Why I Chose a Home Water Birth

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Home Water Birth***update*** check out my home water birth story here

With my first baby, I was determined to go natural. No epidural or other medical intervention. I went into labor on a Saturday, water broke on Sunday, and by the time I got to the hospital, I was dilated 6cm. They started me on some kind of medicine that was supposed to “take the edge off.” Pshhh. It was some kind of medicine that literally made me feel like I was DRUNK. Then they gave me pitocin.

I made it ’til 9cm before I broke and got an epidural. I didn’t know that pitocin makes contractions a whole lot worse. If I had known what I know now, I wouldn’t have gotten pitocin just to keep schedule with the doctor’s desire. It took them three tries to get my epidural in because by that point, I had contraction right on top of contraction. Then, I pushed for three hours–I was utterly exhausted and couldn’t feel a freaking thing to push. She was born at 7:42am Tuesday morning.

My second baby, I decided to go with an epidural right away because I didn’t want to go through what I had gone through the first time. Labor was the same length, but this time I had only pushed 45 minutes. It was all-around a better experience.

Tomorrow I’ll be 31 weeks pregnant. I’ve opted to use a midwife at a home water birth. When I asked my husband what he thought about a home birth, he said, “You should do it–babies don’t belong in hospitals!” When I asked my dad what he thought, he said, “I was born on the farm. Back then, the doctor always arrived after the baby was born!” My dad slept in the top drawer of a dresser when he was a baby! Then again, that was in 1939.

Why did I choose a home water birth?

1. I wanted the Midwifery model of care. The Ob-GYN that delivered my first two was very condescending and didn’t have bedside manner. I would spend an hour in the waiting room, just to wait in his office for 30 minutes. He would measure my belly, and spend less than three minutes in there.

My midwife appointments take place in my home, and aren’t rushed. I don’t have to wait for the doctor and take half a day off of work. This allows me to save my precious PTO for maternity leave.

2. I have issues with people constantly coming in and out of the room while I’m so exposed! I was sexually abused as a child, so I don’t like being in such a state of vulnerability. During my first labor, there were so many people there and I was very uncomfortable about it. There were a lot of people waiting just outside my hospital room, and as soon as they heard the baby cry, they burst into the room. I was so angry–I didn’t even get to see my baby right away because they were checking her over on a table across the room. This means many other people got to see her before I did. Somewhere there’s a picture of me with this look of absolute horror as I’m looking over at where my baby is.

During my home water birth, it will be limited to my husband, my doula, my friend, and the midwife. Depending on timing, my children may also be there. The lights will be dimmed, I’ll be able to have my candles and aromatherapy, and I’ll have my birthing pool set up in the bedroom since there’s plenty of room. All I can think about is how amazing it’s going to feel being able to crawl into MY own bed after giving birth. For those of you who know me–you know I’ve got the best bed there is…a Sleep Number Bed:)

Should I need medical transport, we’re 10 minutes from the nearest hospital, but just a block from the police station/fire department.

3. None of the area hospitals allow water births. I asked my former Ob-GYN why they don’t allow them, and it wasn’t a safety issue, per se…instead, it was a hygiene issue. She said that when a baby is accidentally born in the water at a hospital, they all kind of look at each other like, “okay, who’s going to get the baby out of the water?” because they don’t have the long gloves. How hard is it to buy long gloves??

When a baby is born in the water, they enter more peacefully. Baby will be placed right on my chest and we have that immediate bonding time.

And finally…

4. I’m due in March…in Iowa. Chances are, there’s going to be a blizzard when I’m in labor. I really don’t feel like clenching the back seat while my husband tries to drive through snow. Bless his heart…but he can’t drive. At least not well. And, he will never see this blog post:)

Choosing a home birth is a very personal decision, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. A home birth isn’t a safe choice for everyone. There are risks associated with each child birth option, and I encourage you to do your research before deciding.


Kathy Haan

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