The Joys of Home Birthing

My home birth team at Titus' birth - March 2009

I write this post today merely to share of my personal experience home birthing, but I want to clarify from the outset that there is no condemnation here for any one who chooses a different route – be it hospital or birth center. I know you can have a beautiful experience in all three of these environments when you chose to embrace the process. My purpose today is simply to share my personal testimony of my experience and encourage you all to weigh the pro’s and con’s of every birthing option.

I have been so extremely blessed to have two beautiful and peaceful home births and we anticipate our third this summer. I’m even throwing around the idea of birthing in our hot tub! ;) If you think I’m nuts, your not the only one…I still have to convince my husband. ;) With my two births I have experienced the true beauty of giving birth.

Birthing each of my children has been a empowering experience and a sanctifying work in my own heart. It has changed me more than any other process, event or circumstance. I have had to lean on the Lord more intimately than ever before. And in the process, I have grown to truly love the birthing process. I have learned that fear only tightens our muscles and causes delay in birth, whereas a wholehearted embracing and working together with contractions and pain has allowed for a smooth, peaceful transition into motherhood. God designed this pain to bring that fruitful sanctification in my own heart and He extends grace for every birthing environment.

Here are some reasons why I love home birthing:

Comfort of my own home

My favorite aspect of home birthing is that I can stay within the comfort and security of the environment that I am most familiar with – my own home. My home is a place that I have made my own. It is a place I love to be because it encourages relaxation. I feel secure because it has been decorated and arranged to my taste. Home birthing views birth as a integrated part of our family life as we celebrate life together with family and friends. During early labor, I enjoyed baking in my kitchen to help keep me distracted.

Continuous labor support

With a home birth midwife you experience continuous labor support. My midwives are with me through the duration of labor rather than being distracted by the needs of others. They are continually available to answer questions, offer suggestions, and facilitate the birth as I desire. There is an absence of multiple nurses changing duties or coming in at undesirable hours.

Privacy

In my own home, I enjoyed the beauty of birthing with my dear husband by my side and my midwives, whom I have gotten to know extensively over the nine month period of pregnancy. There is no one else there unless I desire them. I am comfortable because these are people I am closest to. And when I am comfortable, my body relaxes, facilitating a natural delivery.

Freedom

I love the ability to set the mood in the room with calm music, dim lights, lighted candles, or whatever else might encourage my relaxation. I can move around as needed to encourage the process of labor. Numerous labor positions, space to walk, climbing stairs, and the like, all help encourage the passage of baby down the birth canal. I can eat during labor and satisfy the needs of my body. I can labor or birth in a tub if desired. In this freedom there is so many options and means of relief.

Lack of interventions

Any interventions are going to cause greater risk to mother and baby. It is important to evaluate the potentials risks of interventions when considering epidurals, cesareans, and inductions. These are often accepted as lifesavers without thought. It is also important to consider the slippery slope of intervention as well. Statistically, once you add an epidural you are at a much higher risk of induction (due to the way that epidurals often numb our bodies to the extent that it slows down the birth process), and both these produces increase the rise of cesareans. With these pain medications and such not being available, I am allowed to work together with my body in the birthing process. I can focus on embracing the pain rather than fighting it, which leads to a quicker delivery. Please note: there are certainly extreme cases when these procedures can be life saving in high risk pregnancies. I am thankful for advancement of technology in our modern culture, but also leery of how often it is utilized unnecessarily in low risk pregnancies.

Encouragement for immediate bonding and breastfeeding

Early breastfeeding helps mom stop bleeding, clear mucus from the baby’s nose and mouth, and transfer disease-fighting antibodies in the milk from mother to baby. I loved being able to bring my baby forth on my own or via my husband’s arms and carry directly to my chest. I loved having extensive time to just enjoy each other with uninterrupted time.

I have intentionally avoided addressing all the debate about the ideas of safety and conflicts that are attached to the idea of home birthing, because I believe there is plenty of information available for your own review. I’ve shared a few resources below.

