Somewhere around mid-pregnancy I decided to start planning for a home birth. Until this point, it was an option I discussed with my midwives and something to be decided upon once we moved. Because we didn't know where we were going to live, I didn't want to make any final decisions until we had our new home. Our house search and move was stressful and at times I joked with friends that I may need to switch my plans to a "cardboard box birth". I was not convinced everything including our timing was going to work. Thankfully, it did and we moved into our home on March 31st, just short of two months before baby was due to arrive.
So why would I want to give birth at home? I've answered this question a million times now and there are a few contributing factors that went into my decision. Besides reading the FACTS ABOUT HOME BIRTH IN ONTARIO, I had personal reasons too.
A quick labour
When my midwives and I initially discussed the option of a home birth, the topic of a quick labour came up. Because my first labour and delivery with E was quick (about 6 hours of active labour), they were convinced that my second labour would be half that. This excited me, but I tried not to get my hopes up. Anticipating a quick labour, it made more sense to plan to stay home rather than quickly packing for the hospital. I may not make it there in time anyways! (wishful thinking)
The perfect candidate
I had absolutely no complications throughout my pregnancy. My blood pressure, baby's heart rate and all other tests turned up steady and perfect at each appointment. The most of my worries was a urinary tract infection that was treated quickly and a yeast infection later in my pregnancy. Otherwise, I felt great. Even more so than my first pregnancy. I feel fortunate for my health and that pregnancy agrees with me, but I'm also proud of the many life choices that I make on a daily basis that ultimately make me the perfect candidate.
A natural birth plan
Having gone through labour once before in the hospital and not needing pain medications, there was no doubt in my mind that I couldn't birth naturally again. It made no sense to me, being completely healthy and not needing pain medications, to go to a hospital. I also loved the idea of sleeping in my own bed and not having to deal with the hospital protocols and time lines that I was forced in to the first time. I could have still had my midwife at the hospital, but in the end staying home was more appealing. I could also argue that a home birth was safer for me than a hospital birth. Check out the stats from this post titled, "Home births safer than hospital births for low risk pregnancies", by PhD in Parenting.
Once I made the decision there was only one person I needed on board - Hubby, my birthing partner and "rock". I needed him on my side, otherwise I was not confident I could do this on my own. Initially he thought I was downright crazy. For weeks I continuously brought up the subject, until he realized this was the real deal and I was actually serious. He signed up and we sealed the deal but he admitted that he was scared. More scared than being in the hospital? No. He was just not looking forward to seeing me go through pain again. He didn't doubt my plans for a second natural birth and I agreed to continue educating him through my reading and research to help ease his mind. And it did.
I was not concerned about others acceptance. My family was supportive, although my Dad was slightly concerned about having "trained professionals" on site. Yes, pops, midwives are actually the experts in natural child birth - not doctors! We didn't really tell many of Hubby's family because the explanation and negativity was not something I wanted to concern my time with. And my friends were all awesome, even if some of them called me a crazy hippie!
The next steps? To start gathering supplies, mentally prepare and to prepare for a possible hospital transfer.