Let me start off by saying that the birth of our third child, Eddie, was not planned from the beginning by me to be a home birth. My wife wanted to do a home birth, however I was naturally quite resistant to the idea (I’ll explain why here shortly.) Originally, I had every intention of us having the baby in the hospital where our other boys were born. I did have some misgivings about having the birth in the hospital though, as the births of our first two boys weren’t the greatest experience.
My wife wanted to have a home birth for our third child for a number of reasons, mainly due to the birthing experience she had in the hospital with our first two boys, which was not pleasant to say the least. She began to try and convince me why we should have our third baby at home. My first reaction to this idea was, “There is absolutely no way we are having this baby at home!” My reasons at first seemed completely logical and common sense but after a bit of research (with the help of my wife) I discovered those reasons were completely illogical.
- Having birth in the hospital will be best in case of an emergency in the birth of the baby.
- Having a home birth is very unsafe.
- Having a home birth will be too messy.
Little did I know that these were some of the most common reasons and misconceptions that other dads have about home birth. With a little assistance from my wife, I started doing research and was surprised to find out some of the misconceptions associated with my reasons; These are what started to change my mind on the subject.
Misconception #1: Having the baby at the hospital will be the best in case of an emergency in the birth of the baby. In the state that I live in (Nebraska), 31% of all hospital births result in cesarean section(a) and of those approximately 50% result in complications(b). The United States ranks 28th in infant mortality rate(b) (this is below Cuba!). Cesarean Section is major abdominal surgery and can result in the following complications: infection, hemorrhage, hysterectomy, transfusions, bladder/bowel injury, heart/lung complications, blood clots, anesthesia complications, rehospitalization, etc. The mortality rate for Cesarean Section is 2-4 times that of vaginal birth(b). These were some of the statistics that I was shocked to discover about what I thought was completely safe birth in the hospital. These facts alone broke my confidence in hospital birth and stirred me to dig even deeper.
Misconception #2: Having a home birth is very unsafe. A recent study(c) by the British Medical Journal in 2005 showed that planned home births were as safe as hospital births. Many other previous studies show the same approximate mortality rate between hospital and home. However, infection rates in the hospital are shown to be 4 times higher, and respiratory distress rates are 17 times higher in the hospital than in the home(d). Once I dispelled the misconception about home birth being unsafe and actually statistically more safe than hospital birth, I began to have a change of heart on the matter. Once I started seeing the statistical data comparing the two I started becoming more scared to have the baby in the hospital!
Misconception #3: Having a home birth will be too messy. I didn’t dispel this misconception until the actual birth. However, after finding out my false perceptions about my first two reasons I was less concerned with the mess than with the safety of my baby and my wife. The mess of a home birth was much less than I originally anticipated and I was quite shocked at how little a mess there was. Perhaps our experience in the hospital exaggerated my perception of the mess it would be.
Once I was able to overcome the false perceptions I had about birth, I was actually able to approach the subject from a natural and common sense point of view. I started to look forward to having a home birth. We would be able to have complete control of everything from the mood, right down to the finest detail to keep my wife content and as comfortable as possible. There wouldn’t be any doctors or nurses coming in the room un-announced every 30 minutes wanting to check her or forcing her to lie in an uncomfortable position. At home she would be able to let her body do what it naturally wants to do–give birth.
I began to wonder how I could have been so misguided or confused about something the female body is naturally designed to do. Long before modern medicine or the scientific method women have been giving birth naturally for thousands of years just as God had intended it.
Originally we didn’t intend the birth to be unassisted. We had a doula who was going to be available for us. In our state Nebraska midwives are pretty much not allowed to attend home births or they face censure and loss of licensing, so we were unable to find a direct entry midwife to attend. However my wife had done a lot of research, attended doula classes and gained a lot of knowledge about birth and possible complications/warning signs.
As a dad naturally my biggest concerns were with my wife’s, and the baby’s safety before, during and after birth. Since we were planning to have a home birth it was my responsibility to find out about possible complications and what to do in those events, as well as learn about hemorrhage and blood loss. Once I was armed with a little bit of knowledge many of my fears were relieved.
When the time came she was in labor for several days (Prodomal), with light to moderate Braxton Hicks contractions. The actual labor however only lasted at most 4 hours and came rapidly after about 5 days of Prodromal labor. It came so quickly in fact that by the time our doula arrived baby Edward was already here and he surprised us by being breech (butt first) birthed in a pool in our basement. My wife had the best birthing experience of her life and had almost no pain throughout the birth (with absolutely no meds). As for my experience it was probably the most scary and exciting event of my life, and I most certainly would do it all over again if we have another baby. I am planning to post the full birth story from a dad’s perspective on a future date so stay tuned.
Article by Adam Pruitt
A Christian Home Birth Unschooling father of 3 wonderful boys (ages 5, 3, and 9 months) and husband to Vanessa Pruitt, Editor in Chief of Natural Family Today.
Adam has written 1 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
Like Us On Facebook
Grab a Button
Join Our Blogroll