By Michelle MacLean
When I hear the word homebirth, the first words that come to mind are gentle and calm. I get excited when clients reveal they want a homebirth. I won’t lie, they rock.
As a doula I get the joy of witnessing families be born. No matter where the birth takes place, watching a woman transform before you and hold her baby tight on her chest, head falling back as she exhales in relief that this soul she grew is now on the outside of her body. She looks at her baby, smells her baby and claims her baby. All of that hard work, tears, challenges and pain that she just endured was worth every second and more for this child she would now do anything for.
Now add dim lights, quiet voices, a comfy bed, bathtub, birth pool, familiar faces, tea cups, home cooked food, music, gentle hands, candles, glows form the outside world…. should I go on?
Where you don’t leave your home to bright lights, sterile everything, stiff cottons, strangers, chemical smells, distracting noises, bad food and cold recycled air, I could go on.
Homebirth is not for everyone. If you have had a tickety-boo pregnancy and are healthy you are a candidate for giving birth in the comforts of your own home. Homebirth is the best option if you want to have more control over your environment, avoid the temptations of pain medications, interventions and most importantly, be in control of your birth. You eat when you want, move when you want, give birth how you want. It’s all about you! No paperwork, no repetitive questions, ID bands, fear of not being able to use your voice or being judged. That being said, the hospital is not an evil place. It is there for the people that need it, and choose it. Some women feel the hospital is best for them and they feel safer there. That is their right. Just as it is the right for another to birth at home and not feel pressure from friends, family or society that they are endangering themselves or their unborn baby.
Society is not grasping that midwives are highly trained individuals that take the well being of their clients and their babies very seriously. They bring supplies, medications and equipment to the home. They monitor and observe; they don’t take chances. If birth takes a turn and it’s safest to be at hospital then it will be recommended to transfer.
I could give you statistics and quotes and go on and on but lets just be real. Here it is…
You can blast your music or have sweet candlelit silence.
Eat the food you want, drink what you want, out of wine glasses if you choose.
Wear your fancy birth outfit or nothing at all.
Bare feet for everyone, and that toilet bowl is safe to hug.
You can birth on your kitchen floor or in a birthpool in front of the fire, or move back and forth from both with your dog and your eldest child in toe and a doula popping ice chips in your mouth while the midwife sips hot tea snuggled on your couch giving proud nods and smiles.
When it’s all done you are tucked into your bed with healthy food and a nursing baby. Your team cleans around you giving you space and privacy. When you are ready for your baby to examined its done on you or your bed, all on your terms. There is no rush. No rush.
Hire a doula, take prenatal classes, pump yourself up and give yourself the gift of blessing your home with the birth of your baby.
Michelle MacLean is one of Vancouver’s busiest doulas. She has served close to 700 birthing families since 2005. Alongside her private practice www.thedivinechild.ca , Michelle is the Program coordinator and Doula trainer for the Holistic Doula Certificate program at Pacific Rim College. She has also been a Doula for South Community Birth Program since 2007 and works alongside Acumamas. Michelle also offers placenta encapsulation.
Mother of two girls, Michelle has had a taste of both hospital and homebirth, giving her an understanding and appreciation of both environments. Michelle has the reputation of being open-minded, open-hearted and non-judgmental. Leaving a family with a positive taste of birth is her goal. Changing our birth culture one family at a time.
photo by Morag Hastings from apple blossom families