Deciding on a birth plan can be crazy overwhelming for both new and experienced parents. I thought after our first two kiddies, we had our ideal natural hospital birth plan written in stone. Little did I know that at seven months pregnant, the world would be flipped upside-down and a home birth would give us our best birthing experience!
I’m convinced my family thought I was crazy in 2020. Who completely changes their birth plan from hospital birth to home birth two months before their due date? Uhhh…That would be me!
We found out that we were expecting in January of 2020. I broke the news to Hubby on his birthday and we looked forward to the start of a wonderful year.
The Start of a Great Pregnancy
As with our older two children, we planned for a hospital birth with the same plan for prenatal care. Our plan was to have as natural a delivery as possible in a hospital setting.
I set up appointments with my regular OBGYN who was happy to be with us for another pregnancy. At our first ultrasound appointment, we found out that we may be carrying twins. Hubby was probably terrified. I was super excited since fraternal twins run in my family and I had always hoped that I would carry twins one day.
Unfortunately, a few weeks later we saw that one of the twins was not progressing well and would be diagnosed as a “vanishing twin”. Trying to stay positive about the rest of the pregnancy was much harder than I thought. Having experienced a miscarriage after my oldest was born, another miscarriage in the midst of a successful pregnancy was a strange and lonely feeling. We were told to celebrate the coming of our new little one, but there was little room for grief.
After a while, I became consumed with baby prep and the prospect of a busy year. We would have a new little baby by the end of the summer and was truly grateful.
Enter Covid-19 stage left.
Change of Plans
Just before my birthday in March, the whole country went into lockdown for the first time and it started to hit us that the rest of this pregnancy was going to be much different than our others.
Right away Hubby was no longer allowed to join me for my prenatal appointments. This was awful since he tried to be at most of the prenatal appointments for all of the kiddies. I knew how sad he was, especially since because of the lockdown, he was no longer commuting to NYC for work. It would have been much easier to coordinate those appointments.
Then came news that there would be restrictions on who could attend the birth. At this point, we started to worry. I did not like the idea of giving birth in the hospital alone and neither did Hubby. We had developed an airtight birth plan that we followed for our first two children. No epidural, reduced monitoring, freedom of movement during labor, placenta retrieval, etc.
I wasn’t sure I’d be able to enforce all of this while laboring alone. After the relief of the progress of this pregnancy, I started to worry about how it would end. I’ve heard way too much about the high mortality rates in the U.S. and I needed an advocate with me. With our first two pregnancies, we labored at home for as long as possible and made it into the hospital within an hour of delivery. My OB never made it in time to deliver our first two children. With things likely to move quickly with baby number three, I did not want to go through that experience alone.
Home Birth Anyone?
Hubby had the same concerns and when he brought up the idea of a home birth, I was shocked and excited at the same time. I think I’d playfully mentioned a waterbirth to Hubby when pregnant with our oldest and got a resounding “Hell No!” So, home birth was never on our radar. But now things were different.
The challenge here – I was now seven months pregnant. So, we went into problem solving mode. I researched midwives in the area, posted in mommy forums, and asked around on social media. While there was a good amount of information to sift through. The problem is, I kept being told that we were too late in the game to find someone. All of the sought after midwives and birthing centers were booked.
In the meantime, I continued to visit my OB, who I told about our plans. She expressed her concern, which I expected, but she continued to give me care.
Finding our Midwife at 7 Months Pregnant
Finally, Hubby struck gold when he reached out to a friend who had mentioned “The People’s Midwife” owner of Inner Circle Midwifery in Philadelphia. She had also been recommended to me by someone in a mommy forum, so I decided to reach out. Unfortunately, she was also booked, but she did have a newer midwife in her practice that was available.
Although I was apprehensive about going with a newer midwife, we went ahead and interviewed her, along with a few others. Thank God we did. She was absolutely amazing! Titilola is her name and her personal practice is Da Professional Midwife. Our home birth was becoming a reality.
