When did your journey to home birth begin?
How did you discover home birth?
In highschool I had hoped to become a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) (the only type of midwife I knew about at that time). My mother had several friends who birthed at home, so I was familiar with the idea.
Shortly before I was pregnant with our first, I started reading about natural birth, holistic parenting, etc. and started campaigning to have our first baby naturally and possibly with the assistance of a midwife. My husband was totally freaked out at first – he was on board 100% with the idea of natural birth (his mom had birthed her three children sans drugs), but the thought of not being cared for by a doctor in a hospital was a totally new concept to him.
We opted to meet in the middle and had our first baby at a birth center with a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM).
During my second pregnancy we moved. We began the journey of finding a midwife – it was quite a saga, but God led us to the perfect one! At the time we met our midwife, she had delivered just over 5,000 babies and her stats were amazing. We peppered her with questions and asked a million “what ifs.” By choosing her, we were choosing home birth as she is not associated with a birth center or hospital in our area. Looking back, it’s the best two-fold decision ever – her for our midwife and a home birth for our baby!
Was your partner on board with the idea giving birth at home? (if applicable – perhaps the two of you discovered home birth together or it was the husband/partner’s idea)
Absolutely. By baby #2 my husband was pro-natural birth, pro-midwife, etc. He has never missed one of my prenatal appointments and has become quite the knowledgeable birth assistant through the course of our five births!
How did you find a midwife?
Our first midwife was found via word of mouth. Our second midwife was found almost miraculously – I can’t remember the specifics, but I do remember making a lot of phone calls and weeding my way through the phone interviews and a few personal ones. We were new to the area and she doesn’t advertise.
Are there any specific restrictions or laws in your state that make finding a midwife difficult?
In order to be licensed in the state of PA, you must be a Certified Nurse Midwife. CPM’s practice here, but they are not licensed. We’ve opted to use a CPM over a CNM for some specific reasons. That’s a loaded debate between counties, states, etc.
Describe your relationship with your midwife.
I am so thankful for our relationship! I’ve now used her for four pregnancies and should I ever have another, there’s not even a question in my mind as to whether or not she’d be my care-provider. I trust her entirely with my care and with the care of my babies. She’s thorough, a wealth of knowledge, kind, compassionate, challenging, doesn’t have a problem with telling you how it is, and really a lot of fun!
How did you prepare for your home birth? What class(es) did you take, books did you read, movies, discussions, etc.
For our first birth (at the birth center) we took a 12-week Bradley Method class.
Before all of my births I read, read, read! I read things I may or may not agree entirely with. I immerse myself in stories of other births, stories of pregnancy, various “methods” of relaxing, etc. I have some favorites…Childbirth Without Fear, Ina Mae Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth, Birthing from Within, etc. I talk about birth with friends. I ask questions at my pre-natal appointments. I learn more and more every time!
Did you feel as though you were adequately prepared to give birth at home, or do you wish you had access to more information and/or education before hand?
Absolutely. But I am a self-motivated learner. I do think the American system as a whole fails on preparing women in general for birth. The preparation in my mind starts when they are young! Birth IS natural. Birth IS normal. Birth IS NOT an illness. And, I could continue with my list…
How would you describe the postpartum time period after giving birth at home? What were the pros and cons?
These were different for each baby. I absolutely LOVE being home. Here’s a quick recap of the five:
Baby #1 – He was born at a birth center. We were home within 8 hours of his birth. Due to a placental abruption during his birth, I had a 3rd degree tear that was glued instead of stitched by my choice. Because I needed to heal, I had 5 days of minimal walking, no stairs, and generally sitting on the couch.
Baby #2 – He was born at home. My husband came down with shingles the day after his birth. I didn’t have much of a healthy or slow post-partum recovery. We were new to the area. I didn’t really have any friends in the area. I struggled with post-partum-depression very badly. I wasn’t aware of how badly at the time – lots of hindsight going into this response!
Baby #3 – She was born at home. I put my regular jeans on after her birth. Went to the chiropractor with her when she was about 8 hours old. Had a fantastic recovery and felt great!
Babies #4 and 5 – Twin boys who came very quickly! Baby A was born unassisted (well, Daddy was there to catch!) and Baby B was born about an hour later being greeted by our midwife’s assistants. I was much weaker post the delivery and was perfectly happy to sit in bed and snuggle my babies. Baby A was born with an unexpected cleft lip/cleft palate so our post partum period was a little crazy with the twins. Twin post-partum needs, pros/cons, concerns, etc. are quite different.