I’ve had two children now, and if you had asked me 10 years ago if I’d be having a baby at home, I would have laughed hysterically at you. Hell, I would have laughed if someone had asked me when I got pregnant the first time. But it happened. Somewhere along the way, I went from the idea of getting an epidural and having a classic hospital birth when I imagined having a baby, to becoming a total hippie who never dreamed of using pain meds during labor, knew I would have a doula and by the second time around, would be having my baby at home.
Why and how did that happen? Well, part of it was that I had three friends who, around the same time I had my daughter, had all their firstborn kids at home. I had lots of people in my life who would answer questions if I had them, and they all had great success stories to share. Part of it was also that I was the patient of one of the most experienced midwives in the city where I live. She has delivered thousands of babies at this point, and really, that kind of experience is something that fills you with so much confidence and reassurance, no matter what kind of birth you're planning. Finally, I had a very fast labor and delivery the first time, which is an indicator that you may have a faster labor and delivery in subsequent births. And the drive to the hospital was a solid 30 minutes. I did NOT want to give birth on the drive to the hospital!
So I ended up deciding to have the baby at home. And while I'm sure it isn't the correct plan for everyone (no, really, it's not), for me it was the best. decision. ever.
Given that I loved my home birth so much, and that I know there is plenty of inaccurate information out there about home births, I wanted to help set the record straight. Here's what so many people get wrong about giving birth at home:
Home Births Involve Candles, Chanting, And Other Hippie Bullsh*t
Sorry to disappoint, but that was not what went down at our house. I would have lost my mind if someone had done any of those things. There was a lot of swearing, a lot of yelling, and some croissants to munch on.
If Something Goes Wrong, You're In Serious Trouble
These midwives will not hesitate to call an ambulance and get a woman whose labor is wonky in to the hospital. A friend of mine had a home birth recently, and her son turned out to have serious trouble breathing, due to an undiagnosed physiological condition he had. They immediately went to the hospital, as it was out of their scope of care. Midwives do not mess around. A huge part of a home birth plan is "what do we do if [unforeseen urgent situation] happens?" And those questions are more than answered before the big day.
Giving Birth At Home Is Not As Clean As Giving Birth In A Hospital
Let’s think about this for a sec. I washed my floors and vacuumed my carpets, personally. Did a whole bunch of people just waltz into that hospital room with shoes that were just outside? EXACTLY. I was the one touching the sheets when they came out of the dryer. Who touched the sheets that people are lying on in the hospital? You don’t know? EXACTLY.
Everyone Gives Birth In One A Birthing Pools
Well, actually, nope. I don’t know anyone who did that, and between all of my friends, there have been six home births. Oh, I’m sure water births are great in many ways, but that's not what happened at my house. Who the hell has time to fill something that size up, when they go into labor?! Also, why spend the money on something you don’t even know if you’ll like, while you’re in labor. Again, this was my thinking, for my birth, and I made my decisions (and purchases) accordingly. Ahh, the freedom of birthing in your own home and being in total control of what happens there.
It's Not As Safe
Here’s the thing: I was given a list of all the reasons we would have to go to the hospital if things didn’t go smoothly. The midwives have protocols in place and watch for certain warning signs that tell them they need medical intervention. They are conservative in what they consider to be a normal birth. Anything beyond that? Hospital. My first birth couldn’t have been a home birth no matter what, because my baby passed meconium while in utero. That was an automatic signal to head in to the hospital.
You Will Ruin Your Favorite Rug/Couch/Stuffed Animal
My husband and I actually couldn’t believe how clean everything stayed. Even when they broke my water, the midwives did some seriously fancy footwork and barely a drop was spilled. I will say, we rolled up our brand new IKEA rug to avoid the possibility of it getting dirty. Beyond that, we just covered or moved things that we were concerned about.
No, Seriously, Blood And Gore Will Be EVERYWHERE If You Give Birth At Home
Here are the things you truly need, to avoid getting the blood and gore all over: puppy training pads, a few old towels, a plain shower curtain and an extra set of sheets. I swear to god, I barely noticed anything while it was happening, and the midwives had a giant garbage bag for all of it to go into afterward. You just empty that puppy in the washing machine, put on a hot wash cycle, and you’ll never know what happened. No stains.
You're In The Dark Ages If You're Birthing At Home
We had a resuscitation station set up, oxygen, a heating pad, all the necessary items for stitching (including topical anaesthetic) any tears, and a whole bunch of other medical type things that I can’t remember. After the midwives had finished setting up all of their supplies, my living room looked like a hospital room...except way more comfortable.
Listen, I know home births aren’t for everyone. Hell, I know giving birth without an epidural isn’t for everyone. But I would do it again in a heartbeat, and recommend it to anyone considering it. Being able to snuggle up in my own bed with my new baby and my husband, just minutes after giving birth, was priceless.