How did you first learn about homebirth and midwifery? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I remember having a moment where someone said "I'm having my baby at home!" and I sort of started at them and went...uh what?  It was when I was in my early 20s, and I hadn't given it much thought, but it never occurred to me that people had babies at home anymore.  Of course there was a lot about this parenting gig that didn't occur to me then. lol.gif

 

From there I went on to do a lot of reading about it and eventually had both my girls at home with a midwife. 

 

When did you first learn about homebirth and midwifery?  What was your reaction?


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#2 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 11:42 AM
 
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when I was in 6th or 7th grade our school used to have speakers come and we'd have assembly's in the cafeteria. A midwife came in and talked about what she did for a job and i thought it was awesome and that that's what I wanted to do one day. A pretty early introduction to the idea of it I think! 

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#3 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 11:46 AM
 
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My mom told me that when my grandmother was pregnant, birth was beginning to move into hospitals in El Salvador where she lived. She was horrified at the idea and had all her own children at home. However, my mom also told me that she had all of her kids in hospitals because by then, she felt my grandmother's worst fears were baseless.

I didn't hear about modern homebirth until much much later. I don't even remember when either, but I think it was when I was researching vegan pregnancy at The Farm in Tennessee.

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#4 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 11:48 AM
 
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I came across an article in a local independant newspaper when I was in high school about unassisted birth and it rocked my world. I had never really thought about eventually having babies or birth or anything, but after that I couldnt learn enough.
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#5 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 12:47 PM
 
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When I was 10, my mother had an unplanned UC and I got to see the whole thing.  I had no idea that people actually planned HB...my sister was whisked away in an ambulance and stayed in hospital for a week or so "just in case".  It made it seem so dangerous at the time but seven years later, when I got pg, I recalled how my sister's birth was as natural and uncomplicated as any other biological function, but still had no idea that people deliberately chose to give birth at home, so I planned a "natural" hospital birth with a midwife from the HD.

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#6 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 01:34 PM
 
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My sisters had homebirths when I was young. I actually was at my nieces homebirth when I was 13.

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#7 of 25 Old 04-29-2013, 01:36 PM
 
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I just always thought I would have my baby at home and couldn't imagine being in a gross hospital for days... until I actually got pregnant, went through two midwives who were very mean and rough with me, I ended up going with an OB. Curiously, it was the midwives who made it seem like pregnancy was a medical emergency or a disease and it was the OB who was cool as a cucumber about the whole thing and kept telling me everything was normal and to just do whatever feels natural. He kept telling me "you let me worry about that, I'll let you know if I see a problem." The midwives were freaking me out about my vitals and would criticize everything... they made me feel as if they had an ultimate goal for me and wouldn't let me do anything to jeopardize their success... my hospital experience turned out to be an extremely pleasant surprise. 

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#8 of 25 Old 04-30-2013, 11:14 AM
 
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I just always thought I would have my baby at home and couldn't imagine being in a gross hospital for days... until I actually got pregnant, went through two midwives who were very mean and rough with me, I ended up going with an OB. Curiously, it was the midwives who made it seem like pregnancy was a medical emergency or a disease and it was the OB who was cool as a cucumber about the whole thing and kept telling me everything was normal and to just do whatever feels natural. He kept telling me "you let me worry about that, I'll let you know if I see a problem." The midwives were freaking me out about my vitals and would criticize everything... they made me feel as if they had an ultimate goal for me and wouldn't let me do anything to jeopardize their success... my hospital experience turned out to be an extremely pleasant surprise. 

I experienced a similar thing! I wonder now if it's that they are worried you will "risk out" of their care or have a complication they need to get an OB's help for. That's probably a little intimidating, especially depending on what kind o treatment they get from OBs. (Like, if they are made to feel like they failed or are irrelevant/outdated when a patient needs medical intervention.)

I still wish I could have had a homebirth sometimes ( I risked out with low-blood platelets) but I think the HB movement has also trickled up into hospitals in a really positive way.

My hospital remodeled their entire L&D ward to do better natural births and to allow for couplet care, rooming in, and other creature comforts. All in response to to the natural birth advocates! My husband's favorite detail was carpeted hallways... So much quieter!!

