I’ve written about our decision to have a home birth before after having a positive experience with Winston, but as that was a few years ago, I wanted to revisit it. Both Win and Ru were born at home, and we’re very much hoping to have a third home birth in a couple of months time.
Deciding where to give birth is such a personal decision, and one (I feel) shouldn’t be taken lightly. As long as your pregnancy is low risk and straightforward – the ideal place for giving birth is wherever you feel most comfortable. For me, that was not a hospital, or in a birthing centre – it was at home.
Isn’t it funny how different we all are? So many people have said: “Wow, that’s brave!”, whereas I think people that give birth in hospital are brave – a new environment, lots of technology and all those new people. I think that’s incredibly brave, I really do.
I knew being in a hospital would make me feel tense, anxious and out of control. I loved the thought of lying on my own sofa, going in my own shower, going in my own bath, walking around my own house and eating my own food. I also loved that Jared could stay with me, and had the opportunity to be really involved with the birth. At a home birth you are attended by two midwives (one for you and one for the baby), which really appealed to me too.
We didn’t meet any opposition once we had settled on a home birth. We found that midwives were happy, excited even, and I didn’t feel like I had to defend our decision to any family members or friends. Particularly with Winston I did worry that we were being over optimistic and a little naive, but thankfully my labour didn’t take any unexpected turns. Jared and I also completed a hypnobirthing course to help prepare us for the birth. I found it really helpful during both labours – even more helpful second time around.
The rate of home births in the UK is 2.2%, which I must admit I’m surprised about. I thought it might be a little higher, as a study conducted by NICE discovered that having a home birth for second or subsequent babies, is just as safe as a hospital birth.
When giving birth at home you still pack bags as you would for a hospital (in case you have to be transferred), and aside from having old towels and a few shower curtains there aren’t many extra preparations to be made.The main preparation I feel I have to make whilst nearing my due date is remembering that a hospital birth could still be on the cards. It’s something that would be foolish to overlook, and something I have to regularly remind myself about.
With all things regarding birth, I feel it is so important to be informed – to know your rights, spend time researching and do lots of reading. Giving birth at home is more ‘hands on’ for your birth partner, and if they’re not fully committed it would definitely have an influence on the whole experience. Talk to your birth partner and make sure you are both completely comfortable with whatever decision is made.
Wherever you decide to give birth, one thing is for sure – our bodies are miraculous and utterly magnificent.
Birth is beautiful.