Thanks for the nudge @Veronique ! She wrote a wonderful list about homebirth being NBD: WHY NATURAL CHILDBIRTH IS NBD . It's true! Here's my story:
  1. Prologue: I believe in reproductive choice, and that extends to childbirth. Your body, your choices. That said, information is essential to making meaningful choices. Access is also essential to choice. Both tend to be limited when it comes to non-biomedical/hospital/technological birth in the US.
  2. My older daughter was born at a hospital and her delivery was nurse midwife-assisted.
    In many ways it was an amazing experience. Bringing a baby into the world through the power of your own body is pretty damn intense and awe-inspiring. Forget that rom com nonsense. Of course it hurts, but I have also never felt more fully present and grounded in my body. I labored overnight and was mostly left alone, which was exactly what I needed.
  3. I intended to have our second baby at the same hospital with the midwives again, but I changed my mind in my second trimester.
  4. It took me a few years to really process everything about my older daughter's birth, including the things about it that weren't so wonderful. For example...
  5. My water broke in dramatic fashion at Buffalo Wild Wings.
    That part was awkward but fine in and of itself. I was 9 days past my due date. We were trying to get things going with spicy food. It worked? My awful, awful khaki maternity shorts (worn reluctantly for the first time that hot day) were soaked.
  6. I had hoped to labor at home for as long as possible.
    But when I called to check in, I was told that because my water broke first and I had tested positive for group B strep bacteria, that I needed to come to the hospital and be admitted.
  7. Because things played out this way (water breaking first + group B strep), I was augmented with Pitocin to get contractions started, put on IV antibiotics and fluids and attached to fetal monitors.
    My ideal was to labor in my own clothes, untethered, with minimal interventions. I cried for a few minutes. Then I accepted this reality and got down to business.
  8. It had to be this way, right?
    Yes, but only insofar as this was hospital policy and protocol. Midwifery care in the hospital is constrained by its context. Even if the midwives feel there are better (evidence based) ways to do things, their hands are tied.
  9. I later learned that putting group B strep-positive women on IV antibiotics is not the only option.
    For example, I was never presented with any options to attempt to eradicate the strep before I gave birth:
  10. If I was allowed to labor at home for awhile is there a chance I would have had to be induced anyway?
    Sure, but that wasn't an option. For the sake of comparison (maybe a bit apples and oranges since subsequent labors typically move more quickly) with my younger daughter, my water broke at 3am and she was born at 7:30pm.
  11. I thought about how hospitals have to make broad protocols to minimize risk for a wide range of patients, and how impossible/difficult it is to make exceptions.
    Your care and your options can be tailored to meet your needs as a patient and a person, but within strict limits.
  12. This was frustrating, but not enough to sway me away from the hospital.
  13. And then I had a very frustrating pre-natal appointment at the start of my second trimester.
    With the midwife whose bedside manner I liked the least. She was also the one on call with our first birth. I got lectured for putting on too many pounds between appointments though nothing in my history indicated that excessive weight gain would be an issue. I got the spiel she'd give to anyone. I had sought out midwifery care, in part, because I wanted an individualized approach and that's not what she was giving me.
  14. I knew there'd be a 33.3% chance she'd be on call for this birth and I didn't like those odds.
  15. A few friends and acquaintances had worked with a midwife I had first met 10 years earlier, and I gave her a call.
    Back then I did my Masters research on the debate over licensure and legalization of midwifery in Iowa and I interviewed her just as she was starting out as a midwife after a career as a hospital administrator, of all things. A decade later, she had become a Certified Nurse Midwife and had built a home birth practice in my town.
  16. My husband was very skeptical and nervous.
    Is it safe? What if something bad happens?
  17. We had a wonderful consult meeting and decided this was the right choice.
    Then we called our insurance company to find out about reimbursement. We were told we'd get out of network provider coverage. We had to make a few phone calls after the fact, but most of the expenses were eventually covered.
  18. Things that were great about homebirth and midwifery care:
  19. Prenatal and postpartum visits at home
    In the last trimester, when you start having appointments every other week and then weekly, she came to me. This was incredibly convenient and my then-4 year old daughter would pull out her play medical kit and "help." Beautiful. I also didn't have to leave the house for more comprehensive post-partum care at 1 day, 2 days, 1 week and 6 weeks.
  20. "You'll have this baby before the sun goes down."
    My water broke overnight and by noon, things were progressing slowly. By mid-afternoon I was feeling a little down and wanted to get the show on the road. At this point she said those words, and whether it was her experience talking or she knew me well enough to know that this was the perfect thing to say to me--encouraging, but also a little bit of a challenge--baby girl made her arrival at 7:39pm. Healthy and loud ❤️
  21. My daughter was there.
    You can certainly bring kids to the hospital, too, but I loved that she could come and go as she wanted. She saw her sister's head being born and that was pretty much enough for her, and then she went to her room to play with my mom.
  22. I labored in my own bed.
    Exactly where I sleep. That was powerful for me, and also comfortable/comforting.
  23. No hospital overnight.
    I had a very difficult time getting any sleep at the hospital when my older daughter was born. Of course, sleep is always limited with a newborn, which makes it all the more precious. After a dinner Kathy made from our fridge, we slept in our own bed that night, our whole family under one roof.
  24. The birth was great. The first days, weeks and months were challenging.
    As with my older daughter, breastfeeding wasn't easy at the start. I developed mastitis (breast infection) 4 days post-partum. It sucked. Once I went back to work, I was deeply sleep deprived and consider it a major achievement of my life that I managed to be a competent worker, parent and spouse that year.
  25. That's my story. I'm happy to answer questions in the comments if you have any. I am also a professional birth story junkie (and you probably are, too, if you're still reading!), so I'd love to read more lists that chronicle how your kid(s) came into the world ❤️👶🏿👶🏾👶🏽👶🏼👶🏻❤️