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From "give me the drugs" to homebirther for life

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

I was 10. I fell off my bike and scraped open my knee. My dad brought me inside to pour hydrogen peroxide over the cut and I'm bawling hysterically. My siblings and parents alike are holding back laughter over my dramatics but I truly hated the anticipation of liquid being poured over a fresh wound. He poured it, it fizzed up, worked it's magic amidst my tears, and I survived.

Flash forward to high school, I can remember sitting on the steps eating lunch with girlfriends talking about our futures and eventually... birth.

"Oh my gosh I have the WORST pain tolerance. If I step on my brothers lego, I lose it. I'm going to walk right into the hospital and ask the doctor to shoot me up with allll the drugs. There's no other way I'm giving birth. If I can do it pain free, why wouldn't I?"

Where this enthusiasm and confidence regarding elected inductions, epidurals, and pain meds came from... I've no clue. My mom birthed many if not all of my siblings and I naturally without pain medication, but at the time, I'm not sure if I knew this. All I knew was what I'd heard and seen in every movie or show ever regarding birth. The hospital doors fly open, a woman in excruciating pain is wheeled in, it's chaos, the husband is freaking out, the woman is literally screaming and sweating buckets, and everyone in the room is frantic as if they've never seen a birth before. After this goes on enough to heighten your cortisol levels, a baby is born and whisked away while the mom is out of it.

*Whew. Deep breath.*

No wonder we all have this fear of birth in us as we approach high school, college, and our futures. Even if the desire to be a mom is naturally there, it's often times not without a side of absolute fear and terror regarding birth.

Flash forward to 2019, I was at a young adults hangout with my husband Avery in California. We're newlyweds, excited about starting a family, but naive to it all. As the guys around us play quip-lash, the woman sitting next to me starts talking to me about motherhood and her little girl. We get on the topic of athletics and instantly her eyes light up as she draws the parallels to birth. She explains how exhilarating and rewarding it is. How hyped up and on fire she gets immediately following the birth (I now know this is the power of an oxytocin high when your hormones/body are left untouched by drugs).

I had never in my life witnessed such a zeal and excitement surrounding something that I was hoping to be drugged for. It was enticing... I wanted in.

I wanted to experience this. Forget what the movies depicted, I wanted this version of birth.

That conversation sparked it all and we stayed in touch over the years. When we got pregnant with Carrie, I was already on the "ask questions and research everything" train. I didn't know a thing about pregnancy and birth, but I knew women that did and boy did I throw every question or medical term that my OBGYN gave me, at them. I hired a doula immediately - she was my go to. Any question, concern, nausea, cramp, etc. I turned to her. The level of intentionality, time, and care she gave me, far trumps any OBGYN visit I had throughout Carrie's entire pregnancy.

Not only did she know the medical and physical, she spoke to the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of pregnancy and birth as well. I felt seen and held as a WHOLE being. Just as God desires for us in any season of our lives.

You can go back and read through Carrie's birth story here, but in short, I never felt respected, heard, or listened to. I also didn't trust a single one of the medical staff. Not because they were horrible awful people, but because they were foreign strangers to me. And every other person in a white coat in that building throughout my pregnancy, undermined me. When I look back on my birth with Carrie it just felt foreign, unsafe, and unnatural.

Try as I might to shut out the noise, distractions, and "threats", I couldn't. I was in their territory.

My guards were up and my faith was in Avery and my doula.

Following Carrie's birth, once I found out we were pregnant with Jeanie, my guards came right back up. I was passed from OBGYN to OBGYN, never establishing a personal relationship with any of them. I knew there had to be another option. One that didn't involve hour long waits in a sterile room and 10 minute appointments with a stranger that barely even strikes up a conversation or answers a question thoroughly.

I searched birth centers and there were none to be found near me. So I kept going back to the local OBGYN. Every single time I was tense, frustrated, and left feeling like a number in their system.

The further along in my pregnancy that I got, the more I imagined her birth and I knew deep down... that the minute I knew I was in labor, I would dig my heels in and not budge. I'd put up a fight and refuse to get in the car. Not because I'm dramatic and irresponsible (although I'm sure some might classify me as such) ;) but because that's the learned response my body had surrounding my last hospital experience.

When you're in labor, you go instinctual. The ONLY thing that matters to your body on a neurological level, is safety. And safety can't be found on foreign ground surrounded by strangers.

Think of pregnant animals in the wild - they burrow down and hide somewhere safe, warm, and protected from any outside threats. We are no different in that way.

After many discussions with Avery and phone calls with various surrounding home birth midwives, we found our current midwife. I truly believe that she was a gift sent to us from God due to the timing and nature of it all. During our initial phone call, she asked me about Carrie's pregnancy and birth. She asked about my postpartum experience, my health, my pregnancy with Jeanie...and then, she asked me about the spiritual nature of it all. How we can't forsake acknowledging God's hand in it all and how it's impacted my relationship with Him.

At first I was speechless. I didn't know how to reply. I'd never taken a second to consider the spiritual nature and aspects of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. The very people/doctors that walked through my pregnancy and birth with Carrie never dug into that with me...heck they didn't even mention the name Jesus. It was during that phone call that I began to uncover just how powerful and wholly spiritual pregnancy and birth are, whether we acknowledge it or not.

Every home visit from my home birth midwife during the final trimester of Jeanie's pregnancy was healing, encouraging, comfortable, and warm. She knew how to sit, listen, and give me space to process pregnancy and motherhood. She was quick to debunk and explain every fear or lie I'd been taught surrounding pregnancy, birth, and interventions. She was on time and she was never in a rush to leave. I felt held, respected, important, and like I had a team I could trust. Her experience of 30+ years as a midwife gifted her with her so much wisdom.

She had the same enthusiasm, regard, and love for birth as that one woman I'd talked to on the couch in 2019. It was innate. Something you should trust your body to do successfully untouched until proven otherwise.

Since Jeanie's prenatal care and birth (which you can read about here) something deep in my feminine, motherly soul has been awakened and lit on fire. I don't feel out of touch with my motherhood. I'm not seeking answers from any and everyone. I lean into my individual children's needs and personalities and I make executive, informed decisions in full confidence. Owning every bit of my motherhood and intuition. It's freeing, life giving, and steady - something both myself and my family can turn to and count on. And it's all the glory to God. He made us women in such a perfectly intricate way. This intuition is no farse. It was created by a loving Father that desires for us to be encouraged in it and lean into it.

It is for these reasons and because of these experiences that I boldly and confidently hold home birth to such a high regard. I understand every woman, pregnancy, and birth is different and it gives me joy to know some of you experience this in the medical realm. That's just not my story and not the experience of many, many women that I've come across. What a gift it is to be a woman. What a gift it is to cocreate life with God and your spouse. What a gift birth is when given the respect and honor it deserves. I'm convinced there is nothing like it and I can't wait to experience it a third time any day now. I pray you get to someday as well.

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