Tuesday, December 23, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

If you're pregnant, here’s something fun to try. Tell people you’re planning a home birth. See how many people you tell before you hear “Are you crazy?!" It’s bound to happen sooner or later.

I've had a hospital birth and a home birth. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. I didn’t find a midwife until I was seven or eight months pregnant with my daughter. I was reluctant to change horses midstream, especially when I was almost on the other bank, so I stuck with my doctor. We checked into the hospital after my water broke. I told the nurse I didn’t want ANY drugs and I’m happy to report they didn’t pester me about it. I was “given” 24 hours to have my baby (since my water broke). I endured more than one pelvic exam during a contraction, I wasn’t allowed to take a shower, I was made to abandon the most comfortable position I found, my doctor stripped my membranes, and she told me when, how, and where to push while I was flat on my back. I felt like an actress in a movie, following the director’s orders. After nine hours of labor, Olivia weighed in at 7 lb, 12.5 oz, and was 19.5 inches long. I had to be stitched in two places and I was sore, literally, from head to toe for a week. It hurt to breathe. On the way home I told my husband that our next baby would be born at home.

I found my wonderful midwife, Charlotte, early in my second pregnancy. She lives two hours away but came to my house for prenatal visits, the birth, and two postpartum visits. She and her assistant were the epitome of “unobtrusive.” I was queen. They were my loyal subjects. Charlotte examined me once, right after a contraction. She checked Baby’s heartbeat several times, right after contractions. I wandered around my home, sat on the couch, leaned on my husband, propped myself against the stove – whatever brought relief. My husband sliced apples, peeled oranges, and made tea. Charlotte kept a stash of wet washrags in the freezer (this was in May). I spent several hours in the tub – it helped so much. I pushed when my body told me to and in positions I chose. After 17 hours of labor, Jesse weighed in at 8 lb, 12 oz, and was 22.25 inches long. He was almost a pound heavier and three inches longer than his sister and I didn’t need a single stitch. A few hours later I was sitting at my computer sending e-mails. I’m so very thankful I was blessed to have my baby at home.


  1. As a nurse and former employee of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, I highly recommend watching, "The Business of Being Born." It is an inside look into the challenges facing the existence of natural birth.

  2. I've heard of "The Business of Being Born" but haven't seen it. Finding a midwife for my home birth wasn't easy. The only midwives in Nacogdoches practice only in the hospitals. There are some in Tyler, but they don't really want to come this far.