I’m Planning a Homebirth

I want to begin by saying that this is the hardest blog post I have ever written. I say that in all seriousness after 2 years of blogging about my deepest, darkest secrets. I’ve been staring at it for weeks. Typing, backspacing, retyping. It’s been hard because there is so much to say. I thought about making this a series, but at this point I cannot figure out how to break up this information. It is also difficult to state my personal beliefs and experiences in a way that will not offend someone. I try my hardest here, please understand that. I am going to put this out there and write subsequent posts in this series based on your feedback.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeder, laboring in the hospital

When I wrote my birth story about 3 months postpartum I thought it was a positive story. I thought that it had all of the things a good American birth story was supposed to have. Lots of drama, pain, drugs, blood. All of the birth stories I had heard from friends and family were similar to mine. They generally had a beginning of things going wrong, a middle of drugs and finally an end with doctors swooping in to intervene and save the day. It ended with a healthy baby; that’s the point, right?

As I struggled with breastfeeding and began to find my way as an attached/gentle parent I started a blog. I shared these transitions of my new life as a mother and began to attract readers who were going through the same thing or had already embraced the values I was beginning to embrace. People started to comment on my birth story things like “I’m so sorry you went through this,” and “I hope your next birth is a healing birth.” Hmm, what did these people see in my birth story that I did not?

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding newborn

More than 2 years have passed since the birth of Jack. It is difficult to put in one blog post the changes I have gone through as a woman since having my son. I attribute all of these changes to my struggles with breastfeeding. I pushed through those struggles with a fierceness I didn’t know was in me. While doing that an entire world opened up to me about breastfeeding, birth and parenting. I discovered that I had been exposed to a staggering amount of misinformation that undermined the power of my body to naturally do what it was supposed to do to give birth to, breastfeed and care for my young.

  • “you have to get the epidural because you won’t be able to deliver your baby without it”
  • “you can’t squat during labor; you must lie flat to deliver your baby”
  • “you’re not making enough milk, but don’t worry, supplementing with formula won’t affect your supply”
  • “you don’t need to see a Lactation Consultant, you’re fine”

***These are just a few quotes from doctors and nurses from Jack’s birth.

As I started to learn about the power of my body I began to think back to all of the interventions and professionals that undermined this power. I don’t blame the individuals. They were simply doing what they have been trained to do and operating within hospital protocol. I do believe that the culture of birth in America has reached a crisis point, that the overuse of medical intervention can be harmful and undermines and interferes with the natural power of a mother giving birth, and that hospital policy and protocol can devalue a woman’s wishes for her own birth plan.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder's, newborn

Hospitals have only existed for a short period of time (and thank goodness they exist!). As birth transitioned from midwives to doctors in hospitals it was taken over by timelines, schedules, protocols, policies, etc. It became a business. Hospitals offer a ton of wonderful things that save lives all the time. But not all births can be expected to go the same way, to happen within a certain time frame, to be void of surprises. Every woman labors in her own way. Sometimes it happens that medical intervention is used when a normal birth is not progressing according to the hospital expectations or when a woman’s birth plan is not within traditional hospital protocol. These are the times where healthy mothers and babies are put at risk.

I underwent tests at 1 week post due. The tests were all negative, meaning my baby and body were doing just fine. But due to the hospital’s protocol I was admitted for induction. (So why bother with the tests? $$$). When medical intervention is used on healthy pregnant women it often leads to more unnecessary medical interventions. My induction led to erratic contractions which led to the Epidural which led to labor stopping which led to Pitocin which led to an episiotomy.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, with husband and newborn

It has taken a lot of reflection, reading birth books, talking with other women and learning about the natural process of labor to look back and see how the power of my body was undermined and I was taken out of the driver’s seat. These are my experiences and my views. Not all women share these experiences and views. This is why women choose different things for themselves in all aspects of parenting. My personal experiences have led me to choose a path that does not involve doctors or hospitals (unless the need arises). I have chosen to birth with a midwife.

