My Journey to Choosing Home Birth

We have so many options as women when it comes to where and how we want to birth.  When I was pregnant with my first daughter I started doing research on birth, babies and hospitals and became intrigued with all the information out there on unnecessary medical interventions happening in America and other parts of the world.  A friend had loaned me her copy of "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" and this is what originally peeked my interest in learning more about alternative places to give birth.  Then after watching the movie, "The Business of Being Born" I became even more intrigued with the idea of birthing outside a hospital.

I think delivering in a hospital is a fantastic option for lots of mothers and necessary for many.  In fact, until I started doing my own research I had fully planned on having a typical hospital birth.  But ultimately, became open to other options when I realized the the words "hospital" and "safe" and "best" didn't always go together.  After learning about the huge rates of unnecessary medical interventions and C-Sections in hospitals I knew I didn't want to fall privy to someone else's agenda.

I learned through my research that home birth was an extremely safe option for healthy "low risk" women with a healthy pregnancy when attended by experienced medical professionals, often even much more low risk and safer than hospital births.

I always knew I wanted to have a natural delivery.  From the time my mother told me she delivered me and my sister naturally, and my mother-in-law delivered my 11.4 lb husband naturally,  I didn't see any reason that I couldn't do it as well.

I didn't take any over the counter or pharmaceutical drugs during my pregnancy so it didn't make sense or really even sound safe to me to be administered such strong drugs at the time of delivery either unless it was absolutely necessary.  At the same time I also know my personality.  I know in a moment of extreme pain if I were to be offered drugs I would have gladly taken them just like any normal person.  I also know that as an introvert I would have a hard time saying "no" or questioning the procedures of the nurses and doctors in the hospital even if it didn't align with my birth plan.

Even still the decision to home birth wasn't in my head.  My 1st alternative was to find a birthing center, a happy medium between birthing in a hospital and birthing at home.  But the closest birthing center to my home back in Phoenix was still a 45 minute drive.  At this time, I knew that my husband was going to be overseas and most likely wouldn't be present for the birth of our first daughter.  The only other person readily available for me when I went into labor would have been my mom who is not comfortable with driving that far.

I researched many options in my area and finally found a recommendation from a trusted friend and NICU nurse.  She recommended a home birth midwife who she had worked with in her years at the hospital.  I opted to take a consult with this midwife and something immediately just FELT right.  I felt completely taken care of, I felt comfortable with her extensive years of experience delivering babies in and out of the hospital and immediately just knew I had to work with her.  Our visits were so personal, something I had never found from and OBGYN and she truly wanted to help me through my pregnancy and birth experience.  All of that confirmed to me that this was the right decision for me.

My Midwife Connie caring for Nora
I delivered my daughter in our home on April 20, 2014 with my midwife.  Everything went very smoothly and normally and I had the best experience I think I possibly could have had.  The labor was a short 6 hours long and I was able to rest and recover at home in my own bed with lots of care to me and my baby from my midwife post partum.

Moments after delivering Nora with Daddy on Facetime 

When I first found out I was pregnant for the 2nd time I really didn't know what I would do or where I would give birth.  We were set to move to Jerusalem, Israel for my husband's career as a pro basketball player when I was about 15 weeks pregnant and I knew I would more than likely deliver there.  I didn't know anyone here, I didn't know how the medical system worked or if home birth was really even an option.  I went in with the mentality that I would more than likely deliver in a hospital here in Israel.  I saw an OBGYN in hospital from 18-35 weeks during this pregnancy and was fully prepared to deliver at the local hospital.  I felt great about the doctor here but of course I still wanted to research and know all my options.

I had a vision of having a water birth, whether that meant in hospital or not.  I knew during my first delivery being in the water took away probably 50% or more of my labor pains and contractions.

While in Israel I looked into this option. I toured two different hospitals in the area as well as 1 birth center.  None of which offered or allowed water births.  I felt very adamant that if I could be in water that would be the best option for me so I started researching more home birth midwives to see if that was an option.  What I found was that this was most certainly an option here and there were a great group of midwives in my area that I was able to choose from.  I was so thankful to find great, experienced midwives here and have been blessed to work with them.  This process is ultimately how I decided to choose home birth for the 2nd time.

Ultimately, I think however you choose to birth is so incredibly personal.  Everyone has different levels of comfortability and certainly the pain threshold and level of vulnerability during natural childbirth is subjective to each individual.   For me and my baby, home birth was the best option and was something I researched extensively before I decided.

On April 11th, 2017 my 2nd daughter, Sofia Lielle, was born at our home in Jerusalem.  I will say my expectations for this delivery were high considering how my first birth went but it was very different.

Moments after Sofia's birth

Sofia was a 10 lb baby (which we didn't know at the time) and so the birth was much more difficult for me than the first time with my 7 pounder.  I remember thinking at the 3 or 4 hour mark that I was going to have the baby fairly soon and mentally I was prepared for that.  But that is not what happened.  I labored in the birthing tub for the majority of my 8 hour labor but my fast progress in the beginning stalled.  After enduring intense contractions for several hours I had to leave the tub and lay down to re-gain some strength.  Mentally and physically this was difficult for me.  I had wanted to deliver her in the water but we had to try something else in order to help the progression.

Ultimately I believe what was supposed to happen, did happen.  Once I was able to start pushing it turned out that Sofia's shoulders were stuck (shoulder dystocia). This made the delivery process much more painful and slower than I had expected it would be.  This is an unusual complication but my team handled it with ease and were able to deliver Sofia safely.

After the shock of such a large baby girl and the complication I felt angry at myself for setting my expectations low.   After processing this entire birth I've realized first, how every birth can be extremely different and secondly, I learned how thankful I am that I had a home birth again.  The protocol for a complication like this in most hospitals here would have been an episiotomy and in severe cases they would have broken her collar bone to release her.  Because of our decision to home birth we didn't "have" to follow this protocol and my midwife was able to slowly and safely rotate her body to deliver her.

We are thankful to have a super chunky and healthy little girl on our hands now!  She made me work to meet her but it was WELL worth it!

If you're considering home birth its not an easy decision.  Home birth I feel is somewhat "taboo" and not socially acceptable because of the stigma attached to the medical community. Putting "myths" aside its not a decision to choose a riskier birth, its not a decision to keep the mother comfortable and risk the babies health.... its a decision to be in control of your own delivery in a comfortable environment in which to let your body do what God created it to do when done with the right experienced caregivers.

If you have any questions about my home birth experience please feel free to email me questions at

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