My second son, Ethan, was born by natural birth on the forth of October 2010 at our home in Kabeljouws Jeffreys Bay. When our midwife, Margreet, asked us where we think the delivery should take place, I said: “In hospital I suppose?!” I thought that is an obvious answer.
She suggested home birth, and I was rather skeptical at first. The more I thought about it and researched home birth, the more I realized that hospital birth was not the only safe option. Not at all! I am so glad that we made the choice to do a home delivery with Ethan and I want to share my experience with you.
The morning my water broke, I had such a special time of preparation before the birth. Magreet came out at 3am and said that I was still going to be a while, so she left again. My husband, Paul, could go back to sleep for a couple more hours. I on the other hand, was simply too excited and nervous to sleep and started pacing up and down the bathroom floor. I prayed and worshiped and timed my contractions. During that time, I opened up the window and listened to the early morning sounds. I could really experience God´s presence and closeness.
When contractions were five minutes apart, we phoned Margreet once again. Just after we spoke to her, I suddenly had an anxiety attack. I forgot about relaxing and everything else. Margreet arrived in the nick of time, and was so calm and reassuring that I immediately felt better. Breathing properly and relaxing really makes a huge difference.
The atmosphere during the rest of the labor was so calm and relaxed. We were chatting and even making jokes in between contractions. What really helped a lot, was that I could freely change positions, moving from laying on my side on the bed, to sitting on a birthing ball and later moving to the birthing chair.
Take my word for it, giving birth on a birthing chair or laying sideways is much better than being strapped down on your back and trying to push against or rectangular to gravity.
Laura also came to help as birthing assistant. They continually encouraged me, cheered me on and even rubbed my lower back. I felt like I was not being rushed and that our preference and privacy was respected at all times. Giving birth is not just a physical, but also an intense emotional and spiritual experience.
What an amazing moment to see Ethan for the first time! And to hold him! Paul cut the umbilical cord and gave a hand to weigh and measure Ethan. It was such an awesome experience to bond together as a family like this. What a comfort to go for a shower in your own shower, and have some well deserved tea and lie down for a good rest in your own bed! I could also see that Ethan was calm and relaxed, being born in familiar surroundings.
My other son, Timothy, came to see his brother a few hours later, and he adored him from the beginning.
I learned that giving birth at home does not mean compromising on safety or quality medical care. It does however make it more of an experience to remember than one you rather want to forget.
Ethan weighed 3.74kg and his Apgar count was almost a perfect 10.
Paul, Ethan´s dad:
Lots of people frowned upon the idea of home birth, but looking back, we would definitely do it again if we had another child. We are also very serious about breastfeeding and that bonding time right after birth, and as soon as Ethan was born, we gave him to Gwen to hold and to latch on. Also what needs to be noted, was that Laura and Margreet always operated within safe boundaries and there was a doctor on standby in case of any complications. They also had all the needed equipment at our house like emergency oxygen etc. and would not allow somebody to go through with a home delivery if there is even a minor chance that something obvious could be wrong. Home delivery was also subject to the fact that it had to be over a certain number of weeks to be sure Ethan was developed properly and further avoid possible risk.