No, having a healthy baby is not the whole story. My experience as a woman also matters. It actually matters the most over anything else. When women feel empowered and in a position of authority over their bodies and birth experiences they have better outcomes. So when I feel empowered and in charge this will actually lead to a more natural and successful delivery.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, with son Jack

I have chosen to birth with a midwife because midwifery focuses on the power of the female body. Midwifery believes that my body was designed to give birth and knows best how to deliver my baby. My midwife provides me with information regarding every decision along the way and I make the final call. My midwife believes that the more in control I am the more positive I am going to feel about my birth and therefore the more successful the outcome will be. My midwife believes in intervening only when it is necessary (and she is trained to do so and fully equipped to handle most emergencies right here in my home) and these cases are laid out clearly to me in advance. My midwife believes in the need for hospitals and will take me there if need be. My midwife is most comfortable with me laboring naturally and is prepared to provide emotional support and be present for the entire labor and delivery process.

  • Fact-Hospitals and medical interventions save lives. All. The. Time.
  • Fact-Healthy babies are born in hospitals. All. The. Time.
  • Fact-Women have satisfying and empowering births in hospitals. All. The. Time.

Becoming empowered is not about doing what Abby is doing. It’s not about doing what you think is cool, what your friends are doing or what the other mothers in your Facebook birth group are doing.  Empowerment is learning all of your options and doing what you think will lead to your most fulfilling birth experience. Whatever that is. Yes, whatever that is for you. We all have different needs based on our personal desires and past experiences. The key is learning all of our options, learning about the birth process and putting ourselves behind the wheel. We’re not all going to end up driving in the same direction, but we will all be driving that vehicle ourselves.

Not everyone can have a homebirth. There are medical conditions that can prevent your ability to safely deliver your baby outside of a hospital. Your midwife or doctor can help you determine where you are safest.

I don’t know if I would have come to this decision without this community. Thank you for being a large part of why this birth will be my healing birth, no matter what happens. Because this time I am calling the shots.

Abby Theuring, MSW

***If you are just starting out I would like to offer some recommendations for further resources.

Gentle Birth Care (the midwife practice I have chosen)

The Business of Being Born (documentary)

Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth (book)

Articles: http://avivaromm.com/choosing-home-birth

http://bringbirthhome.com/guest-writers/home-birth-dad-discovery/

Comments

  1. Great post. I really hope you get the home birth you’re planning for–I absolutely loved mine. I really related to your post because your story could so easily have been mine. My LO ended up being 12 days overdue, and after 10 days, my midwife told me that general protocol recommended an induction. I’m SO grateful that I was reluctant and my midwife supported my decision to wait (I had what I would imagine are similar tests, but luckily, my midwife was happy to let me wait, since the results were fine), because I can so easily imagine the induction leading to epidural, pitocin, etc, etc. Instead, I had a wonderfully ‘uneventful’ homebirth and keep extolling the virtues of homebirth to all my friends & acquaintances. Good luck!

  2. Awesome! My homebirth was amazing & I hope yours will be too.

  3. Thank you for sharing. My first baby was no intervention hospital delivery but I had an awesome doula who constantly reminded me it was my choice not the doctors. My second hospital delivered baby was induced and way more painful, but I managed to struggle through. But being induced I spent my entire labor at the hospital. So, this time my husband and I have been discussing a home birth. I’ll be interested to hear how yours goes.

  4. Karen Bachman-Kells says:

    Yippee! Good for u,mama! Great post. As a homebirth nurse for 15 years, it never fails to bring a huge smile to my face when I hear of stories like yours. Education is power. Looking forward to hearing more about your journey.

  5. Thank you for taking the time to be vulnerable and post this. I had a homebirth, as share my experience with as many women as I can, but I can only reach a small number of people. You, with a huge and loyal following, can really make a difference when it comes to the American way of birth for a lot of women. I look forward to hearing more of your story. Thank you for being an advocate, and a great face for the home birth movement.

  6. My first birth I believe could’ve been a lot different if it weren’t for the medical intervention. I felt it was like yours, a ‘cascade’ of intervention where one thing led to another. When the nurses saw I was in pain they offered drugs, first gas, then pethidine, then an epidural…the epidural led to an inability to push effectively which led to forceps which means an episiotomy. It was traumatic, and painful, and disempowering. For my second I, like you, chose a homebirth, partly to prove to myself that my body was capable. I was told by lots of people that I was putting my baby at risk, and didn’t I see by my first birth just much I ‘needed’ to be in a hospital. My homebirth was a fast, easy, relatively painless, beautiful, empowering, healing, freeing, joyous experience. It was everything I wanted, hoped for, and needed it to be. I felt so strong after it, like nothing could happen in my life that I couldn’t deal with because I just birthed a baby! I wish this for you. You are already such a strong mama, nothing will stop you when you achieve this. xx

