Experienced Homebirth Advocate

Elizabeth - my youngest at 9 months

Elizabeth – my youngest at 9 months

Midwifery, Doulas and Homebirths

I’m glad to read about more and more people having homebirths (when appropriately safe) like this model/actress at the 2013 Grammy’s. All three of my children were natural births – 2 of which were homebirths. The last baby was actually born while the other 2 slept peacefully in the room next door. I’m proud of that feat!

My mother was 1 of 8 kids (plus 2 still births) so my grandmother had 10 total pregnancies and 8 births. I grew up hearing the women in my family joke that “we go to the corner and squat”….because they would work during early labor pains until the moment they could feel the baby move into the birth canal. It was that wonderful statement about squatting  in the corner (although not such a pretty image) that gave me the belief that I could and would birth my children at home.

The only reason my first child wasn’t born at home was because he decided to come early at only 34 1/2 weeks. Safety was the first priority. We went to the hospital where the staff let us alone in the room with a midwife only for the birth. We had also planned on a doula but the room was so tiny and things were progressing nicely so we never called her to attend the birth. The maternity room physician required that we regularly check the babies’ heartbeat. The midwife and I both refused to constantly wear a fetal monitor. We knew it is too important to move and change positions often during the birth. I would not be lying on my back that’s for sure!

Hospital staff did sweep in to check out the baby as soon as he was born. I held him for only a few moments after the birth. He was fine but whimpering. They took him to the neonatal intensive care (NICU) unit for a few hours. I admit it was sort of nice to have a few hours to sleep and recuperate.

After I did get rest I went to the NICU where I put him under my hospital robe so we could be skin-to-skin / chest-to-chest. I wanted my heartbeat, body temperature, smell and voice to soothe him. After 3 days of nearly constant skin-to-skin, the doctor who originally said the baby would be in the hospital for three weeks, told his nursing staff in a gruff voice: “We might as well send him home. He is obviously fine with room air since the mother will not put him down.” I was never so happy to make someone annoyed with my actions.

I’ll fill you in on the lovely (although tough at times) homebirths of my two girls at another time. Feel free to email me at thedancingmennonite@gmail.com if you are thinking about but unsure about homebirth. I love to add positive opinions to the mix.