In 2020, Moore Regional Hospital reported a record number of births: 2,278 babies, to be exact. Like rabbits, they say, or quarantined adults… However, as 2021 brings more new babies in Moore County, many women are turning to home births to avoid COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainties in traditional hospitals.
For many new mothers in the pines, the journey to a home birth began with one main question: what’s the difference between at home and at the hospital?
A Different Experience, Yet the Same
Gina Conley, the owner of MamasteFit, a local prenatal and postpartum fitness training company, recently had her own home birth. For Gina, the medical differences were slim, but the emotional differences are significant.
“I had complete consent of who came in and out of the situation, creating a protected space, which gave me more confidence and comfort,” Gina says. “I knew everyone believed in me and had my best interest at heart.”
the labor experience itself was nearly identical to that of a hospital birth. Throughout the duration of the pregnancy, the mother will be in contact with her birth team (typically consisting of a certified nurse midwife, the midwife’s assistant, and a birth doulas) to create a birth plan where they assess risks versus benefits.
After the initial meeting with the birth team, the mother will then have regular appointments throughout the pregnancy that are medically similar to the clinic experience, but offer a more intimate aspect as well.
“The coolest part is that my three year old son gets to be involved in the appointments, where he helps turn the monitor on and can hear the baby’s heartbeat. It’s like he gets to realize ‘this thing in mommy’s tummy is an actual thing,’” Gina says.
So, Where Does the Actual Birth Happen?
Does a home birth happen in a bathtub or in a dark room like in an old-timey prairie film? The answer is no. The space is typically prepped ahead of time with your doulas. Everything from lighting, candles and even a playlist is thought of ahead of time.
Brithgge Roach, a birth doulas with HMBL Bee Doulas is currently in the process of planning her own home birth. She describes her ideal birth space as a cozy atmosphere with a birth alter, photos of her children, candles and a playlist with songs from artists like Tyler Childers, James Taylor and even Kendrick Lamar.
“I want to be there and feel all the love and support, but for everyone to have a shared experience,” Brithgge says.
The doulas and birthing team become more active in the mother’s pregnancy as she nears her due date. On the day-of, the doulas will keep the mother at home for as along as possible. When contractions begin to roll in, the doulas assists in getting her to the hospital if she chooses. The doulas and midwife work together to make the mother comfortable in her prepped birth space if she chooses to stay at home for a full home birth.
Following the birth, the birthing team stays for as long as the mother and baby need, where they take the baby’s height, weight, pulse, and the standard heel-prick for labs. They also can support the mother and baby.
“The support home births and doulas’ provide is invaluable,” Brithgge says. “No amount of money can buy that kind of support.”