Long, overly detailed birth story can be found here. I don’t want to scare anyone just stopping by this blog.
So, if you would have asked me a year ago if I would ever have a baby at home, I would have said not a chance. Of course if you asked me a year ago if I would have another baby so soon, I also would have said no.
There were so many things I loved about having Harmon at a free-standing Birth Center. I loved being able to move around, to not have a monitor strapped to me full time, to not have access to the epidural I was determined not to get, that it felt like a cozy part of a house, that there was a happy oversized bathtub, etc. And I really loved that I got to go home 4 hours after having Harmon. The things I didn’t like mostly were related to personality conflicts with the midwife, although her skills were top notch, oh, and the horrifying pain and suffering of producing a giant baby.
Since we had switched insurance to Group Health and I had heard amazing things about the Group Health midwives I decided to have the baby at GH’s birth center (within their hospital) in Seattle. I began meeting with the midwives at the start of my pregnancy. At the time they had 6 midwives and you could meet with whoever, but would get whoever was at the birth center when you went in to have your baby. The first one I met with I liked well enough. The second one I really liked, but then found she only worked in the office one day a week and was only on call to the birth center 24 hours a week, meaning the likelihood of having her was really low. The third one I adored. But then she revealed she was 32 weeks pregnant and therefore there was no chance of having her. I was sad, but of course it would have been the luck of the draw anyway.
One night before my next appointment I was laying in bed and thought “hmmm maybe I want to have this baby at home.” The next morning I suggested it to Aaron and he said “sure”. Of course his motives are a bit geared toward the idea of having a baby someday while sailing across the ocean, but whatever, I was glad he was on board. No pun intened.
So the next day I went about searching for new midwives. I ended up finding two sets that I would meet with, and if I didn’t like either I would keep looking. The first lady I met with I liked, but told her I had another appointment the next day. Turns out the next day’s appointment was the one. I met with Marge at Seattle Home Maternity and knew that was where I wanted to be. I loved everything about the place, from the amazing friendly office manager to the play area and the sign “kids welcome”. (Harmon was a huge fan of the area when he came along the next time too). Not to mention I really liked Marge and felt a good feeling in my gut. They were operating as a team of two, and the next visit I met with Heather. I liked her a ton too. So either way, I knew I would be happy with who I got.
So we were all set. But then I didn’t know what to do about my parents. When I got pregnant this time my dad said many things like “at the hospital this time, right, please?” And since I was planning that, initially the answer was yes. I know that last time I scared my family (especially my mom) by not knowing what was going on, and her being worried that labor was taking too long, etc. So I decided not to tell them. In fact, I decided to not really tell anyone. After my last birth many people blamed my midwives for such a long/awful labor and delivery, when really it was a combination of my choices (no epidural, no pitocin, no c-section, etc.) and having a really huge baby that were the real causes. Plus it seems that when you decide to do anything really alternative people always come forward with their trauma stories of friends of friends of friends who had a bad outcome. I am not pretending there is no risk in having a baby at home or birth center compared to a hospital, but A. I had done a LOT of research, B. bad things happen at the hospital too, C. I didn’t want to hear it.
Aaron supported me in my non-disclosure idea, although he thought that I really should tell my family. After a bit I told my mom, and asked her to come be here when I had the baby to watch Harmon. She seemed nervous at first, but agreed as long as she got to see the baby be born. As time went on though, she seemed more excited and as the day got closer she kept telling me what a good feeling she had about the whole thing. I was happy. Aaron also thought I should tell my dad, and with a bit of coaching I eventually did. I told him how I hadn’t told him earlier because I didn’t want him to worry. He took it like a champ and told me he knew I wouldn’t make any choices I thought were unsafe. So easy, why hadn’t I told them in the first place? Silly me.
So after one million days of waiting for my little lady to come, she finally came. Being in and out of labor for a few days my labor eventually progressed in a steady fashion, and I managed to labor using controlled breathing to manage the pain (who would have thought?) and a big labor tub in my front room for the last 3 hours. The whole thing was amazingly peaceful and manageable (ok I screamed during pushing) with me feeling so relaxed I was talking and joking (and progressing quite well) right up until the very end.
I LOVED giving birth at home. I loved that Harmon was here, that we didn’t have to go anywhere, that all my things were here, that it was somewhere familiar and safe, just all of it. I realize it’s not for everyone, but it was perfect for us. I feel so blessed that everything went so well, it really was the perfect birth.
If you wanted to read the whole TMI version with lots of details, it’s here.