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home birth

November 3, 2010

i think many of you are curious as to what a staged scene for a home birth might be like.  i have taken some photos of some of the objects now gracing my bedroom in hopes that it will give you a feel of what my life has been like lately.

first, let me say that i had my first home visit with my midwives about four weeks ago, and at that time, everything that was needed to have a home birth needed to be set up.  so, my bedroom has been taken over by babyland for quite some time.  in a home visit, the midwife arrives at your house, instead of you going to the office for a regular prenatal visit.  this is important for several reasons.  it is imperative that the midwife know where you live, and how to get to your house.  driving to a home visit is practice.  they get a feel for the route and how much time it will take to get to you.  second, it is an opportunity for them to make sure all the supplies they need are available, and to walk you through what all those supplies are used for.  they also do an internal exam at that time, and walk your partner through doing an internal exam, if he/she is willing.   this is how i know how effaced and/or dilated i am.

i had the luck of having two home visits, as i have two midwives, and they both could not come the same week due to scheduling conflicts.  since my two home visits, i have also had two office visits, and in office visits, internal exams are not done.  so, if you’re wondering why i don’t have any more progress or news to report, that is why.

also, for those of you who are worried (and please don’t be… if you have questions, you are more than welcome to contact me at any time…), midwives will bring with them emergency supplies, including oxygen and other various things in case something goes wrong.  however, midwives are trained to assess the health of the mother, the position of the baby and the placenta, and to catch any potential problems ahead of time.  i have been in good health, and there is nothing outstanding about the placenta or the baby.  so, i am clear to birth at home.  and in case an emergency should arise, i am 5 minutes away from a hospital.

also, because society is so fixed on dates, some of you may be worried that i am now one week past my ‘date due’.  my date due was just a guess, to begin.  as i don’t know the absolute specific date the baby was conceived, as my cycles are irregular, and we have opted not to have ultrasounds, it is impossible to make a solid statement about when the baby is actually due.  so, it was just a guess based on all indicators.  also, not all babies are due in a perfect 40 weeks.  it is not up to me, or any one else to decide when our baby will be ready for this world.  the baby will decide and will let us know by releasing its cocktail of hormones.  also, it is absolutely characteristic of first time mothers to go one or two weeks past their due dates.  and midwives consider normal ranges from 38 to 44 weeks.  i am still 3 weeks off of 44… so i have a while.  in the mean time, once a baby reaches a certain gestational period, it does not gain nearly as much weight as it did in the previous months.  so, there should be no irrational fear of me being stuck birthing a baby that’s too big for my body.

again, let me stress that if you have any questions about this process, please contact me.  i recognize that i am the first within our families to decide to have a home birth.  i hope my example will lead others to make the same choice.  birth is a natural process, not an illness.  and hospitals are for the ill.  our bodies were built to shoulder the work and sacrifice of labor, though society has taught us otherwise.  i think the most womanly, and feminist thing you can do is to take back your body, and take back your right to choose.  you do have a choice.  take a look at all sides, and make the right one for you.

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