From Hospital to Home Birth

Welcome to the First Carnival of Birth Reflections

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Birth Reflections hosted by Patti at Jazzy Mama and Zoie at TouchstoneZ. Participants are writing posts that reflect on how birth has transformed them into who they are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I was ecstatic when I learned of my first pregnancy in early 2006, and I immediately contacted a reputable medical group with an experienced obstetrician affiliated with a large Boston teaching hospital. I wanted the best that medicine could provide for me and my growing baby. I wanted every test, every work-up, every chance to see the baby on ultrasound and hear her heartbeat. I wanted full-court press.

And I got it, right down to the unnecessary induction my obstetrician suggested just one day prior to my due date because she was “on call” at the hospital that day. Induction, Pitocin, epidural, push and my happy, healthy baby girl was born in less than eight hours. Lucky, except for the fact that the induction began with an allergic reaction to penicillin and ended with retained placental fragments. How fortunate I was to be in that large Boston hospital, I thought, not realizing until years later that if I wasn't in that large Boston hospital with that experienced OB I likely would not have encountered either of those potentially life-threatening complications.

Without that perspective, and emboldened by what I saw as proof that babies should be born in big hospitals with big-name doctors, I eagerly returned to the same OB for my second pregnancy in 2008 and, sure enough, my doctor scheduled me for an induction the day after my due date because, again, she was “on call” that day. Induction, Pitocin, epidural, push and my happy, healthy baby boy was born in less than six hours. Lucky again, except that this time I was immediately rushed to the operating room after experiencing a complete uterine inversion, a rare and extremely life-threatening complication in which the uterus flips inside out after delivery and causes massive hemorrhaging. Wow, how blessed to be in that big Boston hospital and yes, of course, I will do as you say, doctor, and schedule a c-section for a third baby.

And then I started to wonder. To question. To inquire. When I got pregnant with my third baby in 2010, I sought second and third opinions and was told by both high-risk obstetricians and midwives that the complications I encountered were a direct result of unnecessary inductions and OB mismanagement of the third stage of labor or, in layman's terms, pulling on the cord too hard, too fast. A c-section, the new practitioners assured me, would be completely unnecessary for my third birth.

Elated that I could avoid a c-section, I nevertheless still felt that I should remain under the care of an obstetrician, albeit a different one, and plan for yet another hospital birth in the same big Boston teaching hospital.

It wasn't until the third trimester of my third pregnancy that it all finally hit me like a ton of bricks: There was nothing wrong with me or my uterus. The complications I experienced in my previous deliveries were a direct result of unnecessary inductions and hospital interventions that put my life at risk. I could birth a baby without incident if I just let Mother Nature do her job.

And what a beautiful job she did.

My daughter was born naturally, at home, on her own terms, one week after her due date, with no complications. We were surrounded by knowledgeable and experienced midwives who recognized that birth is not a medical event to be meticulously managed, but a life event to be warmly celebrated. Certainly the midwives watched carefully and would be willing to transfer to one of our city's nearby hospitals should something go awry, but mostly they trusted nature's wisdom and a woman's power to give life.

I have mentioned in previous posts that my daughter's January homebirth was life-changing for me. While I had been on the path of natural parenting since becoming a mom (i.e., attachment parenting, homeschooling, extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, etc.), her homebirth awakened a deep sense of awe at what is truly possible for us to accomplish within our homes, within our families, within our communities. It helped me to understand and appreciate the full power of the human body and spirit, to have a greater respect for Mother Nature, and, most significantly, to trust in myself before entrusting others to care for my family's well-being.


Carnival of Birth Reflections

Visit Jazzy Mama and TouchstoneZ to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Birth Reflections!


Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: