A while back I posted a homebirth Q&A. I only got a few questions on that post, but they were all great ones. Before I go on to answer the specific questions, I will tell you a bit about why we chose to have a homebirth.
Let me first say that I definitely do not believe that homebirth is for everyone. Both partners need to feel comfortable with the idea or otherwise, it will never work. I don't want to give anyone the impression that I think that hospitals are bad for birthing babies or that everyone should give birth at home (or have a natural childbirth, for that matter). That is not the case - each person, and each birth is unique and you must make these decision based on your own circumstances and convictions. I would love to say that all my babies will be born naturally, in our home, but I don't know if that will be the case or not. My pregnancy and labor with Evalyn was very straight forward, with no complications, which allowed us the option this time around. We'll see what happens next time.
With all that being said, let me explain the three main beliefs that I had/have that influenced my decision to plan a homebirth.
1. I believe that my body was designed by God to give birth to children and that, in most circumstances, childbirth can be achieved with minimal intervention. Further, I believe that birth should not be viewed as a medical emergency but rather, a right of passage for both baby and mother.
2. I had confidence in the fact that my midwives were well trained and qualified and would be able to provide valuable guidance throughout my pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I also believed that in the event that something occurred and my body was not able to perform the task at hand, that the midwives would help us make the necessary decisions, always keeping my baby's best interest as the focus.
3. The final belief ties into the first two - I had confidence that God would be in control. One of my labor verses was "Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you, wherever you go". If was the "wherever you go" part that I focused on - I knew that God would be in control and protect us regardless of whether we delivered at home or in hospital. During my pregnancy I spent a great deal of time praying that God would give me the physical and emotional strength that I needed to achieve a natural birth. I also prayed that He would grant all of us involved - me, the Dude, the midwives - with sound judgement and discernment so that we would make the right decisions.
With those beliefs in mind, we decided to plan for a homebirth and go with the flow. I wasn't in it to be a hero and I knew that it might not work out and if we changed our minds and decided to (or needed to) go to the hospital, that would be fine, as well. We felt it was wiser to plan for a homebirth and have the possibility of transferring to the hospital than plan for a hospital birth and decide we wanted to stay at home, without things set up and ready.
With all that in mind, I got three questions about homebirth from other bloggers ....
Katie asked if it took a lot of convincing for the Dude to be comfortable with the idea of a homebirth and midwives.
It actually took no convincing at all. I always knew, long before we conceived, that I would want to have midwives and he had no problem with that as we share many of the same convictions. We had also often talked about the possibility of homebirth, although, we both kind of had the assumption that you just don't do homebirths with your first baby. When we first found out we were pregnant, I brought up the subject and the Dude said no, he didn't want to have a homebirth this time. However, after our first two meetings with our midwives, gaining valuable information, he changed his mind. Then, for a few months, he wanted a homebirth and I was saying no, but eventually, we both got on the homebirth page and started to get very excited about the possibility of welcoming our child into the world in our own home. Throughout the entire pregnancy, our plan was to labor at home as long as possible and if that meant that the baby popped out at home, then great ... if not, that would be okay, too.
Laura asked what brought us to the decision to have a homebirth.
I think this question was mostly answered in everything I've written so far.
Joanna asked about safety. Particularly, she asked if I was very far from a hospital, what the midwives protocol would be for transferring to a hospital, and if the midwives do Vitamin K shots at home.
We live about 10-15 minutes away from the closest hospital, if you are driving "normally". Of course, if necessary, the Dude (or an ambulance) could have gotten me there much faster. The main premise is that planned homebirths in low risk pregnancies, assisted by qualified midwives in an area close to a hospital are just as safe as hospital births for a number of reasons. One of those is the 20 minute rule. Even if you are in the hospital and get to the point where you need an emergency C-section, it will likely be at least 20 minutes until you are actually in surgery. This is because OR's need to be prepped, nurses and doctors need to be called in, the patient needs to be prepped etc. If it came down to me needing an unexpected, emergency c-section, I would have still be able to be in surgery within 20 minutes because the midwives would call the hospital and the ambulance and all that "prep" work would be done while I was en route to the hospital.
Further, it is relatively uncommon to need a C-section very quickly without any warning signs earlier in the labor. Much of the time, things have happened earlier on that would indicate the possibility of needing a c-section (baby showing signs of distress, failure to progress resulting in pitocin drip etc), and I would have been already been transferred to hospital.
The midwives monitored the baby's heart rate every 20-30 minutes early in labor and then every 10-15 as things progressed. They also checked my blood pressure and temperature a number of times throughout the day. I wasn't constantly hooked up to machines, but I never felt as though things weren't being monitored.
If I had decided (or needed) to transfer to hospital, the protocol would have depended on the situation. If it were for pain relief, or because things just weren't progressing, then we would have all gotten in our cars and driven there. If it were an emergency, an ambulance would have been called. I was registered with the local hospital so my paperwork was already done in the event of a transfer.
And finally, the midwives did the Vitamin K shot and the eye ointment here at home after she was born.
If anyone has any other questions about homebirth (whether it be our experience or homebirth in general) send them my way!