Variety is the spice of life. And, apparently, the start of life.

We had our last homebirth class this week, and it was the “reunion” class, where homebirth families who have already had their babies come back and tell their birth stories.  First, it was fun to see all of these babies-a couple of them were even from our class (which, due to holidays, “icy” nights, and a bathroom renovation, was stretched out over more than eight weeks).  But what really amazed me was the variety in the different birth stories.  Of course I never expected them to all be the same, but it’s kind of amazing to hear firsthand birth story after birth story.  I’ve been working hard at trying to keep my expectations about our birth pretty vague-I don’t want to set myself up for frustration or disappointment by expecting one type of birth and having another.  And going to class this week really helped with that, I think.

There was one woman who requested to be transferred to the hospital, because she was so exhausted.  She hadn’t slept much for days and would hardly eat or drink a thing.  She got some rest at the hospital and was able to push out her healthy baby after being in labor for a day and a half or so.  Then, there was another woman-she seemed quite a bit younger than I am-who was herself “caught” by our instructor, Mary.  She apparently had the most serene birth Mary’s ever seen-and Mary’s been practicing as a midwife for over 30 years!  The woman’s mother and sister came to class, too, and said over and over how there was a complete absence of fear in this woman, she just really went with the flow of the birth process.  Some of the births went really fast, some really slow.  One woman gave birth to her fourth child (second at home) and was surprised at how slow it went-all three of her other births had gone quickly.  She said that what really helped her was to visualize exactly what her uterus was doing to get the baby out, and allowing herself to relax around her uterus to let it do its job.  Once she was able to do that, things progressed much more quickly.  One of our classmates lives in an apartment complex.  And, not terribly surprisingly, her neighbors downstairs thought her husband was murdering her or something and called the police.  Her husband said he wished he’d had a video camera to film the look on the officer’s face when he told him his wife was having a baby in the living room (and when he cracked the door a little wider so the officer could see he wasn’t kidding).  There were actually quite a few more families there, but these were the ones that stuck with me the most.

It was great to get to hear all of these stories from these beautiful women with their beautiful babies.  So much goes into the planning and preparation for a homebirth that I think a lot of folks don’t realize.  A major part of it for me has been the emotional and psychological side of it.  Hearing from all of these women and knowing that, despite the differences in the details of their labors, they all had healthy, happy babies in the end makes me all the more confident that Trevor and I have made the right choice for how we want to bring our baby into the world.  And it makes me look forward to giving birth that much more-even though there’s no way to know for sure how long or short, how painful, and how calm or excited our birth will be.  It’s just hard to believe that in a matter of weeks, we’ll have a baby to hold and a story to remember.

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