Thursday

homebirth

Lots of my friends have had homebirths. I considered one for my last birth, but couldn't find a midwife I liked.

This time, I know that if I have no risk factors that require a hospital birth (and I don't anticipate any), I don't want to have my baby in a hospital. This I am sure of. Of course, if we discover I will need to give birth in the hospital, so be it. But I doubt that I will.

So that leaves us with the freestanding birth center and a homebirth. I would like to meet the midwives who are now doing homebirths around Knoxville these days so Jon and I can consider this option. I am already well-versed in the big-picture SAFETY STATS for homebirth, which are excellent. We live only a few blocks from my hospital of choice, so that's not an issue. The main thing in deciding will be whether Jon can become comfortable with the idea and whether we are able to find a midwife with whom we really click.

Have you had a homebirth? Tell me about it below :-)

20 comments:

karrie said...

Not me personally--so far the opposite actually-- but I know a few people who have.

A blogging friend recently held a birth story contest to give away a book that I sent her, and she posted the entries here

Off the top of my head, I know that entries 1 +2 by KindOfCrunchy Mama, and the winning entry by TamingEstella were homebirths.

Congrats on your new pregnancy btw!

Stefaneener said...

Have Jon call me. You know about all FOUR of my happy/successful homebirths.

Elizabeth said...

Yes! My Zachary was born at home. My hospital birth with Hibi wasn't *awful* but it was not ideal. I had spelled out quite clearly what I wanted and didn't want in my birth plan, and it was not read at all. The nurse (and you can choose your doctor ahead of time, but you can't choose your nurse) was just dreadful. Bumbling nad insensitive. Anyway, you know about hospital births....I'll tell you about Zac's birth at home.

We were living on campus of the seminary my husband Paul was attending. We were careful not to let out the word too far because we didn't want to be told that we weren't allowed to have a homebirth. I woke the day after my due date with contractions that were about 7-9 minutes apart (very unlike water breaking and 2 minute contractions, if that, with the first birth). I woke Paul and he said "can I sleep for half an hour more?" Sheesh. I puttered around, starting stuff like laundry and coffee and then Paul got up. After a bit we thought we should call Linda, our midwife. She said she was on her way to another birth. Oh no! She told me she'd keep in touch and if necessary send her apprentice. I got in a warm tub, per her instructions (at this point she was trying to slow my labor so she could make both births) with a glass of the champagne we'd bought to celebrate (a tiny one, again to slow labor). After two hours, Linda called to say the other woman wasn't moving fast so she was heading to our place and leaving her apprentice with the other lady. (I never really clicked with her apprentice....this was the beginning of the saying Linda had said coming true, that the people who are meant to be at a birth are there.)

We called Zac's godmother to come over and take care of Hibi, and I got out of the tub and began to do labor-inducing things, like going up and down the stairs, doing laundry, etc. Linda came, examined me, and said I was at 2 cm. She said "I think we should break your water." I said, really? She said, yeah. So I let her do it. I think she was really having to crunch at this time and try to get me going so she could hopefully make it back for the other birth. Plus my first birth had been only 4 hours long. She thought I'd be much faster than I was. At this point it'd already been probably 3 hours.

The water kind of trickled, though, it didn't gush.

Paul and I went for walks and we talked and we did laundry. At lunchtime we heated up the chicken soup I'd made and frozen. At lunch the contractions were just at the point of hurting enough to radiate into my legs and make me stop eating through them.

Just before lunch Julie, another midwife's apprentice, was called to assist in the birth. This was the other affirmation of Linda's saying, as Julie was just perfect. She arrived just before lunch.

After lunch I got into the bath again, to ease the pain. I thought surely I was getting close. The pains were as strong as it'd been at almost transition last time. During my bath, I was asked if Hibi needed to take a nap. She didn't want to, because she was afraid of missing the birth. I said she really needed one because she'd be too tired to enjoy if she didn't, and that we'd wake her if need be. And very unlike Hibi: she very willingly went for a nap because mommy said so.

