We get so many mixed responses when we're asked where we plan to deliver, and answer with, "at home." Some people love it, some people's eyes widen as though I just proclaimed I had an infectious disease, and some people simply say how "unique" it is. The truth is, it's a really long story and a journey that truly started when we got married over a year ago. If you decide to stick with me in this likely long-winded story, then thank you! I realize there's no "need" to share our story in this way, but it's something so dear and important to us that I feel those who care will really understand and support us (and also I'm 5 days past our due date, so there's not much else I'm thinking about).
Last summer when we were settling into married life, I got huge baby fever... literally out of no where. We had dated for three years prior to getting married, and had always planned on waiting five years or so until we grew our family. And even then, we had seriously considered adoption over actually birthing our own. We wanted to be established; in our own house, with secure careers and actually plan it all out. So, seriously, this baby fever came out of left-field.
I cried and asked God to take away this desire... I wanted to just "be" with my husband and not have this desire. It felt selfish and strange and didn't make any sense to me. A few months later, something in me knew. I was shooting a wedding and couldn't believe the exhaust I felt (plus I was nearly a week late, which never happens). The next morning I took a test and I don't think I'd ever imagine that plus sign could appear so quickly! I started shaking and sobbing and didn't even know what to think or feel... It was real. I was pregnant!
I ran into our bedroom with the test and jumped on the bed waking up DJ and just waving the test in his face... I literally woke him up this way (insert crying-laughing emoji face here). My poor husband haha. As we sat there in disbelief, and the reality that he had to leave for work in twenty minutes we decided to just pray and then called my mom to tell her the news we just discovered. The whole day seemed like such a blur. I went online and figured out about how far along I was (five weeks), and then we just proceeded to pray and allow God to work in our hearts, allowing him to grow us and show us his goodness amidst our huge surprise.
We didn't have health insurance. I was basically only doing freelance work at the time. And though DJ's job is awesome, and his bosses really take care of him, it's not his dream job and he is in the highest role he can be. There's no room for promotion. We were still learning to live together, as it had only been about four and a half months. We had a really tiny one bedroom apartment, we had just adopted a young kitty, and we were "getting by" financially. Bringing a baby into this seemed like an impossibility.
But then we got really excited. On my birthday we were able to confirm our pregnancy at a pro-life clinic in midtown Sac. It was really, really happening. I was miserable lol. My first trimester was during my birthday, thanksgiving, and Christmas and I literally ate nothing. It was totally a bummer... I ended up losing weight and spending most of my time over the toilet, nauseated, feeling like I could pass out at any moment, falling asleep at all hours of the day... Seriously. It was bad. DJ always reminds me that in one of my very uncomfortable moments, sobbing, I cried to him, "why did you do this to me?!!" He said it was actually hard not to laugh... Pssshhh... Whatever.
Anyways, as we told our family and close friends, one friend mentioned to me that with her first, she delivered naturally. No medications. Just learned how to breathe and cope with relaxation techniques. She gave me some reading materials and I was immediately hooked. DJ has always been a big advocate for mind-over-matter, and is always encouraging me to push myself, and trust that God's got me, and He made us stronger than our minds let us think we are. Needless to say, when I brought up doing a natural birth, he was all for it, and totally supported the idea. After actually praying about it, we felt complete peace that this is what we were supposed to do.
We didn't end up with medical insurance until after the first of the year, so we never saw an actual doctor until I was in my second trimester. This alone was so scary for us... We felt so blind and had no idea what we were doing. The world of medical insurance is a crazy one. We found out pretty early that we were having a girl, though we were seriously convinced we were having a boy, and though shocked (no seriously... we asked the technician three times if she was absolutely sure), we were thrilled.
One day as I was sitting in our little apartment, I got this overwhelming feeling that we weren't supposed to stay in that home. We were supposed to break our lease, and God had a different plan for us. I suddenly started ugly-crying because I felt like that was such an un-wise decision, and made no sense. I called DJ while he was at work and told him this... and though a little hesitant at first, he agreed. We decided that if this was truly a God-idea, that it would work out without any lease-termination fees, and no overlapping rent months. A few weeks went by, and that's exactly what happened. God closed several doors, and opened just the right one for us (the home we're in now... which is a totally cool story itself, but I won't elongate with those details).
During this crazy time of home-hunting and literally living by faith (breaking our lease without any idea where we were moving), God plopped this new friend in my life (via Instagram no less). We met for coffee one morning and realized we were pretty much the same person... but not haha. She was telling me her birth story of her not-even-one-year-old at the time, and my eyes swelled up with tears. She explained their story and all the trials they underwent, and I seriously couldn't believe the parallels. She told me all about her home birth, and the beautiful, peaceful experience she and her little family were blessed with, and I wanted that. She told how her midwives prayed over her, and had essential oils diffusing... and it seemed perfect. Not only did I want that, but something in my heart just knew that this is why God was moving us, and this is why he had already planted in my heart a desire for a natural birth.