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#9 of 25 Old 04-30-2013, 11:14 AM
 
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I just always thought I would have my baby at home and couldn't imagine being in a gross hospital for days... until I actually got pregnant, went through two midwives who were very mean and rough with me, I ended up going with an OB. Curiously, it was the midwives who made it seem like pregnancy was a medical emergency or a disease and it was the OB who was cool as a cucumber about the whole thing and kept telling me everything was normal and to just do whatever feels natural. He kept telling me "you let me worry about that, I'll let you know if I see a problem." The midwives were freaking me out about my vitals and would criticize everything... they made me feel as if they had an ultimate goal for me and wouldn't let me do anything to jeopardize their success... my hospital experience turned out to be an extremely pleasant surprise. 

I experienced a similar thing! I wonder now if it's that they are worried you will "risk out" of their care or have a complication they need to get an OB's help for. That's probably a little intimidating, especially depending on what kind o treatment they get from OBs. (Like, if they are made to feel like they failed or are irrelevant/outdated when a patient needs medical intervention.)

I still wish I could have had a homebirth sometimes ( I risked out with low-blood platelets) but I think the HB movement has also trickled up into hospitals in a really positive way.

My hospital remodeled their entire L&D ward to do better natural births and to allow for couplet care, rooming in, and other creature comforts. All in response to to the natural birth advocates! My husband's favorite detail was carpeted hallways... So much quieter!!

Writing about life-long learning and discovery at: www.neoapprentice.com 

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#10 of 25 Old 04-30-2013, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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This is all really interesting!! I'm finding it really fascinating to see where everyone learned about homebirth.

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#11 of 25 Old 04-30-2013, 01:50 PM
 
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You know, I was trying to remember this very thing the other day.  I didn't realize I even wanted to be a mother until I hit 30, so it wasn't even that long ago.  But I can't recall the one thing that set me down the path.  I do remember thinking before we really made the decision to have kids "This is how I'd do it if I had a kid."  I hope it comes to me, I'm really curious.  redface.gif


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#12 of 25 Old 04-30-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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I knew about homebirths and midwives-but didn't 'know' about them? I was watching The Business of Being Born the other day (this was a few days after I decided to go with a midwife instead of an ob) and reading and watching other stories outside of that really has boosted my confidence in having a midwife. I wanted to deliver at a birth center but the nearest one is too far away, and right now, where I stay is not the best place to have a homebirth. too many kids and too much noise. So I will have my 'homebirth' in the hospital with my midwife, my Dh, and my SIL attending. I am also doing this natural. I am nervous but I am confident that I can do this. I just have had bad experiences with being induced and the epidural...plus the bad back pain afterwards. This is my last child (number four!) So I really want to enjoy the experience. I'm hoping to learn from other mamas who have done this!


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#13 of 25 Old 05-01-2013, 08:07 AM
 
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I think the first time for me was when I was pregnant with my first and my husband said he wanted to get a midwife and go to a birthing center. I guess I knew that was a thing, but I'd never thought about it before. I told him that was fine for later, but I wanted to have my first in the hospital just because I didn't know anything about having a baby. Biggest mistake of my life, as I ended up with an unnecessary c-section that has negatively impacted every pregnancy and birth since then. greensad.gif

I really worry about how my kids' future births (of their own children) will be influenced by the fact that I ended up having all but one of mine in the hospital. So did the mother of my step-children, even though she is also very pro-homebirth. She had medical problems that made hospital birth necessary for her. I'm afraid that our combined example has made homebirth look untenable and dangerous when it's not!

Michelle, wife to DH, and momma to DD16, DS15, DS12, DS10, DD9, DD7, DS5, and baby girl born Christmas Eve 2013!
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#14 of 25 Old 05-01-2013, 12:08 PM
 
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My human biology class in high school required us to research a profession. I researched midwives and was hooked. In undergraduate architecture school I designed a birth center and was able to interview a few midwives. It is still on of my favorite projects.
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#15 of 25 Old 05-01-2013, 06:44 PM
 
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When I was about 20 yrs old, I read a book I found at the library called "The American Way of Birth" by Jessica Mitford and I couldn't put it down. From that day on, I knew I wanted to have my babies at home. It wasn't until I was 37 that I was first pregnant and able to make that choice. I have had 3 amazing births, one born at a hospital because of pre-eclampsia issues, but born with my midwife by my side, and 2 incredible home births. My midwives were amazing - one in NY and then a move to CT with my last birth and another amazing midwife here. I wouldn't do it any other way. What a blessing.