After the bath, Paul got my rocking chair out of Hibi's room and I sat and rocked. We talked softly with Linda, Julie, and Kathy (Zac's godmother) and one time, when I was up and had a contraction, and Paul was otherwise occupied, Kathy supported me through the contraction. She said afterward that it was a great gift to be able to feel the power of my contraction and that she felt more connected to me because of it.

Hibi woke from her nap. It was about 3 pm. Linda was wondering why in the world I was taking so long, when Hibi came in 4 hours. She came over and felt around on my tummy. Then she said, where have you been feeling the kicks lately? My heart fell, because I knew she was thinking the baby was posterior. If my baby was posterior, I really had wanted the chance before labor to try to get him to turn. I hadn't had back labor, which is very common with posterior babies, but everything else was consistent--the pains were much more even when I was not as far progressed. I was only at 6 cm. after I got out of the tub, and later it was confirmed that I was still at 6 cm at this point. I immediately went to my bed to get into a knee-chest position to try to get the baby to turn. I knew that Linda had learned how to turn babies from Nancy Wainer-Cohen, who had apprenticed with her, and had learned the technique in Jamaica where most babies are posterior. I was trying to avoid it, though, as it involved the midwife putting her whole hand in and turning the baby manually. But only a couple of contractions later Linda really encouraged me to consider letting her do it, as it would very much shorten the rest of labor. I asked how much, and she said maybe the baby would be born in half an hour, as opposed to several more hours if we didn't do it. One more contraction later and I said, let's do it.

She sent Hibi away, as she didn't want her to see this as normal. Kathy and Hibi went back to Kathy's apartment. Linda started the process: took off her rings, washed very well, put on gloves, lubricated them. Then started to slowly put her hand in, one finger at a time. It got much better once it was all the way in, and just her wrist was at the smallest part of the opening. She turned Zac's head (while I was still in knee-chest position, which she says is the difference from how some doctors do this in the hospital). Then she said, even though you're not feeling the urge to push, give a little push to lodge the head in the vagina. I said, but I am feeling the urge to push! And she said, Oh! Well go ahead and push! She kept her hand in there for a while to keep his head in place while I pushed. It was uncomfortable, not the release I felt with pushing with Hibi, but it was short. She had put her hand in at 3:15, when I was 6 cm., and Zac was born at 3:30! Kathy was called (there was trouble getting through to her!) and they rushed over just in time to see his head coming through. Hibi squealed with delight, and Kathy started snapping pictures because we had asked her to, though I am amazed she remembered through all that.

I would never do it in the hospital again if I had the choice. I thoroughly enjoyed having my own surroundings, my own food, my own choices honored. In the hospital I had to ask permission (they didn't let me drink the grape juice I'd brought). In my own home, I was asked how I would like to do it. We had good conversations with people who didn't have anyplace else to go, except the other lady's birth! Linda did make it fine, by the way, and she was also posterior. Linda told me that she was encouraged by the story of my posterior baby and had courage to let Linda turn her baby too, because of hearing about my birth. And having only the people around me that I wanted and needed was just wonderful.

Julie and Linda cleaned up after the birth, made sure I got something to eat, and changed the sheets while I was in the shower. They started the sheets washing for us, even. The check-up a couple of days after Zac was born was done at my home, as well, which was wonderful because I didn't have to go anywhere (especially in the cold of a Boston February, though it had mercifully stayed quite warm-ish so we could walk outside during labor).

And that's it! I don't plan on having any more, but I've sometimes thought about having more just for the birth. The experience was that good. Of course, then I'd have to keep the baby. ;-)

I'd highly recommend the book Homebirth by Sheila Kitzinger.

And by golly, now that I've written this all out, I think I'll go publish it on the site that Karrie posted about.

Anonymous said...

What happened with the midwife you had two months ago, the one that you really, really liked?

Michelle said...

