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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why I'm Choosing a Natural Home Birth

 I want this shirt!

      Since announcing my pregnancy and my decision to have a midwife assisted at-home water birth , I've gotten a lot of "You're braver than me" type comments.  The truth is that is so not even a little bit the case.  What's true is that I've figured out what I want from my laboring and birthing experience and it's not something I'm guaranteed to get by going to a hospital where they try to control the situation.  Truth be told I never grew up thinking I would have my babies at home.  The idea seemed archaic and out of practice.  I remember once in Elementary School a friend of mine, Courtney, mentioned that she wanted to have her babies underwater and I was shocked and thought she was crazy.  (I think her mom is a Labor and Delivery Nurse so that's probably what prompted the thought.  Or maybe it was TV.)  In High School, my best friend, Megan, said that she was going to go without drugs and again I thought she was nuts.  Didn't she watch TV?!  Hadn't she heard the horror birth stories of the women who had gone before us?  Her own mother gave birth to a plethora of children so she must have known that it was a horrific and extremely painful process.  Hadn't anyone explained that you start saying "No Drugs" and then the pain kicks in full-force and you're begging for an epidural?  That's what I knew, so it made sense that someday when I was pregnant I would go to a hospital and they would drug me up and I'd pop out a baby.  Done deal.  (I realize it takes a great deal more than that, I'm just generalizing and summing it up.)

      Now, however, my opinions and outlook have changed almost completely.  While I still believe in the power of modern technology, medicine, doctors, and hospitals doing some amazing things to save lives, I also believe that a woman's body was made with the specific ability to bear children.  It wasn't an idea that I came up with all of a sudden though.  I feel like certain things in my life helped me get to a point where I could accept Natural Home Birth as an alternative to a multiple-intervention hospital birth.  Despite how I had felt about birth before, I never liked going to the doctor.  In fact, I haven't been to a doctor for something since High School.  My Mom being from Europe, a continent that embraces natural and holistic healing, was always there telling us that there were natural remedies we could use that would be much safer than your typical off-the-shelves drugs.  (That's not to say there isn't a time and place for certain medications and that I don't use some of them.) My Dad was a RN and so I always had taken on his stance and thought she was silly and all this natural stuff was for the birds.

      When I was going to school for massage it further enforced my burgeoning belief that the body had ways of healing itself.  A whole world of healing and holistic thinking was opened to me and I really started seeing things from a different perspective.  One of my brother-in-law's introduced us to The Body Code and muscle testing and it didn't take long for our family to jump right in.  Now, what really turned me around and got me thinking more about Natural Home Birth was when my friend Jenna of That Wife became pregnant and would post about her journey and experience with a midwife and her choice for a home birth.  I was impressed with the research she showed and information she shared comparing the risks and benefits.  But what really got to me was the type of experience she said she would be having at home compared to what it would be like in a hospital.  I knew right away that that was how I wanted it to be for me.  Also, I watched The Business of Being Born and that really got me going.  Great documentary!

      Since taking more of an interest in this view, I've found out a few things about the ladies I'm related to.  Both my Mom and Ty's Mom gave birth to ALL of their children naturally, though in hospitals.  I think I was even more impressed by Ty's Mom because those are some big headed boys.  :)  Then, come to find out my Mom was born at home, as well as two of her siblings!  (One was not able to be due to complications.)  How I never knew any of this before blows my mind.  I'm hoping I'll be able to get some of these birth stories from my Omi because I would love to hear what her experiences were like.  To get even crazier, my Aunt is a midwife!!!  It's like the universe is shouting at me to have this baby naturally.

      I found a blog that listed 10 reasons why she chose an unmedicated birth.  To read it go to this link.  Seriously, go to the link.  I'll wait here....................................................You're back!  Hooray!  Though, I haven't yet experienced it, I agree with everything she wrote*.