Ultimately, studies show that home birthing is just as safe as a hospital setting. If you are low risk (which represents 85-95% of pregnancies), have a trained professional licensed midwife, and ideally have a hospital within close proximity and a working relationship with a physician in case of transfer, there really is nothing to fear. There is certainly instances when you want to avoid home birthing if you are diabetic, for example. And there is certainly a valuable place for modern health care in a hospital setting. Home births have been a natural way of life since the dawn of time. Statistics show that countries with large numbers of home births have less maternal morbidity and mortality than the United States.

I believe that God has beautifully designed your body to give birth in whatever environment you chose. It is ideal for the most successful birth that you do chose an environment that you are comfortable in and that will encourage the relaxation of your body. It is important to research your options and become knowledgeable in the pros and cons of every option so you can make an informed decision. Pray together with your husband rather than just embracing all the assumptions of our day and age.

Further Reading:

Karis’ Homebirth Story - learn about the crazy and miraculous events surrounding our Karis’ breech home birth delivery!
Titus’ Homebirth Story
- read about the adventure of welcoming our second little one into the world!
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to A Better Birth
- a balanced view addressing all the issues relevant to natural child birthing.
The Christian Childbirth Handbookmy favorite book on the topic of natural birthing with a sweet God-focused approach!
Bradley Birth or Brio Birthing ClassesI highly recommend every woman to take a serious birthing class – wherever you chose to deliver. The hospital birthing classes are unfortunately not very thorough or practice intensive. Bradley or Brio birthing classes are highly recommended because they really help train you how to work effectively with your bodies. They include lots of practice and help to work through any fear or anxiety you may be experiencing. The best thing we did in preparation for our births!
American Pregnancy Association
– thoughts and resources on home birthing
The Homebirth Choice – an article by Midwifery Today

What birthing option have you chosen and what were the pros and cons of your experience? What do you think are the pros and cons of a hospital, birth center or home birth setting? Please keep comments considerate and respectful or they will be removed. Thank you!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

119 Responses to The Joys of Home Birthing

  1. Melissa November 8, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    I’m planning on having a home birth where I live, in Budapest, Hungary, in January. This will be our first baby, and home birth seemed like the best option for us even though they are slightly illegal here. However, the hospitals here are awful, and I really don’t feel comfortable having a baby there. My midwife says I need to prepare mentally for that option because something could always happen. I’m praying that the Lord just gives me peace and grace when the times comes if we need to go to the hospital!

  2. Kiki August 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I just came across your blog and I wanted to let you know that in Holland, where i’m from it is more normal to have a homebirth than it is to give birth in the hospital.

    Also, here in Holland we do not have the freedom to ask for an epidural ahead of time. It will only be an option in the event you will need an ceserian. It might sound crazy not to have the option of painrelief and decide for your self what you want but I truly believe that woman in other countries reach out to painrelief way to fast and never get to expierence the true magic of giving birth and to actually feel the birth of your child. To me it was the most wonderfull thing…and I also truly believe god made us strong to go trough this process. I love the way you think! God bless you and your family!

  3. Rachel Ramey May 27, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    All three of our girls’ births were “unassisted” home waterbirths. All else being equal (that is, assuming no signs of anything out-of-the-ordinary or promptings from God that something is not right), we wouldn’t do it any other way! Our reasons are pretty much the same ones you listed. I like not having anyone else pushing me around or trying to tell me what to do while in the midst of giving birth. :) (We’re not opposed to midwives, but don’t care for interventive midwives, which is apparently all there is around here, due to invasive legal requirements.)

  4. Jen May 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Wherever you choose to birth, whether its in a hospital, birth center, or at home, I would encourage each person to do your research, assess where you feel comfortable, assess what each of you wants and desires from your birth experience, and write up a birth plan so that those who are assisting you can know what you want and follow your lead. I also suggest hiring a doula!!! They can advocate for you when you are not sure what to do next. Learn about the birth process and how your body works during labor. Knowledge is key to letting your body work the labor along.

