Why would a woman who needs extra doses of laughing gas as well as numbing shots galore every time she visits the dentist choose an unmedicated home birth?
(I still avoid the dentist at any cost… haven’t been for years… tmi.)
It all started when we got pregnant. (Duh.) Let’s go back to about a year ago when we saw the same positive results from three pregnancy tests.
We were having our first baby. And we had no idea what to do or where to start.
So, naturally, we start asking questions to everyone around us that already had kids. How does it work in the hospital? How much does it cost? Who delivered your baby? Why did you choose them? They put WHAT in your body? The epidural goes where?! It might not work properly?!
And on and on…
What was really difficult about the whole situation was that no one was giving us a clear answer, everyone’s story was different. Of course, they were different, right? No birth is exactly the same as the next.
But in every story there was fear. Anxiety. And the unknown. This was our first red flag. It seemed like you don’t get much freedom of choice in the hospital.
At first, I was a little scared. I had never grown a baby and delivered it before. But it was but a small moment of my pregnancy, really. Because the moment I was beginning to fear, I looked for resources to educate myself and know for real what I was up against. Get ready, I read a LOT of literature and watched a lot of YouTube.
I searched on my Kindle for birth books and came across, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth… And quickly became Ina May’s biggest fan. (Watch her Ted Talk here) The book starts with story after story about different women’s journeys through childbirth on The Farm with Ina May and the other midwives who work there. (my favorite one is the couple who are both OB-GYNs that go to the farm for their unmedicated birth)
Reading all these empowering stories, and then having those stories followed up with what Ina May has found to be the most effective techniques and guides to an unmedicated birth inspired me.
I just knew. I wanted that experience for myself. I wanted to feel my baby every step of the way. I wanted to take it head on and never look back.
Also, I wouldn’t want to be in a place where I felt shut off and scared (from all my experiences in a hospital, that was not going to be the place for me). I hate needles, so the fact that you are connected to an IV the whole time at the hospital. Nope.
I went to the hubby with my idea and he was a little worried at first. He wanted the security of the hospital in case anything were to go wrong. Completely understood. So we first tried visiting with an OBGYN.
This did not work.
We actually never met with her face to face. We made the appointment. We showed up for the appointment. We were at the wrong building about 20 minutes away from where she was. We asked if she would wait for us to come to that location so we could have this first appointment with her. That was too inconvenient. The receptionist told us we were to reschedule a week later.
I was emotional and pregnant. This was my first appointment to see our baby and how she was doing. I started bawling uncontrollably. The receptionist just looked at me blankly.
So that was the trigger, my friends. That was our sign. The disconnect and cold treatment from the hospital was not how we wanted to experience the pregnancy and birth of our child. We no longer felt that the hospital was the safest place we could deliver… The place that would care for us. It was a bad taste, a very bad taste. We were treated like just another number on the conveyor belt line.
We left knowing we wanted something more.
We then went to see a nurse midwife. He was really personal. We had quite the connection with him and wanted to see if he would deliver at home if possible. But by the second visit he was suggesting we give me (pregnant mama) vaccines while pregnant… So we passed on that and kept searching. Then we went to visit a birth center midwife. She was great. So experienced and able to take us on. But I just didn’t feel the connection. I didn’t feel completely comfortable with her. She said on our first or second visit that first time mothers who are trying to birth unmedicated were more likely to be transferred to the hospital than any others who had birthed before. She acted like she didn’t believe in me. So we moved on, and into the unknown.
Bless his heart, Bradlee was so patient with me and my off the wall changes I was making. He just continued to say, whatever I felt to go with it. He was so respectful with how I was connecting with my body and my motherly instinct. And he just trusted me. He was my rock and companion.
We prayed about it. Talked about it. Read about it. Prayed more about it. And I received spiritual inspiration and made up a list of things I would need to have the best birth experience ever:
#1 My own toilet.
I know this sounds kind of strange, but to be honest, this was the end all say all for me, and really my first requirement. You know when you visit someone’s house for the first time and you don’t know where the restroom is? And you feel oddly uncomfortable asking if you can use it. I have the strangest quirk of being too shy to use public toilets or other people’s bathrooms.
So being in my own bathroom while all sorts of unspeakable things were happening to my body was a comfort to me. (And yes, unspeakable things DID happen… Like a human being exiting your body…)
#2 My own kitchen.
Again, when you are visiting someone else’s home you don’t automatically head to their pantry or fridge when you are hungry to grab a bite to eat. Nope. You politely wait until they offer you a drink or food.
So while I’m in labor, and hungry cause it’s been ten hours, I don’t want to be restricted from food at a hospital or anywhere else. There is NO reason a woman shouldn’t eat while in labor. She needs the energy and nourishment for her and the baby. The fact that she shouldn’t eat in case she has to go into an emergency c-section is bogus! You don’t even put a woman under all the way when she goes into a c-section. But that’s a whole other argument.
#3 Naked Time.
That’s right. I was naked for days after our girl was born. Just hanging out and basking in the oxytocin and skin to skin with my little girl. Also, I was naked all throughout labor. No gown could hold me down.
#4 No car trouble.
I don’t have to drive my day old baby home. I’m already home. We don’t have to endure that white-knuckled car ride where danger is everywhere. Cause it is with an infant.
#5 Fixed Finances.
I recently watched a video on YouTube about a man who was trying to get an exact quote from multiple hospitals on how much it would cost for a perfectly healthy delivery of their baby.
