If you would have asked me years ago, I never imagined I would become the type of woman who wanted to have a home birth. I didn’t even know that option existed.
Knowing I wanted a less medicalized experience, I gave birth to my first baby in a small community hospital in rural Ohio. From first contractions to my daughter in my arms, my eight hour labor wasn’t much to complain about for a first time mom, but I also accredited my success to my knowledge. I had been active throughout my pregnancy, chose a small obstetric practice with two nurse midwives, hired a supportive doula, and read over a dozen books preparing for natural childbirth. Due to the course of my labor, I agreed to IV antibiotics and nitrous gas, but courageously refused induction with a foley bulb, continuous fetal monitoring, and all other induction or pain relief options I was pushed to accept. I delivered my daughter in a hospital vaginally, naturally, and with no complications. It was the best day of my life.
A few years went by, and we relocated to Florida in the midst of the pandemic. Since my business grew quickly within the first year we were here, we decided it was time to grow our family. I had already established care at a local birth center, but something about the idea of a home birth started to grow on me. Online, I had seen many stories, photos, and videos of women birthing naturally. I followed social media accounts that showed the raw beauty and sheer power that these women possessed as they brought their babies earthside. Something in my heart compelled me to connect with a licensed midwife I had met through professional networking for my business. She was one of the first people I shared my pregnancy news with.
Did I have questions and fears about home birth? Absolutely. We humans fear the unknown. What empowered me to choose an unmedicated childbirth experience was knowledge. And so I began asking questions and preparing myself for this transformative experience.
I vocalized my concerns and asked for reassurance from my midwife. I hired a birth doula who I knew would be a great fit for both me and my husband. I stayed active on my feet daily for my business. I prioritized regular chiropractic care and massage therapy appointments for myself, so that my body would be prepared for birth. I incorporated brief stretching and meditations nightly before I would fall asleep. I practiced reading, writing, and thinking positive affirmations about birth. I worked on diaphragmatic breathing daily to connect my brain to my body through breathwork. I visualized my magical, powerful experience of childbirth and how it would allow me to connect to my baby.
Labor began early on a Wednesday morning, shortly after we dropped our daughter off at school. My contractions were steadily growing, and in denial, I came home and labored in our shallow bathtub for about an hour before we decided to call our birth team for assistance. My midwife, doula, and photographer arrived on the scene within 10 minutes of each other, and we all agreed that labor was progressing quickly. I began with a series of deep breaths on the exercise ball, transitioned over to the toilet for a few very powerful contractions, and suddenly felt the urge to push.
I had only been in active labor for about 2 hours, and I was fully coherent and having lighthearted conversations between contractions. How had this all gone so fast? The inflatable birth tub, barely filled with water, was just deep enough for me to get into to labor for a few more surges. With the warmth and buoyancy of the water, I was able to fully surrender to the next contractions that came. I remember saying out loud “I can’t believe it was this easy” in between surges, leaning over the birth tub, looking up at my husband. With an uncontrollable urge to bear down, my son’s head emerged in the pool, and I eagerly waited for the next surge. I felt him rotate and reposition himself as he prepared to be born. In one intense and strong push, my baby glided down into the water, and I reached between my legs and immediately lifted him up onto my chest. He was finally here.
My son was born on a calm, sunny morning in the comfort and safety of our family’s home.
I was surrounded by love, excitement, and unwavering support from those around me. My birth was challenging, but it was empowering. Never once did I doubt in my ability to safely birth my baby, but the encouraging words from my husband and my birth team during that morning helped me find a strength inside myself that I never knew I had. All of preparation, education, and effort had paid off. My birth was peaceful, in a way I never knew it could be, and I will remember the magic of that day for the rest of my life.
Looking back on my two different birth experiences, I now see two different stories, both which resulted in safe, uncomplicated, vaginal childbirth. My first birth made me a mother, and I will forever be grateful for the support I had during that chapter of my life. But now, I can proudly say, my second birth made me empowered.
Home birth is not for every woman. Natural childbirth is not for every woman. In fact, vaginal birth may not be for every woman. We have the right to choose our birth team, our birth preferences, and surround ourselves with supportive people during this transformative experience. Every woman deserves to feel empowered by their birth experience.
My goal is to help women achieve better pregnancies, happier births, and healthier beginnings for their families.
I would be honored to be part of your team and help you achieve an empowered birth experience.