    Be happy with your decision of where YOU want to birth. Ultimately, the most important thing is not where you birthed, but WHO you birthed! Rejoice in God’s gift of children! Rejoice in Christ that he has given you this amazing gift! Rejoice that He has given you a child made in His image, to raise and nurture and train in the Lord!

    Hospital, birth center, or home birth, all have their risks & benefits. I support all 3 options. Its up to each person to do their research and figure out what works for them (and their husbands). And no one should feel less of a woman or a mother, if their labor looks a little different from someone else’s. Labor does not define you! There are many young mothers in our church and my desire is to celebrate with each of them their unique, personal birth stories and most importantly, celebrate the child God has graciously blessed them with!

  5. Jackie May 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Wow what a great story, its really made me think. I had (so far) both my children at the hospital. And the experiences weren’t so bad but it was annoying all the noise and nurses coming in whenever they need something. Plus they were a little taken back when we refused the vit. k shot and the eye cream. I by the grace of God was able to have both children naturally with no i guess you could say outside interference. But i will always remember for my second birth my son who is now 11 1/2 months old I did not by any circumstances want to be induced because i felt like the baby will come when he is good and ready too. So i waited 2 weeks past my due date and went to go see my doctor. Well he told me that if i didn’t go into labour today he was going to have to induce me. Well like i said by the grace of God when he examined me i was already 3 cm dilated so i was happy. But i will never understand why they push being induced so much. I have been contemplating a home birth for the 3rd but am honestly scared. But i think because i haven’t had any complications with the first 2 it should be okay. You’re story and many of the other ones on here really fill me with joy and reassurance. I will let you know what i do but i guess for now pray is all i can do!

  6. Julie May 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    8 weeks ago I gave birth to my 5th baby with my first home birth. It was the most amazing experience. I had a birth tub and was prepared to give birth in the water, but when the time came, I ended up birthing on the bed. I had wanted to have a home birth since baby #1 but ended up having a C-section because she was breech. God totally provided for each birth after for me to have a VBAC in the hospitals, but went above and beyond what I could ask or think(Eph 3:20) for making a way for us to have a homebirth this time. Lord willing should we be blessed to have any other children, I would definitely do a homebirth again. Blessings to you on the birth of your 3rd. I hope the hot tub works out! :-)

  7. Dream Mom May 17, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    Oh, Lindsey, I love this post. I gave birth a very long time ago; my son is 19. I had a normal pregnancy and things couldn’t have been more perfect. Since my son was estimated to be around 10 pounds, the doc wanted to do a C-section, which we did (and no I wanted to give birth naturally but I felt so much pressure from my husband and doctor about what if something went wrong because he discussed that his arm might be compromised due to his size and he’d have a bum arm). I felt so disappointed and let down that I couldn’t have a “natural birth”. I wanted to cry. Well, my son had issues within 24 hours of birth and had to be transferred to another hospital due to seizures and breathing difficulties. The whole hospital setting was very uncomfortable to me. It was very loud, there were lots of people and I guess the thing I remember most was that it felt like I was invited to a party except that I was giving birth. The room was so bright, there were so many young people and it felt like a party. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was very uncomfortable and not at all what I imagined. I did breastfeed though and loved it.

    My son looked perfect but was born with severe disabilities. He is severely mentally delayed, has a movement disorder, intractable seizures and now has a progressive neurological disorder. He’s had some 70 hospitalizations in his life. His disabilities were caused a random gene mutation that was discovered a few years ago and he was one of the first boys in the world to be identified with that gene. Up until he was about 13 or so, they hadn’t discovered the gene and if I had a regular birth, I always would have wondered if his disabilities were caused by the normal birth and lack of oxygen whereas with the c-section, I knew that wasn’t possible so there was some relief knowing that.

