June 11, 2015

Before James and I told some of our friends and family, I would have shouted that I was a planning a home birth from the rooftops. I am really proud of our decision and the knowledge I have learned from many hours of research, reading books, and appointments with our midwife. But after we were hit with concern and questions about whether our decision was the best one from those close to us, I quickly realized we might want to keep that part of my pregnancy to ourselves. For the past few weeks I have been thinking thoughtfully about whether or not I should share our story, concerned we would get even more questions and fears from people. But then today I thought yes, it is important to share our decision and put it all out there. So here we go into my long journey into home birth.

A woman's right to decide how and where she gives birth and go through this life changing process, is something very sacred. It is the most intimate and personal moment of her life and something that should be cherished. 

Before I became pregnant years ago, I educated myself on birthing in a hospital versus a home birth. I always had an interest in the topic, and thought and still think it is something all women planning to have a baby need to know about. I learned about the pros and cons of both. the fears doctors have of home births, how they are frowned upon, and the struggle women have with making that decision. I read that in hospitals many women don't get the birth they want because of unnecessary interventions, which then led to bigger issues.  I was shocked by the epidural and cesarean section rates in hospitals and didn't like that you typically don't know which midwife or nurse will be assisting you until you arrive at the hospital, because they work in shifts. After learning a lot, even then I knew having a home birth seemed like the best place for me to one day have my baby. Knowing it would be years until that happened, I stored this information in a little filing cabinet in the back of my head, waiting for the day when it would be necessary for me to use. 

When I first found out I was pregnant, like any expectant Mother I was completely overjoyed, thrilled, and shocked. It was one of the best moments of my life. But after those initial emotions faded away, I started to really think about all of that information I learned years back about birthing and what my birthing options were, especially here in France. After doing a few searches online, I soon discovered I didn't really have many options like I would have had if I still lived in Canada. In the South of France I can either birth in hospital like 99% of all of other women here do, or have an uninsured home birth with one of the only two registered midwives in the region. So clearly wanting to have a home birth was going to be a hell of a lot more difficult than even I could have imagined. 

After struggling with the decision and feeling like a hospital birth was our only good option, James said to me ''We do what we want and you should be able to have the exact birth you feel you need to have.'' With his support and those simple but empowering words, we made the decision to commit to having our baby in our home.

Countless emails to midwives later, we finally found a midwife registered to do home births in our area and made our first appointment with her at 10 weeks pregnant. From the moment I met her she had such a calming and relaxed presence. It seemed no matter what tough questions I asked her, whether it was about infant death, hemorrhaging, or cord strangulation, she answered me with confidence and said she has never had any of these issues occur. But if an issue arises she is prepared, trained, and has all of the necessary equipment available to react to any situation. Her main focus is ensuring her patients have the best birth for them, if they are healthy and have had a normal pregnancy. Like me, she believes women naturally know what to do and should allow their body to just be and birth on its own. Interventions are only used if necessary. This was all music to my ears, as I knew the type of birth I wanted was a natural one and to just let my body do its thing. After this first appointment, every fear I had disappeared and my decision seemed so clear. 

My confidence in myself and my birth choice grows with each passing week. I can do this, because I want to and because I know I can. The power I get from knowing I am going to have the exact birth I set out for, ensures me everything will be fine. I am not naive, I know issues can arise. I know my blood pressure can increase unexpectedly, I know baby can be breech, I know complications happen within a split second. I know I might have to have a hospital birth, and no I will not be happy about it, but ultimately my baby and my health are what are important. So I will be fine with whatever occurs. But like majority of births there are no complications and everything goes as planned, and with that in mind my plan to have a home birth continues. I will continue to stay healthy, read other women's birth stories, be empowered, and know to trust my mind and body through it all.

For all of my fellow ladies out there thinking of having a home birth, and toying with the thought that it might be something you want to do, I say go for it. Educate yourself, read birth stories, learn about your body through pregnancy and labour, and find a midwife who calms you and empowers you. She is your guiding light, your rock, and you should have unwavering trust for her. To me, choosing the right midwife for you is just as important as the choice to have a birth at home. And in the end listen to yourself and your body, and if you are healthy, you should choose the birth that is best for you and your baby. 

There it is, my journey so far. It has not been an easy one and I know we will continue with an uphill battle, but we are prepared for whatever happens. I hope if anything this clears up some questions and concerns people may have and empowers women to make a birthing choice based on what they want and feel comfortable with. 

And in case you are interested, my birthing bibles so far have been Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth.

Thank you so much for reading, it feels so great to share my story.

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  1. What an amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing! It is so important as women that we learn how to trust in our own instincts and our own natural abilities. The body is an amazing thing and it is what they are designed to do. I am so proud and impressed with your choice, as well as your ability to communicate it and stand up for what you believe is right. You go girl! I wish you a very happy, healthy, successful birthing experience for you and your family. <3

    1. Thank you so much Courtney for your lovely comment! I am glad it struck a chord with you. Xoxo