  7. Well said!
    I am 39 weeks pregnant with my first child, prior to becoming pregnant I felt that a lot about a “typical” birth story just didn’t seem right to me. Little things that came to mind were that laying on your back just didn’t really make much sense and having an epidural scared me more than giving birth, but I never really gave it much thought. When I found out I was expecting in June of 2013 I became hungry for information and to my surprise started finding that maybe I was on to something, that maybe those things I felt in my gut were not incorrect after all. Developing a deep desire for a natural birth and such excitement for all I’d been discovering, I began to share with friends and family. To my dismay I was laughed at and criticized by the people who are closest to me, the people who I’d expected to be there to support me on my journey through pregnancy. So here I am, 39 weeks, nearing the end, and I have actually begun to notice I’ve developed a bit of a complex. Whenever somebody asks me about my birth plans, I talk in circles and make excuses for my choices, avoiding the inevitable, “ohhhhhhh, you don’t want an epidural, HA we’ll see” “Don’t be a martyr Ashtyn” “Thats just ridiculous, get the drugs” “You have a midwife? A DOCTOR isn’t going to deliver your baby?! That doesn’t sound safe!” Nobody cares to hear me out, the moment I open my mouth to defend myself, I am shot back down with an ever so ignorant “well this is your first baby you have no idea what its going to be like”. As if constantly defending my birth plans wasn’t enough, then there is breastfeeding! That is a-whole-nother battle all in itself. I have been so disheartened by family, friends, and even the general public, I just can’t understand why I have had to fight so hard to do things, that as a female, I was built to do!! Why can’t I have my baby the way nature intended me to, why is that so ridiculous?! Why can’t I say I am going to nurse my baby and that just be ok?! Why do I have to hear that breastfeeding is time consuming and exhausting and I should probably just bottle feed, or that it probably won’t work anyways, or even (from my own Mother) that if I insist on doing THAT in public I better cover up?! Why do we say these things to new and expecting Mothers?!
    I hope to someday find a way to make a difference, because no woman should feel shame in doing her very best for her child, or for that matter, something she was designed for!

  8. Yay! My first was born in a real birth center with midwives, and this time we are planning to stay at home. Every time I hear a mom-to-be say they are planning a home birth I seriously get giddy. Go you!

  9. we were able to have the midwives from women’s first midwifery in aurora for my daughters birth (2nd one – 1st one was WAY different). They used Mercy hospital but I can tell you the experience was amazing. There wasn’t any pressure like there had been in my 1st birth (at a different hospital) and everyone was really supportive and wonderful. I was able to go through the entire 18 hour labor completely naturally and I really couldn’t say enough about how safe I felt with my midwife. They don’t do homebirth but this really was amazing. It was the most homey I had ever seen in a hospital before. There was a large tub I could labor in (not deliver in) and they don’t separate mama’s & babies. The only downside is that they’re in Aurora which was a trek for me, but it was well worth it. And I think this labor experience helped me to be able to nurse a lot better. I had a nightmare of a time getting it with my first, this time it was actually really easy. I really think the drug-free experience made a world of difference, plus all the support by the midwives. Plus, bonus is that they accepted my insurance whereas other homebirth midwives were pretty expensive out of pocket. Anyway, the best of luck to you & your family!! Love this blog & group!

  10. rachel acosta says:

    I went in with a birth plan I was unlucky with the nurses they were especially difficult gatekeepers. My compromise was Nuba in I wanted anything to take the edge off but an epi. My water broke after 10 in utes of walking the corridors. I sat on the ball I could have really handled the contractions on the ball. But they said I need to stay in the bed regulations. Why didn’t I just tell them to fuck off? I ended up getting epidural and my son had a one minute and 10 seconds of shoulder dystocia I couldn’t feel how to push. It didn’t seem like an emergency I was so groggy I had no sense of urgency it makes me cry to this day mu husband says I have ptsd from it 7 months and I still remember thier names the nurses that told me “you don’t calm down your going to end up getting yourself a Csection your blood pressure is so high” “no one will no if you get the epi… don’t be a hero” Debbie and Stacy Onslow memorial hospital. People say “your experience could have been alot worse” well I’d like to say “it could have been a hell of alot better too” 9 lbs 4 oz broad shoulders and 22.5 long. 3rd degree tear. They refused to let me see my doctor and midwife “they are doing rounds in the maternity ward” this experience makes an only child’s dream of having 3 kids or more into a fear of will I be “lucky” again. Sorry it’s so sore of a subject I’m so glad your doing this your way!