    The reason I say all of this is because I can see both the benefits of hospital and the benefits of home birth. I love the home birth for all of the reasons you mentioned: it’s quieter, I would be more comfortable in my own setting, etc…. in the end, I’d probably have to choose the hospital setting for one reason only-in the case of a severe emergency, they could manage that faster. Had I done a home birth with my son’s issues, he could have died. I made the decision some time later not to have any more children, mainly because I didn’t think I could manage all of his care and take care of more children. I learned a few years back while in his case, his disabilities were cause by a “random” mutation, in other boys, it’s inherited from the mother and 50% of the sons would have been born like that.

    So in the end, I think it’s a personal decision. Hospital births seem so unnatural to me on so many levels but based on my son’s history, if I had another child, I’d have to select a hospital. I do think we have a long way to go with hospital procedures in general and making them more comfortable and less institutional, for lack of a better term.

  8. ER May 17, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    I got to this a little late, but I would like to chime in. :)

    I had a beautiful, wonderful homebirth with my first almost 2 years ago. 4.5 hours of labor, 9 lber!
    We are planning a homebirth with the same midwife with this one, due around Thanksgiving. :) I sometimes find myself daydreaming about the birth then have to stop my romanticizing that though it’s beautiful, I’ll still have to push this baby out- it’s hard work!

    We already believed in and practiced a lot of ‘natural health’ so when our chiro helped introduce us to the idea of homebirth and we researched (oh boy did I research!!) it really just fit naturally with our philosophy of health, how our bodies were made. It made sense!

    I also want to add that midwives in the hospital (CNMs) and homebirth midwives are very different and it is not appropriate or correct to assume they are the same. (In fact, I really wish that CNM is the hospital had different titles so as not to confuse people.)

  9. Laura May 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    I appreciate the ministry and resource this website provides. I wanted to share the wonderful experience I had delivering my daughter in hospital with a doctor and epidural. I want to encourage women who feel that is the best option for them, that they can still be faithful godly mothers. I have a healthy 6 month old baby girl. I pray that the Lord blesses us with other children and plan to deliver them the same way, but respect those who choose otherwise.

  10. Alison May 16, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    Beautiful post! And I loved reading all of the birth stories in the comments! I’ve had 2 babies so far, both in the hospital vaginally with no complications – first was 26 hours of active labor and second was 16 hours. I will definitely agree with a previous poster that not all midwives are good. I tried having a midwife instead of a doctor for my second birth and when I was at 10 cm, she told me I needed a c-section, because I had a big baby! I demanded to see a doctor who had no problem with me birthing normally and less than 30 minutes later, I had a 9.6 pound perfect baby boy! Midwives in a birthing center also botched up my sister-in-law’s birth, having her push for over 3 hours when she wasn’t even at 10 cm and not even recognizing that her baby hadn’t dropped. She had to be transferred to the hospital for an emergency delivery. So, it may be popular to villainize hospitals, but I’ve had positive birthing experiences in two different states in a medical setting. I held them and breastfed immediately and roomed in with my babies. At my second birth, they didn’t clean or measure him for over two hours, so we could bond. No matter where you deliver, do your research and be informed. You are the one who can make the right decisions and determine the type of birth you have.

  11. Kim May 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Go for the water birth! I just had one at my birthing center and loved it! So much easier than my first birth.

  12. Lisa May 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    We are planning our fourth homebirth this winter. I love birthing at home for all the reasons you mentioned. I’m certainly glad we live in a society where medical care is available for emergency or high-risk situations. However, all of my babies have been large, and I feel I would have been strongly encouraged to have c-sections because the babies were too big to get out if I had planned a hospital birth. I was glad to be able to welcome my babies (9 pounds,4 ounces; 9 pounds, 12 ounces; and 11, yes, 11 pounds!!) at home with no interference and no problems. It was such a blessing to be home and surrounded by my other little ones and my precious husband. I am so thankful to have had this opportunity!