Even though we were well into my seventh month, Titilola gave me the reassurance that we would be able to give our little one a beautiful entrance to the world. I had seen an OB with my other pregnancies, but I realize how special and necessary midwives are to the birthing world. I was so impressed by the personalized care I received. Even though she didn’t customarily make so many home visits, Titilola came out to our home multiple times for our scheduled visits. She will always be Auntie Lola, as our oldest son came to call her. And the best part was that Hubby was able to be there at the visits, as well. Take that Covid!
Dismissed By OB
I’m glad to have gotten this reassurance because, once my OB’s office got wind that I was seeing a midwife, they dismissed me as a patient. This really upset me, because after initially talking to my OB, I was told that I could still be seen even with plans for a home birth. As you can imagine, I was still a bit nervous and liked the idea of a backup plan. But, after an appointment with the OB office’s midwife (of all people), I got the letter saying that I was getting dropped like a hot potato. This also meant that I was no longer able to be seen at the practice at all. More on that later.
As the weeks rolled on, I became even more comfortable with the process of preparing for the home birth. We even decided on a water birth! I continued to do Hypnobabies to get mentally prepared for the birth, which I had done for my other labor and deliveries. It truly helped with getting into a peaceful mindset before and during labor.
Water Birth for the Win
At the end of the summer, two days after our oldest daughter turned five, our youngest little guy decided to make his debut (a few days ahead of schedule). Titilola, our midwife, had arrived and quickly got to work preparing the house for the birth. We had already compiled our list of items to prep and she set everything up.
And then we waited. Hubby played music, which had become a ritual for our births. I ate snacks and danced around the house, eventually opting to labor on the birthing ball. Shout out to Hypnobabies for preparing me mentally to help reduce my pain during this natural labor and delivery!
The most amazing thing was that I was given the space to labor however I wanted to and was trusted with knowing my body enough to allow the labor to progress without many interruptions. It was Hubby who, knowing my body’s reactions to late stage labor, suggested it was time to get into the birthing pool. My response, “You sure?” He looked at me and basically said, “Girl, get in the pool.” Daddy knows best!
Best Labor and Delivery with Home Birth
Our youngest was born just after noon that day after only a few hours of labor. After our birth our midwife diligently checked our vitals and got us set up for the next few days. Her assisting midwife, who happened to be Assasiya, The People’s Midwife, came in after and gently helped clean the house and care for us for the next few hours.
It was fantastic! Within a few hours, Hubby, our new baby and I were cuddled on the couch watching TV and enjoying our customary post-birth hoagies. It was truly the birth of my dreams.
With my first two births, I experienced tearing from delivering on my back, but this time I did not. We didn’t have to worry about hospital staff interrupting our sleep that night or sleeping on the horribly uncomfortable hospital bed (or chair-bed-thing for Hubby). Seriously, that was enough to make me want to deliver at home. I left home the first two times with a sore bum because of those beds.
Amazing Aftercare with Midwife
Another great part about being able to be seen by a midwife is that the aftercare for mom is so thorough. With the hospital birth, I had to wait to be seen by my OB for weeks. With our midwife, we (baby and myself!) were seen the very next day, the following week and then twice more by the time I hit the six week milestone. We really came to feel like a family and it was the most care I’ve received after a delivery.
Our midwife was also able to perform placenta encapsulation and also created a keepsake from the umbilical cord. We felt truly in control, yet completely protected and supported during the entire process with Titilola.
She even helped to make sure our breastfeeding journey was off to a great start!
Never Going Back from Home Birth
The pandemic really threw a wrench into our pregnancy and birth plans, but I am so thankful for the opportunity it presented to try something different. I wish we’d always had the mindset we do now because this experience was better than I could have imagined. It was better that what I had experience with my two previous hospital births. I was able to completely honor our natural birth plan and welcome our little one with a peaceful and comfortable labor and delivery at home.
I’m not saying we’re planning for more little ones right now, but if we ever did, home birth would absolutely be the way to go.
Have you done a home birth or water birth? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Tell us all about it in the comments below. Thanks for hanging out!