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Home Birthing: An Absolutely Awesome or Awful Experience?

The first I heard about the new wave of home birthing was from a friend of mine who opted to have her first baby at home.  All went so well that she had her next three babies at home as well.  In fact, all the joyous details can be read in her best- selling Christian book.

I too wanted to deliver my children in the warmth of my own home.  I began checking into it but somewhere along the way, I became so confident and comfortable with my obstetrician, when he discouraged home birthing, I decided to follow his advice and had my son in the hospital instead.  Good thing as after thirty-five hours of intense labor, I had an emergency Cesarean section.

Some years later, my niece became pregnant and set plans in motion for a home birth.  She was an athletic, extremely healthy, very head-strong girl so I had no doubt she would, as my friend had done, have a picture-perfect deliver in the comfort of her lovely home.  She saw the mid-wife throughout her pregnancy and they shared the save fondness for alternative solutions such as herbal remedies, acupuncture and chiropractic treatment.

During the last few weeks of my niece’s pregnancy, the mid-wife’s father was diagnosed with cancer.  She flew to be by his side, leaving my niece in the care of her associate.  Looking back, there were some red flags but excitement was in the air and they were easily overlooked.

Long story short, the home birthing experience was an absolute nightmare and a near fatal disaster for both mother and child.  Once she did finally go to the hospital, against the wishes of the attending mid-wife as well as the one who was away, the emergency staff could not believe the condition she was in.  Her blood pressure was over the roof, her urine protein levels confirmed she had had advanced preeclampsia (along with many other symptoms which should not have been missed).  Her water had broken four days prior which, of course, was extremely dangerous for the baby to still be in the womb.

Thankfully, the baby was born and although she had some issues that were cared for, it was a miracle she was even alive.  My niece had some issues as well but was stabilized too.  There were many errors that went on during end pregnancy as well as in labor.  With a new baby to care for, my niece filed minor complaints but did not take matters to the limit as she easily could have.  She just wanted to forget the ugly parts and get on with the beautiful life of motherhood.  Fortunately, she had that option.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not against home birthing at all.  I think it would be an amazing event to deliver in the comfort of your own home.  I was so in love with the idea, I almost opted to do it myself.

If you, or someone you know, are considering home birthing, I sincerely hope that it is an incredible experience that adds a glorious milestone in your life just like the four times my friend delivered in her home.  Please, please, please do your research though and in your reading, include not only success stories but those that give accounts of when it has gone array.  The story of your birthing experience should be one that is written as a wonderful chapter in the book of your life, not one written to the medical board of complaints.