    To you ladies who had waterbirths, I’m so envious. I wanted to do water births…we even rented a huge birth tub for my first, but when the time came, I wanted nothing to do with the water. I didn’t even want in the shower (me, haha, the one who has been known to take 3 or 4 showers a day!)

  13. jessie May 16, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    Can you share some verses that you meditated on during your pregnancies and labor/deliveries?

    thanks

    • Brooke May 16, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

      Jessie, some of the scriptures that I meditated on were:
      (And I don’t know if you’ve had a homebirth or what you might be going for but these made sense for me as I was going for my VBAMC.)
      Ps 86:1-3, Ps 77:14, Luke 1:37, Jer 29:11, Romans 8:31, Romans 8:28, Ps 113:2-3, Phil 4:5b-7, Ps 86: 4, 6-8, Ps 23:1-3, Ps 139:13-16, Prov 3:5-6, Ps 4:7-8, Is 41:13, 2 Tim 1:7, Ps 127:3, 2 Cor. 1:3-4. Matt 7:11 – was really my before prayer one b/c we had to be praying for open doors since drs and family/friends were against our VBAMC decision.

      And the scripture that I had going through my mind a lot and coming out of my hubby and doula’s mouth often during 58 hours of labor was Phil 4:13 ” I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
      HOpe that helps :)

  14. Debra Worth @ Happy To Be Home May 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    I love this post. I probably would have read and commented earlier, but Friday I was having a home birth :D . It was fun to read this post a couple days after welcoming my littler girl into our home. http://www.happytobehomeblog.com/2011/05/someone-special.html

    I’ve had two homebirths and really appreciated the atmosphere of my own home and being in my own bed minutes after both births.

    I’ve not experienced different, but I couldn’t imagine wanting different.

    I truly loved being able to walk around and being taught how to have the most effective contraction (how to squat and how to make a low relaxing opening moan).

    Everyone there I knew and felt comfortable around. I couldn’t imagine leaning on a doctor I barely knew during a contraction being comforted and instructed like I did with my midwife, Michelle.

    • Debra Worth @ Happy To Be Home May 15, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

      With my second homebirth I also really appreciated Christopher getting to meet his sister so quickly. I was sitting there with my minute old child and Christopher was repeatedly saying “Baby” “Baby”.

      One thing I learned from this past birth, I think I’d prefer to have younger children not just watched by someone else, but probably somewhere else. I’d love to have older children nearby but it was hard for me occasionally hearing Christopher’s cry from the other room.

  15. Amy Jo McMorrow May 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    I totally agree with your post! I have had 4 homebirths…3 were water births. I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

  16. Nicole May 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    My mom had her first child (me!) in the hospital, and it nearly cost me my life. After that she had 4 home births, one of which was in a birthing pool. That was her easiest one! As the sibling, it was always a joy to be one of the first to hear the new baby’s cry. My grandparents and some cousins and us kids were usually downstairs, while my mom was having the baby upstairs. And the funny thing? Our dog always threw up while my mom was in labor. All the excitement got to him, I guess!

    Thank you for this post!

  17. Jessica May 14, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    I have had two hospital births. I’ve learned for myself through my births and pregnancies to follow my heart and convictions. I enjoy the freedom we all have in our own birth experiences but I think what is more important is that no matter what choices you make with birthing that every woman is informed about her birthing freedoms and options. When I was pregnant with my 1st child I didn’t know any woman had choices where she birthed, I just thought you had to go to a hospital and you had to do what the doctor said.

    As I continued with the group of doctors I was with, my heart started becoming very uncomfortable, it was a feeling or conviction that I needed to get out of that group of doctors. My eyes were being opened and I was at the very beginning of being informed of the business of birthing and I began to fear that routine procedures were going to be forced upon me during birth, I didn’t want that. We switched to a midwife group that delivers in the hospital, my heart was at peace. I came across some great resources that showed me both sides to all the procedures and drugs used during labor, I became very informed and based on my research I knew I wanted a natural unmedicated birth. I labored without drugs for 15 hours and pushed for 2 1/2 all the while with very intense back labor and delivered a healthy boy naturally.

