Why I Chose a Home Birth

Photos by Poppy Oakley Photography

On August 11, 2013 I gave birth to my son…at home…on purpose. Yes, that’s right. His birth was quite different from the birth of my daughter in 2010. After my first birth experience, I had the confidence to chose a home birth for my son. Even though I had no drugs or interventions with my daughter, the experiences were much different.

My Hospital Birth Experience

In February 2010, I was due with my first child. My due date was the 19th and I had gone 8 days passed my due date before she was born. I was seeing a Nurse Midwife who delivers babies only in the hospital. On the day I went into labor I was previously scheduled to go into the hospital anyway for a potential induction since I was over a week passed my due date. I wanted to avoid this because I had a natural birth in my plans and did not want any intervention. On that day, my daughter decided to avoid it as well. Read more on my natural birth choices in this post, Why I Opted Out of an Epidural.

My labor started on Friday night at 9 PM and my daughter was born the next day at 7:48 PM – a 23 hour labor. It was 100% natural – with the help of my husband and a fantastic Doula. I took no drugs or pain medications. I had amazing support from my husband and Doula which made the choice to go drug free very easy. They both did a great job keeping me as relaxed as possible. We labored at home for as long as possible and my contractions were inconsistent in time for most of the labor. Laboring at home was very comfortable and relaxing but I had in the back of my mind that I would have to get in the car and travel to the hospital which felt unnatural.

Finally around 4:00 pm on Saturday I knew it was getting close and we went to the hospital. At the hospital, I was not treated with the loving care I was receiving at home. I was rushed into a room, poked with needles for a blood draw and what felt like hundreds of questions were fired at me. I was also reprimanded by the nurses for not coming into the hospital sooner. As soon as I got there I felt like I wanted to cry. Because of this my labor had slowed down and the dilation went backwards. Anxiety and stress were a huge part of the reason why my labor lasted so long. By the time my daughter was born I was starving and completely exhausted. While I was overjoyed to meet my daughter, I was also completely overwhelmed with the need for some rest and something to eat. With that being said, I am very thankful the labor went well and no interventions were needed. I did get the natural birth experience I planned.

My Home Birth Experience

After having my daughter naturally with no drugs or interventions I knew I could handle a home birth. As much as the idea sounded amazing to me the first time I was pregnant – I just wasn’t there yet. The birth of my son went so smoothly and I had virtually no stress or anxiety. This labor was a total of 8 hours with 6 hours of contractions and only 4 hours of intense labor. In comparison to 23 hours for my first this was almost unbelievable. Around 4:00 PM in the afternoon I went for a walk around the neighborhood with my daughter and my parents and shortly after my water broke. At 6:00 PM light contractions started and they grew in intensity starting around 8:00 PM and my son was born just after Midnight. I was not afraid, anxious, or stressed because I knew I could just hang out in my bedroom, be comfortable, and let my body do what it was made to do. I know Mothers who have spent hours and hours pushing during their labor (which I can’t imagine) but my son was born with less then 5 minutes of pushing.

My home birth experience was amazing – so natural, and as relaxing as it could have been for child labor. After my son was born, we held him and my husband and I got to lay with him in our own bed. He wasn’t taken away for testing and bathing as he would have been in a hospital. We were in our own little world enjoying our son in a completely calm environment. It was the middle of the night but I felt empowered and energized by the experience and filled with happiness.

Why I Chose Home Birth

My whole philosophy on health is for things to be in line with Mother Nature. Eating the foods that the Earth provides for us with minimal processing, letting the body heal itself with natural medicine, plants, and herbs, and learning to listen to your own body. Having a home birth is in line with the way I live my life. I had low-risk pregnancies so there was no need for a hospital. Others with potential risks may need to be in a hospital but for me it wasn’t a concern (and I completely understand why some may need to be in a hospital). I was a good candidate for home birth since my previous birth went well and I am a healthy person. To me, a hospital birth seemed more risky. In a hospital I could potentially be exposed to hospital acquired infections or be pressured into interventions if my labor went long. My midwife brought with her all the equipment should would need to take care of me and my baby – which is pretty much everything that a birth center would have.

The care I received at home from my midwife far surpassed the care I received in the hospital. I felt that my baby and I were well taken care of at home and I did not have this feeling when I gave birth the first time. In the hospital, I was worried my baby would receive things I did not want without me knowing but at home there was never any concern because everything was discussed with me before it happened.

I firmly believe you have to chose what is right for you. I am certainly not saying that everyone should have a home birth, there are cases where it is not the best option. Home birth was the right choice for me because I knew in my heart it was how I wanted my experience to be for myself and my son and I was a low risk case. To some, having a home birth might sound outrageous, but I hope my story shows why it is anything but. I share my story in hopes to give other Mothers the confidence to chose a birth plan that is right for them even if it is outside what is considered “normal” today.

What are your thoughts and feelings around home birth? Please share.