  11. Beth Stillings says:

    This brought tears to me eyes. I have a one month old and did deliver at at hospital but have had issues with BF. The hospital was very unsupportave and did not see a LC until 15 minutes before discharge although I requested one a day earlier. I wish I could say I was successfull unfortunately I was not. I cry every day because of this. I was longing to breast feed this baby I even had dreams about it. Good luck with your home birth. I applaud you!!!!!!

    • rachel acosta says:

      I am so sorry you did not get to do your breastfeeding my friend desperately wanted to as well she bonds at night by Co sleeping. I’m sorry you didn’t get what you deserved and your baby one day will know that you tired unlike some people that don’t know to try to breastfeed. They will not resent you I hope you get peace what seems like a small issue I know that it’s not and can leave you feeling very defeated:(

  12. Thank you for sharing! I wish you a lovely birth!

    We were lucky to give birth in a “Baby Friendly Hospital” (WHO designation – http://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/) with a wonderful midwife and no interventions – at 41 weeks 1 day. Not everyone is as lucky to fall into such a mother/baby-supportive system.

  13. Hey Abby,

    Based on personal experience and friend’s stories, midwife do have somewhat different pov than doctors sometimes. The ones I consulted was actually against epidural as, in their experience, it would often lenghten the process and slows recovery time. They advised pre-natal/breathing classes and no epidural. Glad I followed that advice. I still delivered both babies (naturally, no drugs, some induction) in the hospital though, safer bet given the traffic here etc 🙂

    Hope both baby and mommy are safe and sound all the way till birth! xxx

  14. Sub the med pro quotes and progression of events, and I could have written this. I’m due in April and also planning a home birth. HBAC for me, for the same reasons. Thank you for writing this!

  15. Good for you Abby,
    my mom had 5 home births and I would have chosen the same for my baby. Unfortunately there were not any midwives that practiced home birthing where I lived. Instead I settled on birthing in the hospital with a midwife. It was kind of my way of meeting in the middle. No doctors interfered and I was able to have the birth I wanted with little medical intervention. 🙂 I hope this birth is healing for you.

  16. I can’t tell you how much your story (first birth experience, breastfeeding issues, path to gentle parenting) rings true for me as well. I wish so much for you to have the best birth possible with your second. My son is 15 months and we are waiting awhile to get pregnant with our second. I don’t even have a cycle yet because my beautiful son still likes to breastfeed so often. Anyway, your website has made such a great impact on my outlook and confidence. Thank you! I think this blog post was so well done and remember you are stronger than you know!

  17. This is a great post! My home water birth this past July was awesome, so much better than the hospital birth of my first. Of course, knowing what I know now vs. then, I would have had a much better hospital birth too, but still. I would never choose to give birth in a hospital again (barring necessity, obviously). The midwife was 15 minutes too late, but that was my fault, and it was all good! (I didn’t want to wake her up too early since my first labor was 34 hours, but this one was only seven…) Hope you get the lovely, healing, empowering birth you are hoping for. I know I did. I felt like superwoman. 😀

  18. rachel acosta says:

    You can’t post my comment is it not approved? No hard feeling but I appreciate if you do delete it and bit publish it I rarely speak my heart and when I did it was not even acknowledged. I also deleting myself from the Facebook yes I know it’s my loss but I think it is fake to act like we all can talk and reach out to eachother when that is not true at all a comment is dismissed. I should have spent my time doing wiser things than commenting on your blog that I took the time to read. Tha k you for your free emails on how to nip like a badass but I am bo longer going to spend my time on this kind of stuff I k ow you don’t care and u shouldn’t but let me tell you what a slap in the face and the heart

    • What are you talking about? All comments are approved all the time. I just don’t sit at the computer non-stop. Sometimes I have to take a break and come back later.

      • rachel acosta says:

        ohwell. I truly thought by the timestamps that mine just got blown off (why mine and not the others) rationality really didn’t play a factor…. sorry about that.

