As a birth photographer and doula, I am honored to witness births at hospitals, birth centers, and homes across Colorado. We are blessed to live in a state that provides so many options to women and their families as they prepare for birth.
When talking with my clients both before and after birth, I always like to know why they chose their birthing place, and then what they thought about their choice after the big day has come and gone.
Here at Cord, we believe in and celebrate the uniqueness of each mother and family. We recognize that what works well for one mama may not work well for another. Today, we're simply sharing real words from real Colorado women. We asked fifteen women to answer these three questions about their homebirth:
1. What did you love most about your homebirth?
2. What was the biggest challenge?
3. Who was your care provider?
What I loved most about homebirth was being able to go straight to my own bed and have uninterrupted family time. No nurses in and out and no loud nurses station. Also, not being afraid of being bullied by healthcare professionals.
The biggest challenge of giving birth at home was my house. If we have another I will for sure hire help to keep up with housework closer to birth. It was a big stressor for me.
My care provider was Janet Schwab, CNM in Colorado Springs.
I loved so many things. I loved the personalized, focused, compassionate care I received from my midwife. I loved how much easier, peaceful, relaxing, enjoyable my labor was. I loved that I was undisturbed and I got to follow my instincts and do what I needed to do during my labor. I felt very in control of my labor and birth. I felt an intense connection with my baby that I didn't really experience during my hospital birth. I loved that I got to take an herbal bath with my baby after birth and then rest in our own bed, in our own environment and wasn't bothered by nurses we didn't even know every hour.
The biggest challenge was that she came earlier than expected and very spontaneously so I had to come to terms and peace with that and trust that everything was ok. We were still in the process of moving and had only been in our new home one week when she decided to come earthside. My water broke spontaneously while nursing my older daughter to sleep and six hours later she was in my arms.
My midwife was Barbie Burrage in Loveland.
My favorite thing about being at home was the comfortable atmosphere. There's no place like home to relax, no place like home to create memories, no place like home to feel comfortable.
The hardest part of being at home was the preparation, though I enjoyed working toward having baby and having my birth tub to look at everyday as a reminder of what was to come. My husband would probably say cleaning up the birth tub was no fun. But despite cleaning up afterward, I know Jeff would opt for a homebirth again in a heartbeat. It was so beautiful, peaceful and perfect.
My care provider was Carol Roedocker, CNM in Fort Collins.
I loved how supported I felt by giving birth at home. Everyone at my birth believed in me, encouraged me, and knew I could do it, even when I didn't think I could. I didn't have to fight for my birth, my choices or my baby. It was just birth, just me, just my baby.
The hardest part was laboring with my toddler alone. Since I went into labor after my husband went to work, waiting for him, my midwife, and my mom to pick up my son was the worst. My labor was continuous with very little breaks in between so having my toddler there to care for was a bit difficult.
My midwife was Emily Thompson, CPM in Colorado Springs
What I loved about giving birth at home was the PRIVACY. I loved that it was very hands-off. My midwife would come in to check on me as needed, but mostly it was just me and my husband, alone, with my midwives in the next room. I felt so comfortable and in my element- no self consciousness about being barely dressed, no intrusions, no strangers. I am a very private person and so homebirth has suited me well.
The hardest part of home birth both times, I think, was just the preparation. Getting all the towels cleaned, getting everything prepped for when the babies would come. It's a lot to remember and think about when you're very, very pregnant!
My care provider was Jennifer Dossett, CPM in Boulder.
The best part about giving birth at home was that I could give birth outside in my backyard...and having access to all of our yummy food before during and immediately after.
The hardest part could have been avoided: no one was able to watch kids after the birth to help my hubby. All the doulas I contacted didn't do postpartum doula care; in general any doula would have been immensely helpful! Also the judgement call when the birth team should arrive was delayed which made everything hectic. Everyone was running around getting things ready for the arrival of the baby when I needed support.
What I love most about giving birth at home was knowing that my daughter would have the most gentle postpartum as she acquainted herself with the physical world.
The hardest thing for me was keeping my space in a clean and calm energetic way that I felt comfortable and free enough to relax. I actually know people say they don't have a home birth because they don't want to have to clean it. I think more for me it's keeping the space not so much clean but spiritually vibrant.
My care provider was Gina Gerboth, CPM in Denver.
Having had a really hospital experience with my first, I didn't know just how much I would LOVE the home birth experience! I liked everything- the constant support from my midwife, being her only patient. My 3 year old being home with us and not away with someone else. Being able to be comfortable in my own home/bed. Knowing that everyone there- two doulas, midwife, husband and a birth photographer - were supportive of me and KNEW I could do it. Also the first two postpartum visits at home were a huge perk!
