E. Wallace

When my husband and I found out that we were expecting our first child, I didn’t even know that people could have their babies at home. My paradigm of birth was summed up by the following stages: a woman goes into labor, drives frantically to the hospital, goes through excruciating pain, gets an epidural and then pushes out a baby.

My view was radically altered, however, during a twelve week childbirth class that my husband and I attended. Not only was I exposed to the idea of homebirths, but the instructor also presented us with information and research that showed homebirths as a safe, natural, and preferable alternative to hospital births. A big factor in our decision to try a homebirth was hearing about all the unnecessary management that women must endure during a hospital birth. We had never really thought about liability concerns leading to over-management of women laboring in hospitals. And after we became convinced of the safety of homebirths, I was determined to have our first child at home where I could be comfortable and sheltered. What a positive experience! I have since had two more children at home. After comparing my homebirths with those of my friends who have had hospital births, I can’t imagine choosing a hospital birth. They had to deal with inductions, routine episiotomies, unnecessary fetal and maternal monitors, interruptions by unknown nurses and doctors, the pain of labor in an unknown place, and a lack of personal and gentle support. I have gone through labor in the comfort of my home, with the reassurance of an experienced midwife and my husband continually at my side. I have been free to handle labor as my body directed without having to follow a hospital’s protocol. Though labor is never easy, having a homebirth turned the whole experience of labor and delivery into an extremely positive and beautiful one.