  19. jacqueline says:

    My last homebirth was with gentle birth! They are amazing and even though my labor was a difficult one they stood by me and helped me. Good luck and hope you dinf the same mindblowing homebrth experience as I did.

  20. Word. A study came out of our local teaching hospital (UBC) confirming that homebirth is just as safe (if not safer) than hospital birth for a low-risk pregnancy.

  21. I also had a home birth with my first and am doing the same now with my second. Good luck! You can do it and don’t pay any attention to those that say you can’t.

  22. I’ve given birth in a hospital, at a birth center, and in my home. My home birth was a spiritual and enlivening experience! It’s so exciting to plan your birth space! Music, candles, decor… We used a company called Larsen Billing (thru our midwife) that helped with coding to get our home birth covered by insurance. We were reimbursed for the entire thing! You are a Goddess and you glow with beautiful mama radiance! Good luck!

  23. I´m expecting my 5th child. The first birth was taking place in hospital, and even if it wasn`t any different from most of the other births I was told by friends etc, I was feeling, that something was going wrong with giving birth in a hospital with interfering all the time. Like you say, it`s their job. With my second pregnancy I studied and studied and studied. During that process, I found out and then I knew, I wanted to have a unnasisted childbirth next. There you go, now, I´m looking forward to my fourth unassisted childbirth and I`m so happy about all the wonderful experiences I had with this decision. The preperation of body, mind and soul is taking place within myself, I have to deal with my fears and sorrows, then put them away for a path of joy and selfesteem. And then a welcome party in the middle of the family, with (noone else but) husband and siblings watching the baby come out, and a very proud mom and her baby. With NO birth-injuries, up on her feet right away. Caution: these kind of births are highly addictive 😉

  24. Bonnie titus says:

    I, personally, am terrified of a home birth just because I know things can (and do) go wrong. But I’ve delivered 2 times in a hospital and found it grating and sometimes counter-intuitive. If I could have the best of both worlds, that would be awesome. Good luck on your home birth 🙂

  25. I was very fortunate to give birth in a “baby-friendly” hospital with midwives. I had a fantastic and natural birth with a private room, birthing tub, skin-to-skin for a minimum of 90 minutes immediately after birth, delayed cord clamping, baby never left my side, as many free lactation consultations as I wanted, etc. They even let my husband catch the baby 🙂 It makes my heart hurt that many women who give birth in the hospital have such a traumatic experience. You are absolutely right in saying that you matter too! I am considering a home birth with my second, but I am thankful that as a scared first-time mom I had gentle, safe guidance through the entire process. Love to you and best wishes!

  26. My experience was so similar. Overdue 8 days, anticipated big baby. “He’s ready to come out, let’s just give him a little help. Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaah, great idea… After the chain of intervention and refusal to section, I ended up with a 4th degree tear and was told no more vaginal deliveries.

    Since nothing matters but a healthy baby (yeah right), I tucked my feelings inside and I am sure I had PTSD. Pregnant with #2 I had nightmares and jealously watched our cows deliver on their own terms. I decided to talk to a homebirth midwife. She said there was nothing wrong with me, and I ended up having 2 very uneventful, wonderful births at home. I’m hoping #3 at home starts today! It was very healing and wonderful, and I can’t wait to hold this new baby after birthing on my own terms again! 🙂

  27. Lisa Humphries says:

    I too am planning for a homebirth after a hospital birth. I would not say I had a horrible experience in the hospital, but I certainly was not comfortable and the whole experience left me feeling somewhat hollow inside. I am actually really excited for my homebirth and being able to be in my own home and being in control of what is happening. Not many people I know “get” (or even support) my decision to have a homebirth. In fact, some people have been disgustingly rude in their condemnation of me for choosing a homebirth this time around.

    Oh well 🙂

  28. Congratulations on your decision to have a home birth. You’re gonna love seeing your body do what it was made to do. Although our plan was to have a very crunchy birth at Prentice (yeah right, they would have never let me), my labor was extremely short and we ended up delivering our baby by ourselves at home. In hindsight, we should have been scared but we never were. It was the perfect way for my lo to be born: naturally, quietly, with only mama and papa there. It felt amazing. And my next birth will very surely be a home birth as well, only planned. Again, congratulations Abby. You’re going to be so happy with your choice. Jack’s going to love seeing his new sibling be born as well. Thank you for all you have done for the natural parenting community. You are badass!

