Disclaimer: This post is not meant to speak negatively toward women who choose to birth in a hospital. I know that many women have great experiences in hospitals and I believe that all women should give birth where they feel most comfortable. For some women, it’s a hospital. For me, it was at home. So if at anytime you’re reading this and feel like I’m judging you for choosing a different experience than me, please know that’s not the case at all. I respect all women’s choices and mean only to inspire those who are thinking about having a home birth by sharing the nuances of my unique case.
Jereme and I were invited to share our birth story at a Bradley class this past week. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on our experience once again (and to remember how awesome it all was!) I truly believe the Lord orchestrated every moment from start to finish.
Birth is something I’ve become very passionate about. It’s such an amazing miracle and a blessing. A beautiful task that every woman — whether she do it at home or in a hospital, with drugs or without — should be proud to undertake. Since having a home birth and posting our birth story for others to read, I’ve received comments from women who say I’ve inspired them to consider a natural birth — even a home birth — when the time comes. Hearing those words makes me so happy. Nothing can express how wonderful it was to be fully present in that moment. Yes, it was painful. But it’s honestly the most beautiful pain I’ve ever felt.
I believe there were many things that set my pregnancy and birth apart from what most other women usually experience. Movies and television depict birth as this big emergency: Your water breaks, and you immediately go into panic mode. You have to pack the car and drive to the hospital to be whisked away in a wheelchair (as if you can’t walk). Your birth room is full of well-meaning, yet often misguided strangers who tell you what to do and when to do it (as if your body wasn’t intelligently made to guide you through the process).
Having never given birth in a hospital, I can’t say that this is how it is in real life, but film and TV make me want to avoid it, nonetheless.
By far, the coolest thing for us about having a home birth is that we got to go about our day like everything was normal — because it was normal.
Birth is not an emergency. While I was in labor, I decorated Indie’s nursery, made lunch, played with my dog in the front yard, walked around my neighborhood, took a shower, ate dinner and enjoyed the company of my husband, doula, mom and photographer until our midwife and her assistant arrived around midnight — just in time to oversee the part where I pushed her out of me.
No uncomfortable car ride. No panicking. No wheelchairs. No fluorescent lights. No cold atmosphere. No strange people in scrubs telling me what to do or when to do it.
If you’re considering a home birth with a midwife, but you’re on the fence about it, perhaps this post will help sway your decision. 🙂 Either way, here are 5 things about my pregnancy and birth that you may find interesting:
1. She arrived 5 days early and the birth took less than 24 hours from start to finish. With only 4 hours of hard, active labor and less than 1 hour of pushing.
When I tell people I’m a first time mom and give them those stats, most of the time, their jaws drop and I get responses like this one:
“You pushed for less than an hour?! I hate you! I pushed for 4 hours!”
She came pretty fast, considering I’ve never had a baby before, and I didn’t tear at all (though it felt like I was tearing the whole time.)
What’s my secret? I think it was a mix of good nutrition, chiropractic care, lots of squatting throughout my pregnancy and labor, giving birth in water, and as I mentioned before, God’s wonderful provision, brought on by His amazing grace and 9 months of praying incessantly.
2. My dilation wasn’t checked at all.
Not once. Not during my prenatal care and not during my labor or birth. That’s right — no strange hands in latex gloves up this woman’s hooha!
And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Personally, keeping track of how far along I was would have driven me insane. If I wasn’t progressing, I would have worried the whole time, which likely would have slowed my progression further. I’m grateful I had a midwife who was willing to let me not have my cervix checked.
3. My water didn’t break until I pushed her out — in a pool full of water.
I knew I wanted a water birth from the beginning. Water births are said to be much gentler on mom and baby, and that was definitely the case for us!
I had read about babies who were born “en caul,” (with the amniotic sac fully intact) and thought it would be so awesome if Indie was born in the sac. She came pretty close; my water didn’t break until her head came out. I also think this may have played a large role in why I didn’t tear.
4. I only had one ultrasound the entire time I was pregnant, and its purpose was to find out the gender.
Contrary to what the medical system would have us believe, routine ultrasounds actually aren’t really necessary at all, unless you’re high-risk. And even then, having an ultrasound to find out something might be “wrong” with your baby can do more harm than good, especially if you don’t believe in abortion. Nothing you do can change the outcome of a genetic defect, so why put yourself through the stress? Not to mention, many of the tests doctors perform on women can end up causing harm to the baby or increase the chances of a miscarriage.
Next time, we will likely not have any ultrasounds at all and just wait until the baby is born to find out the gender. I like neutral colors anyway.
5. I ate my placenta.
Well, not exactly. I had it encapsulated. My doula also made a tincture out of it that will probably last me the rest of my life.
I know it sounds gross. But, the placenta is actually full of nutrients that are said to have many benefits for both mother and baby, including increasing milk supply and balancing hormones. When I hit menopause, I can start taking the tincture to help control symptoms. How awesome is that?
If you’ve had a natural birth or a home birth, what things do you feel helped to set your experience apart? Share them with us in the comments below!