Things (finally) got underway in preparing for our little man’s arrival this weekend. I’m due in six weeks so it’s high time we got cracking, but because this will be boy number 3 and we kept everything from last time (and some things from the teenager’s baby days too!), we’ve got a bit too relaxed about things. I always go overdue, so it feels like we have so little to do and so much time.
But this weekend, a smidgen of nesting must have taken hold. I blame it on the fact we spent most of Saturday volunteering at the nursery, helping them to refresh the gardens. Painting fences and murals to get the place looking good for the summer clearly set off some sort of chain reaction in my head. I came home and sorted our mountain of baby clothes into sizes, washed the 0-3 month stuff and went to town with the stain remover on the white items. We dug out the cot, Moses basket and carry cot so we can get new mattresses ordered too. I just need to clean the pram and car seat, and figure out how to work our new Perfect Prep machine…and then I think we’ll be pretty much good to go.
Looking forward to birth
With getting things ready, my mind has turned to the birth. Ok, who am I kidding – I’ve been thinking about the birth for a while! But things are getting real now, and I thought I’d do a few blog posts in the coming weeks about what our plans are. I had swithered about telling people, either in real life or on the blog, as I’m conscious that plans change. But I’m getting more confident about saying that we’re hoping for a water birth at home this time around, and I have an urge to write about it. So this is part one, about why I want to birth at home.
Wanting a home birth doesn’t make me a crazy, placenta-eating hippie
(no offence if you ate/buried/painted with yours)
Reactions of those I’ve told that I’m planning a home birth have been mixed. Actually, most people have been very positive. But there are some who had a sharp intake of breath, pulled a face or made some sort of rather-you-than-me comment. I suppose I can understand where they’re coming from – what with the only representation of a home birth you’re likely to see on tv being in a Call the Midwife 1950’s slum or as part of some shock-tactic documentary about women who are more interested in their placenta than their baby, a lot of people don’t have a reference point. Rates are still low, sitting at around 3% of all births, so not many people will know someone who has done it.
But I’m hoping to be one of them. And my placenta can go in the bin, for all I care.
A home birth wasn’t something I had considered until this pregnancy.
I was induced with the teenager so had him in hospital, and when we were having our four year old I was quite happy to deliver at the local birthing unit. I don’t have anything against hospitals or birthing units, our old house was too tiny, we have a highly strung dog and I couldn’t be bothered with organising things, so a home birth just wasn’t on my radar. All I wanted for my birth with my four year old was a relaxed atmosphere, hopefully a water birth and to use only the minimum of pain relief. The where wasn’t really an issue.
That was, until the where became an issue, and left me with a birth experience that took me a long while to process and make peace with.
My last birth experience took me while to get over
At a routine appointment in my last pregnancy, the midwife thought she heard a missed beat in my baby’s heart rate, and without even seeing me to assess it themselves the
powers that be medical staff decided I could no longer deliver at the birthing unit. I would have to travel to the nearest hospital 35 minutes away, and when my labour started it became apparent how long 35 minutes in a car can really feel.
I went into labour naturally, and spent the day quite happily pottering about at home with intermittent contractions. Unfortunately, my mum turned up at about 4pm and nagged me into going to the hospital before the rush hour traffic got too bad. As I knew would happen, come 7pm I was on my way home having been sent away as my labour wasn’t established. I was cautious about making another wasted and uncomfortable trip only to be sent away again, so I held out at home…
We were caught off-guard by how fast things progressed and just a few hours later Hubs had to bundle me into the car as I started to push. We didn’t make it to the hospital. After a panicked drive where I fought every contraction and urge to push, my baby was born in the car park while smokers standing at the entrance watched on.
For a long time afterwards I would wake up in the middle of the night in a panic thinking I was still in the car. I’d then then lie awake and pick apart all the things I felt I’d done wrong – I didn’t fight my corner to deliver at the birthing unit, I stayed at home too long, I didn’t trust my own judgement, maybe we should have called an ambulance. I blamed my mum for nagging me to go to the hospital too soon, I blamed the medical staff for their decision (they took a 2 minute look at my baby after he was born and said his heart was fine), but most of all I blamed myself. Hello post-natal depression.
Why I want a home birth this time
Well, I think that’s kind of obvious – to feel relaxed and in control, to avoid any time in the bloody car, and to have some privacy to birth in. I just want to concentrate on bringing my baby into the world with as few distractions and worries as possible, and for me that means being in my favourite place.
I am a “low risk” mum – no health conditions and no pregnancy complications which could pose an issue, and with two quick and straightforward births to my name already. I’m healthy and confident in my body’s ability to give birth naturally and with minimal pain relief. This all means that for me, home is just as safe (if not more so) than a hospital setting for welcoming my baby into the world.
Being at home also means I’m guaranteed a water birth or at least use of a pool in labour, without the risk of someone else getting in before me, as we have bought our own (I’ll talk more about that in part 2). It means I can eat and drink if and when I want. It means I can have candles and my oil burner to create the atmosphere I want, with my own comforts around me. It also means that after the birth, Hubs wont have to disappear home and I wont have to spend a night in an alien environment. It means being somewhere where I feel I can have my say and make my own decisions. And I wont be freaking out about delivering my baby by the side of the road.
Home birth blogs
Although every birth is different, I love to read about other women’s experiences and I’ve been really enjoying all the bloggers out there who have shared theirs. So to finish off, I thought I’d link to my favourites in case anyone else wanted a read.
Rock My Family – a calming home birth
Gas & Air Blog – home birth stories (especially Annalise’s story)
Making Luna – birth story
Monkey & Mouse – birth story
Have you had a home birth – what was your experience? If you know of any good blogs to read about babies who were born at home, I’d love it if you could share in the comments!