  29. I was 20 years old when I was surprised by my beautiful daughter. I was so young and didn’t have a very good support system. I had my parents, but they only knew one thing… Hospitals. My experience was so awful. I was strapped to the bed unable to walk around, forced to have an epidural and IV fluids, and then after my very quick natural birth was told that I didn’t produce enough milk and they wouldn’t release my baby until she was eating. I wasn’t even the first person to hold my daughter, nor was I the second. I was told what I could and could not do, and it all seemed pretty unnatural to me, but then what would I know? I was only 20 and this was my first baby. When I became pregnant with my second beautiful daughter, I started my adventure with the hospital. I was poked and tested for all kinds of things. I ended up being overdue. The hospital wanted to induce me, and since I did not want to be hooked up to IV’s I told them no. I was told that if I didn’t like it to find another doctor. I was due July 4, and it was July 6 when I fired my doctor and went searching through the yellow pages. I came across a midwife, and when I called her and told her my story, she immediately took me in. The experience was such an amazing one. I can’t even tell you how much that changed my life. When my husband and I were expected our third daughter, I knew that I wanted to go to a midwife. I wasn’t tested for anything I didn’t feel was necessary. I was given information about everything, and the more knowledge I had, the better I felt. I had such an amazing experience, our middle daughter never left my side during labor. She held my hand and was so supportive – She was 12 years old. My husband thinks that I am a warrior princess… Daughter # 3 was 10lbs 6oz and I would have had a C-Section if I had been in the hospital. I know that a home birth is not for everyone. I wish you all the best with your next birth experience. Thank you for sharing your thoughts… Some of these comments brought tears to my eyes.

  30. More power to you! As an AMA-mama (advanced maternal age – how humbling) I was a little to nervous to do a home birth but as it happened by boy came so quick (and we were committed to waiting until the last minute to go to the hospital to avoid all the interventions that are so common with hospitals) that my boyfriend delivered him even before our doula arrived! Though I had been (mis) diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had one elevated test early on in the pregnancy I was in great shape and expected to have a labor without complications (no indication from my O.B. that we would have to manage any issues). I didn’t expect that we would accidentally have an unassisted home birth. Since we were not prepared for that we called the paramedics after the baby came and our new family got an ambulance ride to the hospital where I got some stitches (hurt like HELL – FAR WORSE than delivery!). All in all I wish we had planned for a home birth with a midwife as the hospital experience (and the 8 paramedics who were in the bedroom while I was naked and still attached to my brand new son) was a bit sterile and awkward and nothing like the warm cozy glow of our home. Good luck and I will be imagining a glorious home birth for you!
    ** I have a more detailed account of what I found to be the pros and cons of hospital vs home on my website.

  31. Congratulations on your decision. I loved my home birth. It was through my Hypnobirthing classes I came to understand the medicalisation of childbirth and realised a hospital birth was not for me.
    Wishing you all the best x

  32. I’m sorry you had a negative experience in your hospital for your first birth. I work in a hospital, in a neonatal intensive care. I recognize my biases. I only see home births that go terribly, terribly wrong. I know most go very well, and women feel very empowered being totally in control of the birthing process. I know women gave birth without hospitals for thousands of years. But I can’t read articles like this and not speak up. The statistics are clear: giving birth at home is more dangerous for Mom and baby. And when something goes wrong, it goes very wrong. I’ve seen children die and be irreversibly brain damaged from completely preventable circumstances because they were too far away from medical interventions when they needed it. When you say your experience as a woman matters most over anything else, I really hope you don’t mean the safety of your baby. There is an increase in mistrust and harmful attitudes towards doctors and modern medicine, and it breaks my heart because it doesn’t have to be black and white. (I.e. hospital birth doing everything doctors say, or home birth) Birth centers are becoming increasingly family-oriented and birth-plan friendly. Find a good hospital and you can write up whatever you want in your birth plan and they will do their darndest to accommodate you. I’ve seen water births, squatting births, drug-free births, IV-free births, monitoring-free births, all in hospitals. It is possible! YOU are in control of your care, and you are the final say-so. They can’t legally do anything to you that you refuse after all. I think it’s the first responsibility you will have as a mother to research and seek out the best, safest place for you to give birth.

