Monday, December 10, 2012

Homebirth is where the heart is

After going through IVF, I assumed I'd have a typical hospital birth with pain meds coursing through my veins. But once I became pregnant every instinct in my body said to go the natural route (btw, natural does not mean vaginal with drugs. It means vaginal without drugs. Too many people think that if you don't have a C-section it is a "natural" childbirth. Er, no. Natural means, just that. No drugs.)

Over the past few years I had read and seen things that made me question if a hospital birth was right for me.  Yes, I'd seen The Business of Being Born,which is a great overview of how labor and delivery has become big business in America but by no means was I going to make my choice off of one documentary  So I began doing my research. I read a ton of books, looked at the how the rest of the Western world viewed birth (and pregnancy), read the stats, and talked to friends from around the globe, before finally coming to the decision to have a homebirth.

We found an amazing birthing center in LA (The Sanctuary) and have had an amazing experience. What my husband loves most about this process is the time they spend with us at every visit and that they see this as a continuing process; before, during, and after labor. We had friends living in Holland, which we visited and discovered that most births are done at home with a midwife and the midwife stays with the mother and child for days and weeks after the birth to continue their care (btw, the Netherlands has one of the lowest neonatal death rates, the US has one of the highest). Ever since then, my hubby always loved the idea of all around, natural care.

His only complaint about our birthing center- there's a whole lot of hugging that happens at each visit. But he deals with it.

What I love about the practice is that their goal is not for me to have a homebirth but to have the safest, natural, and most relaxed birth experience I can. I am monitored very closely, and as long as I stay low-risk, we will move forward with the homebirth. But if there is any indication that assistance will be needed, then they'll come with me for a supported hospital birth, along with a doctor who will respect my wishes to stay drug-free, with as little intervention as possible. At this point, everything is running smoothly, and with only a few weeks left, homebirth is most likely. Woot!

At our birth, we will have a midwife and one or two assistants. We will also have a Doctor hanging out on our couch, sleeping and eating our food, unless he is needed. He's our warm and snuggly security blanket.

And to answer the question that most people ask, no I will not be using any pain medication and no there will not even be an option for pain medication. Please, pick your mouths up off the floor. We are using many other natural techniques, the main one being hypnobirthing. Pregnant women are warriors, not wimps.

Don't freak out! There's a lot of fear and misinformation about homebirths but it is not my job to educate or convince anyone. I am in love with my decision and that's what matters.

And as I say to all moms-to-be, I don't care what you do. Just do what feels right for you and your baby. There are gonna be a ton of decisions to make in the future about your child and there will always be lovers and haters along the way, but stick to your guns and feel free to tell the haters to shut it.

As I like to say when someone opens their mouth to give me their point-of-view of my life:
Your opinion of me is none of my business.


  1. To quote Butterfly McQueen "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!"

    Good luck!


  2. Good for you, Brooke! I was also going to do a natural birth (in a hospital, tho) with Lance. But a week before he was due, I got an ultrasound that said he was going to weigh 11 pounds 7 ounces. I was SO upset because I knew they'd want to do a C-section, which I did. He ended up weighing 9 pounds 3 ounces. I should've trusted my instinct. Most mothers' instincts about baby weight are more accurate than ultrasounds, I found out later, btw. I truly grieved my birth plan and had a day to do that. Just be prepared to deviate from your birth plan if that's where your birth takes you. Mine got shot to hell. Looking back, even though I still think I could've delivered him naturally, I did go with the C-section and made it as lovely as I could. What happened was the way it was supposed to happen, I tell myself. Anyway, good luck! Very excited for your choice and the birthing center you found!! - Lisa

  3. I wish so much that there were birthing centers in GA and more natural birthing supportive docs here. As it is there are very few options for people to feel safe when they make the choice you are making b/c so few practices are on board and so often the docs sway the moms in a different direction. I had 2 natural water births (in hospitals), one was perfect and exactly as I'd planned it while #2 was horrendous as I battled with the midwife to get me the tub. People are not even aware they have that option in hospital sometimes. It is obviously an amazing way (like
    Hypnobirthing) to alleviate the pain without any medication. I'm so happy you have found such a supportive place regardless of your choice b/c in the end it is YOUR experience so it should be YOUR way. Yes things don't always go as planned (um, you know that on your journey!), but having the support you need along the way can truly make all the difference in your experience if ever things are not ideal. Best wishes to you guys!