Our Birth Plan: Choosing Home Birth

homebirth-necklacePersonalized Homebirth Necklace by moonovermaize on Etsy

About 5 years ago or so, my friend Erica introduced me to the documentary The Business of Being Born. Though neither of us planned on having children at the time, we were both enthralled with it.

(Ironically, Erica is pregnant now too, with a due date only two days after mine. No joke.)

The movie had an enormous impact on my thoughts about pregnancy and childbirth, as did my mother’s telling of her experience when I was born (she proudly declares she slept through most of her easy 3-hour labor!). Because of that, I never feared childbirth. However, as I got older and my friends started having children, I started to notice how many of them were having c-sections, often for seemingly unnecessary reason. Why? Once I saw Business of Being Born, the pieces started coming together, and then I started reading more books and articles on the subject.

The more I educated myself on hospital births in the US, the more convinced I became that, in normal/healthy circumstances, a hospital was NOT the best option. (At least, not for ME.) Mike took a little more convincing. When I found out I was pregnant, he watched The Business of Being Born with me and I think was pretty surprised.

Homebirth Resources

I started seeing the midwives at my OB/GYN’s office while I interviewed homebirth midwives and Mike was part of the whole process. I found out quickly that though my OB’s office had “midwives”, they were starkly different from the home birth midwives or those that work out of independent birthing centers rather than hospitals. While individual midwives at my OB’s office were NICE, their level of attentiveness and care didn’t come remotely close to that of the home birth midwife, V, that we decided to work with. (I was incredibly grateful, too, that Mike very quickly became fully supportive of my desire to give birth at home.)

On multiple occasions, my OB’s office would tell me things but never EXPLAIN them, even when I asked questions. For example, a nurse called me and informed me I tested positive for Group B Strep (GBS) and that they’d be calling in a prescription for me. She didn’t tell me what it WAS (even when I asked) except that I’d have to have IV antibiotics during birth. I was left to research it on my own and discuss it with V, who went into great detail explaining it and even gave me additional printed articles and information to read and educate myself. There were also blatant mistakes in the charts from my OB’s office — for example, they had me marked down as having been a former smoker, which is completely inaccurate, and they also had me flagged for “high risk” even though they never TOLD me I was “high risk”, nor could we find any reason in my charts that I should be designated a such.

By contrast, I actually look forward to my prenatal appointments with V. They last substantially longer (about an hour, as opposed to 20 minutes) and we talk about all sorts of things ranging from my physical to mental well-being. The last time I was there, V got right on the floor with me and showed me different stretches that could help with the round-ligament pain I was experiencing. Though she’s attended hundreds of births, V always seems excited for me, which means a lot too. Her knowledge and experience is a HUGE comfort to me, being a first time mom and having lots of questions.

I would never argue that every OB/GYN’s office is bad, or that every home birth midwife is the best, but I think it’s extremely unfortunate that more women don’t have the opportunity to explore both options fairly and figure out what’s right for them. There’s an incredible misconception in the US that hospital births are much safer, and it’s just not the case. In almost all cases, home births are JUST as safe, if not safer, when a trained midwife is present. I won’t go into statistics here (feel free to research them; I’ve recommended some good resources below), but I can tell you that I am far more scared of this country’s infant and maternal mortality rate and skyrocketing c-section rates compared with fearing the pain of childbirth. On a personal level, I’m extremely happy with the decision we made to give birth at home. My anxiety level is a LOT lower knowing I’ll be home with people I love (Mike, my mom) and trust (V).

The only fear I have is that some complication will force me to go to the hospital in the end anyway. I’m not afraid of getting to the hospital in time,just that my grand plan of a beautiful home birth might not work out. I’m trying hard to prepare myself for that possibility, because though V’s transport rate is only about 3%, it still could happen. There’s also the possibility I won’t be strong or brave enough to get through the pain and I’ll ask to be transported. Again, I’m trying to prepare myself mentally and physically as best I can to avoid that, but I just won’t know till I’m there!

If you’re interested in home births, I can recommend the following documentaries (all available on streaming Netflix) and books as great resources:
+ The Business of Being Born 
+ More Business of Being Born
+ Pregnant in America
+ Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block
+ Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein & Jacques Moritz
+ Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin

Mike's 30th Birthday - Blowing out the candles on his  cake

Weekend Reflections

Mike's 30th Birthday - Blowing out the candles on his  cake

+ Mike turns THIRTY today. (Happy birthday, honey!!) We celebrated a bit on Saturday while Benny was home with us. My parents unexpectedly took us to dinner, which was great, and we had cake and ice cream at home.

+ We coerced Ben into watching old episodes of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood on Hulu Plus. I was unreasonably excited when we found the “how they make crayons” episode, which I remembered as one of my favorites. We also watched an episode with a very young Yo-Yo Ma demonstrating that playing the cello was a good way to express emotions. It’s amazing how incredibly soothing I still find that show. I think Ben mostly just humored us.