    • Joyce T says:

      I don’t normally respond to replies on blogs, but I also can’t help but speak up – a previous post from a caregiver in the NICU indicated the statistics are clear, that it is more dangerous to give birth at home for both mom and baby. In fact, the stats do not support this statement. For those that wish to learn more, the literature has supported home birth for low risk pregnancies for many years and, most recently (2014), large guidance documents recommend out of hospital birth for low risk pregnancies as opposed to hospital birth. The caregiver did indicate that the cases seen in the NICU are not a reflection of every out of hospital birth, however, the post did not include that that cases in the NICU also arrive from hospital births and those births that are not attended by a registered healthcare provider. Take the time to fully educate yourself with reliable resources from healthcare professionals who are fully informed and unbiased (such as midwives, physicians, nurse practitioners, OBs) who deliver babies, as well as with your own research of safety as opposed to anecdotal experience from a non primary care provider of well women outside the field of obstetrics. While it is true the best place for a very sick baby is in the NICU, the immediate post partum care of an unanticipated unwell newborn is training midwives, nurses, physicians, NPs and pediatricians all receive and takes place regardless of birthplace. Women who receive primary care in pregnancy are rarely in this position and dismissing all of this information is using fear mongering instead of facts.

  33. The best place for me to give birth was in my home. I had a wonderful midwife, apprentice midwife, doula and of course my husband supporting me. Being in my home with these professional birth ladies was the optimal way for me to relax enough to work with my body’s contractions and maximize natural endorphins. Ina May said it best when she compared the cervix to other sphincter muscles– there are not many among us who prefer to relax our sphincters (ie.bladder, bowels) in front of an audience, much less an audience of strangers.
    I felt well-cared for throughout my entire pregnancy. My prenatal visits were never rushed and usually lasted 45 minutes to an hour. Proper nutrition was stressed and followed up on each visit. When my hemoglobin dropped around 30 weeks, I was given a chance to modify my diet before having to take the iron supplements (I was successful and bumped it up 2 points by my next visit.)
    I don’t hate hospitals; I work in one. (I think I am among few ladies who can say they’ve started their labor at the hospital and left to go home to have the baby! Left my shift a few hours early around 1700; my son was born shortly after midnight.) And in my work I provide blood transfusions to the tiny two-pounders in the NICU fighting for their lives. But hospital policies and procedures are a tough thing to negotiate in the middle of active labor, and hospital personnel (ie everyone except your physican) usually choose to abide by the SOPs (standard operating procedures) over the mom’s birth plan. Their jobs depend on it; my area of the lab has some 200+ policies alone, and deviating from them is a sure way to get fired. Sure, the patient has the right to refuse any and all medical interventions. And some hospitals and birth centers have the home-like environment where midwives are welcome. Many (some entire states) do not welcome midwives.
    A professional homebirth midwife will have emergency equipment. She will be aware of red flags during the labor. She will be attuned to maternal exhaustion. She will offer to transfer to a hospital if the red flag does not ameliorate or if additional red flags appear. She will not remain at a birth that has progressed into the need for medical intervention. Her highest concern is for the lives and safety of both mom and baby. I found all of these qualities in my midwife and was rewarded with the uneventful birth of my only child, in the comfort of my own home. Abby, I wish you the same, and thank you for being a voice for this very small subset of mommas-to-be.

  34. Lidia Gibson says:

    ”’It is also difficult to state my personal beliefs and experiences in a way that will not offend someone. ””
    This is what you said.
    This is your blog.
    Say what you want to say.
    You aren’t doing this NOT TO OFFEND ANYBODY.
    Go for it.
    I tried it.
    It didn’t work.
    I will never discourage anyone from doing what they want to do because of that. Isill blieve in homebirth, the way you want to. the way it should be.
    even if there are casualties. Mnay of those are because of previous interventions. Some of those will be just because babies and mothers die. Even in hospitals.
    That is the myth: that if you give birth in a hospital, everyone will survive

  35. Nicolle says:

    I had a decent hospital birth (no meds, but midwife didn’t follow everything on my birth plan) but my next will be a home birth for sure. I recently became a Mongan Method HypnoBirthing practioner and I HIGHLY recommend this program for anyone seeking a more natural and calm birth! http://Www.hypnobirthing.com

  36. This community, the one you started here, is full of powerful women (and some men), and it’s amazing to read and feel the empowerment. You said it all eloquently; you are a badass.

