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Pregnancy | A Dad’s Perspective on Home Birth

 

She said “home birth?”  I said “No.”  That’s how my wife, Jenny, and I began a rather interesting discussion which is about to lead to a temporary birthing tub in our living room.

Although, according to WebMD, fewer than 1% of US births occur at home, there is a growing community of people who are choosing to avoid the hospital, medications, cesarean sections, and other interventions that often accompany many modern births. While avoiding unnecessary medical interventions makes complete sense, I–like most fathers–have a strong instinct to protect my family and to make sure that mother and baby are completely safe. Even though a home birth is very important to my wife, being “OK” with my wife in a hot tub in the living room with only a midwife and one or two other nurses for support is a bit of a stretch for my protective paternal instincts.

Preparing for Home Birth

To prepare for our decision about a home birth we watched the popular movie “The Business of Being Born.”  (Who knew Ricki Lake was still involved in show business?)  We had already taken the Bradley course for our now one-year old son’s birth and recently completed the Hypnobabies course in which Jen has become a master at deep relaxation and medical hypnosis for pain control.

Lastly, we started interviewing and visiting with the surprisingly small number of midwives in our area who are properly training and licensed to deliver babies at home. Among their awards, accolades, credentials, and reassurances rested a simple business principle that set this dad’s mind at ease–well, at least more at ease.

The midwifery group that we eventually chose to engage for our upcoming home birth is a faith-based practice that feels called by a higher power to provide an important service to well-informed families. These families understand the risks and benefits of bucking the medical system to welcome their child into the world–an event that has been happening with little or no medical intervention for hundreds of generations and was only “medicalized” within the past 100 years.

Also, the people who run the practice gamble their livelihood on the fact that they can assist mothers, without incident, and they have been doing so for several years without a single mother or baby dying or experiencing a serious medical problem. They assured me that whenever they feel like any situation might cause injury to the baby or the mother, they “risk out” moms or transport them to the hospital. This made sense to me from not only the altruistic perspective, but also from a business perspective. This practice has great statistics because they’re conservative with how they handle risk. That realization pushed me over the edge into being more “OK” with attempting a home birth.

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So, although our journey with home birth isn’t complete yet, my “no” has turned into a “well, alright, I think we should try this since the emergency room is fairly close.”

With our baby due in early November 2012, I plan to have a follow-up on how things went within a few weeks.

Image: Stuart Miles

Wade is the father of a fifteen-year-old, a one-year-old and is expecting another baby very soon. He is the host of the "Fathers Over Forty" podcast. A former long-distance cyclist, weight loss guru and master gardener, Wade is sport-challenged, television-averse and constantly worried that his Man Cave pass might be revoked. When not at his full time job doing assistive technology for people with disabilities, he's reading, cooking, or spending time outdoors with his kids and his beautiful wife, Jenny. Connect with Wade at: http://www.FathersOverForty.com or on Twitter at: @FOForty

3 Comments

  1. Margaret

    September 20, 2012 at 5:37 am

    You know, that hot tub in the living room might just grow on you–perhaps leading to your making it a more permanent fixture ;^)

    Great to see you here on PPC!

  2. Wade Wingler

    September 19, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Crystal, thanks for the kind words and the warm welcome! As with most things in life, the more we learn about home birth, the more it seems reasonable and possible. Wish us luck!

  3. Crystal

    September 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    While I don’t think I could personally do a home birth, I think it’s wonderful that women have the option available. Each of us need to follow the birth plan that is right for our families.

    I think it’s great that you’ve kept an open mind about the whole thing! I think my husband would react in pretty much the same way you did at first: No! But after having two children together, he has developed a trust for my instincts as a mom and we’ve struck a balance. Sounds like you guys have done that as well. Congratulations on the new little one!

    Welcome to the PPC team!