I've decided to start a series on my journey to a homebirth. I have two reasons for wanting to do this. The first reason is to help women who may want to have a homebirth of their own. It isn't always easy to know where to start. So, my hope is that this can serve as somewhat of a guide for how you can have your own homebirth.
My second reason for doing this series is to shed some light on what homebirth REALLY is. I want people to realize that homebirth is not just for "hippies". I want people to realize that the care provided by homebirth midwives is more than adequate for a normal, healthy pregnancy. Last, I want people to see that homebirth IS A SAFE OPTION.
So, here's where I am right now... My last birth took place in a hospital Alternative Birth Center. The birth was wonderful and things all went mostly according to my plans. I liked the experience that I had there and had been planning to go back, but now I am rethinking things and have decided that for me homebirth is the best option. Although the focus there is very natural and mostly evidence-based, it is still quite obvious to me as I go through my prenatal appointments that I am still part of "the system". This isn't what I want. I don't want to have every intervention pushed on me for reasons that are not based on evidence. I was lucky last time because my son came early and was pretty small, so I didn't have to hear all the BS reasons for inductions like, "If you don't have your baby by 40wks we'll schedule an induction for 41wks" or "The baby is measuring big so we should induce early". I want freedom for my birth choices!
So, that brings me to Step 1 on my journey to a homebirth... convincing my husband that homebirth is safe and is currently the best option for me.
The first thing we did was hire a doula to support us this time around. I know that my husband will feel much more comfortable knowing that there is someone else there to not only help me, but to help him. We talked to several doulas and then met with the one we liked the best. We both felt very comfortable with the doula we chose and know we have made a great choice. After that was done, I could tell there was definitely some weight lifted off my husband's shoulders.
After discussing the fact that we were planning to switch to a homebirth our doula suggested that I provide my husband with as much evidence as I could. So, as a doula myself, I hit up my own research library and collection of DVDs and started making my husband everything! Here are some of the books I recommend for great evidence-based information:
Homebirth by Sheila Kitzinger
Obstetric Myths versus Research Realities by Henci Goer
Immaculate Deception II: Myth, Magic & Birth by Suzanne Arms
The Social Context of Birth, Second Edition edited by Caroline Squire
Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must be Fixed to Put Women and Children First by Marsden Wagner
We also watched The Business of Being Born and Pregnant in America. After watching these movies my husband definitely understood why I was wanting the type of birth I did and definitely moved more in the direction of being on board with my plans.
The last thing I showed him were several websites with great evidence-based info and one with interviews with homebirth dads:
My husband really likes the last link. They have a series of interviews with other homebirth dads and I think it really helped my husband see that most men felt the exact same way he does when they started this whole process.
Our doula also sent us info on several different midwives in our area. We researched each one and decided on two that we wanted to meet with. When we met with them we went with a long list of questions:
What are your fees? What do these fees include? Can you work out a payment plan or can you barter?
What supplies do you provide? What supplies will we need to purchase?
What do you consider "high-risk" and worthy of referral to an OB's care?
What tests do you perform during pregnancy?
How many prenatal appointments do you provide? Are they all done in my home?
How far past my Guess Date do you allow me to go before looking into other options?
How do you handle emergency situations, for example: postpartum hemorrhage?
How often have you had to have an emergency transfer? What were the reasons?
Will you stay with me if a transfer is necessary?
How do you monitor the baby during labor?
How do you check the baby postpartum? What tests do you perform?
Are you NNR certified?
How often have you had to transfer because of problems with the baby? What were the reasons?
Do you put a time limit on pushing?
Do you put a time limit on delivery of the placenta?
Do you delay clamping the cord?
How often do you perform vaginal exams?
Do you deliver breech babies?
How do we get the birth certificate?
After meeting with both midwives my husband was much more comfortable and realized that these were skilled, trained professionals, but as a natural worrier he was still not ready to make any commitments. So, we still weren't quite at a "yes" from him, but we were much, much closer!
I let him know that I understood how he was feeling and that I knew he just wanted to make sure the baby and I were going to be safe. On Thursday I had my Anatomy Scan and over this past weekend my husband and I had our annual Halloween party and had a gender reveal cake at the party. So, for the time I decided I would let him have some time and we would just enjoy getting to see our baby and finding out what we are going to have.
I am 20 weeks pregnant tomorrow and it's getting pretty late in my pregnancy. So, today is the day my husband has to make his decision. Hopefully, after talking to my husband tonight I will be able to start writing my post on Step 2 of my journey towards a homebirth!
Good luck to all of you on this same journey!