+ I managed to slice a nice chunk of skin off of my finger (durp). I’ll spare you embedding a picture here, but if for some reason you want to see, you can check it out. I was washing dishes and stuck my hand down in a glass to clean it –yes, I KNOW BETTER, but c’mon you can’t tell me you don’t do that sometimes too– and the bottom of the glass broke off, leaving me with a bangle-bracelet made of glass wrapped around my hand. I was afraid to pull it off, thinking I’d cut myself more so I yelled for Mike, who came running and dislodged all the glass without injuring me further. Then I got to wear a Patrick Star bandage the rest of the day because we were all out of the adult-sort.

+ Our hot water tank decided to die again on Sunday afternoon. Thankfully I’d taken a bath the previous night, but hadn’t washed my hair. So I got the pleasure of washing my hair in ice cold water last night. (EEP!) They came and fixed it today (new thermocouple and gas control), so we shouldn’t have any more problems. (Here’s hoping, because I’m really not into ice-cold showers in January!)


+ I worked with Katie of Off Switch Magazine to get her new site launched! She also launched her Kickstarter campaign today to help with funding. Check it out.




Curently? Snowed in pretty much describes it! Brrrrr!! Erie is having some oh-so-lovely lake effect snow at the moment. This was the snowfall in our driveway from last night and today, and it’s not supposed to stop till Wednesday morning. Yuck.

WATCHING // We decided to sign up for a trial of Hulu Plus yesterday because we’re considering ditching cable TV and going with just Hulu Plus and Netflix instead. We wound up using Hulu to watch a marathon of “The Middle”. I forgot how much I like that show! I don’t know if our Internet connection was being spotty or what, but Hulu seemed to have to pause and buffer an awful lot. I hope it gets better. I’m also super psyched “Pretty Little Liars” is back on ABC Family Tuesday nights! I’ve given up on being embarrassed about how much I love that show…

LISTENING TO // I’ve been listening to the podcasts from Twit.TV a lot lately while I work. I haven’t been keeping up with tech/gadget news lately and I feel so behind!

READING // I finished Ruthless the other night. (Guilty pleasure, shuddup.) My midwife, V, lent me a copy of Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery – actually, V’s exact words were, “Would you like to borrow a book? [Gestures to her huge library.] How about a hippie book? Yes, you look like someone who would like this.” I’m not sure how to take that (ha ha), but think she’s probably right. Ina May is kind of one of my heroes and I’m enjoying the book quite a bit so far.

THINKING ABOUT // Freelance work! Oi, I’ve been busy! Hopefully I can share some of my projects with you soon. I’ve been working on some development projects with Freckled Nest as well as some work I’d promised to others in the past. It’s GOOD to be busy though.

GRATEFUL FOR // I could make a list a mile long for this one right now, but I’ll keep it short:
(1) My (4WD) Element. I’m SO glad I didn’t sell it when I moved south. In the bad weather we’re having, it is a real blessing!
(2) Gummibear starting to move and kick again today! He was pretty lethargic all weekend (to be fair, so was I) and had me spooked, but today has been Riverdance in my belly pretty much all day.
(3) My mom. I’ve had a rough couple weeks (pregnancy hormones – joy.) and she’s been there with advice and encouragement every day. Mike also, because despite my moods being like a roller coaster, he’s been steadily at my side reassuring me that it’s all going to be okay. I feel so lucky to have them both.


On my Needles: More Baby Goodies

I’m a one-trick pony at the moment when it comes to knitting: baby, baby, baby. Im finishing up another pair of baby socks.


PATTERN // Cozy Little Toes
YARN // String Theory Caper Sock in Bye Bye Blues

Tonight I stopped by Cultured Purl and picked up a copy of Sirdar Tiny Snuggly Textures which has several cute sweaters in it! I went ahead and picked up the yarn to knit one of the sweaters too, which is what I plan to cast on next …


PATTERN // Boys Round Neck Sweater with Textured Yoke
YARN // Sirdar Snuggly DK in Teal

I’m also planning to knit one of the other cardigans from that book, and I may have had to give in and order a Tulips Cardigan kit to make too. (But what better way to say “I love you” than with snuggly-knits?)

Belly Pics - 20 weeks

Baby Update: 21 Weeks

Today my 21st week of pregnancy is coming to a close and I’ll be starting my 22nd week.

Belly Pics - 20 weeks

We had another ultrasound appointment last week and Gummibear DID NOT want to cooperate to get good photos. We WERE able to find out the gender, but the ultrasound tech was unable to get any super clear views of the heart or any super clear 3D pictures. (I wasn’t too upset about that because the 3D photos are little creepy, in my opinion.)

20 weeks - 3D and Profile Pics

As for how I’m feeling, I can’t say that I feel much different. I finally broke down and started sleeping with a pillow between my knees, which is mildly annoying (mostly because it gets stuck in the covers when I try to roll over) but it seems to help my hips which get stiff and sore overnight without it.

20 weeks - Foot and Leg

I feel kicks every day now, though some days are busier than others. Most often, Gummibear starts kicking about 20 minutes before meal times (before I start to get hungry) or when there’s music on (clearly Daddy’s kid!).