    With my second birth I really wanted to do a home birth but we were not in the right living environment so we delivered with the same group of midwives. I had my friend who is a doula assist with my labor in the hospital to be an advocate for me during my labor. My labor was less than 5 hours and by the time we got to the hospital my daughter was born only 45 minutes later, unmedicated and naturally. During this pregnancy I also followed my heart, became more informed about natural methods, the power of the mind in labor, about drugs, routine procedures and the business of birthing. I strongly believe that birthing is a huge business in hospitals and I am no longer confident that MOST (not all) doctors are doing what’s best for woman in labor. Minus the couple F bombs in this documentary I found the Business of Being Born to be extremely eye opening and an accurate truth to what’s going on in hospitals all across America.

    To those of you who have left comments and were offended by this post or comments I strongly encourage you to follow your own hearts and be at peace with the decisions you made with your own births. And most importantly be informed whatever path you take or decide, I feel strongly that I must be my children’s advocate when they don’t have a voice and make decisions in their best interests. If I was lead to use medication or a C-section and felt that was the best decision for my child then I would do so. Just be your own advocate because as much as you think your doctor is an advocate for you at the end of the day they are primarily going to do what’s best for their business; we only have one advocate here on this earth and that is ourselves!

  18. sarah May 13, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    thank you for this post! i am at 21 weeks with my first pregnancy, so this hits right where i have been thinking recently.

    i have a question… i really want to take one of the classes that you recommended but i am not sure that my husband and i can afford it right now. are there any books or anything that would have the same information or would you recommend classes as the best method to learn more?

    • Brooke May 14, 2011 at 6:59 am #

      @ Sarah, I would say at the very minimum, read “Husband Coached Childbirth” by Bradley. Someone else might have some good reads also. Do lots of research too :)

    • Bethany May 14, 2011 at 7:32 am #

      Hi Sarah! I took a Bradley class with my first, and it was amazing! But I completely understand not having the money. We’re currently preparing for our second home birth, third completely natural birth.

      Anyway, “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg, et al. is a really good resource for an overview. I liked it better than the one written by Dr. Bradley. I also enjoyed “Birthing From Within” by Pam England and Rob Horowitz. I don’t agree with some of the philosophies presented, but it really helped me not fear childbirth anymore.

      The most important thing I can stress is to practice the relaxation techniques. Practice practice. Lay down on your side on pillows and try to relax. Have your husband help you by placing his hands gently on your muscles, working from the head down, and helping you focus on relaxing each one. Have him practice telling which ones are still tense so he can help you in labor. If you can’t fully relax before the birth, it will be twice as difficult to relax those muscles in the midst of contractions.

      Also, if you are birthing in a hospital, make sure that your husband knows as much as you do, and knows exactly what you two want during labor. He will have to be your advocate against unwanted interventions or in helping you to labor and push in the position that feels best to you, because you’ll be a little busy.

      I definitely agree with Brooke! Do lots of research! You can get a lot of books or videos at the library, or request them through inter-library loan.

    • Alima May 14, 2011 at 7:51 am #

      Hey Sarah,

      I took a natural childbirth class and read quite a few books on natural childbirth including Nathural Childbirth the Bradley Way, Birthing from Within and several others. Of all of them (including the birth class) I felt Ina May Gaskin’s book “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” was the most helpful and informative for me. I loved every minute of reading it and it helped me feel so at ease with the birthing process. Half the book is filled with information, statistics and facts on labor, etc. And the other half is all birth stories. The birth stories were so empowering to me and really made me feel that my body would be capable of handling whatever happened during the birth process. They are homebirth stories, but even if you are having a hospital birth I think they would be very helpful for you. Several of my friends who had hospital births loved the book as much as I did and found it very helpful.
      Good luck!

