Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Home Birth: A Papa's Perspective

Welcome to the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering! 

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo.

This month's topic is Natural Birth Choices. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.

We're preparing to welcome a second child into our family in a few short months. Naturally, my thoughts turn toward the birth: In what ways will it be similar to Daniel's birth? In what ways will it differ? How will this baby choose to make his or her entrance into this world?

There are many unknowns (more than there are knowns, really) and yet overall I feel confident and calm about the upcoming birth. Jaymz and I have experienced one awesome and empowering birth together, and I am sure we'll navigate this next one similarly.

I wanted to hear Jaymz's thoughts about the birth, so I sat down with him recently and asked him about it. This short interview is the result of that conversation (my questions are in bold, his answers are next, followed by my comments in italics):

How are you feeling now that I'm preparing to give birth again?

I'm feeling equal parts excited and exhausted with just a touch of "Holy crap, what are we getting ourselves into!?"  

Yep... that's about right!

Do you have expectations about the birth process? About your role in it?

My main expectation is that we have a baby at the end! I want you and the new baby (and me and Daniel) to feel safe and happy and healthy throughout the whole process. The expectations about your birth are set by you, and so I just want to be there to support you. I want to be there for you and do whatever that means. I want to be your labor and birth support person.  

That is exactly what I want, too. Thank you for supporting me so fully.

Do you remember your thoughts and feelings about birth and the birth process leading up to Daniel's birth?

Well we had decided that home birth with a midwife would be the option that best fit our family, so most of my thoughts and feelings about birth came from the birthing classes we took through our midwives' office. That was (of course) supplemented with all of the knowledge that you already had about labor and birth. I felt confident in what I knew, but I also knew that there was no way that I could fully prepare myself for the experience. That being said, I felt ready when the time came.  

(I am trained as a nurse and also as a labor doula, so I'm no stranger to pregnancy and birth.)

What was your experience of midwifery care? Home birth? Natural childbirth?

I can't imagine it any other way. Having a home birth with an expert midwife present felt natural (for lack of a better word), it felt comfortable, it felt safe and good. I loved the care that we received from our midwives. They knew everything there is to know about pregnancy, labor, and birth, and I feel like they gave you and Daniel the best care that we could ask for.

Do you remember being hesitant at all (or having reservations) about home birth the first time?

I remember feeling hesitant in the beginning when we were still talking about what the birth process was going to look like and when we were having conversations about whether to use a midwife and/or go to a birthing center. But after we decided on a home birth and started talking to the midwives and doing childbirth classes and getting more comfortable with that idea, all of my reservations disappeared.

How do you feel about it this time?

This time I think, "I can't wait!" Like I said, I just really can't imagine doing it any other way.

I'm remembering back to our preterm labor experience when we rushed you to the hospital. It was definitely more scary than exciting, and your labor shut down basically the second you walked in the door (which, given the context, was a good thing). I was trying to imagine us doing something similar when you were in labor for real and I was realizing that having those scary feelings and going to a place that's not always associated with happy times has a real impact on labor. And that's basically before we even walked in the door! Once we were there, the nurses were walking in on us all the time—it was the middle of the night and we were trying to rest as they had suggested. You were hooked up to all sorts of machines... it was uncomfortable and sterile and we were exhausted and cranky when it was all over. All that is in stark contrast to the experience that we ended up having at home during the next labor (when Daniel came).

The way my labor stalled when we arrived at the hospital was incredibly revealing to me. Our experience at the hospital definitely solidified our choice to birth at home, and I was so grateful to be able to walk out of there still pregnant so I could give birth at home a few weeks later!

What's your most vivid memory from Daniel's birth?

I sort of remember the whole experience—from being woken up when your water broke all the way through to sitting in that same spot in bed again holding Daniel in my arms—as one big memory chunk. I remember being present with you while decidedly not touching you. I remember you gripping onto the waistband of my pants while you were in the birth tub. I remember all the raw power coming from you through each contraction. Strangely, I don't remember feeling tired. But I do remember the midwife's baby sleeping in the closet through most of the birth. I remember all of Daniel's first minutes.

How do you think it'll be different this time, being your second experience supporting me through labor?

I don't want to say it'll be easy, but I feel like it's going to come much more naturally to both of us. Knowing what to expect can be a mixed blessing, but I'm just as confident this second time around that we will have a positive experience.

What are you most looking forward to about this next birth?

Seriously? The baby at the end! I mean... right!?

(Silly question!)

Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to be a part of next month's carnival. 


  1. What a great perspective! I'm truly hoping for a HBAC next go around...and my husband is already on board. I think he's mostly excited to not have to sleep on an uncomfortable hospital cot for two days. :) Thanks for sharing! -Andrea

    1. Best of luck on achieving your HBAC! The comforts of home are definitely one of the huge draws of home birth for me. There's nothing quite like birthing a baby and then getting tucked into your own bed with a snack!

  2. This was an awesome post to read. I wish my hubby was as forth coming with his feelings regarding our son's birth. I don't really remember a whole lot of details from exhaustion and I would love to get his opinions on it. But he isn't much of a talker. I will have to bug him some day haha.

    Isn't the second pregnancy nice? You know what to expect and feel much more empowered than the first go round. I am much more excited about labor and delivery this time than I was the first time. Plus new motherhood won't be quite as scary since we have been around this turn in the road once already!

    1. I have really enjoyed being able to hear about Jaymz's experiences of the labor & birth process. He was a fabulous birth partner the first time, and I know he will be again this time!

      I'm finding this second pregnancy more physically comfortable overall, and there is definitely some ease and confidence that comes with not being a first-time parent. I'm also nervous about how our lives will change after this new little person joins our family, but I know we'll be able to navigate it together!

  3. Ah, this was so lovely to read, what a great idea to get his perspective.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I had a lot of fun putting it together. =)

  4. Great hearing the husband's perspective! And I totally agree with you about having the comforts of home - although interesting that you feel that way even with experience as a labor and delivery nurse (I worked at a hospital for a while when I thought I wanted to go to medical school and decided I just didn't like the environment there in general).
    My third is due in a few weeks and it's definitely been a different pregnancy and I know the birth will be unique as well. Best wishes to you!

    1. My experiences working in "mainstream" medical contexts definitely solidified my inclinations to do things differently when it came to my body and my birth experiences. I was already interested in midwifery (as a career path) but as I learned more about the politics of birth, I knew I would choose less medical intervention in favor of more autonomy and independence when I had my first baby.

      I also feel so blessed to have had a positive first birth experience, as it seems many people who have found midwifery and home birth have come to it from negative and/or traumatic prior birth experiences.

      Best of luck to you with your upcoming birth!

  5. Such a lovely idea to interview him. May his words bless and encourage others - as well as your own children when they one day read them.

    1. Thank you! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. =)

  6. Such a cool interview! I know the baby is the exciting bit, but I love birthing as well. It seems to drag on and on and then BAM, its over! (That has been my experience, anyway.)

    As much as each experience with birthing better prepares you for the next, they can still be very different. I look forward to your next birthing story. ;)

    1. That's exactly why I asked the question, Jorje! As much as I am (obviously) looking forward to the baby, I am definitely looking forward to giving birth again. It was amazing the first time, and I'm sure it will be *uniquely* amazing this time, too!

  7. I love this post! It's so fun to hear the daddy's perspective, as it is easy to get so focused on our own as the mama. He is a wonderful example of everything a supportive birth partner should be! I can't wait to read your birth story!

    1. I'm so glad you liked it! J was really a fabulous birth partner, and I'm sure he'll rock it again this time. I'll definitely be excited to share my next story!

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