Monday, February 23, 2015

Homebirth thoughts

I always assumed I'd have a homebirth. To many, this seems weird, but I was raised by a mother who was very pro-homebirth. Because puberty needs to be scarier, my mom  also gave me books about midwifery and homebirth when I was in my early teens. I joke that I was brainwashed, but from the beginning, everything I read about out-of-hospital birth just made sense to me.

Even before I got pregnant, Nick and I had talked about how and where our baby would be born. I was already 99.999% set on homebirth, but he hadn't given it any thought. Because he's a normal 30-something man. We watched a couple documentaries and looked up statistics. Eventually, he became pretty open to the idea of not going to a hospital. Awesome. Now, to find someone who'd deliver our baby in rural-ish Maryland. I asked the couple of "crunchy" moms I knew and they suggested Bay Area Midwifery in Annapolis. It's a hospital affiliated birth center that came highly recommended by a friend. Still, the idea of a hospital-attached birth center didn't sit well with me. It's really too similar to just plain being in a hospital. All the equipment is there, and if something seems awry, interventions are right there. Nope. Not what I wanted.

A coworker recommended BirthCare and Women's Health in Alexandria. It's about 45 minutes from our house, and they have a team of midwives that attend homebirths as well as a freestanding birth center. Sign me up! My coworker gave birth in the birth center and loved it. I called them and made my first appointment. From the very beginning, they gave us warm fuzzies. Despite being "crunchy," they were incredibly professional and strived to keep me and Nick involved in the prenatal care process. They asked about my mental health at appointments and their office was run very well. I loved everything about them (even though I didn't click with a couple of the non-delivering midwives). As an added bonus, they were willing to travel to our house to attend our birth. Even though I would have been willing to go to the birth center (then... now, I'm homebirth fo' lyfe), I really, really wanted a homebirth. Hooray! We'd found our midwives.

As the pregnancy progressed, we took Bradley Method classes (review here). Those classes solidified our desire to pursue an unmedicated homebirth. As my due date drew nearer, my focus was on staying as low risk as possible so the midwives would be willing to have me deliver at home. I didn't have gestational diabetes, my blood pressure stayed low, D wasn't breech. All good signs! My fear toward the end was actually that I'd be overdue and end up with a hospital birth after 42 weeks. Ha!

The actual homebirth was amazing. Our team was so supportive in just the right ways, letting me labor how I needed to while still letting me know they were there for me. They made everything feel so smooth. The postpartum blood situation is pretty freaky but they were old pros and made sure we didn't end up with stained sheets or towels. They even did a load of laundry for us. So awesome. After D came out, it was just a few more minutes while they hung out and did his initial Apgar tests and checked me out, then they left us alone for a couple hours. That was perfect, Getting to snuggle in our own bed as a new family was priceless. Staring into his wee face in the comfort of my own home is an experience I won't ever forget (Ambien haze or not). I cannot imagine how different the experience would have been in a hospital. Just being able to puke in your own bathroom is such a nice feeling, and having Kiwi there to keep me company was also great.

I am so thankful that we got our homebirth experience! If anything had been high risk, of course we'd have gone for the hospital, but for my normal, low risk pregnancy, this was the perfect fit. I walked away (literally) from the birth feeling like everything had gone perfectly, even with the induction. I want to shout it from the rooftops! I am so proud of myself, my body, baby, husband, and birth team for this accomplishment! 

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