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#16 of 25 Old 05-01-2013, 07:02 PM
 
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In 1981 I read, Immaculate Deception.  I worked for the Special Services Dept. at Manassas Park School Systems in Manassas Park, VA.  I was a Administrative Assistant to the School Health Coordinator.  She was expecting her second child and she was reading that book.  She let me borrow it and I fell in love with the concept of advocacy for women's reproductive rights, birthing, and well woman care.  A few years later, I met Juliana Fehr she had just completed midwifery studies at George Town University.  She and I agreed that much of birth trauma could be avoided.  We became a team and worked together with many clients in the Northern Virginia and Beyond location.  I was with her for 4 years.  She was the attendant to 3 of my four children at home.  When I was expecting my last child Daniel she was also expecting her last child.  When she had him, also at home with her family it was a coincidence that I too went in to labor.  Incredibly enough, she came to my home nearly 2 hours away, with newborn babe in tow and her entire family for support to deliver my Daniel.  I clearly recall, while pushing Daniel, I looked up and saw her milk was coming in.  It was an amazing memory.  Juliana also started the School of Midwifery at Rappahannock University which I believe is still a thriving program. In attendance at many of our clients births also was Norma Sides a wonderful person and amazing assistant.  I believe she later became a midwife as well. 

 

The first midwife in the Manassas area that I recall was Pam Kinchloe, Pam started as a nurse at Prince William Hospital and later became a midwife and she attended the birth of my first son Wes at Faquier Hospital.  Later she and I did a home birth or two as well.  I relocated to Tennessee.  Worked with Direct Entry and became the partner to Bobbie Stedhim who became the Tennessee Midwifery Association President.  She and I traveled to the Farm in Summertown, TN and took a class with other midwives.  Debra Flowers was one of the instructors as well as Ina Mae Gaskins.  It was a dream come true for me.  Later, I worked with Terry Harvey, also known as Lilly in Gallitan, TN.  I helped her renovate the Gallitan School of Midwifery and Birthing Center and we did a few births together.  I completed the course and worked at the center a bit.  Taught childbirth classes and advocated for women in the community. I met some wonderful Midwife pioneers.  Marilyn Green, was a guest professor at the school. 

 

Unfortunately, I wasn't there long before my husband was transferred to Indiana.  Although I did not choose to practice there, I was involved in lobbying for a Bill to legalize midwifery.  The first time it did not pass but I have great memories of schlepping up to Indianapolis with other determined women.  I recall we organized in the hall, with our nursing infants. 

 

A divorce brought me back to Haymarket, VA where I grew up and I had to reinvent myself in order to make a living here.  A few years ago, I attended the Mother Earth Festival in Seven Springs, PA and I had the great pleasure to meet and speak with Midwife and author of Arms Wide Open a Midwife's Journey, Patricia Harman, if you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it. 

 

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to go down memory lane.  Becky Logan Fay
 

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#17 of 25 Old 05-01-2013, 07:32 PM
 
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I was in my early 20s and a couple of years from having children (not even with the father of my first yet), but for some reason I picked up a copy of Caterine Millinaire's book 'Birth', which had all kinds of alternative birth stuff in it....this was over 30 years ago!

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#18 of 25 Old 05-01-2013, 09:30 PM
 
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My husband was dying of cancer, and a wonderful hospice social worker was really there for me.  I told her I just didn't think I could go back to the hospital and have my baby after everything that had happened.  She told me her friend just had her baby at home with a midwife!  Who knew?!  She set up an appointment for the midwife to come to the house and one of the last things my husband did was hear his son's heartbeat.  I've never looked back.  My midwife took such good care of me, especially considering the loss of my husband and having a baby alone.  My son was born in the same room my husband died in.  It gave me the fresh start I needed.  It hasn't been easy, but I survived.  My midwife was amazing.  I couldn't imagine having a baby any other way!

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#19 of 25 Old 05-02-2013, 12:12 AM
 
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When I was 7, my stepmother was pregnant with my half-brother. They lived across the country from us, so we only saw them twice a year, but we were there the summer she was pregnant. She was very "crunchy" and planned to birth my brother at home, in the room my sister and I stayed in on our visits. I thought it all very strange. After all, I remembered the line in a school play about babies being born in hospitals... That's normal, right? She had posters on the wall of female anatomy and all of us kids stood around trying to figure out where the baby went (my step-brother pointed out an empty space on her side as the only logical option, but I pointed out that babies stick out the FRONT, not the side!). We didn't really have the opportunity to learn much, and I don't know that I would have at that point because I already knew my step-mother to be very, very out there in pretty much every way (I find it curious how much our paths have ended up crossing, though coming at it for different reasons!).