    • Jessica May 14, 2011 at 8:59 am #

      My husband and I also couldn’t afford the Bradley class with our 1st pregnancy and I learned of it at 36 weeks…a little too late :) . I ordered a Bradley book, (I think it was Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way) off Amazon and power read that book, it helped me immensely during my labor! Another book that helped me that is not Bradley were a few books written by Ina May, she is a midwife that does home births, made me very informed and was extremely helpful even though we couldn’t do a home birth at the time. I’ve had 2 unmedicated, completely natural hospital births and we have never done any birthing classes, we just got informed with other sources.

    • Krista May 14, 2011 at 11:17 am #

      My husband and I moved states halfway through our first pregnancy, and missed out on all of the Bradley classes in both areas. But we did get the book “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” by Susan McCucheon and read through it together. There are some rather graphic pictures in the middle (warning for your hubby if he’s squeamish like mine!) but otherwise it was completely informative and helpful.

      We’ve had all three of our babies at the birthing center with our midwives – naturally and un-medicated, and using the Bradley method. But we also have friends that have needed to do a c-section after hours of Bradley coaching, (due to unforeseen complications) and even they have said they were glad that they had used the Bradley method in the hours of labor they went through.

      Blessings and congratulations on your first little one! :-) My biggest tip would be to simply read through the book and make sure you and your hubby are agreed and on the same page – it is a real blessing to have him by your side as you welcome your special gift! :-) For us, it really helped my husband have a part in the birth, and to focus rather than get worried or pass out as things were happening! ;-) He’s gotten better with each one of our kids, and now that we’re expecting our fourth, I’m really excited to see how this labor will go!

      Oh, and we found our copy of the book used on Amazon or Half.com – can’t remember which one. But it was about 1/2 of the price as new, and I’ve passed it around plenty to others as well. Good luck!

    • Rachel May 15, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

      May I also add “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way” by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg. We used both Bradley books, and found them extremely helpful without taking the class. (We only found out about the Bradley way 2 weeks before baby was born!)

      http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Childbirth-Bradley-Way-Revised/dp/0452276594

  19. Journey11 May 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Your post has gotten me daydreaming about it again… I would love to have a homebirth, but I don’t think that will be an option for me anymore. I wish I had had my children when I was younger!

    I had a good midwife team and I wanted to have a birth center delivery with my daughter, but was told the week before I was due that I would have to go to the hospital because of her size. 8 lb. 10 oz. was not really a big baby for me though; I had no trouble delivering her. I wish I could have at least had the birth center birth. I had such a bad time at the hospital, mostly *after* the delivery, with their constant intrusions and schedules to keep. We are trying for another baby, but I am very leery about possibly having to go back there. :P

    I have the book, Christ-Centered Childbirth. It was quite a comfort to me and full of wisdom. I’ve lent it out to many friends.

    • Anna H May 15, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      Hi Journey11,
      My first baby was 9 lbs…and at home. My midwife says sugar makes big babies. (She doesn’t mind big babies at home…I think that varies from midwife to midwife.) I have had six more after that that have all been smaller….although at least 8lbs :) … I limit sweets to only (some) fruit during the week and dessert once a week…

      • Anna H May 15, 2011 at 10:34 am #

        PS Also look for hidden sweeteners in ingredients and keep a handle on your consumption other carbs, especially the empty ones. Hope you are blessed in your journey!

