Forward from Jolene, the wife and midwife: My husband wrote this as a surprise for me for Mother’s Day this year. I thought it fitting I share this near Father’s Day. I didn’t know how Dave really felt about our home births until I read this. I knew he said he liked it better than the hospital birth we had, but I didn’t know he noticed some of the big things that were different for me – that my being completely free to do what my body told me to do was exactly right. There was no negotiating about getting into stirrups or not, and no negotiating so that I didn’t end up with an episiotomy I knew I didn’t need. It drives home the fact that the entire family is at the center of care in home birth – it’s a family event – it affects everyone, for life. That may sound dramatic, but the day that we had our hospital birth was the first time Dave had been so intimately involved in a birth. And he, who hadn’t ever been around birth other than to hear me talk about it (admittedly all the time), knew that what we experienced in that hospital birth wasn’t very good for any of us. Our home births were healing, and taught us all a lot about how amazing we work together, as a family. So now I’m very, very glad in our “post-coital bliss”, I insisted that our last two babies be planned home births. Home birth is not for all, but it was exactly perfect for our family (twice).
Let's be straight from the start, the thought of a home birth scared the crap out of me. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to birth (or I was) - mother under heavy sedation, feet up in stirrups, father pacing in the waiting room smoking a Marlboro, very Ward and June Cleaver. I practically made my wife go to the hospital with our first baby (honestly I did make her go), and by contrast the experience was appalling. Though I know many people have incredibly positive hospital birth experiences, that was not our story. While I did not realize it at the time, my wife had practically no control over her body or her experience giving birth. She had to fight each step to gain and maintain any dignity or control over how she brought our son into the world.
When our second child was conceived, almost as soon as I was dozing off in post coital bliss, my wife stated that this child would be born at home, and in a birth tub. Now it's hard to argue with your wife when she's a licensed, certified nurse midwife. I put on a brave face and said sure, sure hon ... but inside I was scared stiff. All the same thoughts went through my head that might be going through yours if you're not familiar with homebirth, "what if something happens to the baby, what if something happens to my wife, what am I supposed to be doing during the birth, what if ... what if ...". We had all the reassuring conversations, "I'm healthy, the baby is healthy, if anything looks wrong the hospital is close by ... etc." When the day finally came, I went about the pre-established procedures, called grandparents, set up the birth tub, called the midwife. But there was one thing missing, the stress. Everything was happening as it should, as a woman's body is designed for. When my wife had a contraction, I helped rub her back, held her hand. When she wanted to get in the birth tub, she got in. When she felt like pushing, she pushed. No one there telling her they needed to give her an IV. No one trying to hook her to a monitor, no one suggesting a cesarean. No stress. I felt far more relaxed and in control in my own home than I ever did in the hospital, because my wife was in control, empowered. It was beautiful. Our son came into the world, and we were already home! No worrying about having to check out of the hospital in a day or two. And no bill for $10K, $15K, $25K . Is there a time and place for a hospital birth, absolutely. And that is a conversation for you, your wife, and your care provider. But between you and I, I would rather birth in my own home than in the hospital any day - far more relaxing and pleasant - think it over!
Jolene has been a Certified Nurse Midwife and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner since 2007 and has had the pleasure of catching babies and caring for women in New York, Illinois, and now Colorado. She has four wonderful children with her photographer husband, Dave - Josh, Fox, Ryker, and Molly. Helping women on the sacred journey through pregnancy, birth, and life is her calling and her passion. Her hobbies include sleep, yoga, hiking, and watching sunrises and sunsets over the mountains en route to or from births. You can reach her at: Springs Midwifery and Women's Care, LLC, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.jolenethemidwife.com, or on Facebook.