I know some people wonder where the decision to birth at home comes from. Other people have moved past the wondering and are debating a homebirth for themselves. And still other have had homebirths in the past and continue to choose it for future births.
I can't give answers to all of the people wondering why except to tell them why I have personally done it. I know the journey of one can help the journey of others. I love to hear experiences, expectations, hopes and questions from other people. (Now I have the Yo Gabba Gabba song about sharing in my head!) I am SO thankful that other people shared with me. These people, unknowingly, gave me options
I was sitting with two other women and we were all nursing our new-ish babies. Two of us had typical hospital births, although mine had not gone as desired. I wasn't telling the story of my birth. I didn't even know enough to know what had happened or why. I couldn't even give a voice to my disappointment - I had a typical hospital birth for my area. The same most women had. How come it wasn't ok for me? One friend talked about her hospital birth. She was satisfied. The other friend talked about her homebirth. (WHAT?!?! People do that? Normal people? People with jobs and houses? WHY?! That's so dangerous and irresponsible!!) She was glowing. She was thrilled. She was happy. And I thought she was crazy!
Maybe a year and a half later I was reading the newspaper when I saw an article about doulas. I still have that article. It spoke to me and called me. I went to the website listed (DONA.org) and happily found out that their current headquarters were near me AND they had regular trainings in my area! I didn't know any other doulas. None of them in my area had websites. There was no facebook or myspace and doulas were still pretty new to the birth scene. Nobody had heard of them and a lot of people thought I was crazy. I bought the books I had to read and I started studying. I went to the training with a handful of other women. I was young, it was new, I had very little birth experience and zero natural birth experience. I had judgments and preconceptions. I was idealistic and there was a right way to do everything. (Time, growth, and experience have definitely tempered that for me!) I finally met other doulas and connected with families and I began to attend births.
I have learned so much. Women are strong. They know what to do. They love their babies. Some care providers are good. Some not so much. I also learned what was important to me for my own future births. These were just basic things. Honesty, dignity, privacy, security, confidence, and support. I watched doctors and midwives. I sat with nurses in the halls. I overheard conversations and saw treatment that bordered on abusive. How was I going to have that natural birth I wanted? It wasn't likely to happen.
Before I found out I was pregnant again I started reading about homebirth. I read articles by Henci Goer about the safety of planned homebirth. I already loved her book The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth and loaned it to most of my doula clients. I talked to other doulas and got the names of some midwives and started calling around. I read books and copied questions. I'm sure those midwives had heard it all a million times. The list below is a pretty accurate description of what I asked. There are probably a ton of these lists floating around online that are all very similar. This one is from San Diego Birth and Wellness. If you haven't checked it out, I would go read Barbara Herrera's (Navelgazing Midwife) awesome series about interviewing a homebirth midwife here. In part 2 I will talk about what made me personally decide on homebirth for children.