Keeping it at Home

So the biggest news in our family last year is that we have a new family member. Born on December 7th, our baby is now just over two months old and doing well!

Baby Eden - December 2016

Since our last child was born on the side of the road, we decided to go for a home birth this time. This was met with some gentle trepidation from some, but given that we've had six 'textbook' straight-forward labours before and the midwife we booked is very highly recommended by a variety of friends who had booked her themselves, we figured there was very little that could go wrong.

So, home birth. It inspires many different visions in the heads of people. Some think of powerful and confident post-birth cuddles in a birthing-pool, a mother surrounded by her husband and children, prayer flags hung around the living room where birth has taken place. For some, it inspires memories of trauma or of joy. Others find the prospect akin to jumping out of a plane without a parachute!

I have liked the idea of home birth since about the time of the birth of my second child in 2007. I had a quick, easy labour with her and I felt like my body knew what it was doing, so I could easily give birth at home. My husband, however, despite his profession as a paramedic, felt very nervous about it. So, I followed his lead and we birthed our next three babies in hospital - the last of those three was a birth where we stayed for six hours after delivery then went home.

For this last pregnancy, I felt that going into an appointment in our nearest town for check-ups, was too much for my homeschooling mummy-brain and body, so I asked my husband his ideas about home birth. With six young children, he could see the benefit of a midwife being able to do home visits. Since our last labour had been so quick, we thought a home birth would be safest, to avoid another road-side birth!

We booked our midwife and began our journey together.......

Honestly, private midwifery is the most amazing experience for expectant mothers. I can't recommend it highly enough. It costs a lot of money, for sure - ours was around $3000 for all appointments, labour and post-natal care - but it is payable as you go so you don't have too many big lump sums.......and it was worth every. single. cent.

I loved having ante-natal visits in my home! My check-ups were on my own couch with my curious crew all around me, ooooohing and ahhhhing at my belly or the sound of baby's heartbeat through the doppler or giggling at their own funny comments or enthralled as the midwife drew up some blood!

Our midwife became part of our family, like a special Aunty coming to visit. The children adored her and she patiently answered their questions about babies and bodily parts. It became a family event to enjoy when the midwife came. I loved that.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, with more frequent visits, we would greet and farewell each other with a quick hug and sometimes a peck on the cheek, just like friends. She was more than my midwife, she was (is) my friend! Between her team and I, there was a gorgeous sense of womanhood and togetherness.

Private midwifery care made me feel supported and cared for like I never had before. My midwife asked questions and was genuinely interested in how I answered, not just filling in a form for data collection. I was constantly surprised at the detail and effort she put into her job.....actually, it seemed like midwifery was her favourite thing to do - getting to do it as a job was a bonus! 

The labour was fairly standard - a 2-hour active labour, preceded by 25 hours of waiting - my waters broke 25 hours before labour started! Did I mention that I watied 25 hours for labour to start?

The absolute sealing-the-deal thing for me was the delivery. Kneeling on the floor, bearing down in agony with what I thought was baby's head delivered and the shoulders to come, my midwife asked me to breathe shallow for a bit. I trusted her completely, although I did wonder if baby's shoulders were stuck and that was why she was asking me to breathe shallow. It turns out that her way of delivering babies is to really slow down the passing of the head through the vagina. This minimises tearing and trauma to the perineum.

After six births in which I tore my perineum every single time - one badly - I had not one single graze, tear or any other trauma. Praise God! I couldn't believe how amazing I felt after the initial 24 hours post-birth. In fact, I felt amazing all-round. Apart from a slight bit of nipple damage in the first three days, breastfeeding came together amazingly well (it'd want to after the difficulties of the previous six babies!) and I had the smoothest post-natal period I have ever had.

My needs, anxieties and desires were all taken into account by this loving midwife and her team. I felt so blessed to have her journeying with me through bringing baby number seven into the world. 

If you are thinking about possibly having a private midwife for your birth or a home birth, I can only say do yourself a favour and go for it! Obviously, not everyone can have a home birth or has the funds for a private midwife, but if you can - I highly recommend it. I've found it to be best for my baby, my family, my husband and myself.

In our area, you can check out My Midwives or Nurture Your Birth - both are fantastic. My Midwives don't do home births, but they are your advocate in labour at hospital or can be your midwives for birthing at the birth centre at the local hospital. I had My Midwives for my fifth baby and they were brilliant! Nurture Your Birth does home visits and home births.

Pregnancy, labour and birth can often be traumatic for women and their men - but private midwifery care has the potential to heal trauma and tap into the sisterhood of caring, supportive women (and healing for dads, experiencing their wife go through a healing labour). There's something powerful and amazing about being part of a team to bring a baby into the world. If you get the chance to experience this for yourself, do it. 


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