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My Babies Were Born at Home in Nebraska

2005-08-13 050I am a mom who has had three babies at home in Nebraska. This may not seem like a big deal where you live, but Nebraska is one of only 2 states in which nurse midwives nor any other health professionals are licensed to attend home births. It’s a bit antiquated and there is a wonderful group, Nebraska Friends of Midwives that is currently is working to change this.
Home birth is a very normal choice in my family. My mother had my youngest two sisters at home in California and my sisters collectively gave birth to 10 children at home in Virginia, Colorado and Nebraska. In 1999, when I was pregnant with my first child, thankfully, my sister had already gone before me in Nebraska. She had done much of the legwork to find a lay midwife, a supportive doctor and knew how to navigate the post-birth administrivia (birth certificate, etc.).

It took a lot of discussion, reading and research, but eventually I convinced my husband that, assuming it was a normal, healthy, low-risk pregnancy, we would have our children at home. Here are some of the things we discussed and considered:

  • A woman’s body is intelligently made to handle pregnancy and childbirth. Birth should not be treated as a medical procedure nor should it be micro-managed. A healthy mother’s body, given the opportunity to open up and give birth is a very natural process. Studies show that more intervention leads to more complication.
  • Influence and control over who was around and in my personal space is my right. A mother’s natural instinct is to nest and protect her children. Knowing the people who were there to help me bring a life into the world brought a sense of comfort and peace.
  • Hospitals are for sick people. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate and respect the medical profession, doctors, nurses and hospital staff. But, hospitals are full of sick people and their germs. I was not sick, I was having a baby.
  • An unmedicated birth is a priority for me. I have confidence in my body and the understanding that even the smallest amount of medications pass on to the baby. Why would I spend 9 months avoiding caffeine, alcohol, cold medicine and pain medicine only to go to a hospital and be tempted to receive drugs? It can be a slippery slope. If you are in a compromised position (i.e. full on labor pains) and there is an easy solution (i.e. drugs) it can be easier to falter.
  • Honoring my body and the time it takes for me to have a baby is important. The process is dictated by mother nature, not a doctor’s or a staff rotation.

Throughout my pregnancies I engaged the support of a doctor and a lay midwife. These were my lifeguards. When my children were brought into the world they were surrounded by their loving family and greeted in a warm, happy environment. Everything including cutting the cord, the initial exam, cleaning and changing, first feeding was done at a calmed pace.

I know that home birth is not a viable option for everyone. But, for those of us who do want it as an option, we deserve qualified care providers and for our insurance to cover the expenses.

I am supporting LB 428 in Nebraska and have sent a letter of support to my State Senator. If you are interested in offering your support, please consider sending a letter or support the Nebraska Friends of Midwives in their efforts.

Thank you!  Suzanne

For more about LB 428 or Nebraska Friends of Midwives visit http://www.nebraskamidwives.org/

(This blog was originally posted on yoginiinprogress.blogspot.com.)

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