When John and I found out we were pregnant with our second child, we could not have been more pleased. We wanted children 18 months apart so they could grow up good friends and stay friends through puberty. We knew without question we would be using the same midwife as last time and having the birth at home.
Our reasons for a home birth with a midwife are plentiful. First, we want the highest quality care possible. Our prenatal appointments last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half and they include relationship and life coaching in addition to nutrition and birthing advice. Our postpartum visits are at home so we do not have to drive the baby anywhere during the earliest days of his or her life. This allows us to spend quality time bonding instead of shuffling around to doctor's offices laden with germs and busy with commotion.
Birthing at home allows you to create the ideal environment for yourself. Instead of sterile tile floors and fluorescent lights on a strange bed with nurses, doctors, and strangers bustling in and out, a homebirth allows you to relax in the comfort of your own home, with your own bed, your own sheets, and only the people you choose to have around.
We also wanted a low pressure environment where our birthing choices are respected. Statistics show that in-hospital births are more likely to include unnecessary interventions. These interventions, such as an induction or epidural, often lead to cesarean section which is the last thing our family wants if possible.
In addition to the pressures during the actual birth, there are intense pressures after the birth for vaccinations and documentation that we are not interested in. Our midwife and our family believe that a newborn's immunities come from the mother's breast-milk, not from vaccines. She says if you want to vaccinate, do the minimum and do it at six months, not on the first days of their lives. We choose not to vaccinate at all and do not want to be in an environment where these choices are not respected.
We also believe that documentation, such as a social security number, should be the choice of the child if they want to enter the work force or collect social security, not the choice of the parent for a tax write off. We've heard story after story of social services being called on parents who birth in a hospital and refuse a social security number for their children, and we do not want such entanglements with the state in our lives!
In order to teach others about the powerful and life changing experience a home birth with a midwife can be, we wanted to share our recent birthing story with you. Please enjoy!
Our Birth Story: Birthing at Home
One week ago (March 27, 2013) John and I gave birth to our second child, William Lysander. The birth took place at our home in Austin, Texas and was attended by the same midwife who attended our first home birth, MariMikel Potter of New Life Birth Services.
The day before was my twenty-ninth birthday and I spent the evening laughing away with friends and family at a local Mexican restaurant, hoping I would not go into labor on my birthday. When we got home, I had the feeling we'd have a baby very soon so I stayed up vacuuming and organizing cloth diapers.
At one thirty in the morning, our daughter, Aliana, began to stir. While shushing her back to sleep, I had two very strong contractions. I went to the restroom then tried to get back into bed. After three more very strong contractions I decided to take a hot bath with a glass of wine to see if I could relax myself back to sleep. Our midwife suggests this tactic to determine active labor from warm up labor - if you're actually in labor, you won't be able to go back to sleep after using this "trick".
John began to time my contractions while I was in the tub and we spent an hour trying to decide if we were actually in labor. Around 2:30 we called the midwife and John's mom to let them know we were going to have a baby that morning. John began the birth prep (boiling water, warming the olive oil, scrubbing the bathrooms), turned on music, and lit about fifty tea light candles all over the house.
I labored in the living room, on the toilet and in the shower enjoying the ambiance of the house and singing to the lyrics of my favorite songs (Beatles radio on Pandora). John's mom showed up around 3 a.m. just as Aliana woke up to stay up for the birth. Aliana did very well, asking everyone repeatedly if we were okay. She asked for food so John's mom made her eggs and strawberries and they ate at the candle lit table while I labored right there in the same room.
When MariMikel showed up, she did an exam and I was very excited to know I was at 9.5 cm. She said "The baby could be here in 30 minutes, 5 if your water breaks". While she set up her birth supplies in our bedroom, I did my thing in the living room. I swayed to the music with John, bending over and releasing the muscles in my lower back when the contractions started. I was able to sing through most of the contractions, and felt alive and happy through the process. The contractions were painful, yes, but nothing compared to my first labor where Aliana descended the birthing canal with her arm straight up!
After an hour or so, the pressure on my rear became very intense so I moved to the bedroom to prepare to push. We let Aliana try to be there for the actual birth, but it was a bit overwhelming for her so she and Lita (John's mom) moved to the other room. Five contractions and a face full of broken blood vessels later, our nine pound baby was born as the light from the full moon poured into our windows.
Aliana was not happy about the baby at first and shouted "No no no!" and buried her head in the bed. I was heartbroken that she wouldn't even come near me! After a day of playing at Grandma's house while momma and dada slept, she came home and fell in love with her little brother.
It has been a week and my body is recovering nicely. William Lysander is a breastfeeding machine and sleeping soundly through the night. I could not imagine giving birth in any other environment and feel so blessed to have found MariMikel to assist us in the birthing of our children.
If you are interested in home-birthing, I suggest you check out the documentary "The Business of Being Born" by Riki Lake. John and I watched it when we were pregnant and it inspired us to explore this route.
If you are in central Texas and looking for a midwife, I highly recommend you check out New Life Birth Services
. Tell MariMikel Cat and John sent you :D