This is probably going to be a very long post as the subject matter is one close to my heart:
If you haven't yet figured out from my previous posts, I am a teeny bit obsessed with all things birth related. Mention homebirth and I am all over it, whether the discussion be about women's choices, homebirth, intervention, natural waterbirth, lotus birthing, placenta encapsulation, hypnobirthing, birthing centres, midwifery, doulas, unassisted? You name it! I wanna know about it and hear about your experience.
I won't lie, this wasn't a subject I gave much thought to prior my pregnancy. Even in the discussion of having a baby with my husband and trying to fall pregnant, I hadn't thought too deeply on how I wanted to give birth. As a self proclaimed wimp I had moments of *hoping* I could have a cesarean section (yes I was younger, I swear) which is crazy considering the path we chose.
When I entertained the idea of natural homebirth I started researching online and finding supportive forums- I can by and large thank my wonderful midwife and the power of suggestion as I am sure if she were not so supportive, I wouldn't have had the amazing experience I did. In those 10 months of pregnancy I was like a sponge and absorbed everything I could about pregnancy, natural birth and attachment parenting.
As the 10 months wore on, I became more and more 'obsessed' with all things birth related and unlike some of my friends, I was actually excitedly looking forward to experiencing labour.
The homebirth of our daughter was the most defining moment of my life, so to me, being passionate about the way babies come into the world and the Mother's experience feels only natural, even 14 months on.
I am a self proclaimed homebirth geek. My cheeks hurt from smiling when I hear a positive birth experience. I clapped like a school girl at the news that my dear friend was planning a homebirth in June, and probably looked positively goofy when she asked if I would be present as her doula.
In the year since I had Avalon I mulled over a career change to reflect my awakened passion. I toyed with the idea of midwifery but feel that the politics of working under the NHS would not be the place for me. Then I researched what it meant to be a doula ( I would love one if we have any more children.) So my plan is to train as a doula, eventually working for myself and offering birth support to families as well as breastfeeding support to Mother's; Yep, consider me a proud lactivist too.
For me birth is not a medical emergency- women have been doing it for thousands of years under varying conditions and in all cultures and backgrounds. Every woman has the right to have a peaceful birth; the birth she wants and it CAN be a beautiful experience. I understand there are times where intervention is necessary but in a healthy pregnancy a woman should have the right to birth wherever she wants and that folks is why I am so passionate about birth choices; wherever a woman is most comfortable and happy is where she should be- and for me, that was my living room, surrounded by candles and books and music.
A quirky story for you; last week I found out my neighbour (who I do not know at all) is planning a homebirth (as I type her estimated due date is in 9 days.) So how did this information come to me? I was sitting in my car in the driveway enjoying a cup of coffee and catching up on Facebook with Avalon fast asleep in the backseat (as she has a habit of doing in the car) and not wanting to disturb her. A car pulled into the neighbour's driveway and out jumped who I could only assume was her midwife, with 2 canisters on Entinox thus confirming I had a homebirther in my midst!
I (embarrassingly) asked the midwife if she were in labour and she gave me a quick 'No', only after the question was out of my mouth did I realise how intrusive it was and as she returned to her car I apologised for asking. But I was so excited... why?? I didn't even know this women! But knowing that she had made an informed choice for her and her baby made me want to do a happy dance inside and felt a kinship with her.(Please note; I am not saying hospital birth is NOT an informed choice, but I can sure as heck say that homebirth definitely is!)
I cornered my neighbour later that afternoon and after very small chit chat asked her where she was going to have her baby, when she replied at home I could have hugged (inappropriate I know!) her. She said she was also going to have a doula and asked if I knew what that was ("Oh yes!") I felt a little ashamed we had not spoken before (Ok, I had tried somewhat, she seems a little shy.) Here was 'one of my people' living right next door to me. She seemed happy too to find out we had Avalon at home and Grant spoke to her as well about what a great experience it was (God I love that man!) I told her she can call on me for anything (her partner is in Afghanistan) and I hope she does- even a neighbourly cup of sugar.
This week I am attending the NCT homebirth meeting to take the reigns starting from June as the coordinator. I am so excited to be able to be a part of such an empowering philosophy. I hope I can make a difference and meet some like minded Mamas (and Dads) along the way.
Quite frankly, Homebirth ROCKS! \m/