My new friend gave me the information for her midwife team, and that next week DJ and I were sitting on the couch in their office being prayed over and welcomed as not just a client, but part of something bigger. They believed in us and our story. They believed that this was all Spirit-led, and we didn't end up there by chance.
We continued seeing our regular OB, simply because we were "paying for it" with our monthly medical premiums, and didn't see any need to stop. One thing led to another, and we realized we kept getting bills for every little appointment, lab work, then late fees, and bill after bill ... we were so confused as to what our huge monthly insurance payment was "covering." Well, it covered nothing, ha! We were paying everything out-of-pocket, along with our monthly premium. Then one day we got a notification that we actually didn't even have coverage anymore. We lost our insurance "two months ago" at the time apparently. It was confusing, embarrassing, and totally didn't seem right... but it was reality.
Our home birth was never covered by insurance, but the entire cost of appointments, delivery, supplies, lactation support, home visits, on-call care, and continued prayer support (yes, prayer support from our midwife team... how amazing is that?!)... was all a fraction of what we had already been paying the insurance and initial doctor, let alone the giant hospital bill we would've received after delivery. (I should mention too, my midwife isn't only a midwife, she is an MD/OBGYN, and has delivered thousands of babies in hospitals, but decided she wanted to see labor and delivery in a more peaceful environment, where mother has more say and control over her body and birth. She also still works in a hospital performing surgeries and other things.)
I look back and question why God didn't just lead us to choosing home birthing from the beginning... why we stressed so much about finding insurance, and why a hundred other things happened the way they did, but I already know that we wouldn't have the peace and understanding of his goodness had we not also made our own choices, and allowed him to work in our hearts. We made some decisions based off of fear, and not knowing anything different. But the decisions we made when we were trusting in God's plan and timing... Those one's we see some solid fruit from. I say this line over and over from a worship song, "faith makes a fool of what makes sense," and it truly helps me remember the brilliance in trusting our God.
We believe home birthing is right for us. It's not for everyone, and neither is choosing to birth naturally. But it's our story and yes, it is unique to us. I've never been a fan of hospitals. I often find myself anxious and overwhelmed... not to mention uncomfortable when I'm at a hospital. We wanted to bring our sweet girl into this crazy world, in a peaceful and God-centered environment. We get to have the comfort of our home from beginning to end of labor and delivery. From our own comfy bed, to our own kitchen and food, to our music and birth affirmations being displayed. We have freedom to walk around however we like, and we won't have a time limit, or a bill getting larger the longer we stay. We can pray, and lay down, and bounce on the ball... And truly the list goes on. But like I said, this is for us... and we know that this really doesn't even appeal to everyone! Which is TOTALLY COOL! Everyone's story is different.
So, we chose home birth... but it also sort of chose us. We are so so so sooooooooo excited and beyond ready to meet our girl. Each passing day is difficult, but also a reminder that it's another opportunity to spend embracing just the two of us a little bit longer.
I do also want to say, that in the case that complications do arise, if our MD/midwife believes we need hospital care, we do have a plan in place. We are not unaware that things can happen and change in a moment. We do trust and hope that this wouldn't be the case, but are prepared even so. We also have plans in place for coverage as soon as Nora is born.
People often ask if we just deliver on our bed or in our bath tub or what... and we actually have things setup in each room, just in case. We won't know how labor will go until we're in it! So we have this big tub that fits both DJ and I that we can use for labor and or delivery setup in our living room (the biggest room in our casita), where the natural light floods in beautifully, music will be playing and our big sofa will be ready for us to hold our little love after she's born. Our bed is setup looking normal, but with plastic over our good bedding, and darker bedding on top so it's still cozy, but prepared in case we decide to be there. And what's not pictured, is a table full of medical supplies, delivery tools, and postpartum care... because who really wants to see all that, haha. We are literally all setup and ready for our girl. It's just a matter of time! <3
Deciding to birth at home is more than just a hippie-choice because we don't like choosing medicine over natural methods... it's mostly because we believe in releasing fear and choosing to TRUST that God created my body to do this. I've had a lot of things occur in my life out of my control, but this process... the process we've gone through and the process we will go through of labor and birth, is so much more than a procedure. It's a relinquishing of control, but being very much in control of my mind and my heart, by allowing God to give me strength when I'm weak, and courage when I am afraid. I'm choosing to believe that my mind and body are capable of relaxing and releasing the fear that keeps me holding on.
We are thrilled to see all that God has in store for our birth story, for our Nora, and for the rest of this time while we wait. He has led and directed us so beautifully thus far, we can only imagine what else he's got planned.