Give Birth on Your Own Turf

Follow one womanโ€™s journey through childbirth in a hospital setting, and how that experience begat her decision to deliver three more children at home.

Photo by Getty Images/Ideabug

Deciding where your baby will be born can have a lasting impact that reaches far beyond the experience of a single day. For Ginny Yurich’s family, a home birth changed the trajectory of their lives. Recently, they moved to a 14-acre farm, where they tend ducks and chickens, and have plans to add more livestock and a garden. Ginny also maintains a blog, where she encourages parents to provide the ample outdoor time necessary for kids’ optimal emotional and physical health. These new ventures directly resulted from her decision to give birth to her third child in the peace and comfort of her own home.

Ginny is part of a small but growing trend toward home birth. The numbers of planned out-of-hospital births dwindled to almost nothing in the middle of the 20th century, and then rose slightly in the 1970s during the natural childbirth movement. The rate of home births has risen again in the 21st century, to 1.5 percent nationwide.

Moms choose to birth on their own turf for a variety of reasons. Among the benefits: the security and comfort of familiar surroundings; a relaxed atmosphere; freedom from unnecessary medical interventions; independence to move about and make decisions regarding care; a chosen crew of family and helpers; and a post-birth bonding time with no separation from the baby, facilitating a smooth start to breastfeeding.

Ginny had also wanted natural births for her first two babies. During her first pregnancy, Ginny happened to meet a doula, a professional labor assistant devoted to providing physical and emotional support to mothers during labor and birth. Ginny learned from the doula that, while a healthy baby is the most important goal in any birth, it also matters how mothers experience the process. Ginny hoped to give birth in a tub of warm water with no interventions, but she developed preeclampsia, which disqualified her from childbirth at the birth center she’d chosen. Instead, she went to a hospital, where intravenous drugs induced her labor. After 24 hours, Ginny was diagnosed with “failure to progress” and wheeled to the operating room.

The hospital allowed her to attempt a vaginal birth with her second child, but, once again, Ginny’s labor didn’t progress quickly enough, and she underwent a second cesarean section. Ginny and her husband now had two healthy children, but she sums up their births this way: “I don’t remember much. I was alone a lot, and there was a randomness about it. The staff involved were people I didn’t know and would never see again.”

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