“Okay Bae. Let’s go.” he said.
We knew it was time to wake up our older children and leave for the hospital. So my husband had just returned from loading our sleepy children into the van.
But I couldn’t move.
“Should I call 911?” he asked as calmly as he could.
I felt like I was watching a movie.
I had labored for a couple of hours and clocked what I thought were impossibly close contractions coming one right after another, when I realized, we would never make it.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” I said.
I really didn’t want to traumatize my husband. I was the one who had been present for a hundred births. I knew what it was like to stand with and support a birthing woman. And although this was baby number 4, I knew this wasn’t the role he was used to.
But there we were and there was no turning back now.
The apologies were cut short. We were focused. We were calm. It was time.
I knew she was coming.
For the first time, I started to yell. Get her out! Get her out! Get her out!
What I meant was, “please, whatever you do, don’t let the baby hit the floor.”
But “get her out” was all I could say.
I never thought she’d enter the world as quickly as she did, but there she was.
The commotion scared the children who then came running back into the house to meet their new baby sister.
I did it. I thought. I really did it.
I have given birth to all of our children without any form of medication, but it was always in a hospital.
I’ve always felt most powerful in the minutes and weeks after giving birth. Embracing the beauty and shear wonder of my body – what it’s capable of is nothing short of miraculous.
But this time, there I stood, responding to the needs of my body and my baby, without protocol, policy or standard procedure standing in my way.
That was different.
That was powerful.
This time unveiled another level of possibility, and again made evident a few problems as well.
Here’s what I was left wondering:
What else am I capable of that the world, or our culture, tells me I’m unqualified, incompetent or in need of support in order to accomplish?
How many unnecessary interventions are women subjected to because they’re not allowed to follow their instincts or because labor and birth have become medical procedures instead of a natural process?
Why, after finding out that I gave birth at home, did so many people share their fear-based perspectives, instead of affirming what just took place?
Oh, you must have been so scared. Oh, thank God you’re alright. Oh, I’m so glad nothing went wrong.
Not for a minute did I feel afraid of what was happening, nor did I expect any complications. And yes, I’m glad there were none. But how exactly did we get here?
After taking plenty of time to reflect on my experience and these questions, this is what I’ve learned from my accidental home birth:
1 // Labor and birth are viewed as medical procedures that need to take place under medical supervision in order to be done right or well.
This is far from the truth and undermines a woman’s God given ability to labor and give birth.
Instead of offering guidance and support during this transformative time, the narrative has become that you need help and someone other than you, knows what’s best for you and your baby.
I’m baffled that the thought of me and our baby making it through the process unharmed is, to many, a dangerous and incomprehensible feat, when women have been giving birth since the beginning of mankind.
Am I saying that everyone should have a home birth and there’s no need for hospitals or care providers? Absolutely not.
What I am saying is that you need to make wise, informed decisions.
Know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Ask questions. Know your options – the pros, the cons and the side effects. Participate in your health and well-being. Be your own biggest advocate. Never hand over your power. Don’t be a victim of bullying. And never allow fear to play a part in your decision making.
And if you feel like you’re not being heard, remember that you have a choice. You don’t have to accept mediocre care. You get to choose the best path for you and your baby.
2 // People have become afraid of their own bodies.
Too few people truly know or allow themselves to experience their own power. Never learning to trust and become confident in your body causes you to rely on and hand responsibility over to others for own well-being. You must become aware of what’s going on in your mind, body and spirit before you ever allow someone else to dictate what should happen to you.
When you take the time to truly listen and respond to what it seems your body is asking you for, you won’t need as many second opinions. You begin to navigate using your own discernment about what you do and don’t need to maintain your well-being.
3 // I’m as amazingly powerful as I thought I was and am still influenced by the thoughts and fears of others
I did it. I gave birth at home to our beautiful, healthy baby girl. But having a home, or birthing center, birth was something that I always believed I could do. I simply wouldn’t because it made other people too uncomfortable.
It wasn’t traditional or the norm and seemed to bring up more questions and concerns than I thought were worth debating. But I know see to an even greater extent that doing unconventional things that help shift and reshape the perspective of others is woven into my story.
So I’m learning that no matter what aspect of my life it may be, I’m under no obligation to make sense to others. And that is equally as powerful.
I’m here to help women, just like you, stand in your own power, embrace how fearfully and wonderfully made you truly are and make decisions that propel your life and purpose forward.
Let’s continue to thrive on this path together.
Have you given birth before? What was your experience like? Would you change anything? What do you wish you would’ve know? Let me know in the comments below.