Unassisted Home Birth
Home births are on the rise, especially with COVID still lingering in the hospitals. I am eighteen weeks pregnant with my first child and here are my steps in deciding on home birth.
I want a natural birth so I could feel all the adrenaline of birth. I want my child to naturally come into this world and I want to do so as peacefully as possible. I want a spiritual experience and I want to be as connected to my child as possible.
Humboldt County offers many great birthing opportunities. I would like to talk about the ones I researched so that if you want to have a natural birth but don’t want to go as far as a home birth here are some awesome options for you. This was also a big step in my decision-making process.
Dr. Stokes at St. Joseph Health Medical Group, is the OB I have decided to go with. Even though I want a home birth I want to get the tests, the ultrasound, and guidance of a professional without them interfering with my childbirth. I’ve been able to receive the professional doctor visits I need, without fearing that I will be judged or misguided due to my decision.
The Moonstone Midwives: I cried in awe when I went to the Moonstone Midwives orientation. They offered a group of five midwives that work with you closely and stay on call if you need to get a hold of them any day. The experience is a personal one, where they attend to your needs and desires so you have the experience you long for. They have a beautiful birthing center where each room looks like your own private bedroom equipped with a bathtub. They talked about building a relationship with their clients. They offered some strict rules for home births because of COVID, but the option was still available. It is recommended to only have one family member at the birth and nobody that has traveled out of the area at least two weeks leading up to the birth (for me this meant my mom and my adopted daughter, who will be taking a vacation prior to the birthing.) Unfortunately, they do not take MediCal so I was unable to move forward with this option.
Open Door Community Health Centers: This Obstetric was highly recommended. They have midwives and Doulas that are on call for any question that you may have. They have a hotline for good and bad foods and herbs you can eat while pregnant. They offer yoga, swim passes, birth baths, counseling, and they take MediCal! Unfortunately, due to COVID, you cannot birth in the birth baths and many of the exercise amenities are closed. This option wasn’t much different than that of St. Joseph Health Medical Group, so I stuck to the doctor I’d already met with.
Planning a home birth can be overwhelming especially with all the fear that escalates around it. I immediately found support in Facebook groups, surrounding my feed with like-minded individuals, and I quickly came to realize that my fears and challenges are shared with other pregnant mom’s, simultaneously. These groups have helped me tremendously to gain the confidence I need to give birth, I really appreciate their support. Here are the groups I joined:
Next, accompanied with countless amounts of YouTube videos, I piled on the books. I’ve read more books since I’ve been pregnant than I have ever before, (sometimes five books at a time on different subjects,) and I’ve always been an active reader. These pregnancy books are easier than they seem. Some of it I skim, while other parts I jot down in my notebook for easy finding.
I was gifted What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff. This book goes over A-Z about being pregnant by week. This book was a great start to preparing for my pregnancy and soothing any worries.
Once I decided to have a home birth I got Home Birth on Your Own Terms by Heather Baker. This book is a must for home births but there are suggestions in it that I take with a grain of salt. It prepares an expectant for a home birth and has pictures to help the reader visualize it. She goes over everything from herbs, to birthing positions. It’s a step-by-step book on how to do it at home.
I also received Birthing From Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz. This book is different than I expected. It prepares the mother for the spiritual and psychological aspects of childbirth. It has many exercises to strengthen the bond between mother and child and held mentally prepare the mother for birth. At the beginning of this book, the author mentions Lucy, a Homosapien who also gave birth in her natural environment without any prep or planning.
My supportive OB recommended Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. These books are a more in-depth look into childbirth and offer more medical advice than the other books listed. I highly recommend these books for a woman looking to have a home birth.
Guarding the Moon: A Mother’s First Year by Francesca Lia Block follows her own experience with the joys and fears of motherhood. Francesca is an incredible writer who incorporates magic, honesty, and vulnerability in her telling’s of birth and the first year of childhood.
The books are a must but something is also a must, telling the folks. I’ve been warned to not tell anyone that will not be supportive but, since my family and I have a close relationship, I felt obligated to.
After the shock of telling the mothers in my family that I was planning a home birth, they all said the same thing: Women all over the world have been giving birth in their natural environment for centuries. As I head into my journey I have the ancestral support of millions of mothers that gave birth outside of a hospital and, now, I also have the support of my own mothers.
When I knew it was what I going to do, no one could stop me, and with confidence came support.
My husband and I found a birthing class called Heart of the Rose, that utilizes the book Birthing from Within. Her classes are local to Eureka, CA and help prepare the mother and partner for childbirth.
Now, I plan the birth. That’s right, I plan it. I told my mom I was going to send her my birthing plan before I told her I wanted a home birth and her response was: I’ve never heard of that before (that was when I knew I had to tell her.) So here is a rough draft of my plan.
I talk to my baby and tell my baby that we are doing this together, we are birthing at home, and to be ready to cooperate, after all it’s me and baby figuring this out. I feel like I’ve gained a deeper relationship with my child by talking to it daily (we joke around and laugh a lot, my baby has a sense of humor.) And from there I have this plan:
I listen to classical music when no one else is around so my child and I can relax and that way it is attuned to certain artists and songs. When I give birth I want these songs to be played. I do full moon rituals that fulfill my pagan practices. I would like to smudge the room I give birth in and invite my ancestors to join. I enjoy essential oils, lately lemon and lavender. I would like for these smells to accompany me. I have written down affirmations. I tell these to myself every day my favorites being, “My baby and my body know what to do,” “The waves can’t be stronger than me, they are me,” “Tough times never last but tough people do.” I want to give birth in the tub but I am prepared to be in many positions according to what my body tells me. I want to hold the baby in briefly, with my hand or my husbands, to allow fluids to drain and to prevent ripping. My husband will catch the baby and lay it on my chest. After the placenta has stopped pulsing, he will cut the cord. My friend will videotape the birth and record the time. My mother will watch my daughter, bring hot water to the tub, and receiving blankets when ready. I want to birth mostly alone and when it is time to birth, I want as little interaction with others as possible. I imagine my daughter thinking beautiful and positive thoughts, which I will prep her for since she is seven and might feel fear. I want to record the baby’s weight and prints. If the baby comes two weeks early or two weeks late, I will consider going to the hospital for my birth, otherwise during my birthing process I want to be reminded that this is my birthing plan and I don’t want anyone to suggest or listen to me if I suggest, going to the hospital.
I am capable of giving birth at home and so are you! If you are thinking about a home birth do your research and don’t be afraid. Millions of women have given birth outside of hospitals and so can you!