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When it comes to birth I take the more natural approach. All birth is natural, of course, but what I mean is that I have my babies drug-free and out-of-hospital in order to avoid interventions as much as possible.
It's not that I think hospitals are terrible places, but I've just never felt completely comfortable or at-ease in that environment. I spent the first 20 weeks of my first pregnancy at one and the experience was far from desirable. I ended up transferring care to an out-of-hospital birthing center for the remaining 20 weeks of pregnancy and went on to deliver my first child via water birth. The healing was difficult, but overall the experience was wonderful and I felt incredibly empowered with the experience.
Because my first birth experience went so well, I decided to go for a home birth the second time around with my son. My pregnancy was just about as straightforward as they come and I legitimately forgot I was pregnant most of the time.
Because my first delivery went relatively quickly despite a challenging presentation, we were all fairly confident that this one would be much quicker and easier. Unfortunately we were all wrong about that. My labor with my son was 19 hours—four of which were spent pushing. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting and while sparing you the details, those last minutes of delivery were a bit nerve-wracking to say the least.
I have always believed that a woman should give birth in whatever environment that feels most comfortable and safe for her —whether it's naked in a field or hooked up to IVs in a hospital...
When all was said and done, I delivered a healthy 10 lb. 8 oz. baby boy (he was 23" long and posterior as well!) I should've felt proud of the accomplishment, but instead of feeling empowered, I just felt beaten down—so exhausted and just thankful that it was over. Over the weeks and months that followed I continued to process the experience. Why did I feel so differently about this birth?
I thought about this even more once I found out I was pregnant with Baby #3 a few months ago. I felt so torn about which route to take this time. When it came down to it, there really wasn't much different about my home birth vs. birthing center birth on paper. A home birth is basically the same as a birth at a center aside from the obvious fact that it's your home.
I adored and trusted the midwives at my home birth, so that wasn't the factor. I also did enjoy a great many things about being at home. But overall, I realized that there was just something in my brain that made me panic a little bit more when I thought about giving birth at home... like this little voice that said "this is not a safe place to have a baby." I know that sounds completely ridiculous, but it's true. It's the same voice I heard when I tried going to a hospital again this time around. That little voice said, "Nope. We aren't having a baby here."
So I went back to the birthing center where I had my daughter and during that first consultation with a new midwife, it just felt like home. I knew that this birthing center was where I wanted to have my baby.
I have always believed that a woman should give birth in whatever environment that feels most comfortable and safe for her —whether it's naked in a field or hooked up to IVs in a hospital—because feeling that comfort and safety is the most important part of having a successful birth.
I truly believe fear has no place in childbirth, which is why I decided that a home birth wasn't for me this time around. I still have some fears that I need to work through surrounding the idea for myself, and I've finally accepted that that's OK. It doesn't mean that I don't believe in home birth or think that it's beautiful or that I regret my experience, it just means that it isn't the right choice for me and my family this time around.