This is 1 of 2 post about homebirth related on questions I’ve received. See the other post here.
Here are some answers to the questions I’ve heard the most since sharing my birth story, I did them in an easy Who, what,when…format. I’m glad to answer any questions you might have, leave a comment below.
…actually is your healthcare provider?
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about whether I had to go to the hospital or see the doctor afterwards or people assuming that the doula was the one in charge. No, no and no.
A certified nurse midwife is specifically trained in giving birth, and is qualified to give a woman all of her prenatal and postpartum care, so long as there are no complications. In many countries around the world, midwifes are the primary care giver of pregnant women. Most midwifes have a back up OB and hospital the work with, should complications arise.
Starting at about 14wks, I received all of my prenatal care from my midwife at her office. After 37wks, the weekly visits were at home, so she could get a bit familiar with our surroundings. She also did follow up home visits the day after and three days post birth.
A doula is a labor coach, think of them as your BFF during labor. Doulas are not qualified to provide medical care or advice.
…do you exactly have to have on hand for the birth?
You are assigned with ordering your birth kit from a website that will be specified by the midwife. Kits vary but contain items like chux pads, varying sizes of gauze, mattress liner, floor liner, gloves, antibiotic ointment, cord clamp, peri bottles and garbage bags for clean up afterwards.
In the pic below, you’ll see all of my supplied were laid out in the pack and play on the right:
You’re also going to need some miscellaneous household items, like towels, wash cloths, bowls etc. all will be in a list given to you by your provider. Of course, there will be things that you may want there candles, essentials oils and such. I would suggest you get those things well in advance and let whoever will be laboring with you know where they are and how you want to incorporate them.For me, a couple of things were completely forgotten about because it just wasn’t top of mind in the crux of labor.
…if you need to be transferred?
Birth is unpredictable no matter where it takes place. While it’s not good to focus on the possibility of something going wrong, it’s good to have a well laid out back up plan.
Very early on, my midwife had me fill out specific instructions of what to do in case of emergency transfer, which included exact directions to hospital, location of insurance cards and who I want to be ambulance of one was needed. I went a step further and had a hospital bag packed at 39 wks, just in case.
…does the midwife actually come?
Just as you would do with a doctor, you will call when you think it’s time. Based on your symptoms, they may head over right away or have you wait a bit and see how things progress. If you have a doula, the beginning of your labor would be the ideal time to call them, and they can come and be with you during labor. Though a midwife will spend more time with you than a doctor, they usually don’t come until birth is eminent.
The midwife stays until they are sure all is good with mom and baby. She cleans up everything, and also gives baby her first bath.
…does it all happen?
We decided to set up shop in the living room because it’s an open space, has a lot of natural light and is at the back of the house so we were less likely to have someone randomly call the cops because of screams.
Soon after birth, I left the tub and went back to the room to lay down and delivered the placenta there.
Where you give birth and in what position is completely up to you. I labored mostly kneeling, and pushed in a low squat position.
…do you get the tub?
Since we have a tiny bathroom and tub, it was best to either purchase or rent a birth tub. I chose to rent the tub (this exact one) from a someone who rents them out locally. Who knew there was a market for that?! As the meme at the top suggests, we definitely took some time do to a dry run to gauge how long set up would take and even almost had a break down when 3 days before I gave birth, we realized the attachments weren’t working in the kitchen where we planned to hook up the hose. Thankfully, someone mentioned trying the shower and that worked fabulously!
…did I decide to have a homebirth?
If you read this blog, you know I’m all about doing and experiencing things in the most natural way possible. I initially wanted to go the birth center route, but was turned down by the birth center because of my “medical condition”. You can read about it here. I was so angry when it happened but it turned out to be the best “no” I ever received and for that I’m grateful.
Did you scream?
This was a question I got from a lot of people, usually accompanied by did it hurt? and did the neighbors know? Especially, living in very close quarters.
Yes it hurt, and yes I screamed though it was more like a deep (and very loud), primal roar. The pain actually seemed bearable. Maybe due to the fact that it was expected or that I knew it was a means to an end and was being cheered on by some awesome supporters. It really is true that you completely forget about it once you see your baby, for me it wasn’t until 2 days later, walking a few blocks to the pediatrician office that I really felt ALL of it.
Would you do it again?
Absolutely!! I gave birth and an hour later was in my bed eating tostones with rotisserie chicken from my favorite place, showered right away, and was able to relax without unnecessary interruptions. Of course, there’s no guarantee that my next pregnancy and birth will be similar, but it will definitely be my first choice.