I believe in the spiritually renewing power of both hot yoga and regular mani/pedis, have been known to wash down McNuggets with some kombucha, and recently chose to have my hair blown out and do a home birth.
Does this make me a modern hippie? An urban sombrero of sorts? Or maybe just a seriously complicated woman? Well, I guess it depends on whom you ask. I like to think that I’m a modern mama who took all the information from past to present about birthing and chose the path of least natural resistance. I chose to trust that my body would evict the baby when the time was right, instead of when Dr. Landlord said rent was due. And I chose to put trust in Newton’s Third Law of Motion stating that what goes up must come down, instead of Murphy’s Law which states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
While that’s all great and dandy, and I’m down with being one with myself and the universe, I’m sure you’re wondering how I wasn’t prematurely shitting the bed from what some may call a “risky” decision. So let’s examine some of my reasons for my choice and maybe by the end you’ll say more than “I like you man, but you crazy”.
- Rogue One: A Birth Story – My midwives were not found on craigslist and did not get certified by www.deliverbabies.com. We didn’t go rogue, in fact, giving birth in the U.K. meant that home birth was just another birthing option supported by the public healthcare system. So my midwife was part of a special home birth team supported by my local hospital. She did all my prenatal appointments at home while the toddler and dogs watched with confusion and I never had to step foot in a hospital except for my few scans.
- Red flag on the play – midwives, doctors, nurses and anyone worth their scratch that’s in charge of your birth in any birthing environment is watching for red flags the entire time. These people are making plans as you progress, or don’t progress, to ensure they don’t end up in an “emergency” situation, but instead a change of birth plan that keeps mom and baby safe. In the case of a home birth, my midwife was constantly planning 30-60min ahead, and if she saw any concerning signs she would make modifications to the birth plan as she saw fit. That could be simply keeping me out of the water to ensure the birth doesn’t slow down or shipping us off to a hospital if need be.
- Plan B – no, not the abortion pill (given I made this decision at 20 weeks pregnant I think that ship had sailed!). I’m talking about the emergency exit strategy if things went from magical flower crowns to code red during the birth. This one was simple; plan B was an ambulance to a nearby hospital. From phone call to hospital admittance we were looking at about 20min.
- Say no to drugs – as after school specials have taught us, saying no to drugs isn’t easy on a playground and is even harder while giving birth. The only crack that’s in most births is the moment the mom cracks and has the “I can’t do this, for the love of all that is holy please give me something that will help” moment. In a hospital environment, going down that path is just a doctor call away. However, in a home birth, if you need drugs you have to get your ass to a hospital and disrupt everything. Knowing that a change of scenery would be necessary certainly helps curb the desperate desire in those moments to abandon a drug-free birth plan.
- Foreplay – no, not the kind that got you into this mess. I’m talking about the sexy environment your body wants to release a baby into. Low lights, clary sage and a warm temperature is what that baby requested for its new accommodations post womb. And let me tell you, that diva baby will wait and protest if their dressing room isn’t right. Oh, and no brown m&m’s while you’re at it. Your body really can be coerced into releasing a baby easier in this type of environment. Just think how hard it is to poop in a bright, cold bathroom; releasing a baby isn’t all that different!
All of these reasons led me down the path to a home birth for my body and the baby. But what’s not listed is why I chose it for me. There are moments in our lives that change us, that transform us, that add a new aspect to ourselves. Most women would not put cramps, periods, tampons and bloating on the list of positively transforming moments that we as females get to experience. However, lucky for us, it’s all made up for in our ability to give birth.
With no intervention, training or required reading your mind, body and soul show up on that day and puts on full display to everyone what you’re made of. This is a place within us that is rarely accessed and experienced, but once you do, it changes the way you and others view you forever. It’s not just the ugly crying face and bodily fluids that’ll haunt your partner’s dreams. It’s the fact that you actually birthed a human and lived to tell the tale that’ll make them fear messing with you for the rest of their life. And we all know that fear, not love, is what strong relationships are truly built on. Damn right.