Why Did I Want A Home Birth?
One day my friend Korin emailed me a link to a video of a woman having a natural birth at home. It was so incredibly moving. I cried when I watched it. I sent the same link to Simon, who later confessed to being teary too. Watching it and being with the love that emanated through this woman’s birth was so inspiring. The possibility of it for me was really pulling at my heart strings. But before I became pregnant and decided on a home birth I wanted to become informed, so I did my research. I did a lot of research. And before long I’d collected a whole lot of reasons as to why I wanted to have a home birth. Here are nine I can think of off the top of my head …
Reason One: Home Birth Increased My Chances Of Birthing Naturally
I wanted to increase my chances of giving birth to my baby naturally, of having a totally drug free labour and birth. I figured that since women’s bodies have, for eons, known how to give birth to babies naturally, mine would too. I also wanted to be totally drug free so that I could be fully present to the experience of birthing my baby, no matter how uncomfortable and challenging (understatement!) that might be. The thought of being drugged up when I first laid eyes on my baby really didn’t appeal to me and of course I also wanted my baby to come into the world drug free.
Reason Two: Home Birth Allowed Me To Benefit From All The Wonderful Natural Hormones
I wanted myself and my baby to get the hormonal benefits that come with birthing naturally. I interviewed a very inspiring woman when I was writing an article on birth – Dr Sarah Buckley. She explained to me that when you birth without drugs or medical interference your whole system is flooded with hormones, including the ever-so-wonderful love hormone – oxytocin, which peaks towards the end of labour and after birth. These make your whole experience as safe and rewarding as possible, increasing the immediacy of you and your baby falling in love with each other. And yes, it works. I can vouch for that.
She also described this cocktail of hormones as being nature’s way of rewarding the mother, so that she feels “oh my god that was so fantastic; I want to do it again.” (Not so sure about that). By the way, if you’re pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant or want to support the women in your life who are, then read her book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering (affiliate link). It’s full of very valuable insights.
Reason Three: Home Birth Gave Me Privacy
I wanted privacy. I didn’t want to have complete strangers observing me through what I feel is one of the most intimate experiences available to a woman. This is something that Dr Buckley is also a great advocate of. And if you want to have a natural birth then having privacy will increase the likelihood of it happening because to give birth naturally, without medical intervention, you need to be in the kind of environment in which most babies are conceived – private, safe and unobserved.
Reason Four: I Felt Safer Choosing A Home Birth
So yes, following on from reason three, I wanted to be where I’d feel most safe. For some women that’s hospital. For me? Home. When people said to me, “you’re so brave to have your baby at home,” I would think, “you’re brave to have your baby in the hospital.” To feel most safe I needed to be at home, being taken care of by my hubby Simon, my friend and doula Korin (Who also happens to be a doctor. Bonus!) and one or both of my two private midwives, Robyn Dempsey and Hannah Dahlen, who had been taking care of me since I was four weeks pregnant. Robyn and Hannah were just amazing. They had exactly what I was looking for in my midwives … many years of experience, medical training, oceans of love, gentleness and understanding, and very importantly … an unshakable and massive belief in my capacity to do what women have been doing for thousands of years … giving birth naturally. Yes!
Getting back to Dr Buckley for a moment … she also explained to me how many years ago, when women gave birth in the wild, if there was any sign of danger labour would temporarily stop. Blood would move away from the uterus and baby, flowing into the woman’s legs. This would give her the muscular energy necessary to run away and find a safe place to birth her baby. Once safe, the blood supply would go back to her baby and labour would continue. It’s hardly surprising then that women who don’t feel safe in hospital often find that their labour stops and medical intervention starts.
Reason Five: Home Birth Enabled Me To Be Totally Uninhibited
I wanted to labour and give birth to my baby in a place where I would feel totally uninhibited and at ease. Where I could wear my birthday suit without feeling self-conscious and where I’d feel free to be in whatever position felt right for me and my baby at any given time.
Reason Six: Home Birth Meant I Wasn’t On The Clock
I wanted to be able to take my time through the journey of labour and birth and to be free from any pressure to push, push, push and get my baby out before he/she was ready to gracefully enter this world.
Reason Seven: Home Birth Reduced The Possibility Of Unnecessary Medical Intervention
I wanted to minimise my chances of having any unnecessary medical interventions. From the statistics available on this many women are having unnecessary C-sections. This is major surgery. It’s hardcore. Also, once interventions begin, chances that you’ll need another intervention, and then another, are exceptionally high. I wanted to soak myself in the inner strength and confidence which I believed was available to me through birthing naturally, which I felt my baby and I would carry with us for the rest of our lives.
Reason Eight: Home Birth Meant I Could Birth My Baby In water
I wasn’t so attached to this one but I did want to give birth to my baby in a beautiful environment, preferably in a water birthing pool in our living room, with candles, sacred music, roses and essential oils. (But I’d have been just as happy if it was in our bedroom and I’d not have minded if the candles and music thing wasn’t happening. I also wasn’t so attached to being in the water at the moment of birth, but wanted the water there so that I could labour in it … and if the moment called for it, then birth my baby in it too). Waterbaby! Yay!
Reason Nine: Home Birth Meant I Could Delay The Cutting Of The Cord
Once my baby was born I wanted there to be a long time before the cord was cut, possibly to have a lotus birth if it felt appropriate. And I wanted for Simon and I to be able to spend as much time as we wanted with him/her without him/her being whisked off for weighing, measuring, prodding and poking. I wanted my baby’s first experience to be being held and loved, skin on skin.
Having said all that, my main goal was a safe birth, not a home birth at any cost. I booked into a hospital in case I needed to transfer and I remained open to life unfolding in a way other than how I planned or desired.
Want to know more about Homebirth in Australia – Watch this documentary…