After what felt like an eternity, I’m finally nearing the end of my first trimester. This time around, I’ve felt the need to keep the news of our pregnancy to a very limited number of people. I know that seems unusual because these words are being read on a blog, and over one of the most public avenues known to man, the internet… However, I have yet to go public with my blog, and oddly enough it’s still a pretty intimate medium for me. So, if you’re reading this (current day), you’re likely one of five people I know, Hi Mom!!!
Now, back to the title, “Birthing Babies in the Woods”… If you’re wondering whether I’ve, A.) Given birth to one of my offspring in the woods or, B.) Venturing into birthing this baby in the woods… The answer is no to both, but that title is a reflection of what I feel bringing my children into this world should be. An informed decision I can make as a healthy mother. This, of course, was not the way I went into motherhood seventeen years ago. I was extremely young, and my knowledge was limited to a dated maternity book and whatever experiences other moms shared.
Seven years later, I was expecting our second baby boy, attended a couple of birthing classes, and I felt I was better informed. But looking back, my perception of birth was just the same. Although I educated myself a little more with each pregnancy, I kept the antiquated ideals many woman have, particularly here in the U.S… Sure, I’m capable of carrying this baby, nurturing a human with my body for forty weeks (which is a miracle in itself), but what do I know about birth? Better leave it up to the experts, and I should definitely ax that birth plan because I wouldn’t want to be too pushy during MY delivery. These are all common thoughts among expectant mothers, and it isn’t a coincidence. They are the words and opinions that have been introduced to us time and time again.
After experiencing some of the most stressful, complicated, and lonely moments, (in what really were some fast, very uneventful and uncomplicated deliveries) I knew homebirth would be in our future should there be a fifth baby. Four years after we welcomed our first baby girl and fourth baby into the world, a positive pregnancy test confirmed we were infact expecting baby number five. The news of a new little one sent me into the throes of my homebirth research. I began to read these empowering birth stories in which women were walking and eating freely during labor while her birth team “followed her lead” and respected her space. Birthing scenarios that involved husbands who were intimately involved, vivid descriptions of the moment their babies arrived into their arms peacefully, uninterrupted, and many times with a midwife quietly standing by only intervening when necessary. I. Was. Ready.
Bringing my husband into my plan was my next step in solidifying my decision. I wanted him to want this experience and to fall in love with it just as I had. Of course, he had many concerns, but my goal was to get him to listen and to trust me and my body. I was surprised at how quickly he came around to this idea, and we both agreed a midwife would seal the deal..
Meeting our midwife was such a freeing experience. I remember walking out of her office confident and sure. She was knowledgeable, reassuring, and she had this calming presence about her. Needless to say, we didn’t make it home before we decided she would help deliver our baby. We were officially homebirth bound!!!
I knew I would need to prepare myself for the physical portion of delivering my baby naturally (and with no shot at an epidural), but I was focused on my mental strength and preparedness. I was aware that there would be those that didn’t agree with bringing babies into the world outside of a hospital, similar to the people that feel that education can only happen in an institution. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been compared to Caroline Ingalls, and unfortunately those are the kind of outdated opinions that surround much of our birthing community. And then there were my own fears and insecurities I would need to face. I felt delivering four babies prior to this experience would be helpful because I was familiar with what I could expect, but I also feared those experiences wouldn’t allow me to give into my “new normal”. I didn’t want to lose it just because we didn’t do our usual “call the sitter, grab the hospital bag, and let’s head to triage” routine. But in the midst of my dozen books, videos, websites, and the opinions of others (good and bad), I had this peace about my decision. I was encouraged by my faith, by my body, my strength, and all of the women that shared their most vulnerable moments in which they persevered. I knew I could do this, and I did!
My birth story is one that I need to share in a future blog post, but I have been so anxious to share a glimpse of how a mom of four FINALLY got to birth her baby the way SHE desired. I pray my words will serve as encouragement to those expecting mommies that seek to be respected, supported, and heard during one of life’s most extraordinary events…