Sometimes I come across a woman contemplating a home birth but still unsure of the decision. I always want to express to them the joy that this can bring without being pushy and pushing my values onto them. These are simply the reasons why I loved my home birth.
I have been lucky enough to have had three wonderful natural births in three different places. My first was born in a hospital, my second in a free standing birth center, and most recently, my third at home.
All were wonderful experiences, which sadly is more than most women can say. I do feel like I could have a natural birth in a hospital pretty easily. Many women can if they have enough knowledge, speak up for themselves, are dedicated, and arrive at the hospital very close to delivery. I felt like I could birth in a hospital again, but knew that I definitely did not want to.
Choose Your Friends-
I think that the scariest thing about a hospital birth for many women attempting to go all natural is the fear of things that will be done to you. You can choose a natural friendly hospital and care provider and all of that, but unfortunatly, almost every OB or midwife in a hospital works shift work. Your care provider will only be there if it is their shift. Essentially you don't know who you are going to end up with.
Step back from our culture and think about that for a minute.
You are going to go have a baby- something that is intensely private, sacred, incredible, and rare, and you are going to do it with whoever is on call. Maybe somebody you have never met. Maybe somebody you don't even like. Or - I will go ahead and sound sexist and say it- maybe even a man. (I personally have never really understood the desire to birth with a male attendant).
With a home birth you choose your midwife, and she (baring some act of fate like vacation or another birth) shows up! Not somebody you have never met, not her partner with weird breath, your midwife. The one you have a relationship with, a person you trust to be a lifeguard at one of life's most soul changing experiences. Small detail- but important.
Choose YOUR Power
I don't quite know how to put this in words but when you have a baby in your home- there is a subtle (or enormous) power difference than in having a baby in the hospital. Anybody who comes knocks on your door. You choose to let them in. You are on your turf. You are the expert and you are in charge. Obviously, a trained midwife will make choices that may need to be made sometimes that a mother can not- but things are very different.
Choose Your Fear
I will get slammed for this but I will say it- there is some inherent risk in birth. Occasionally even with sanitation and modern medicine sometimes mothers or babies die. I truly believe that this is rare when birth is handled as little as possible and a mother takes good care of herself- but it does happen.
Could you die having a baby at home? Yes- you could. Could you die having a baby in a hospital. Most certainly. Statistically the likelyhood of this happening is about the same no matter where a healthy mother gives birth.
I choose the possibility of something going wrong in my home over the one in three chance of a c- section in a hospital (and all the risks associated with that). I choose a midwife who encourages me to make educated choices about vaccinating, circumcision, and cord clamping- and then (shocker!) respects my wishes. I choose this over threats that child protective services will be called because I refused eye ointment in the hospital.
I choose a midwife who is comfortable sitting in the corner and checking the babies heartbeat intermittently and then allowing me to labor how or where I would like over being strapped to a monitor and having an unfamiliar nurse look at my printout every time she comes in the room.
I choose to deliver in whatever position feels good to me without having to worry if that is against policy.
I choose to deliver a baby naturally- and I mean allowing the baby to come out of my body without being yanked or pulled on.
I choose to hold my baby for two hours after birth before checks are done in the room with me by two loving women over a baby that is taken to a seperate room and poked at so I can "get some rest honey".
I choose home birth because it is beautiful and it is worth it.