So my brother was born at their home, but we were across the country at the time. Thirteen or so years later, as a young married couple, our first friends to become pregnant were trying to decide where to give birth. For them, it seemed mostly an issue of finances. They did end up birthing at home and it sounded lovely, though I was certain I'd want a CNM and not a CPM as they had. The next couple to get pregnant had a home waterbirth with a different midwife (also CPM). Then it was our turn, and for health reasons I believed we needed to be with an OB. It was a little crazy to talk to my dad about Bradley childbirth classes and have him totally familiar with it from my brother's pregnancy and birth! By the time we neared the end of the pregnancy, neither my DH nor I wanted to birth in the hospital! We had no idea we could actually change our minds that late in the game, and went ahead with a planned natural hospital birth. But when that went wrong, we knew that we'd never go back to a hospital for a birth, short of an emergency. Three HBACs later, and one planned this summer (all with the awesome CPM my 2nd friend had), I'm so glad to know that MY children will all have a healthy view of birth and home birth to carry throughout their lives. They just can't figure out why people would do anything different! thumb.gif

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#20 of 25 Old 05-02-2013, 01:04 AM
 
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Hm, I learned about midwives in high school history class and was pleased to learn that they were still around when I was pregnant with my oldest. At the time, I did not know that there were still midwives doing home births, so I used a nurse-midwife in a hospital. It wasn't a bad experience, as hospital births go, but I didn't want to go back again. Also, after I had my first, I read Spiritual Midwifery and wanted a different type of midwife. When I got pregnant with my second, I found the Baltimore Birth Center, a freestanding birth center in Baltimore, MD. I was able to have a waterbirth there, which was great. I won't go through the births of all of our children... I will say that I'm glad that there were caring midwives available when I started having children :)


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#21 of 25 Old 05-06-2013, 11:36 PM
 
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My memory of learning about home birth is sort of funny to me in retrospect--i remember seeing a commercial on TV at the age of maybe 7 or 8 that showed women laboring next to their beds and in their living rooms with their husbands helping them. It was a commercial for a documentary about home birth. I remember thinking how weird and filthy it is to give birth at home. My strong reaction is odd since i never witnessed a hospital birth (i'm the youngest), i'd heard about my mom's hospital births, though, and had seen a few movies with hospital births. This was enough to make me think its weird, unsanitary and very dangerous. Its funny to me now because i've had two unassisted births and i cant imagine choosing to birth a different way unless absolutely necessary.
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#22 of 25 Old 05-07-2013, 07:23 AM
 
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No clue. It apparently didn't make much of an impression on me either way.

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#23 of 25 Old 05-07-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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Just to add to my earlier comment, I'm a farm girl so I saw animals being born/hatched and breastfed all the time (except things that were hatched, they didn't breastfeed lol). It all just seemed so much more normal and natural when they did it than when humans did. No one tracked dates and sizes and measurements and everything was always fine. 

I think what spawned my fear of a natural childbirth was when the midwives started asking me all sorts of questions about my ovulations and cycles and dates of conception (all of which I had no answers to). I started freaking out that there were all these things I should know and there are so many options to deal with this new "disease" I had (pregnancy)... there were classes and techniques and massages and exercises that I had never heard about... they made me so intimidated like I had no business even having a baby... 

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#24 of 25 Old 05-08-2013, 11:36 AM
 
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My husband worked at the hospital and his insurance only covered providers within the hospital or affiliated with it. I googled midwives and called one to see if she could deliver my baby there. I was educated on how that's not exactly how it works and even if it was, that she's a homebirth midwife and what that meant in a modern context. I had to switch and pay for private insurance to cover some of it since my insurance through the hospital employee plan was exempt from covering any of it but I'm so glad that I found out about it and hope to be a midwife within the next decade.

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#25 of 25 Old 08-10-2013, 06:07 PM
 
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I was 31 and a friend gave me a copy of Unassisted Childbirth by Laura Kaplan Shanley and Primal Mothering in a Modern World by Hygeia Halfmoon. Reading them opened my eyes.

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