  1. says

    I’m planning on a HB this winter with #4. I had an induction turned c-section with #1, a breech baby mid pregnancy with a pressured repeat c-section with #2 – even though she turned, and a natural hospital birth with a great OB and team for #3. But the pressure to get in the bed for monitoring, the fears of unwanted interventions or procedures on the baby after birth, etc, definitely slowed my labor down. I’ve heard of long home births of course, but it sure seems like a quick labor in a hospital is outside the norm. I’m amazed that I only had a 16 hour labor for #3. I’m really looking forward to the peace of home, the support of people I trust, and the absence of pressure from the establishment of a hospital.

  2. says

    I wish I were brave enough to have a home birth. My deliveries were scheduled inductions both times with almost identical labors. Which both ended up complicated. I did have natural labor and delivery but had I not been in the hospital I probably wouldn’t be here. Both were very unusual complications (second babe the cord detached from placenta and I had to have a D&C. Thankfully baby came out as fast as he did or he would have had more problems than a zero for color on his apgar score.)

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing your experience! While researching my book on natural birth, I talked to SO many women who had a natural or attempted natural first birth in the hospital, and then opted for a second home birth. You just have to do what you’re comfortable with at the time, but I do think that if home birth were more accepted by our culture, not so many first time moms would fear it. I shared your post on my blog facebook page!

  4. Mary G says

    I had a homebirth for my daughter. She was my first and my labor was only 6 hours even though she was posterior and her head wascocked to the side. Ifelt totally in control and empowered. Ihonestly can’t even imagine trying to give birth in a hospital. One of the best analogies I ever heard about giving birth is, whatever environment you want to have sex in is the environment you’ll want to give birth in. For me, that’s in my home :).For me,s homebirth is, and always will be, the way to go. I recommend homebirth to anyone that is even remotely inclined.

  5. Lura Craner says

    Thank you for sharing this. I am planning my first home birth this winter, after three hospital births, and I have many of the same reasons you did. A lot of people seem to think I’m crazy for this choice, so it’s nice to hear stories from those who agree with me. I believe for low risk pregnancies, home can be much better and safer than the hospital. Congratulations on your beautiful babe!

  6. psychsarah says

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am grateful that my wonderful midwives encouraged me to have a homebirth with my first child. I wanted to do it, but I was a bit unsure of myself. They shared info, encouraged me to make my own decision, but also cheered me on saying that they knew I could do it if I so chose. I decided to give it a shot and worst case scenario, we’d transfer to the hospital. Well, with the help of a birthing pool, my labour and delivery was quick, manageable, and peaceful. My son was almost 2 weeks late, but came in about 5 hours. I loved that in the peace and quiet of my own home, with just my husband and my midwives present, I could focus all my energy on the task at hand. I don’t think I could have done the same in the chaos of a hospital. I’ve worked in many hospitals, and even with the best intentions, policies and procedures require nurses to do certain things at certain times, medical residents/interns are floating around constantly, and there are often PA announcements and other noises from monitoring equipment, other patients, etc. This is not to say that the hospital is a bad place-I know people who are grateful to have had their children there, due to life threatening complications. That said, I think normal birth can happen at home with qualified midwives attending to you and the baby. I am planning another home water birth in January, and am keeping my fingers crossed that it goes as smoothly as my first one did!

  7. Elizabeth Kegans says

    I have given birth 9 times so far. Six of the births were hospital births, and the last 3 were home births. With my first pregnancy I took Lamaze, but I didn’t really have anyone (like a doula) who knew how to help me in labor. I also avoided any type of pain. Still, I went into labor thinking I could do it naturally. When I hit 4 cm, I asked for an epidural. I had NO MORE PAIN for the rest of the labor! I was in heaven! lol My dh had to tell me when I was having contractions. But when it came time to push, the dr. told me to push, I said I was, and he said I wasn’t! But because of the pain relief I had, I went into the hospital with other labors asking for an epidural from the time I was settled in bed. With my 3rd, I actually was in a room which had a large tub for laboring in, but I couldn’t enjoy it because I was all hooked up to the monitors and iv. I don’t know how anyone could have used it, because they automatically hook you up when you get there. Well, from my 2nd through 5th labors, I had increasingly unenjoyable experiences with the epidurals (the medicine wearing off when I was in active labor, getting numbed everywhere except in my right buttock), and with general hospital treatment. With my 6th birth, that was an induction just b/c she was 2 weeks overdue (at least they gave me 2 weeks instead of 1 week!). They told me I would probably deliver within 1 hour, so I opted to go natural. It actually lasted 2 hours, but I persevered with the intense pain of the induction along with no pain relief. My husband remarked that the baby’s eyes were clear…the other baby’s were born kind of “out of it”. With our next pregnancy, I figured if I could deal with all the pain of the last pregnancy, I could surely do it at home! That birth was so much better than the previous ones in the hospital, even with back labor. The next labor we had was at home without a midwife (unassisted), but with friends for support. One friend also did unassisted births. Our teen daughter got to be a part of our last birth. Now she wants to be a midwife :) If I have another birth, we would get a midwife, since I am getting older.

  8. says

    Thanks for sharing! I love your story. Congrats on your baby boy!!

    I had a home birth with my first baby (July 2011) and now I’m pregnant again and planning another home birth- due May 2014. I’m so excited and can not wait to have this experience again. To me, labor was so empowering and just an incredible experience overall. I can’t wait to experience it again!! I definitely attribute this to being at home. :)

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