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My body, my choice, my birth

Rachel O'Reilly

Tiff Delancy

Tiff Delancy

By Aaryn Leineke

I’ll admit it. I am a bit indecisive about how I want to present this post. Should I state a bunch of facts that support how safe a home birth is? Could I suggest to others that home birth might be the best choice? Do I want to list all the reasons why a hospital birth is not right for me? Although doing all of those things might be helpful, none of those things really speak to the honest reverence I have for wanting a homebirth for my impending first child and any other children my husband and I might have in the future.  

Homebirth is instilled deep in my core, it runs through my veins and fills my body and mind with so much light and a passion I have lived for my entire life. I have photos and newspaper clippings of my mother and auntie fighting for their rights to have their own home birth and for the rights to legalize midwifery and homebirth everywhere. I have had the pleasure of watching my very own homebirth on video and ever since I can remember, I have marveled at photos of my mother working so hard to bring me earthside. She did this in her home, lovingly surrounded by those she trusted most to support her. Now, as a doula, I’ve been fortunate to assist with some incredible births at homes as well as many in hospitals.

Having a homebirth wasn’t a decision I had to think about once I became pregnant. There wasn’t any other way for me to even consider.  And when I say there isn’t any other way for me, it doesn’t mean that I’m not aware of complications that can arise in birth or even early on in pregnancy. I work very hard to stay current with my education on all of the important advances in obstetric care. I acknowledge and commend how far formal practices have come and how many lives have been saved over the years, in the last century particularly. That is precisely why, if and when I need any medical assistance, my baby and I will be taken care of both at home, with my very qualified midwife and/or in the hospital if we need to make a transfer for any reason.

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is how will my midwife know if something's not right? How will I make it to the hospital in time if I need to? What if something goes wrong? It’s actually really simple, my very qualified and licensed midwife is trained for this very thing along with countless other scenarios. She will be monitoring me and my baby continuously while in labor, just like she would at a hospital, and she will know if a transfer out of the home is needed. That decision is made well in advance in order to avoid an emergency situation, so there is time to get to a hospital to have any medical interventions that may be needed.

It is my fervent belief that if I am healthy and my baby is healthy the safest place for me to give birth is at home. And it’s the safest place for me, because home is where I feel most comfortable and relaxed and at peace and that is exactly the type of environment in which I want to bring my baby into this world. I have unshakable confidence with this decision. The real question is how can I convince anyone who is doubting me? It’s tricky because although I know what is best for me and my baby (as do all mothers and fathers), these doubts, whether they mean to or not, call into question my strength, my intelligence and my capability to make responsible decisions for myself and my baby. I know the answer is I can’t change others’ minds, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone respected and celebrated women’s choices, especially when they differ from our own? This is why I will forever fight for a woman’s right to choose. And I am so thankful for my mother and aunties before me who fought, so I can choose and write my baby’s beautiful birth story.