Hi! First, let me congratulate you on your pregnancy! What great news to start off a new year! I've had two awesome homebirths, in two different cities (and, thus, with different midwives each time.) The experiences led to me working in birth; I'm now a doula and attend home and hospital births. My first was a painful posterior baby, lots of back labour, and he was asynclitic so pushing lasted almost 3 hours. Without the patience and expert maneuvering of my midwife, I am certain that, had I been in hospital under different care, I'd have ended up a C-section or at least with a massive episiotomy. As it was, I ended up with a wee tear that healed in one day. My second birth was similar in length, but again I lounged in a birth pool where my kitchen table once was, and had my baby in my own time, on my own terms. If you'd like more detail in a proper birth story, let me know and I'd be happy to share. I personally wouldn't do it any other way (barring necessity, obviously,) and I do hope you get to experience it, too!

katie allison granju said...

The midwife I really, really like catches babies at the birth center, not at home. And we may have our baby there. All options are on the table. We have plenty of time to decide :-)

Anonymous said...

We know a midwife that lives in state that does not allow home births. She's had her babies at home though, because they just couldn't make to the hospital in time...wink.

Rachel said...

Hey! I read infrequently!!! You are pregnant! How wonderful:) Enjoy the baby bliss.

Leslie said...

My attempt at home birth with #3 ended in transport. I did really enjoy (well, relatively!) laboring at home, though.

In retrospect, part of what went wrong was that the midwife did not have faith in my abiility to give birth vaginally. She thought from the start that the baby was "too big." It sounds goofy to talk about negative energy . . . but at the very least if she had been committed and positive she might have tried different positions, etc., and assumed malpresentation rather than CPD.

At that time (12 years ago) as far as I know she was the only midwife around here. I'm sure there are others now, so I would just say picking the right one is the big thing. Also it helps if others (husband and family) support the idea. No one, including John, wanted me to try this at home. That can't have helped. When my mother visited during labor, everything stopped until she left!

kayla said...

My youngest son was born at home. My first was born in a hospital, not a bad experience, but not great. I adored and trusted my midwife, and my birth, while not easy, was peaceful and incredibly empowering.

My son was over twelve pounds with a sixteen inch head. I had kind of a lot of bleeding afterward, due to the size of the placenta, but my midwife was extremely calm and competent and all was well in the end.

I'm done having babies, but if I were not, I would absolutely have them at home barring any complications. Being ten minutes from the hospital where my oldest was born was also reassuring to us, though we never really gave the possiblity of transport any thought.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

Anonymous said...

I find it disturbing that someone would lie at a seminary about something so major as a birth on campus. Can you imagine if something went wrong? Sure after the fact people probably were congratulatory but thats because things went well. If the mother and/baby had a negative outcome I imagine it wouldnt have gone over too well. This is why I just cringe too when people have their small children watch births. God forbid something goes wrong (and yes sometimes babies are born dead when its not expected, not often but it happens) Can you imagine the lifelong trauma??? Is it worth it just for the nice warm fuzzy?
You didnt get your grape juice...oh my GOSH...how AWFUL. Come on...I had both my kids in the hospital on two different sides of the country seven years apart. For the most part the people were very kind and offering to get me stuff. so maybe they didnt have the full menu. I was perfectly happy with the orange juice they offered me. Yeah, after a certain point they tell you not to eat because if you need anesthesia you want an empty stomach. which rather than whining about I understood the medical reasons behind. At this point in time too, a lot of hospitals are installing things like birth tubs and having a lot of the little props around that people like at home births so they can get the best of both worlds.
Like I said though, I find it disturbing that future clergy would sneak around at their seminiary. however as you have stated previously, you are in your church for stealth reasons: you want to change it to your liking, not accept its teachings.

CJ said...

I've had two hospital births followed by two homebirths and I would plan another homebirth in a heartbeat. It was helpful for my husband to sit down with the family practitioner who ended up attending the first homebirth and ask him all the "what-if" questions. Our first birth (ten years ago today!) ended very scarily and my husband wanted to talk through that experience with the doctor -- when would you transfer to the hospital in a case like that? how would you manage a similar situation?

It's really counterintuitive to think that homebirth could be as safe as hospital birth, but it wasn't clear to me until I went through the process at home just how different the two experiences are. It hurt so much less at home. With my youngest son, the midwife got there and told me I was almost 9cm dilated. I had *no* idea I was in transition -- I knew when it was time to call the midwife but I just did not expect to hear I was that close to the end.

