Guest Post ~ Why You Should Consider a Home Birth (or Not)

why-you-should-consider-homebirth

This post comes via my twin, err…I mean, Brittany Bullen. I met her last week on my friend Kerry’s blog, Winding Road, where she shared an awesome post about her journey from veganism to moderation and smoothies. ;)  Another homeschooling, natural-birthing, (mostly) health-conscious mom of three, we are similar in so many ways.

Today she encourages mamas to consider the benefits of home birth. Enjoy!

Are you expecting? Have you considered birthing at home? Homebirth may sound scary, but it’s increasingly popular, and I’m here to tell you it’s worth considering. Here’s why.

My first birth was in a hospital. I never even thought about other options because I was scared of something bad happening. In my head, childbirth was a dangerous endeavor. That’s the way hospitals explain birth because that’s how they experience it. Little did I know, many of those dangers could have been avoided by just letting nature take its course, but your typical doctor is so scared of being sued, he/she won’t feel comfortable letting that happen.

I didn’t know that the first time around. I dutifully made my little birth plan and delivered it to my hospital-affiliated midwife, fully discussing each item long before the baby was due. When I actually got to the hospital, though, in large part my plans went out the window. I was overdue, first of all (8 days to be exact), so I “had to” be induced after some testing indicated that there was a need for it. (A midwife later told me that those tests are often inaccurate and simply drinking water can change your result, but I was a newbie and I didn’t know I had a choice.)

Even as a newbie, I knew I wanted a natural (drug-free) birth. I had read that it was safer for the baby and I’d been practicing with my hypnosis CDs every night, so I felt like I could handle it. We made sure that the nurses knew this.

Here’s the problem (if we’re friends, you’ve probably heard me say this before): Trying to avoid an epidural in the hospital is like trying to be on a diet in a donut shop. This may not always be the case, but it sure was for me. It seemed like every five minutes someone else was making sure I didn’t want to change my mind about the drugs. And after about 12 hours of pitocin-induced monster contractions, you’d better believe I was ready for some drugs! So, I did what the vast majority of women end up doing and got that epidural.

I’m not gonna lie, that sucker was gooood. I was doing mad libs with my sister between pushes, it was so good. I got lucky and somehow avoided the “snowball effect of medical interventions” all the natural birth advocates warn you about… but even so, afterwards, I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated. I wanted to be one of the tough chicks who sticks it out.

My other two births have been at home and I wouldn’t have wanted them any other way. Here’s why:

  1. At home there’s no option for drugs so you can’t be tempted.
  2. If you have a good midwife, she won’t bug you if you don’t want her to. I loved my midwife with my most recent birth. When she arrived she suggested a vaginal exam. I said, “No thanks.” She said, “OK.” That’s how it should be. If you’re a control freak like me, you want to be the one calling the shots while you labor. That sort of stuff usually doesn’t fly at the hospital.
  3. You get to “own” your baby from day one. At the hospital, they own your baby. They tell you when you can hold him/her, when he/she is ready to eat, and let’s not forget that you have to have proper identification because there’s a risk of kidnapping (YIKES!) in hospitals– AND when they finally release you, you feel like somebody’s handing you the keys to a car you never learned how to drive. It’s like… “Really? You’re just going to let me take this baby? What, no final exam?” I like to be the expert on my own babies, thanks.
  4. You get to labor and recover in a place that feels like home… because it IS home. No matter how fancy a hospital or birth center is, it’s still not YOUR space with YOUR stuff and YOUR snacks and YOUR carefully chosen decor. It’s foreign to you, and to some degree, you’ll feel out of place there. Some people like this feature, particularly those who have other kids at home. I get that it’s nice to be removed from home for some people, but I’d rather keep the home and remove the other kids! =)
  5. When you’re at home, you feel safe. When you feel safe, you feel relaxed. When you feel relaxed, your labor moves faster. When your labor moves faster, there’s less stress on the baby. When there’s less stress on the baby, there’s less risk for complications. When there’s less risk for complications, everybody ends up safer and healthier and happier in the end.

On the other hand, I also completely understand that some people would NOT feel safe giving birth at home because they still believe it’s safer to be in a hospital. This is most likely because they believe (what I think is) the myth that birth is scary and dangerous, a myth perpetuated by a medical system that brings about the complications they fear by interfering with a perfectly natural, safe process.

All that said, you feel the way you feel, and when it comes down to it I believe a woman should always give birth in the place where she will feel the safest because that’s the place where her body can relax the most. And it’s true– sometimes bad things really do happen and when they do, I am so thankful that modern medicine is there!

To sum up:

If you end up giving birth at home, I say hooray for you! You are part of a small minority of super-tough mommas who kick it old school style and your baby will thank you for your hard work and sacrifice.

If you end up giving birth in a birth center, I say hooray for you! You are part of a somewhat-larger minority of super-tough mommas who go au naturale for labor and delivery and your baby will thank you for your hard work and sacrifice.

If you end up giving birth in a hospital, I say hooray for you! You are part of a perfectly awesome majority of super-tough mommas who bring kids into the world in the very best way they can and your baby will thank you for your hard work and sacrifice.