Here are some of my own reasons and benefits of giving birth at home:
  1. I want to avoid interventions.  I always believed they were necessary, but have come to find that's not always true.  I would rather not be induced, particularly, because these drugs are not the same as my own body's hormones doing their job and working at a natural and normal rate.  I also want to be able to do this without nurses and doctors giving me weird looks and feeling like the place where I'm having my child doesn't support my decision.
  2. My home is the most comfortable place I can be.  All my stuff is here and I know where it is.  I can roam around in my own area and not feel awkward that I can't go somewhere.  There won't be nurses coming in and out of the room.  The atmosphere and mood will be what I set it as. Also, I won't have to wait for a room to be available.  The room where I will have my baby will be available until the baby starts living in there.
  3. Immediate contact with my baby.  No rushing her off for tests.  This baby and I are already forming a very special bond and I'm so anxious and ready to pull her up onto my chest and hold her and start that physical touch bond as soon as she is on the outside of my body.
  4. Breastfeeding as soon as possible.  I'm still not sure if I'll do this immediately after birth or when they have been checked out and I'm "comfortably" sitting up in my bed once again holding my newborn, but hooray for having the choice!  Again, I want to begin that special bond with my baby very soon.  (Can you tell I'm a super big Feeler personality?!)
  5. During labor, I can eat and drink.  I would like to stick to healthy choices of course and things that help keep my energy up.  Hospitals, generally speaking, don't allow that.  I have read that you can do it as long as they aren't in the room, but I don't want to have to be sneaky and stressed.  I want to be able to go into my kitchen, grab an apple or a sandwich from my fridge and munch on it if I feel the desire.
  6. It might sound silly, but I really want to have that "I am WOMAN and I did this.  BOOYAH!" moment.  It may not be said aloud, but the thought will be there.  Believe it or not, I'm really insecure and I know that I will have moments of doubt.  However, one of the things my midwife said to me in the initial consult that made me feel like she was right for us was, "The body can do it, it's just convincing the mind that you can."  SO TRUE!
  7. Laboring and birthing in water is believed, and proven for many women, to relieve to some degree the pain you experience during this time.  Make no mistake, I'm expecting pain and discomfort, but when I learned about this method, I knew this was something I wanted to at least try.  Who wouldn't want to utilize a way of easing their pain?  There are some hospitals that let you labor in water, but when it comes time to push, you have to get out.  Sad day.
  8. Like birthing in water, why wouldn't I want to give birthing at home a try, if I have no complications?  Low-risk mothers giving birth at home have the same risks that low-risk mothers do who go to the hospital.  If any complications arise, we are literally a 3 minute drive from the hospital.  However, I'm fully confident in my abilities as well as the skills and knowledge of my midwife. 

*  Keep in mind when she says there are no risks with an unmedicated birth, she's not talking about the risks and ranging possibilities that can come along with most births.  When you receive meds during labor there are risks to each of them.  It's that way with any medication you take.


  1. Awesome Jenny! I would have loved to have continued with my water birth at the birth center, but alas, after 44 hours, my second and last choice of the hospital became necessary! I wish you the best of luck with everything and hope for the both of us you have the birth you want! :)

  2. I hope all goes well. water births have always intrigued me. But I think for me I had such a scary scary first birth (life or death situation) that I would want to deliver a first child always in the hospital and then once i knew how my body worked (or in my case how it doesn't, haha) then i could feel comfortable with a home birth or whatever else after that. But really I am fascinated by all the home births and such. Also I sort of think it is sad that nurses get such a bad rep...I would say most nurses wouldn't look at you weird if you brought in a birth plan exactly what you wanted. the nurses are the nicest people at the hospitals and they truely are there to make you feel like a princess and that you are the most special person in that hospital. at least all of my nurses have made me feel that way! good luck, you will be so happy when you get to meet that darling girl. I get such a huge high right after the baby comes is the best feeling in the world when I can breathe a sigh of relief and say i'm not pregnant anymore!

  3. It sounds like you've done your research and you have a good plan in place. I hope everything goes great for you! You can do it!! It is literally the craziest and most intense, emotional, amazing thing that will ever happen in your entire life! It's gonna be great.

  4. I know you are going to be a birthing rockstar :)

  5. You go girl! You sound ready and committed! It's largely a mind game, and you are there! I hope circumstances allow you to do it. I don't usually read blogs, I'm more of a skimmer, but this had me fist pumping. When you bring up child-rearing/birthing, women want to put in their two cents; so I hope it's okay if I do so now.... Preface: rock on that you want to have you baby at home, incredible experience I bet. However, I enjoyed having my two babies at a hospital for two reasons: it was an escape from home and responsibility, I felt like I could relax better and not have to take care of 'my domain'-i.e. not correlate an uncomfortable memory with my home, be served a hot breakfast in bed, not clean up the mess I just made, not take care of other child/ren, ask for more water etc and not feel bad that they are at my becking call because that's what they get paid to do. Secondly, during birth things go from good to awful awfully fast and I was at peace knowing rescue equipment/professionals are around the corner. Also 1) I requested to be handed the baby right after delivery and they were in no rush to take her away from me- 2) The hospital had a room with a bathtub, which was tremendously helpful.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, I wish you THE best.

  6. I don't know you but I found your blog while researching home births. I have had 2 babies all natural with no pain meds (although in a hospital) and have been interested in doing a home birth on my next baby. It's amazing what our bodies can do. My advice is, use gravity to help you labor quicker. Since I was hooked up to monitors i wasn't allowed out of bed so I sat up the entire time and rocked back and forth while breathing through labor only ended up being 5 hours the first time and 15 minutes start to finish on the next, and i only pushed once both times. Good luck! Having a natural birth is something to be proud of! Us Women are stronger than we think. Just remind yourself that you can do it. Pain management is all in the mind =)


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