Why I decided against a home birth
I want to start by saying I LOVE the idea of a home birth and adore hearing people’s experiences of giving birth at home, so please don’t read this as anti home birth, these are just the reasons it wouldn’t have worked for me.
I had never considered a home birth until a saw a friend talking about it being what she wanted when she was pregnant and later what a wonderful experience it was. It piqued my curiosity and sure enough several of my friends had done it or planned to. I joined a group on Facebook (as you do) and started seriously considering it myself. In the end, for a couple of reasons, I opted for a birth on the midwife led unit at my local hospital.
Talking About Home Birth
I had spoken to people online, and one or two local friends about the idea of giving birth at home. Speaking to people who had done it themselves was empowering. I spoke to midwives and doulas, and their opinions – professional and personal – were largely positive. Something that previously felt like a strange thing to consider started to feel comfortable and achievable.
When I mentioned home birth to closer friends and family they were all terrified. No matter how much I explained that an emergent transfer would be safe… We live within a two minute drive of an ambulance station and under 10 minutes away from the hospital. An ambulance transfer would take almost the same amount of time as a transfer from within the hospital. It would take that amount of time prep a surgical theatre for my arrival. Everything would be okay… there was always fear.
My husband witnessed my previous traumatic birth and still struggles with it himself. My mum had to have an emergency caesarean with my brother, who was minutes from dying. These were the two people I absolutely needed on board, wholeheartedly, or it simply couldn’t have worked.
I don’t want to hear how it’s my body, my birth and my choice – I know that! Just ask the midwives who were around for my birth! The reality is this: if I had gone ahead with a plan for a home birth they both would have stood by me but not with the confidence and conviction needed from them. Ultimately, I didn’t have my heart set on it. It would have been amazing, I’m sure, but it was not something I needed in order to heal and feel safe. A home birth is supposed to be in a relaxed environment with no fear or negative energy. As supportive as my loved ones would have been if I told them that’s what I was doing, I have a feeling they would have been poised to call an ambulance the entire time.
Home birth in here? No.
Of course, there is also the small matter of my house not being at all “birth ready”. I’ll be the first to admit that it is a total mess, particularly towards the end of pregnancy when I could hardly move without pain. Oh, yeah… and a four year old with a massive aversion to tidying. Not to mention the fact that I wanted a water birth and had nowhere big enough for a birthing pool. I really didn’t fancy giving birth in the chaos.
The environment you give birth in should be calm. If you give birth at home you want someone to be able to clean up easily afterwards so you can chill. As it happens, I made a biiiiig mess delivering my placenta. I can’t imagine anyone picking bits of post-baby goo out of my carpet without laughing.
I stuck around in the Facebook group I joined. It was a hugely helpful resource for learning my rights as a pregnant person and helping me decide how I wanted my birth to be. I’m not sure exactly how confidently I could have delivered a 9lb 8oz baby at almost 42 weeks with no intervention without them.
I would encourage every pregnant woman looking for an empowering birth to at least look into home birth, even if you decide it isn’t for you. The things I learnt along the way shaped my attitude which got me the positive birth experience I craved.
Have you had a home birth? How was your experience?