I was blessed to have the beautiful home birth I always dreamed of. Ok, natural birth wasn't as perfect as I had imagined (where was slow, easy early labor?), but it was still great and I hope to do it again!
A natural unmedicated birth at home is definitely not for everyone, but it was the best choice for me. I believe it is the basic right of a woman to choose where and how she gives birth and what types of interventions she wants to allow. Birthing is a natural process that has been going on for thousands of years and only rarely does it become an emergency situation.
If you're wondering why home birth was such a good choice for me, I would like to point out my "pioneer spirit" as evidenced on this website!
Also, while I was pregnant, testing proved what I already knew: I had white coat syndrome, a high blood pressure only around doctors, which is not surprising considering the Lyme miscarriage episode. My blood pressure was always on the low side at home, but high at the clinic. I felt that doctors were dangerous, and that's how my body responded.
You have to really want a home birth, and even then you might not get it if something goes wrong. I was blessed with good health when I needed it and a baby in a good position (see how to prepare for birth below).
Some people choose to do unassisted home birth, others use a midwife. It's hard to find midwives in some states because they are persecuted. That's also something that's been going on for many years. Did you know that the witch hunts hundreds of years ago usually targeted midwives?
I can't tell you much about the details of who helped with my birth preparation because I live in a witch hunting state. I will say that I live 10 minutes from several hospitals and felt perfectly safe and secure with my decision.
Whether you have outside help or not, you must be prepared. Personally, I believe that even women who plan to have a hospital birth and epidural should be prepared in the event they find themselves giving birth without such aids. Do your research on what situations could arise and make plans for how you would handle them.
One brave midwife is standing up for all of them and battling in court. If she does well, women will have a better right to choose home birth in Maryland. Don't we want to be able to hire a certified professional if we're determined to have a birth at home? YES! Please support the campaign however you are able.
These are some of the most useful books I read.
Some great DVDs that I watched are:
I tried to get my husband to watch some of these, but most just didn't interest him. His favorite was Laugh and Learn About Childbirth because it was more entertaining and in shorter segments.
First, you have to make some basic choices about what type of birth experience you want: water birth or no, delayed cord cutting, vitamin K, doula or no, and what do you plan to do with the placenta? These choices may require additional materials, but here's a list of some basics I appreciated having on hand that you might not think of:
And I had a clean bowl for my placenta. I had it made into a smoothie with yogurt and berries then frozen into ice cubes so I could eat a few each day. Delicious, haha! Like I said about home birth, definitely not for everyone, but a good choice for me.
If you use a midwife or birthing center, they should give you a list of what they provide and what you should have ready.
I drank organic raspberry leaf tea and organic nettle leaf tea regularly. I also did visualizations and affirmations from the HypnoBirthing book. I strongly recommend you train someone to be able to help guide you into them!
I had no problem relaxing on my own while pregnant and often fell asleep, but it's much harder to focus when in labor. I did actually fall asleep between contractions, but I believe that was more related to how my body reacts to oxytocin than any mental techniques I tried.
I also highly recommend the spinningbabies.com exercises and info from the Bradley book. Most importantly, I did 40 pelvic tilts each night right before I laid down from the end of the first trimester onward, and in the third trimester I was very careful to watch that I was sitting properly.
I would sit legs apart like cross-legged but not actually on top of each other and lean forward slightly so my belly was hanging, not sinking into my spine and pelvis to cut off circulation.
I also did daily squats after 37 weeks.
I should've walked more, but it was the hottest summer on record. I had a nice long walk each of the two days before I gave birth, and that definitely helped build my stamina.
Want to read some home birth stories or have your own to share? I'd love to read it!