      • Sarah @littlesliceofmyarmywifelife May 15, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

        I know I have always eaten way too much sugar, and all 4 of my babies have been on the smaller or average side. Only one was slightly over 8lbs, the rest were 6.5 or 7. :)

        And I know its not too much genetics because my hubby was almost 11lbs at birth! :)

        • Anna H May 17, 2011 at 6:55 am #

          I definitely have genetics on my side….my dh is 6’4″ ;) …and was 10 lbs at birth! (Which he did *not* tell me before hand :/ …oh well…)

          How many grams of protein did you eat each day? Are you familiar with Dr. Brewer’s pregnancy diet/books? Many years ago he studied lower birth weight babies and believed it was caused by not enough protein in the diet. He recommends 90-120 a day. His other recommendations are good motivation to eat balanced, high nutrition foods. :)

          Anna

      • Erika May 18, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

        Hi, Journey11!

        I love home birth, and just want to encourage you that age shouldn’t be much of a factor in your decision about where to birth. I have many friends who do home birth, and a few of them are in their 40′s. Just make sure you’re healthy and the baby is healthy, and it shouldn’t be a problem. I just gave birth here at home in my birth tub with my beloved midwife, Detrah, 4 weeks ago, and I’m 37. If I ever have another, we’d do it again, even if I were in my 40′s. Also, I was on Dr. Brewer’s diet- wonderful, wonderful diet, that every woman should check out at http://www.blueribbonbaby.org. It was THE biggest instrument in changing my pregnancies from borderline high-blood sugar/ edema/ low birth weight, to totally NO symptoms of these problems, and much healthier birth weights in my last three babies. My first birth was in a hospital, before I knew anything about good diets and natural remedies, and my son was 7lbs, 8 oz. But my last three (daughters) birthed with the Brewer’s Diet were all over 8 lbs, and this last one was 9lbs, 6oz. In the USA, anything over 8 lbs. is considered big, but not in other countries! We tend to have smaller babies here due to the poor American diet. A better diet should result in bigger birth weight babies, unless you have diabetes, and that would be a not-so-good reason for high birth weights. When I birthed my last here at home in the tub, it was just as normal as the others, even though she weighed more. I didn’t think it had any bearing on how hard labor was, and was relatively short and smooth. Hope this helps! God bless. =)

  20. Denee May 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Hi, I recently started reading your blog. I also live in Portland and find it refreshing to read about your Christ-based family life, the way you prepare food (we have the same philosophy) & live on a budget. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Was that your doula on the right w/ the baby? Is she a Bradley instructor? If so, I’m pretty sure she is the woman who taught our Bradley class to just my husband and me. She announced she was 6 weeks pregnant just before our class ended in mid June of 2008. The timing sounds about right for that age baby she’s wearing. (I can’t remember her name–April?) We didn’t get to finish our last class w/ her, as my son was a bit earlier than expected. Natural hospital birth. (I personally like the hospital, since everyone else does the cleaning and cooking for me for a while. That’s just me, though. :) Blessings on your new little one!

  21. Amber May 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    I, too, have had two successful home births. I could not agree more with all you have said. I was so empowered by the experience of allowing God’s plan for my body to give birth naturally. Thank you for this post. I will be sharing it with my friends. My birth story for my first child, Axel, can be read here: http://ourlukaslife.blogspot.com/2010/03/axels-birth-story.html

    Baby sister, Autumn, was born October 20, 2010, in the same room. I hope to have her birth story done soon. Thank you again for your post.

  22. Donna May 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    reading your writing and seeing the joy of your team is wonderful. Your sweet writing voice is caring for Moms of either opinion or risk category.
    I can’t imagine that your husband will not come around about the hot tub.

    • Anna H May 15, 2011 at 10:40 am #

      I love the water!!! My husband says he feels more a part of the process when he is in the water with me. Also, I feel a lot less worn out afterward….

      Many midwives have kiddie pools they usually use/recommend…and they usually have a easy method of clean up…which is worlds easier in water!

      Sorry, can’t think of a negative side to waterbirth;)

      • ER May 17, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

        I didn’t do a water birth, but I tried to labor (very early on ) in the shower and it only made me cold. . . So, maybe , that might be the only down side, but then , if you have a sweet smelling, squishy baby in your arms, you might not even notice :) !