and your family! I had both our babies at home. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was totally right for us and our wants/desires. I pray that you have the best birthing experience ever!!

    xoxo
    amy

  22. Totally off-topic, but did anyone else get REALLY EXCITED that you had a birth announcement before reading “Pictures from Rowan’s birth”? haha thinking positive thoughts for you mama, your birth will be amazing, regardless of details, because it’s yours!

  23. You are so inspiring Jen. I hope this new birth will be everything you expect it to be.
    I can’t wait to “meet” this new little lady of yours! Bon courage to you, just a little way to go and you’ll be a family of four ! How exciting!
    xoxo
    Daphné

  24. I did birth center first and home the second time around ask well- the postpartum bit where you don’t have to leave the house is awesome! You’re going to do great mama!

  25. i agree; every one should decide those things for themselves.
    :)

    http://www.mamajulesbrussels.blogspot.com

  26. Wonderful, Jen! I’m so excited for you. Thanks for being such an articulate advocate of making educated choices in childbirth. XO.

  27. *Like*

  28. Amandarin •

    Love this post and your emphasis on encouraging each other as Moms. So excited for you and hope you have a beautiful home birth!!

    If you need a laugh after hearing people’s opinions check out Jim Gaffigan on their experience with home births :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEbZrY0G9PI

  29. great post jen! i couldn’t agree more…mothers should be uniting not battling and comparing. i think you have taken the best road possible for you and your little one. i’ll be thinking of you and the amazing birth.

  30. Sending you love and good thoughts for a healthy, happy, homebirth and a wonderful experience! Oooh, and Happy Holidays too!

    xo
    Kacie

  31. Jen, this post was very touching to read. There’s something so beautiful about birth and being mindful about it. I’m so excited that you are able to have the type of birth you want! Home birth has been something I’d like to try, if we have any more kids. I’ve had three unmedicated hospital births that went very well. In fact, for our third, it was actually kind of nice to be away for two days so I could process being a mom to three, haha. No, but really, if I ever get to have a home birth, I’d be ecstatic. I hope you do a post about pros/cons of your home birth … or something like that! :)

  32. Hi Jen. I hope all goes well for you and your family. I think it is great that you have ensured you are well informed and flexible to move where ever is best for your baby if need be. In Australia we have some amazing hospitals and both my girls were born in one of them. The midwives and after care were amazing. They were fully supportive of whatever the mother wanted (unless emergency intervention was required). I hope you get to birth the way you want to but if not remember that although the birth of a child is magical it pales in comparison to the importance of every second that follows it!
    I can’t wait to hear of the arrival of your new little bubba. Good luck and merry Christmas!

  33. Our little boy was born at home a week ago today! It was an amazing experience and I’m so excited for you. I just put up my birth story and pics today;

    http://thulalaland.tumblr.com/post/38516206786/it-might-seem-crazy-that-im-here-writing-out-our

    Sending you all the love and best wishes for a calm, comfortable and beautiful birth.

    xTL

  34. I totally respect your decision to have a home birth. My mother actually had my sister at home and she had no complications, no problems and her midwife was her absolute favorite. She highly recommends having a midwife over a OBGYN because its a much more personal experience and like you said, less sterile. I hope everything with your home birth goes off without a hitch, because I know it will be the best possible birthing experience.

  35. I had a home birth with my 2nd a few months ago and it was amazing. All in all the labour progressed almost identically to my first, but I was much calmer (and quieter) because I was in my own environment. Being tucked into my own bed and waking up to a quiet house after a good nights sleep was amazing. One but of advice though, make sure you get bed rest at home. In a hospital environment you have nothing to do but rest, but at home there’s so much to distract you. I was so full of excitement and pride after he was born, I just couldn’t make myself relax but it will catch up with you! I have a 2 yr old and a crawling 8 month old and would give anything for bed rest! Best of luck!

    Oh! I had a mantra that helped me so much… Be confident in your body’s miraculous ability to create life and give birth to an amazing child.

  36. Big props to you for following you heart and pursuing the kind of birth setting you want. I had a home birth for my daughter in September. It was a beautiful, calm, and intimate environment, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Best of luck with your own home birth – may it be everything you hope for and more!

  37. I think that women sometimes feel so confident in their personal decisions and so proud of themselves & the choices they made, they feel that everyone should do the same. (Maybe I’m just giving others the benefit of the doubt) but what others don’t realize, is that what’s best for them may not be best for someone else. We are all different. Our decisions in how we lead our lives will all be different. That’s the beautiful thing about us. I don’t understand how placing judgement on another individual is beneficial to anyone person. I wish that judgement didn’t have to be an issue. Especially when making such important, personal life decisions. It’s a scary enough thing to step into motherhood, to bring lives into this world. That alone does not get the praise and admiration it properly deserves.
    That being said, I wish you the absolute best!!! Cherish it all because it will be something you look back on fondly in your life. No matter which route you choose to welcome your baby, your bringing a life into this world!!! THAT is AMAZING!
    I’m really jealous of the opportunity you have. I wasn’t able to have the same, and will never. I’ve had 3 c-sections and any more births will have to be the same. I’ve had horrible experiences. But, I have my babies. We are all happy and healthy and I couldn’t ask for anything more! The birthing experience is not something I look back at fondly at all. It’s the last hurdle I have to get through to hold my sweet baby. But that in no way means that its the same for you or anyone else. I congratulate your decision to do what is best for you and your family. THAT is true motherhood.
    xoxo

  38. I loved this post so much, and especially enjoyed reading through all of the kind, supportive and very thoughtful comments. My husband and I tried for two years to have a baby with no luck, and then decided to take a break. It was so difficult emotionally, and I just needed a little rest. That was nearly a year ago, and we just found out that I am very surprisingly pregnant! I knew pretty early on what type of birthing experience would be right for me, and my husband has been so sweet and supportive. I chose the local Midwifery and Birthing Center, and am so happy with this decision. The birthing suites are beautiful and comfortable, with private baths, big picture windows, wood floors and antique beds. I’m so confident in the care I receive from my midwife, and because it sits right next door to the hospital I feel very reassured that if anything does happen, we can be transferred quickly. And I am so excited that, so long as all is well, we are allowed to go home just a few hours after the baby is born.

