Journey into a Home Birth by Brandy

Birth Stories: Brandy's Home Birth

I had always romanticized birthing in a hospital – the tiny name bracelet for my baby, the glistening glass encasing the nursery and the endless Jell-O and Popsicles. This all changed a few years ago when I met my friend Mary who had a home birth that I was lucky enough to attend. Little did I know that witnessing her amazing, peaceful, natural birth would significantly affect my future birth, which ended up being right around the corner.

Being a Capricorn, a month after I found out I was pregnant I was already researching my hospital choices – I couldn’t believe there were people in there who were 9 months pregnant! “Must be procrastinators,” I thought. Even though I had been forever changed by attending Mary’s birth and it opened my eyes to a different way of doing things, I still had a firm grip on how I always imagined I would birth – in a hospital. There was no real logic to it – there was nothing about Mary’s birth that I wouldn’t want for myself, but I guess it was just the mere fact that I had never imagined myself as a home birther. I think the hospital-birth picture had been seared into my head for too long.

That being said, I gathered as much information as I could about the area hospitals and hoped that we would find something that was a perfect mesh of Mary’s home birth and my romanticized hospital birth. At our first hospital tour, when they eagerly showed us the operating room for emergency C- Sections, it became clear to my husband and I that this was not the place for us. Their focus was on how they dealt with the negative “what ifs” instead of how they would assist me in trusting my body and allowing it do its work.

Before I felt like I could rightfully bid farewell to endless Jell-O and Popsicles, I interviewed a local obstetrician who was described as being a “Midwife in OB’s clothing.” I came to the interview with a hopeful, open mind and a list of important questions (thanks to Mary). I knew we were not clicking when she responded to my comment, “I’d like to try to go natural,” with telling me story after story about instances in which an epidural was completely necessary. Once again, the focus was on the negative instead of the positive. I knew if we went this route, it would be an uphill battle and needless to say, that’s not how we wanted our birthing experience to be.

This is when our search for a birthing center began. The only one in our area had recently closed, but I had heard that there was one in Irvine. I found their website and after reading about the philosophy and staff, I knew this was the place where I wanted to birth, even if it was an hour away from us – this was South Coast Midwifery. My take on it was, if I end up birthing in the car on the way there, great, because that meant it was at least fast! And, at this point, it seemed that the birthing center was an ideal bridge between a hospital birth and a home birth. And in some way I think I subconsciously felt that it was easier to tell people we were going to a birthing center instead of doing it at home. Also, the birthing center just sounded easier than birthing at home in terms of the “mess” and taking down the tub and making sure that our two cats didn’t jump in the “pool.” I later realized that in the early months of pregnancy I had different priorities than in the later months!

Then came month seven of our pregnancy, when we started our birthing classes through Birthing From Within. In the classes, we talked a lot about our fears about birth and how we imagined ours would be like and what we would do if it didn’t end up being like we’d hoped etc. It also gave my husband and I immense confidence about our birthing capabilities. After one of the first classes, my husband and I began talking about what things we wanted to make sure we took down to the birthing center with us. On the list was my robe, my slippers, a warm sweatshirt, socks, my iPod, our camera, some homemade soup, almonds, candles... the list just kept getting longer and longer. It finally hit us that it didn’t really make sense for us to haul all of our stuff and ourselves down to a birthing center. Instead, we decided that we should just birth at home which is what we were trying to recreate at the birthing center anyway! Our decision just felt right and I now know that coming to this conclusion was truly a 7-month journey that my husband and I had to go on in order for us to fully trust our decision to birth at home.

In hindsight, it doesn’t make sense to me why we never even contemplated having a home birth until the last couple of months. I think part of it was that we were still holding onto this idea that being at a facility - whether it be a hospital or a birthing center – was more safe, for some reason. When we became more educated about the birthing process and after taking a peek into the medical world, we both agreed that we had a better chance of things going smoothly if we chose to put ourselves in a positive, nurturing, trusting environment rather than a negative, fear-based one. This was a valuable life lesson that we were fortunate enough to have learned along the way.

Well, we were right. With the South Coast midwives at our side, our son was welcomed into the world in our home - a nurturing, positive environment with light-purple walls – and we know that his calm, trusting, gentle personality is a reflection of not only his birth, but the pre-natal care we received throughout my pregnancy from the midwives and their staff. Brandy's Home Birth to Natural Birth Stories.