After an induced labor with my first child and a near death experience from hemorrhage during the delivery of my second I decided, once again, that hospitals were not for me.
Keep in mind, this was back in the early 1980s and birth centers, midwifery, and home birth were not things my conservative, young married friends were doing. Although I was pretty sure I wanted at least one more child I also knew that I did not want to give birth in a hospital.
Since there was a gap of seven years between my second and third children I had plenty of time to think about it. I had some valid concerns about having a midwife.
- At 5â€™3â€ and 120 pounds I had given birth to two children that each rocked the scales at over nine pounds. (My largest, which was delivered at home, was well over 11 pounds.)
- My first child had to be induced and my second was three weeks late.
- I was Rh negative with an Rh positive husband.
- There was that pesky hemorrhaging thing.
- I donâ€™t really like pain.
Fear of hospitals overcame my fear of pain and when I saw the double blue lines that announced number three child, I called a friend that did homebirths and asked for a recommendation.
I really didnâ€™t know what to expect at the first appointment. It was casual, relaxed, and thorough. My midwife made me feel instantly at ease as she explained how the whole homebirth thing worked.
At each appointment I got to know her a little better â€“ more importantly she was taking mental notes of me, my personality and my preferences. She really came to know me as an individual.
In fact, Iâ€™ll say that she and I became friends since she ended up delivering my last six children and my three grandchildren. We still Facebook and meet for the occasional lunch.
As was my pattern, I went three weeks over but this time there was no stress about it. Since it was a pattern, we decided that it was normal for me. She kept close tabs on the babyâ€™s movements and heart rate to ensure that he was not in any type of distress, but other than that we just waited.
When I did go into labor it was all about me. It was not about the machines, the doctorâ€™s convenience, or the nursesâ€™ schedules. I was free to walk to the bathroom (I cannot pee in front of people â€“ no bedpans!), sip juice, play a game, watch television, or do whatever I needed to feel comfortable.
I was able to birth in the position that was most comfortable for me. If I told everyone to be quiet the room was silent, if I wanted my feet or back rubbed it happened like magic. As a Christian, I had chosen a Christian midwife who prayed over me during the labor and birth process. It was comforting to hear familiar scriptures and prayer during the most intense times of my labor.
Afterwards I was helped to a warm, herbal bath to soothe aching muscles and raw patches.Â I was left in the tub to bond with my baby. Meanwhile, the midwife and her assistant changed my sheets, put the dirty sheets in the wash, and cleaned the room.
With nowhere to go, no staff to deal with, and food from my freezer prepared ahead of time I was able to rest, sleep, bond with the little one, and recuperate in my own time.
Homebirthing may not be for everyone, but it is worth considering. The experience is exquisitely personal and memorable.Â Would you ever consider a homebirth?
photo credit: amc dawes