Whatever you do, DON’T spend those first precious weeks of your baby’s life regretting or feeling bad about how your birth went. We do the very best we can and no two births are the same. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. You did an amazing thing and babies are super resilient. Your baby will be fine and so will you. I say, no matter how it went down, well done!

Happy Birthing!

Brittany

P.S. If you haven’t seen Jim Gaffigan’s take on home birth, you really should, it’s hilarious.

♦ ♦ ♦

BrittanyBrittany Bullen is a mom to three boys, a performer, a thrifter and an aspiring vegan. She writes for brittanybullen.com and crowdserve.org. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Bloglovin and Twitter.

Thanks so much, Brittany!

If you would like to submit a guest post for review, please see my page for more info.

21 thoughts on “Guest Post ~ Why You Should Consider a Home Birth (or Not)

  1. This is a wonderful post and I totally support home birth (one of my friends did a guest post for me about hers- she’s a nurse who experienced the ugly side of the hospitals!). I feel very blessed to have had 2 (mostly) natural hospital births, with a nursing staff and doctor who absolutely supported me throughout the process of how I wanted to do it. Feeling safe and comfortable is the number one priority- especially if you want to go drug free :) thank you for sharing!

  2. Although I would love a home birth, I really don’t think that is an option for me. My husband and I are both doctors. He is adamantly against it, and having delivered babies myself, I just couldn’t live with myself if something did happen that made me say, “If only I had…” Because I have seen those bad cases first hand and know they do happen–but rarely. However, I have had three nice hospital births with no issues. It is helpful as a patient to know what is going on (usually) and I usually feel in control of things.

    • I am the same way. I like the idea of home birth but the reality, not so much. Especially with having low platelets, for me there is more risk than I’d be willing to take.
      I love the way she described the way home birth ends, though, with mama caring for the baby without interference. I would REALLY love that.

      • Ugh about the low platelets. Sorry.

        I know if all went well, it is something I would so, so treasure. And my husband, too. Especially after being a reliably a “proven pelvis” But…what…if…

    • That’s so awesome. I feel like hospitals are often made the villain by crunchy types like me when they don’t deserve it. It’s all about where people are most comfortable.

  3. Great post! I think I would like to aim for a home birth eventually, but for baby #2, we’re planning a hospital birth. I do, however, plan to learn from my first birth so that I can avoid the pitocin (and the subsequent epidural).

  4. This echoes my post about why we had our home birth! I loved it and it was the best option for my family and me because at home is unquestionably where I felt most comfortable, confident, and I knew my care and my baby’s care would be the best. For those who think giving birth at home sounds scary, the hospital is obviously best for them, and that’s great! (Thanks for making that point!) The most important thing is recognizing that there is a CHOICE.
    My post was met with a lot of ugly comments after it was shared in an anti-home birth hate group (yes, those exist– wow!) Some people have dedicated themselves to spreading negativity about the choices some of us make for our births. There is a great deal of fear and ill-placed combativeness reflected in the comments. Sad.
    I am glad your post is offering support of whatever choices people make for the best birth for them!
    Oh, and YES– Jim Gaffigan’s home birth bit is amazing!! “We had our baby at home… just to make you feel uncomfortable.” :)
    http://thismomgig.com/2014/03/29/we-didnt-have-our-home-birth-for-the-ambiance/

  5. Oh my word, that video of Jim made laugh so hard!!!
    If I have a midwife (or two) that I really love and I don’t have pregnancy-induced low platelets (like I did with baby #3), I might consider having a home birth…if we ever get PREGNANT again!! *sigh*
    Tell me, how did it work for you as far as insurance goes? Or did you have to pay out of pocket? What about prenatal care? I’m actually really curious about home birth because I have no experience with it!

    • It was out of network so our insurance might still cover part of it, but probably it’ll just count toward our out of network deductible since we don’t go to doctors very often. It was about 4500 all in. I think I spend 8k WITH insurance for my hospital birth though.

      • Really?! My hospital births were much less. I had a crazy good insurance back when I was working with baby #1 and we ended up paying under 1K for the birth. They shouldn’t even have charged us for Samuel’s, though, because I did everything on my own! ;)
        Did you go to midwives that were part of a practice during your pregnancy? Or were they somehow on their own? (I have no idea how that works because I’ve always gone to the same OB with certified nurse midwives).

  6. I did all of my prenatal care through a birth center. I think Utah law says that to do a home birth you have to be a lay midwife, so what’s what we used.

  7. Great post! I also love hearing from non-judgemental “crunchy” mommas :)
    I will say that choosing to have a hospital birth wasn’t *all* about safety for me. In fact, my reasons for choosing a hospital birth mirror your reasons for choosing a homebirth: in a hospital, there’s the option for drugs just in case (I wasn’t worried about being tough); I wanted lots of nurses to check on me and examine me often, I wanted some time to recover, just me, with baby in the nursery; I didn’t want to associate the pain of delivery with my home; and, yes, I did feel safer in a hospital. Just goes to show you that most moms think things through similarly, even when we end up with different conclusions :)

    • I totally agree – when we think things through and make educated decisions, then our decisions are the RIGHT ones for us!! :) Thanks for the comment.

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