Why I Chose a Home Birth In The Time of C-19
Birth is such a sacred experience. It’s a time when a woman is her most vulnerable, and it’s an extremely unpredictable event! A midwife once told me that birth is like a long road trip - but the baby is driving! How true is that?! Our bodies surrender to the demands and divine timing of the little souls we carry- this we have no control of. While birth may take all sorts of detours, I do believe, however, that we still have the power to strive to create the birth experience that we want.
Giving birth during these times can be terrifying for some mothers-to-be, and for many different reasons. I’ve been personally hearing heartbreaking and traumatizing stories of women giving birth in hospitals today, and how their experiences have been negatively impacted by their medical status, as well as the inconsistent and ambiguous policies and procedures relating to C-19. How is a woman to avoid such an environment that's so non-conducive to comfort and safety during her birthing experience? I knew for myself, that I did not want to be subjected to any of the hospital's impositions when it came time to give birth to my son. I wanted to ensure that I was the one in control of my birthing experience and maintain a sense of security - that’s why I opted for a home birth.
These are 4 reasons to have a home birth, especially as it relates to the times we are in. If you are due to give birth soon, or know someone who is, perhaps these reasons will resonate with you, too.
Bodily autonomy is respected
It goes without saying, that our breath provides our bodies with much needed oxygen, as well as helps to centre us and ground us, so NATURALLY, I did not want my ability to breathe properly to be obstructed by a mask while giving birth. I was fortunate enough to be in the care of a midwifery clinic that has their own midwifery ward at a hospital, and I was delighted to find out that in their ward, masks were not mandatory (unless a doctor, nurse or anesthesiologist entered the room). It was comforting to know that this midwifery clinic supported women to give birth comfortably and without a mask in a hospital setting. Although this was a step in the right direction, it was, however, not enough for me to want a midwife assisted birth at a hospital. I just knew with the ever changing COVID-19 hospital protocols, I didn’t want to be subjected to any uncertainty on the big day. For this reason, choosing a home-water birth guaranteed that I didn't have to compromise my bodily autonomy, and that I would just be able to breathe freely.
Side-note: For those wondering, the team of midwives who attended my birth were the only ones fitted in masks, shields and gloves.*
Having support from beginning to end
Can you imagine having to give birth without someone you love and trust by your side as you welcome your child into this world? I can’t either. It’s been very disheartening to hear stories of women who have lived this awful reality. I mean, it was hard enough having to attend prenatal appointments alone during these times, and not having been able to share those experiences with my husband. Needless to say, it is absolutely imperative to have someone you love and trust by your side through such a transformative life event as birth. Choosing to be at home during this profound life event gave me the peace of mind that I would be able to have my husband supporting me, and the assurance that he would be by my side from beginning to end.
Environment is everything!
Did you know that the hormone oxytocin, which is needed to stimulate contractions, is more effectively produced when you feel calm and safe? Your home is your sanctuary, and it is the one place you probably feel the most safe and in control. A home birth, as opposed to a hospital birth, offers many assurances, which include the ability to: Control who is welcomed into your space, the ability to move around freely as you labour, as well as the chance to create a warm, familiar, and inviting space. In my opinion, the hospital’s cold and clinical environment did not appeal to me as a safe, calm and empowering place in which to labour and give birth. On the contrary, it appeared to be the exact opposite. By choosing a home birth, however, I was granted the security of a warm, comforting, and safe environment of my own creation.
Not being subjected to unnecessary intervention(s)
From research I’ve personally conducted, prenatal classes, and discussions I’ve had with midwives, I've found that a hospital birth is most likely to involve some sort of interventions that may often be unnecessary and can lead to a cascade of further interventions. Examples of two such interventions are inductions and emergency c-sections. Some interventions carried out by hospitals are, for instance, pre-determined and are designed to accelerate labour and delivery in order to minimize time having to be spent with individual patients. This ends up prioritizing the needs of the physician and the hospital over the needs of the mother to be, and makes a hospital birth seem rushed rather than the sacred event that it is, in my opinion. Now throw COVID-19 into the mix! My assumption would be that the hospital would try to get mothers in and out as quickly as possible by any means. While some mom’s plan for some of these interventions, others don’t, and these generally unnecessary disruptions lead mothers down a path they had not envisioned as part of their birth experience. This can often end up being traumatizing for a new mother-to-be.
With a home-birth experience, on the other hand, midwives view their role as supporting a mother through labour and birth, allowing the process to unfold organically. With both of my pregnancies, I certainly can attest to this. Throughout labour and birth, my midwives consistently provided me with intimate care and encouragement to face the long process ahead. Choosing a home birth and being in the care of midwives, there were no time constraints to adhere to, and at no point in time did I feel confused or stressed because there were ambiguous policies and procedures to follow. I felt safe, secure and empowered all along knowing my birth experience will not be tampered with (unless it was ABSOLUTELY necessary to do so).
Mamas, I know you want to have the most ideal birth experience, so I just wanted to remind you that you hold the power to steer your experience in the way that you choose. If you are on the same wavelength as I am on the matters discussed above, perhaps looking into alternative measures to welcome your little one into this world may be just the thing to do to ensure the health and well-being of you and baby. Whatever route you choose, mamas, I hope you feel empowered, safe, secured and honoured. You and your baby are worth it!
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