I am so excited to announce that I am expecting my second little love!
As a birth doula, I am thrilled to have my turn (again) to walk through pregnancy and birth. I have been so thankful for all the women who have allowed me to witness their strength and courage during their own unique journeys.
My oldest daughter was born at home. We welcomed her into our arms right in our tiny apartment in Huntington Beach, California. My husband and I had the company of both our Certified Professional Midwife and her assistant.
I would love to share with you my personal top two reasons for why we are choosing homebirth again - safety and comfort!
I spent countless hours during my first pregnancy reading books and evidence based articles, looking into statistics, and seeking advice from those who have gone before me.
After having a beautiful and positive birth experience at home, I went on to study physiology of pregnancy and birth, early newborn care, basic lactation, emotional shifts in mommas surrounding this time, and so forth.
I received my birth doula certification after a year of education and began attending births. Over the past four and a half years I have seen that for low risk women with a qualified care provider, homebirth is a safe option.
For this birth we are again choosing to have a midwife as our care provider.
Certified Professional Midwife's are recognized by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as level one care providers. Here in the state of Indiana CPMs collaborate with obstetricians.
If you'd like to learn more about the difference between standard obstetric care and midwifery care, read these articles here and here.
Personally, I want to avoid intervention of any kind during my births. Interventions can lengthen the labor process, may lead to unnecessary cesareans, and usually result in less than optimal outcomes for mothers and babies in many ways (see "resources" below).
Women birthing at home avoid more interventions than women birthing in other locations.
What happens when there is an emergent situation in a home setting during birth?
Homebirth midwives are trained and equipped to handle a wide range of emergencies right at home such as most hemorrhaging, shoulder dystocia, and newborns needing resuscitation. This training allows for resolution or transfer in proper time to the proper birth location where greater intervention can be utilized if necessary.
Most birth has moved from home to hospital (only over the last 90 years), and our country's infant and maternal death rate has unfortunately risen quite high.
According to the CDC the US has one of the worst rates when it comes to this and falls below almost all other developed countries who predominately homebirth or utilize midwives over trained surgeons for normal, low-risk birth (4).
I also choose to birth my baby's at home for comfort's sake. I remember having my first contraction standing near my bathroom sink the day we welcomed our daughter.
I didn't have to go anywhere.
I didn't have to worry about if my bags were packed and ready in the car.
I didn't have to change out of pajamas or put a shirt over my sports bra.
I didn't need to time or guess which point of labor I was in because I wouldn't be heading anywhere.
I didn't have to expose myself or my baby to any foreign bacteria from a location or unknown person(s).
I didn't need to use a community birthing tub that had been bleached prior to my use (I utilized water as a pain management option with a single use liner in a birthing tub set up in my living room).
I didn't have anyone asking what my pain level was.
I didn't have to communicate my birthing plan during labor (“No, I do not want a vaginal exam to access my stage of labor... No, I do not want that strapped to me. Can you please use a handheld doppler to monitor baby?” etc.) with hospital staff or birthing center nurses. My midwife and I had already discussed my wishes.
I only needed to text my midwife to tell her that I was feeling birth approaching. I was in my birthing location already and only had to focus on mentally settling in to the process ahead of me.
Birth is an intense experience and utilizing the environment I was most comfortable with was extremely important to me. I knew this would allow my hormones to move my labor forward at the perfect pace and decrease my risk of any interventions.
I used my own restroom.
I laid in my own bed.
I ate my own food.
I showered in my own shower.
I moaned and shouted in my own living room without strangers watching.
I held my daughter for the first time without any bustling or chatting around me.
After the birth, I again used my own shower and laid in my own bed with only my husband and new baby. We were given a little "cocoon" to become familiar with a completely new human for over an hour. A hat wasn't shoved on her head, nobody's hands interfered with my own, she wasn't weighed, measured, or diapered during this time. This was ideal for our family.
If you're pregnant or want to have a family someday, learning about your options surrounding the growth of your family is so very helpful.
Birth is life changing no matter how or where it takes place, but influencing this experience towards safety and comfort can make all the difference in your ability to breastfeed, emotionally handle postpartum, etc.
I am looking forward to my future birth experience as I am setting my intentions and preparation towards bringing our little love earthside right in the comfort of home with my husband, daughter, and midwife by my side.
For more information regarding your birth choices including birth location, labor support options, and choosing your care provider, check out this Improving Birth article.
Warm wishes for a happy day!
How can birth interventions negatively affect women and babies?
What does The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say about intervention during birth? https://www.acog.org/-/media/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/co766.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20190204T2356061672
All photos via https://www.monetnicole.com