With both of my homebirths there was an easy flow to the process -- it just unfolded gracefully. It was still hard work (my third son was 9#12!), but it was an extraordinarily joyful and drama-free event. I was surprised to find that the *labor* was joyful, that the work of bringing my babies into the world was something I could do gladly and fearlessly.

I am expecting your regular anonymous commenter to chime in here, so I'll cut short the rhapsody to provide less fodder for her. I could go on, though. :-)

My brother and SIL live in Knoxville and one of their wedding guests was a delightful homebirth mw. We talked for a long time at the wedding. If you're interested, I could get contact information. You can reach me at mostgladly at gmail dot com.

Elizabeth said...

Right on time, Anonymous! I was expecting you.

Stealth reasons--my husband likes that. He says it sounds like James Bond. And he says that if you're surprised about us "lying" at seminary (we didn't lie, by the way) that obviously you've never been to seminary. People weren't congratulatory on our home birth, just the birth itself. About the home birth they were more incredulous. Kathy got the most of this, because she worked in the bookstore. She had people coming in and saying, "did you hear that there was a baby born on campus yesterday?!?" And she'd say, "Yeah! I was there!"

One last comment from Paul: "The seminary taught me to think; I can't go back to not thinking."

Home birth cannot be replicated by any implementation of more "homey" surroundings at a hospital. If you believe you are safer at the hospital, then go with it. Those of us who like being at home, where the baby was conceived (at least for us) to birth, will defend that choice vigorously. Things that need to be changed don't get changed because of people just accepting what's handed to them.

Anonymous said...

the reason home births appear to be as safe as hospital births is because when you run the numbers they are similiar. HOWEVER if you compare the negative outcome rates of a group of women that automatically includes the highest of high risk women and a group that is handpicked to be the lowest of low risk and they are even sort of similiar...thats rather frightening.
it may surprise you but my husband and i used to be "orthodox" and it was just this sort of garbage that made us leave.

CJ said...

Anon, the epidemiologists at the WHO and the American Public Health Association are on top of that one, and both organizations support out-of-hospital birth for low-risk women. Good homebirth research compares low-risk women planning homebirths with low-risk women planning hospital births. Large studies have found no increase for morbidity/mortality for babies born at home, and far fewer interventions for their mothers.

Michelle said...

Absolutely. People who fear homebirth are under the misguided belief that birth is inherently dangerous, but it is not. Staying home takes many risks out of the running, including hospital policies based on not evidence but legalities (this list is huge), staph or c.difficile infections (etc.), and on and on. My midwife had done exactly one episiotomy in 17 years of practice; at our local hospital, rates are 75% or more. Frightening! As a doula, I cover the WHO's recommendations for birth practice with my clients, in support of a consumer-based approach to their labour management and choices. Sadly, again, our hospital has probably never read them. However, the commenter who said if you're more comfortable at the hospital - whether it's due to whatever fear or doctor confidence - you belong where you are most at ease. Otherwise, your birth can be hampered by latent stress, and that is something you never want.

Anonymous said...

oh give me a break. "birth isnt inherently dangerous"...obviously none of you are particularly well versed in history are you? Do you have your heads in the clouds or something? prior to modern medicine there was an unbelievably high infant/maternal death rate.
personally I would much rather have the peace of mind of being in a hospital than being able to eat my own goodies. I sure wouldnt trade my babies safety for some grape juice!!! But to each their own I guess....
As for the woman who had a home birth over her husbands wishes...my gosh...have you thought of what would happen if the baby died or was birth injured? Your husband would probably blame you forever. I know I would if I was snookered into this home birth against my better judgement and something happened to my kid because of it. I would probably find it VERY hard to remain married to the person.
Knowing Katie though, she will probably do a big sales job on Jon and since she has him eating out of her hand no doubt he will acquiesce to her wishes no matter what his personal judgement on the matter. He seems pretty pussy whipped to me. She just better hope and pray nothing happens because not only will she lose her kid but she'll also probably lose Mr Boy Toy.

