My wife Amanda and I decided to do a home birth for each of our two children, and I’m grateful that we decided to hire Cosette Boone and Willowsong Midwifery Care. It’s no exaggeration to say that our lives would have been very different if we hadn’t met Cosette and the wonderful circle of new parent friends that resulted from this experience.
For the birth of our first child, Amanda originally thought she would deliver the baby at a hospital with the help of a hospital midwife. But after reading more about the birth process and getting informed about her options, and after witnessing the amazing home birth of her best friend’s daughter, she decided to do the birth at home.
As the father and husband, I was fully supportive of whatever Amanda wanted to do. My only concern was health insurance. My employer’s health insurance plan did not cover midwifery services for home birth, so we had to switch Amanda to her own employer’s plan – and fortunately we were able to get some coverage of the birth and prenatal care, but there was still a moderate amount of out-of-pocket costs that we had to cover. Doing a home birth is almost always cheaper for the insurance companies to cover than a hospital birth, but they don’t often realize it.
Once Amanda’s labor was underway, it was kind of strange for me, because as the husband/father, I found that there wasn’t much for me to do. Amanda just kind of went off into her own mental space. We’d gone through all these couples’ childbirth classes together, but in the end I wasn’t very necessary. (This sounds like a metaphor of some kind…)
So instead of being actively involved with helping my wife through labor, I cleaned the kitchen and brought her many, many glasses of water. At one point I went to the grocery store to buy some last-minute items (this was while she was in early labor). The woman at the cash register asked me how my day was, and I said, “Great! My wife’s in labor right now!” (They quickly processed my transaction and hustled me out the door.)
From my perspective, and this is really easy for me to say since I wasn’t the one who was giving birth, but the whole labor process was pretty relaxed (to whatever extent that is possible) because we were in our own home. We sat on our own furniture. We used our own toilets. We drank out of our own drinking glasses and ate lunch in our own house. (At least I did – I don’t think Amanda ate very much all day. I don’t remember.) Amanda paced around the upstairs and hunkered down in the basement. I baked a frozen pizza for lunch and ate at our own dining room table. All of the little comforts of being home were right there with us as we went through the day-long process of waiting for the baby to arrive.
During labor and the birth process, I tried to help out as best I could, but my wife didn’t really need any help from me – she was very inwardly focused and letting her body do the work of bringing the baby out. We had a great birth team on hand with Cosette, Kari Ward, and Amanda’s best friend Hollie who was serving as a lay Doula during labor.
I still remember when Amanda gave birth to our firstborn son, Sebastian, in the water of the birth tub. He was born into water and he came out with his eyes open, natural and comfortable and fine. I remember holding our new baby in my arms while the birth team tended to the new mother in the next room, and I sang “Happy Birthday to him.” I still remember those little fingers and toes, those little eyes, that fine, delicate hair. (Our firstborn child didn’t have much hair – our second child had a hilariously huge amount of hair. Every child is different.)
Becoming a new father is a one-of-a-kind experience. It literally was one of the happiest days of my life. I remember sending an e-mail to friends and family that night, saying, “We are witnesses to the miracle of life, we are connected to all humankind.” All the old hoary clichés about childbirth felt fresh and new.
If you want to have a natural home birth with a spirit of gentleness and simplicity, with a smart, attentive team of nurses and midwives, talk to Willowsong Midwifery Care. It’s made a huge difference in our lives as parents and in the lives of our kids.