It is hard for me to fully explain the reason I wanted to go home to have the baby. I had been traveling while pregnant for the past six months through Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East.
And now it was just time to go home. We were in Cairo, we had traveled overland through the Middle East, we had completed a large leg of a long journey. I wanted to go home, to Maine.
It is hard for anyone to fully explain those pregnancy hormones.
Part of it was craving my mom. I wanted to share this exciting time with my family and knew their help would be indispensable in those first few sleep deprived weeks with a newborn. Part of it was craving female companionship, which is hard to find when you travel as fast as we were through the Middle East. Part of it was wanting to have a natural childbirth at home with a midwife.
I was vaguely interested in this idea right when I found out I was pregnant. From the start I wanted to five birth with a midwife, at home. I became more attached to it the more reading I did and the more prenatal visits I went to abroad. The doctors that I had yet talked to in Budapest and Istanbul treated pregnancy as though it were some kind of disease whose only cures were ultrasounds and blood tests.
As if the test results on their own would make my baby healthy.
No doctor had yet talked about my diet, excercise, how I was doing emotionally or plans for the birth. In fact, doctors barely talked to me at all. They just ran through a list, asking me a few standard questions:
How old was I?
Did I smoke?
Were the father and I related?
Before quickly shuffling me off to get more tests done.
So, at six months pregnant, we went home. Wade and I moved into the apartment below my parent’s house. Wade worked on an organic farm and I did childcare a couple days a week and cooked good food (finally!!) and watched my belly grow and grow.
We even got married somewhere in there.
We also started meeting with a midwife. We chose Chris from First light midwifery, and it was a totally different experience from the doctors we had consulted in Hungary and Turkey. The midwife treated me like a younger sister rather than a nameless, ignorant pregnant belly. She spent over an hour with us chatting about our lives, answering all our questions, testing my pee and weight, teaching us how to tell the baby’s head from her butt and we even listened to her heartbeat. The time we spent building a relationship with our midwife felt as important as everything else, so that in labor I would feel comfortable with her and be able to trust her discretion.
Homebirth definitely seemed like the right choice for me. I hate hospitals. The idea of having some doctor I’d never met deliver my baby made me sick to my stomach. I don’t trust nurses. And Wade trusts them even less. The last thing I wanted was for my main pillar of support to be nervous and uncomfortable.
I know there are some women who can walk into a hospital and take charge, but for me it takes a lot to stand up to the authority of the white lab coats, and I didn’t want to have to be fighting them while I was in labor just because I didn’t want to lay in the bed or something.
I was also nervous about how often hospitals use interventions such as induction and c-sections and didn’t want to have to fight these off the entire time I was in labor. My midwife knew how much a natural homebirth meant to me and I trusted her to only use interventions or go to the hospital if it was really necessary.
I felt comfortable and relaxed at home, which I knew was probably one of the most important things for giving birth. My body knew what to do if I could just relax enough to let it do it.