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Clumsy Crafter: Why we chose Home Birth

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why we chose Home Birth

This is an extremely pro home birth, anti hospital blog today. If you choose to read it, please do not get offended. Everyone chooses their own birth and this is just the beliefs that led me to choose home birth.

Whenever I tell anyone that we had both girls here at our home, we always get a similar response, "wow, you're brave" followed by "what if something would have happened?". First of all, I'm not brave. I'm a chicken, seriously. I can't watch anything scarier than a good romantic comedy and I run faster than the road runner when I see a snake. Bravery has nothing to do with home birth.

I chose home birth because I believe that God gave women a gift of power and strength that no man can understand. That gift is birth.

Almost 7 years ago I was at the hospital for the birth of my first niece. I was so excited and couldn't wait to see her. Something did not seem right to me though. There was no excitement, no one encouraging the women to believe in themselves. There was just medicine and women staying flat on their backs in bed. My brother wasn't involved in the labor, there was no reason to be. My now former sister-in-law had a strong epidural and was laying in bed watching Jerry Springer. I wasn't sure what was missing at the time but I knew that it wasn't what I wanted one day. When I went back the next day to finally be able to hold my niece for the first time she was only brought to the room for a short amount of time and my sister-in-law was offered Vicotin. She could have one or two, whatever she wanted. Once again, I just felt in my heart that I did not want that same experience. I did not want my child taken away to a nursery at all after birth. I didn't want them in the hands of a stranger for the first few hours when I should be the one bonding with them. I wanted to be able to nurse without giving the baby drugs that were in my system. It was a very eye opening experience. By today's standards, it was a great birth with nothing going wrong. But I knew that I just wanted different.

I started researching online different birth options and had my heart set on a birth center birth even before I was married! ha! Birth centers basically give you the same experience as home birth except you are at a facility that is made to look homey but is not your home. In freestanding birth centers, apart from a hospital, there are no drugs or medical interventions. Most hospitals today are calling their birth wings, birth centers. This is no where near the same thing. They may offer you natural birth but they will still have all the medical interventions available and more than ready to be used if the labor is not progressing quick enough. Sorry for the rabbit trail.

I wanted a birth center because I was too chicken to have a baby at my house! I told you I was a chicken.

When we found out that we were pregnant with out first child, Damion humored me by visiting a birth center with me. I poured over literature from the Internet about the pros and cons of a natural birth vs. a hospital birth and then passed that information onto His Royal Highness. We decided to use the birth center at first but later had conflicts with the midwife there and left the center while we were still very early in the pregnancy. The next closest birth center was over an hour away and I didn't want to drive that far in labor. So our only option left was a home birth.

We quickly found our future midwife, Cathy Rude, who gave me my now favorite book named "A Thinking Woman's Guide to Better Birth" by Henci Goer. I have read this book many times now and I would read it again but someone has my copy. The book confirmed for me what I had felt in my spirit. Basically the book is extremely natural birth and anti hospital. It really is. But it gave me a clear picture of the interventions that hospitals use and I knew that God gave me the power not to need the interventions for a healthy birth. (*note - there are some births that are not health that need the hospital and I am thankful for that option to be there, if needed)

What I have found in research and through friends since this first book is that many times doctors want your birth to be on their time table, and not your bodies time. Not all doctors are this way, but many are. Many times the intervention process begins with a doctor recommending induction because either they will say that the baby is getting too large or you're too close to 40 weeks. Let's remember that it is alright to have your baby at 40 weeks. So they will admit you to the hospital for induction. The second you step into the hospital, you are on a timer. They normally give women 12 hours to have a baby or they will label you "failure to progress" and give you a lovely C-section. Pitocin, the medicine given to stimulate contractions and labor, is a very hard drug that gives you unrealistic contractions. Women will have to have an epidural if you have pitocin. An epidural can many times mess with the babies heart rate, slowing it down a little. This is a cause for concern and can land you in a C-section. If the epidural does not effect the baby than many times the pitocin can be too hard on the baby because of the hard contractions. Again this causes heart problems for the baby or fetal distress. At this point you will either land in a C-section or they will say that the baby has to come out now and you have to push. The epidural can make pushing hard which causes them to use the vacuum or forceps and definitely do a nice episiotomy. If any of this except the epidural sounds appealing, let me know. So then your baby will be delivered and possibly still be sleepy from the epidural. There are times that women enter the hospital, are given and epidural and have a great healthy baby the way that they want to. This is great for them but I've always known that it is not what I wanted.

Think about your friends and how many women are now induced. The numbers are staggering. How many women are threatened with a C-section if they are not progressing fast enough for the hospital? Then look at the numbers of healthy women that have C-sections. The numbers are through the roof. I really can only think of one friend of mine that refused an induction and went into labor naturally within the last two years. I might be wrong, correct me if I am.

I know that God gave me the power to have my children and that doctors weren't needed as long as my pregnancy was healthy and no problems were present during my labor. HRH and myself chose to stay home and birth with midwives. I loved being back in my own bed immediately after labor. I loved knowing that this was my home that I shared with my husband and that this is where our first and second children would be born. Our children were born in the time that my body needed to have them and born so alert. It was a blessed experience. Now I know that if I could do that with God's help, I can knock down the walls of Jericho.

Some great resources to help explore more about natural birth are:
The Thinking Woman's Guide to Birth by Henci Goer (book)
The Business of Being Born by Ricki Lake (DVD) - midwifery services of Cathy Rude - midwifery services of Natalie Womack

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Blogger Doralyn said...

Hi, I don't know you, but I clicked on the link to your blog from my brother, Nathan Stratton's, blog. I too had home births -- two of them. Thing is, I don't usually tell people anymore because the responses from other moms haven't been positive. Usually they look disdainful or flat out ignore me. I think the reason is because they feel like because I chose to have my babies at home, I'm inferring that they did something wrong by not choosing that (which I'm not). I chose home birth after reading Naomi Wolfe's book Misconceptions. Want a scare about giving birth in a hospital? That'll do it. Thanks for sharing!

April 28, 2009 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I actually own the movie "The Business of Being Born"! I love it! Home birth is so facinating to me! It's something that I would LOVE to do when it comes time for me to have kiddos. I really appreciate you expressing your opinion in a firm but non offensive way and I back you 100%! I would love to chat with you more about your experience sometime : )

May 2, 2009 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger MikeandCharlsie said...

Hi there I found your blog when I was searching for Cathy Rude. I am new in Houston and looking for a midwife would you mind terribly e-mailing me so I could ask you a few questions about your experience with her? I have had 3 other home births and loved every one of them!
michaelswadley at yahoo dot com
Thanks, Charlsie

November 6, 2009 at 12:38 PM  

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