My midwife was Tara Stephen, CPM in Colorado Springs
I loved giving birth at home because it is my safe place, I felt comfortable and could move around where ever I wanted, I also knew my husband and family were comfortable and I didn't have to worry about them. I also wasn't being messed with. Watching my sister give birth in a hospital it seemed like she was always being poked and prodded by several different people. I felt I could do what I needed to do and not have multiple people mess with me. I didn't feel like I had to fight for what I wanted or felt strongly about. It just happened. I didn't have to worry about my daughter after she was born. And lastly I knew everyone that would be at my birth and share this very personal and amazing moment with me, at the hospital you don't know everyone that will be on the room.
The ardest part of giving birth at home was postpartum guest. I am very grateful for my husband who tried to keep people away for at least a week. But I think when you have a baby at home people assume they can come right over that day because you are home! But truth is you need time to heal and be with your family. We allowed our family to come over right away but friends had to wait at least a week. With that said we are very grateful we have such amazing friends and family that support and love us!
My midwife was Tara Stephen, CPM in Colorado Springs.
Having my children present and not having to send my husband/children home after visiting hours was the best part of having a home birth.
Stressing about cleaning my house after delivery was the most challenging aspect of home birth.
My care provider was Janet Schwab, CNM. She serves both Colorado Springs and Denver mamas.
The best part about having a home birth for me was the control in choosing my exact environment and care providers. There was little risk of anyone showing up who wasn't someone I specifically invited. I hand-picked my midwife after careful consideration. Same goes for my birth assistant and other support team members. There wasn't a surprise someone there who was rude, annoying or anything negative. I was in control of my own surroundings.
The hardest part for me was the few weeks before not knowing whether or not I was going to "risk out" and have to change my plans for a hospital/OB birth. My son was breech until about 40 weeks, so that was a huge stress leading up to my due date. Considering the reality of changing everything was difficult, but luckily he turned very late and I didn't have to worry about that anymore.
The thing I loved the most about my home birth was how comfortable I was being in my home as opposed to being a "guest" in the hospital. At my home birth, the only people present were there by my permission-- no random nurse who I'd never seen before coming and invading my personal space and telling me what to do. I chose everyone as part of my birth team and having the birth in my home made it feel like I had more control than I would have had in the hospital. Part of my birth team included my daughters (ages 8 and 11) and I love that I shared the experience with them. I absolutely loved being in the comfort of my own home, and the fact that 30 mins after I birthed my son in the water, I was nursing and snuggling him in my own bed.
The hardest part... Waiting for my midwife to arrive so I could get in the water! My labor was barely an hour and I thought my babe was going to be delivered by my husband!
My midwife was Janet Schwab, CNM
Favorite part with all three was not having to go anywhere in labor and being home already once baby arrived. That, and the assumption that's it's your birth and you are in charge, as opposed to having to fight to make choices that matter to you.
With #1, healing post partum - she had her hands by her ears and a mild dystocia and I tore. With #2, the 40 hour labor. With #3, it was all easy, hardest part was our midwife almost missing it despite arriving only 8 minutes after we called.
We saw Beth Karberg with the first two, and Desiree Andrews, CPM in Colorado Springs with our 3rd.
I loved the comfort of moving wherever I wanted, wearing whatever I wanted, and not feeling like I needed to fight for my birth plan.
The hardest part for me was nothing really about labor and delivery...just the usual struggles to find optimal positioning. We had some complications for the baby during our postpartum recovery and the providers at the hospital unfortunately had some preconceived judgements about our home birth.
My midwife was Janet Schwab, CNM
I loved being able to do what I wanted during labor. I liked walking anywhere I wanted, never being hooked up, getting to labor and birth in the water, going outside and laboring on my deck, having whatever lighting I wanted. Never feeling bothered or made to do something annoying.
The hardest part was after the birth. I didn't like being left alone, I couldn't just push a button for my midwife to arrive. Also, I didn't like the potential for getting everything messy and bloody. I have a bit of anxiety about having a clean space and dripping blood on my carpet on the way to the bathroom is really frustrating to me.
My midwife was Jessica Nipp, CPM
Here at cord, we offer doula services for women who give birth at hospitals, birth centers, and homes. Our Colorado Springs and Denver homebirth doulas provide a unique package that is specifically catered to families giving birth at home. Click here to find out more. We'd love to support you!