  37. Alexandra says:

    Abby I have no doubt your homebirth will be everything you dreamed of and more. You are so informed and empowered already and since your body did birth before it knows how to do it again but this time, like you said, it will be on your own terms.

    The people on your Facebook post (or anywhere) that are scared of homebirths have just not taken the time to really, truly, thoroughly look into the safety statistics of homebirths. They have not taken the time to research or even ask a midwife what type of emergency equipment they have on hand at all times. They don’t know about the screening process that women do need to go through and “pass” in order to actually be allowed to homebirth with a midwife. If they took the time to actually talk to a midwife and ask them how many times they have even had to use their intubation equipment, the answer many would give, like mine did after practicing for 15+ years, is “never”.

    How do I know this? Well because I totally was one of those people !

    And did I have an amazing homebirth for my first ? No, actually!!

    I tried … But… I was one of the less than 5% that was transferred to the hospital in an ambulance home,because the presence of meconium and heart rate decels….I was the worst case scenario. And I can tell you that everything still turned out just fine as the midwives know what they are doing and can react accordingly in enough time.

    And so when I became pregnant with my 2nd three years later … was I totally scared off of homebirthing? No again, surprisingly.

    After a lot of soul searching and revisiting the experience over and over I realized that even with what happened being traumatic, the most negative experience of the birth happened after we arrived in the hospital .

    And the second time around I knew my body better … My body had gone through this before and had proven itself able to birth. And so we ended up planning for a home water birth and that’s exactly what we had. It was extremely empowering, amazing, fulfilling, magical and truly the absolute best decision I have ever made !

    You will rock it !

  38. genniemom says:

    I can really understand your hesitation with posting this. It can be so hard to communicate with others that your choice to do something different does not condemn their own choice. I have had a hospital birth that was both good and bad, a gorgeous, perfect homebirth, and an intense, difficult homebirth. I went through a period of time where I could not imagine birthing in a hospital ever again and was so afraid. I’m now to a point where I feel confident that the majority of people involved with birth really do have the mother/baby’s best interests at heart, and being in a hospital would not in any way undermine my autonomy. I have had the opportunity to support a few friends through hospital births and can say with confidence that a beautiful birth can happen anywhere, and likewise difficulties in birth can also arise anywhere. I can now definitely see myself having a good hospital experience if I ever needed to.

  39. Beautifully written! My first was born in a hospital and, while I had him unmedicated as I desired, I was still subject to some hospital policies that made me feel like I had no say. Even though it was a much more positive experience that many of my friends have had, I knew I didn’t want a hospital birth for my second son. I had him at a freestanding birth center and it was, overall, so much more of a positive experience than the first time around (prenatal care was astounding better too)… even with me having to transfer to the hospital because of retained placenta and hemorrhaging. And even with that, I needed to take some time to emotionally heal. If we have a third baby, I think I will insist on a home birth… if anything, to avoid potentially delivering in the car (I have fast labors). 🙂

    Wishing you the best of luck with your home birth!!

  40. I am so happy I happened upon this post. Those were such beautiful, reassuring words for me. My husband and I are planning for our first baby. Because of some past experiences with my OB and family doctor, I have zero faith in their ability to care for me. It seems like it is only about getting a co-pay and writing prescriptions, so I don’t want either of those people involved with something so precious to me that they won’t genuinely care about.

    When I told my husband I want to do it at home, he was NOT ok with that. My wonderful mother-in-law is a nurse that strongly believes in western medicine and going to the doctor for everything. His siblings have all had their babies in hospitals, and I am worried they will not support my decision because it is something very unfamiliar to them.

    I am trying to educate myself and my husband on all the issues at hand so we can make this a positive and empowering experience. Knowing that there is a community of women who strongly believe in WOMEN, not just MEDICINE is amazing. It makes me feel like my goal is reachable and that I will have the support I need.

  41. This page definitely has all of the information I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  42. Truthful taco says:

    Hospitals and their interventions ruin lives all. The. Time. Much more than they save them in the case of delivery. .not sure why all the hospital plugging. So people don’t come here And scream that op is crunchy and crazy? Fuck em.

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