Anonymous said...

and as for YOU Elizabeth...I think you are a fruitcake. I looked up your "fat liberation" book on amazon and from what I can gather it has all these ways to cope with "intruding doctors, family" etc..I found myself wondering if it also has instructions for writing the will you will inevitably need and for letting your kiddos know that mom will probably die of diabetes or a heart attack before her time. Its not that I do not sympathize with those who struggle with their weight because I do...but come on..you are in total denial that its even a problem, healthwise. YOu are in your thirties. I know of a number of people who were healthy obese until they reached their forties. Amazing how quickly the excuses vanished when they were told to lose it or prepare to be dead in a few years. In fact this weeks people magazine is all about many people as fat or fatter than you who made excuses until finally they just got sick of it or were told they would die soon and voila: they found a way to lose it when it really mattered to them. as long as you feel like a victim for being such a poor picked upon fattie in a thin world, you will lack the motivation to make changes for what is, at root, an addiction and health issue. Looking like shit warmed over is the least of it. But its a LOT easier to feel good about yourself when you look like a human being instead of a beached whale. But, as to be expected from someone of your mindset, its not about you and the excuses you make for your weakness: its all about those bad people who are prejudiced against fat people. well, unlike other bad habits (your church DOES teach about sloth as a sin does it not?) its pretty obvious with fat people where their sloth lies. EVERY fat person wants the world to think its because of a virus or genetics etc etc. And yes I read the latest batch of research to hit the papers...the deal is...peoples microflora changes as they get to a healthier weight. they emphasized that the difference in the flora of the obese and the normal is NOT an excuse but perhaps a tool to help people become more healthy in their weight loss.
you know what fries me? Is that you fat liberationists take words and twist them. Much of what is written about body image by experts is talking about women who are at a normal weight comparing themselves with anorexic celebrities. Or celebrities who dont really even look like that because they are airbrushed. And then they apply it as an excuse for the morbidly obese to deny that they have one serious problem. The people who kill themselves over body image almost always are very normal sized women, maybe five or ten pounds overweight if they are even overweight at all. The truly medically obese more often than not dont feel bad at all about something they SHOULD feel guilty about. They make every excuse in the book rather than doing something about it. I have every sympathy in the world for someone who admits that their drug of choice is food and is struggling to do something about it. Someone such as yourself who just makes a big fat excuse...I mean what a joke...and you are supposed to be helping people spiritually? You dont even care you will probably hurt your family when your health begins to suffer (and it will, trust me, it will..you are pretty young right now) YOu probably eat WAY more than you think because its been shown that when people keep food diaries that almost all of us grossly underestimate how much we really eat.
You talk about how seminary made you think..well..there is such a thing as your mind being so open your brains fell out. There is such a thing as submitting yourself to truth...not taking your own ideas and deciding that centuries worth of people probably far wiser than you have been wrong on multiple points. I was SHOCKED to find out that they are teaching this crap at Holy Cross and glad we left the orthodox church when we did.

Anonymous said...

gee you dont think that midwives low episiotomy rate has something to do with the fact these women are low risk to begin with do you?
btw...I had both mine in a hospital and didnt have an episiotomy. I think its great people are applying some of the techniques midwives use to ease labor and taking them into hospital settings. that way you get the best of both. People who push homebirth are misguided and misuse and abuse statistics, perhaps unknowingly.

Anonymous said...

you know what...after I left this site I researched home birth. I found a site by a doctor (oh it must be a conspiracy..she's an MD...I know how y ou people thinki...) I could not BELIEVE the stories of home births gone wrong that "advocates" suppress because of their agenda. just like you suppress data about kids that are rolled on or starve trying to breastfeed so you can push your agenda. just like you ignore common courtesy so you can push your agenda of breastfeeding in public no matter what the cost.
you people are all a bunch of IDIOTS.
it would truly serve Katie right if she finally has another spawn and pussywhips Jon into accepting the home birth and something goes wrong. Of course no doubt she would never blame the appropriate thing: herself. she would blame everyone else and blame Jon if he turned on her after her talking him into something that killed their child.