    I think it is so amazing that we as women have so many choices, and are able to choose whatever it is that’s best for us, for our families, for our children. Whether it be a natural birth at home or in a birthing center, a hospital birth with medication, whether you choose a midwife or prefer a doctor… it’s all wonderful and amazing, because in the end they all do something miraculous. They help bring your beautiful baby into this world.

    Thanks for such a thoughtful and awesome post, Jen!

  39. You are brave Jen! I just gave birth 12 days ago to my first – a little girl. As a nurse I also did a lot of research and decided that I just couldn’t do it without an epidural and a hospital delivery. I very carefully picked an ob who would allow me to labor at home as long as I could and not get an epidural till 6-8cm along in hopes to prevent any other intervention due to the medication cascade that can happen. I had a wonderful experience with my ob and postpartum care at mt Sinai in ny. I ended up with an epidural at 8cm, arrived at the hospital at 6 cm. Delivery wasn’t easy as my BP was low throughout all of it, it was low during pregnancy too, and little girl heart rate would drop every time I pushed bc she had a cord wrapped around her ankle. My ob worked hard to get her out without needing a csection bc he told me later he had already booked a room in the or bc he was worried about her heart rate. I was given lots of fluids and one med to help up my blood pressure. Strangely enough I felt pretty calm through it all and knew I was in good hands and everything would be fine. I ended up with a 4th degree tear and a healthy baby. I would not have wanted to get stitched up for that without that epidural!! Lol my postpartum nurses were wonderful and I felt homey in the hospital but it could be bc I’m a nurse and the hospital is a comfortable place for me to begin with. I struggled with breast feeding terribly (bad latch) and owe everything to those nurses and the lactation consultants who worked with me and gave me a plan when she wouldn’t latch on the right boob. They are the main reason I’m still breast feeding today and have been able to stick with it. Seriously… Breast feeding was harder than labor for me. I just knew fully well the consequences of getting an epidural and when to get it and was willing to take the chance. I personally think that in the end it doesn’t matter how or why you chose x y or z as long as you understand what could happen based on what you decide for yourself, your baby, and your family. I so admire women who are able to do it naturally, kind of envy you, but I doubt I’ll ever do it. I wasn’t a happy camper during those contractions. :) I wish you and your family a wonderful home birth and I truly hope it goes like you hope it does. I have loved reading your blog and seen you go from couple to new parents and now to a second babe. I am incredibly grateful I get to do the same with my little Emilia and sweet husband.

    Much love,

    Thais (long time reader, first comment)

  40. Courtney •

    Quite right! Isn’t every mom just doing the best job she can with the information she has? No one really knows what their doing, and I hate when mothers become judgmental over other mothers’ decisions. As women we need to stand together and offer support rather than division. Best of luck!

  41. I think there are endless options to how you can birth your baby. It gets narrowed down by certain medical complications that are pre-existing (of course), but for the most part- there are so many things to research and choices to make. I think any woman who has a baby is courageous no matter where she (or nature) decides to do it. I think it’s awesome that you took the time to research all of those ways and then made a decision- most people who have issues with hospital alternative births are just simply uninformed and afraid of the idea. I wrote a blog post on why my husband and I are choosing a home birth, too (http://momsyturvy.com/2012/12/11/our-reasons-for-a-home-birth/)! I’m due 4 days ago lol so it’ll be very soon and we’re going to try to have her at home (with a birthing tub). I’m excited to go into labor at any moment. We’ve worked hard getting ourselves ready for all possibilities. Anyways, great post :) I’m glad you shared! The more posts like these are made, the more women take back this special event! It belongs to us!

  42. I’m proud of you for making this decision. We had a home birth and I wouldn’t want it any other way! It was perfect! Good luck! She’s on her way!

  43. I’ve never commented on your site, but felt that I MUST say how happy I am to hear about your birth choice. Wishing you a peaceful homebirth. It is going to be beautiful!

  44. I had my little dude at home, and it was an amazing experience. I wish you the best experience.

  45. That’s awesome! My mom is a home birth midwife and I love seeing home birth becoming more common and accepted. One of my most vivid early memories was seeing my mom give birth to my little sister when I was six. It was so amazing and beautiful. Not scary at all–someday I hope to be as graceful as she was when I give birth to my own babies. I wish you all the best for an easy and joyous birth!

  46. I’ll be praying for you & your family during this time! Praying that everything goes smoothly and you have a great birthing experience in your freshly painted new home :)

  47. Good for you, Jen! I wish you all the best with your birth and delivery! Your writing about your birth experience with Rowan was so encouraging to me when I was pregnant and planning a med-free midwife assisted birth. I was also fortunate to have no complications and the intervention-free birth I had wanted. I look forward to reading how your home birth goes, it sounds like you are more than prepared and are doing the best thing for you and your family!

    Best wishes for a healthy baby!
    S.

  48. Sigrun Campbell •

    I love home births! I had my first (now 4) at a birth centre and my other two( 3 and 1,5) at home!!! I loved having my other two babies at home and it was a magical experience for everyone! I highly recommend home births to people but I agree it is not for everyone! good luck with yours!!

  49. I love you, you’re so great!

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev