Home Birth Series: Part 1 - one mum's perspective from two home births (before and during COVID).
With huge thanks to one of our wonderful mums Kelsie for sharing her story!
COVID has led many parents to consider a home birth to minimise hospital time and to ensure that birth partners can be present for the entirety. We've had lots of questions to our Ask the Expert about what the home birth experience really is, who qualifies and how to prepare. You've also asked to hear real-life experiences and I'm so pleased that we kick off our Home Birth series with Mum Kelsie who shares her story of two home births, one a couple of years ago and one in May 2020 when lockdown was in full-force.
Kelsie is passionate about supporting mums on their birth journey and has kindly offered to answer any other questions you have from the 'mum's perspective'. Please do get in touch and we'll put you in contact! Xx
1) What influenced your decision to have a home birth? (Kelsie's Dr confirmed Home Birth as an option each time)
I am grateful to have had two healthy, happy homebirth experiences both of which were completely empowering and life-changing. My first homebirth was in October 2017 with my daughter; my second in May 2020 with my son.
When I was pregnant with my daughter I knew I wanted to plan for the most organic birth possible, one with very little medical intervention. My husband and I felt very comfortable giving birth at home so we sought out a Licensed Midwife. Everything felt right from start to finish so we trusted our instincts the whole way through. Years later, we moved to another house and I got pregnant again – it was never a question if I was going to birth at home. That pregnancy was a bit complicated, as I had partial placenta previa but ultimately I was cleared for a homebirth, which I was grateful for because I didn’t want to be anywhere near a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, our only influence to birth at home was our instincts – it felt right, so that was the path we chose.
2) What was the experience like for you and your wider family?
During my first pregnancy, after we announced we were planning a homebirth, there was a wide variety of responses ranging from “are you crazy?” to “wow, that’s so brave” and “I wish I could do that”. My mother, who is very close with me, showered me with love and support which solidified things even further. My mother was the only family member, besides my loving husband, that was present during my first homebirth.
Recalling the experience now, my first birth was hard work at times of course, but it was also intertwined with a blissful out of body experience. By the time my second birth experience came I was far more in-touch with my body, mind and soul and so I felt more prepared. My husband and I had our mom’s present, along with our 2.5 year old daughter and our same midwife, who we adore. The whole experience was natural – a house full of love to welcome our baby into. From the first contraction on I submitted myself to the power of nature and felt-into the power of each wave. I ended up catching my baby in the pool and bringing him to my chest – I felt like a birth goddess!
3) Any top tips or advice on how to prepare?
I could write a book on how to prepare, but if I had to only offer a few tips of advice:
assemble a birth team that you trust,
attend birth classes recommended by your midwife to help prepare you and your partner,
keep yourself healthy mentally, spiritually and physically,
make decisions based upon your instincts (and your partner’s instincts),
celebrate your upcoming birth by making decorations (birth affirmations, signs of encouragement – good way to get family involved!),
pre-baking food and have birth decorations set out and ready to go – create your birth nest!
I recommend you also prepare for your postpartum time and gather all of those essentials, too (if you don’t know what to get, ask your midwife!). And when labor does come, feel your way through it with your breath. You are far more powerful than you know!