So they could be financially prepared, right?
We had a similar situation, every one of our friends and family didn’t have a fixed price. They all had different scenarios, and a lot of them had experiences where their child was taken to the NICU even though it was probably unnecessary and billed for it. Our midwife gave us one price for everything. $3,000. Flat rate. For prenatal care, birth care, and postpartum check-ups (6 weeks PPD).
Our friends flipped when they found out.
Small Rant: Why can’t we have a list of prices from our care provider to anticipate how much something will cost? For any other business out there you need to show prices to sell to your customers. People want to know, people need to know to stay economically stable. But for some reason, doctors and hospitals are above this?? We need to change this, seriously. Ok, off my soapbox.
#6 No quarrel.
We didn’t want anything to happen without our consent. We had heard so many stories of mom’s whose birth plan that they spent hours writing up and printing out and giving to the nurses at the hospital just thrown aside and not respected when the baby arrived.
We didn’t cut the cord until two hours after our Annabelle was born. She was still receiving nutrients, iron, oxygen, and blood (watch here). She didn’t get a Vitamin K shot, and we later found her blood clotting abilities were strong.
So strong that if she got the Vit K shot she could have had a life-threatening reaction.
She had nothing happen to her or me unless we said so, and it worked out beautifully.
No eye goop, her eyes are fine.
#7 Water Birth.
I had read more and more about how water was nature’s remedy for birth waves and knew that’s how I would best labor through. There were little to no hospitals with birthing tubs that took our insurance, so that meant birth center or home.
And let me tell you, it is SO true. Water helped the pain immensely!
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#8 Oxytocin Flow.
Once I researched more and more the effects that epidurals and other drugs used in the hospital can impede on the natural triggers my body has to produce the hormone oxytocin which would get my milk production and colostrum flowing. I became more afraid of the effects of the epidural after birth than the pain I would feel without the meds.
Also, while I wouldn’t feel pain with an epidural, my baby girl would still be feeling everything.
This struck a chord with me. I didn’t want her to be alone in labor while I was choosing to be numb. I realized it’s more than just me in the birth. It’s just as much her and what she needs. She needed me to be there with her. To feel with her. To journey with her.
And really gals, it wasn’t that painful. Our bodies really do have their own way of sedating pain when we need it. I felt I was a little overdramatic with the back labor and pain, but it was my first time.
#9 Last, but not least, the sentiment.
I think the final kick (head to head with having my own toilet), was feeling it all for the sake of knowing my baby better. This is very personal, and some women may not feel this way, and that’s ok. But hear me out.
For a long time, I thought I wouldn’t be able to have babies or get pregnant. We weren’t trying for years, we hadn’t gone through infertility tests or anything like that, I just felt like I wasn’t going to have that opportunity in this life.
I was sick with worry a lot of the time during the early months of pregnancy that I would lose the baby. I shared this with Bradlee, and it worried him too, which I feel so bad about now. It may have been depression? I’m not sure. It was never severe enough that I sought professional counseling. I was just determined to make the most of this pregnancy and birth, in case it was my first and last.
And if it was my last, I wanted to know it all. I wanted to feel the connection with her. I wanted to know that if I was only going to have her on this earth for a little while or if she was going to be our only child, that I felt her in my womb and coming out. To affirm that I had a child.
With all these things lined up for the good of an unmedicated home birth, against the possible pain of childbirth. You can guess what side took the cake.
So, I prepped for the pain with Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies books and classes. And those tracks playing in the background were my mantra while I was swaying to the pressure waves in our kiddie pool birthing spa. 😉
And there were times I begged for drugs because this posterior baby was giving me the worst back labor of all time.
But I am SO immensely proud of myself for pushing through. I would not give up the experience of feeling that baby girl come from my womb. Of being the first hands that held her as she came earthside. Of being left alone mere hours after her birth to bond with her and my husband as a fresh new family.
I would go through the pain again, and I will if God grants us the opportunity with our next baby. I want to emphasize this dramatically. We will always pray and follow spiritual promptings to know if any of our future babies should be born anywhere but at home.
I firmly believe some babies (and/or mothers) need to be in the hospital for real and scary problems that may be undetectable via ultrasound or tests, and the only way we know this is by inspiration and prayer.
If you are healthy, if your baby is healthy, and you feel inspired that its the right thing for you, why not a home birth?
I make a lot of bold claims in this article. See these resources for all my backup.
- The Business of Being Born film/documentary. (Used to be available on Netflix, but I couldn’t find it anywhere but Amazon)
- Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method book. The author tells her personal story as well as an honest look into the industry of birthing.
- Why I felt my baby would want me by here side in this video.
- Hypnobabies (yes, it’s different from hypnobirthing). Gives loads of references to studies done on natural child birth and the incredible benefits to mom and baby bonding and livelihood.
- Birthing From Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz. (this is more of a workbook to help partners having a baby connect with their inner selves. Very hippy.) 😉
- Home or Hospital?: Saraswathi Vedam at TEDxAmherstCollege. In case you have a heart attack during a marathon, maybe you should run it at the hospital?…
- Why it matters how we are born. Bettina Breunig at TEDxTUHHSalon
- Birthful podcast with Adriana Lozada. I listened to this podcast every day at work to help me prep for birth and empower myself and my decision.
- Who delivered your baby? Ashley Greenwald Tragash at TEDxUniversityofNevada.
- Our Doula.