When I was pregnant with Harper and we were trying to decide where he was going to be born, we asked ourselves, “Why not home?”
It wasn’t because I had something to prove. Or because I hate hospitals or drugs… in fact I spent so much of my childhood longing to go to the hospital.
Instead it was because I am a private person and I liked the idea of having a small intimate team of people who I knew and trusted. I believed going to the hospital meant crossing your fingers and hoping you got a good team, or many good teams, as often women labor through hospital shift changes.
I figured Why Not Home because I was healthy, he was healthy, we live close to a hospital, should we need it… so why not try.
After all, I helped sheep give birth when we were living at the farm. And I watched “The Business of Being Born” and I figured if Ricki Lake could do it, so could I.
And I did.
It was long, hard, messy and terribly painful, thanks to back labor and an 8.15oz baby. But it made me feel strong and proud to be a woman… and the double chocolate milkshake in my own bed was pretty wonderful too.
After having a home birth, I know it is not the best option for everyone. But I was glad that it was an option for me.
And then Number Two came along.
When people asked if I was going to have another home birth, I told them I was going to have a scheduled C-section. I was mostly joking but kind of serious.
My back labor was so bad with Harper, deciding where to have our second child was a very hard decision to make. I talked to lots of people and cried lots of tears over that decision.
It was a hard decision because I had to choose one or the other. It was a hard decision because I live in a community that encourages natural child birth and to admit you want drugs is frowned upon. It was a hard decision because if I chose a home birth, but couldn’t do it then I knew I would have to pay twice… for the midwife and for the hospital.
But ultimately I figured I had done it once, so I could do it again. And so for a second time we said, Why Not Home.
And for a second time, I gave it my best shot at home. But this baby was turned the wrong way and things were not progressing. After 7 hours of very intense back labor pain, I knew I didn’t have what it took to have that baby at home… so I made the decision to go to the hospital.
I do not regret that decision for one second.
We live in a town with a small lovely hospital and the team on duty that day could not have been better. We had two hospital midwives who completely understood our position and supported our vision. But they also gave me the pain relief I needed to make it through labor with a directionally challenged 10.2lbs baby.
Having had two different babies in two different ways… I support the documentary project “Why Not Home.”
“Why not Home” tells the stories of doctors, nurses, and midwives who have attended hundreds of hospital births, yet chose to have their children at home.
They are encouraging an honest dialog about childbirth. They want women to have all the information necessary to decide where to have their baby based on what is best for them and not based on the pressures of their community or based on what is best for their insurance company (Harper’s birth cost $4,500. Alistair’s birth cost over $35,000… we had to pay $10,000.)
I am supporting this documentary because having a baby is hard enough, deciding where to have your baby should not be a hard decision. I want hospitals to support home birth midwives and home birth midwives to support hospitals. For the health of women, babies and our community we all need to work together.
Please visit “Why Not Home” to learn more about the documentary and to find out how you can support the documentary too.
About the author paige green
Paige Green is a documentary and portrait photographer, whose storytelling approach to photography frequently addresses issues involving agriculture, land use, and food. Her work is featured in nine books and has been published in Glamour, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Country Living, House Beautiful, and Culture. Paige lives in Petaluma, CA with a house full of boys.
Give me Louisiana
My Brain On War… (And FREE Photo Shoot for those who match my donation to relief efforts in Ukraine)
When the World Feels Upside Down… Together We Can (plus: bonus photo of me in middle school)
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Just beautiful…that’s all!
Another amazing blog entry.
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