Birthing Center or Home Birth…the Question.

About an hour before she was born, I got into the tub!

So being 36 1/2 weeks, and now knowing that I wont have to have the baby in the hospital has got me to thinking about the nearly imminent birth of our babe. I try not to think too much about labor/delivery until I get close, probably because too much thinking about it isn’t necessarily a good thing :) My first birth, I had at my midwife’s birthing center, the others I had at our home, and this last one I gave birth in our tub (the picture above is me about an hour before Victoria was born) and loved having a waterbirth. All of my other births we’ve had quite the audience present, sisters, nieces, friends, neighbor’s, kids. Last time I had 11 extra people in our small bathroom (including four of our excited children, but most of them were behind me so I wasn’t feeling too crowded :) Don’t take this the wrong way, I’ve loved it every time. I love the fact that we have parents, children, friends, who take delight in the birth of our children. There really is no experience that can compare with being a witness of the birth of a child, those first few moments when a baby enters the world, they are miraculous, and filled with such joy and anticipation, the thought of reliving those precious moments again brings tears to my eyes. I guess I know how precious and special they are and that is why I’ve wanted to share them with my mom’s especially, and dad Burns has also been at each of our births as well, with Eamon he was a lifesaver when I had back labor and everyone else had petered out with hours and hours of pushing on my back to give me some relief. And sharing the experience with some of my children has been a whole new beautiful experience that I’ve loved each time.

So this week I’ve been wrestling with how I want my birth experience to look this time. Do I want my five older children, three parents, husband, and two midwives in the room when I give birth? I just don’t know this time. There is this small part of me that would love it to just be Chris and I in the room, and maybe a midwife :) I’ve even been entertaining the idea of going away to our midwife’s beautiful birthing center that looks like a luxury sweet, with a beautiful birthing tub and everything! Doesn’t that sound nice? So why is it so hard for me to change plans this time? I guess I’m just trying to sort this all out and hopefully by the time I actually go into labor I will feel really good about the decision I’ve made… Here’s the pros and cons:

Birthing At Home:

-I don’t have to go anywhere, driving while in labor isn’t very fun and we have about a 40 minute drive.
-I can labor quietly at home until I know it’s the real deal, last time I had about 4 hours of labor and then it stopped, that would be a bummer to get there and have to head home again.
-It’s comfortable because it’s “my space.”
-I don’t have to go anywhere postpartum, just hop (or very carefully get) in bed and rest, no driving necessary (this is probably one of the biggest negatives for me birthing at the birthing center).
-All the “stuff” I need is already here, I don’t have to pack a bag or make sure I remember everything, if I need something I can have someone get it for me.
-I would have the freedom to share the experience with whomever I want to, and I can change my mind about this if I need to. If I was at the birthing center, whoever is there is there, no going back.
-I know I’m comfortable with the tub I birthed in at home, not sure about the tub at the birthing center?

Birthing at the Birthing Center:

-It’s already clean and clutter-free. Every time I’ve known I was going into labor, I pretty much spent the evening after the kids went to bed cleaning, then I go to bed at around midnight (exhausted)and active labor starts in about an hour after I go to bed. By that time I really need sleep but I can’t sleep :) It’s literally gone that way for at least the last 4 births!
-It’s quiet – I don’t have to worry about kids waking up or what to do with the kids when/if they get up. So far it’s worked out really well but I can’t guarantee that it will work out the same this time.

So I guess the two big things that I’m concerned about are my house, and having it be clutter-free for the birth (I don’t know about you but it’s hard for me to relax in a messy house, and when I’m in labor relaxing my mind is the easiest way to relax my body to cope with the pain of labor), I don’t want to exhaust myself pre-labor this time, I feel like it’s not wise for me to spend three hours before labor cleaning my whole house. The other thing that is always on my heart is what to do with my kids. I’ve talked to both my moms about these concerns and they’ve both agreed to help out with the kids if we decide to go to the birthing center. I also have this looming list of all the To-Do’s that I usually put together, things I need to do before the baby comes. But for some reason I’m just totally unmotivated this time. I’m not sure why it is, is it I’m getting older? Is it that I’ve had 9 pregnancies and 7 babies in 9 years? Is it that it’s starting to get warm and the heat is wearing me out? Maybe I’m just tired of trying to work really hard while I have a big baby in my tummy? I don’t know, they all sound like excuses to me, but the reality is, I feel overwhelmed and I’m just not really sure what to do about it.

This pregnancy has been different than the others for sure, it’s been a bit harder, I’ve felt sicker and struggled with 1st trimester depression, tough vein problems, bed rest, a breech baby, homeschooling three children, all the while cooking, cleaning, and wifing :) I think God is trying me. Well, I know God is trying me. Every pregnancy has it’s challenges and through them we either draw nearer to the Father, or we don’t. I know He is my refuge and my rock, and my help in time of need. He has been with me through this challenging pregnancy and I know He will guide me and will not forsake me in the challenges of birth. Every time I’ve given birth I’ve felt a strong sense of His unfailing love and strength, and I look for that now as I once again face this day of deliverance.

Thanks ladies for your encouragement through this pregnancy, and for all the kind words and prayers, and the many words of advice. I’ve been so blessed with a great group of friends and sisters! Would love to hear your thoughts on this subject too :) Eventually I will figure it out, it will be neat to see how the Lord unfolds this beautiful birth!

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8 Responses to Birthing Center or Home Birth…the Question.

  1. melody says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a looong time. I think I started back when there were only 3 kiddos in your ‘little’ family : ) I am a fellow homebirther and homeshcooler. I have 3 kiddos.

    With my first son I had him at a beautiful birth center, and with my other two I had them at home in a pool. You are sooooo right they both have their pros and cons. I hated the ride in the car. It was terrible! With my second one, we had her at home and my 20 month old woke up just as I was starting to push, and we hadn’t though to have someone else there to help with him, cause you know he was supposed to be sleeping. But we just left him in his crib while he talked and it worked out fine: ) With my third kiddo, my parents took our older two, so we wouldn’t have to worry about them, and it was quiet and beautiful, and my son entered the word in our living room. I do love to having those memories in my home.

    But with having so many kiddos in your home, I could definitely see the up side to taking a little birthing vacation : ) I think I would be torn too.

    I think we often spend so much time fretting and trying to work out the details of how things will go down, and so often they just happen how they happen. When you go into labor, I think you are going to know what feels most comfortable for you at that time. And I am confident that God will give you direction and peace : )

    Blessings to you as you await the arrival of you precious little one.

    • Jenni says:

      Thank you Melody for your comment so nice to “meet” you :) I have done the 40 minute drive thing before and honestly it was torture! I am really feeling like I will probably end up birthing at home, I just need some extra help. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. I think just getting these feelings out of my brain and onto virtual paper really helps me to process what I’m thinking. I have a good feeling I will end up doing a homebirth again but maybe trying to do a little “less” than what I’ve normally done. Bless you Melody!! Thanks again for your response!

  2. Gena says:

    That is a hard decision! Here where I live the only options are hospital or having a midwife come to my home. I’m not the home-birthing type (although I’ve had many friends and sisters-in-law who are!). I love not having to worry about the mess of my house (or the mess that birth and postpartum cause). And I do enjoy the little “vacation” away from my normal responsibilities so I can concentrate on the new baby for 2 days. I’ll pray God leads you to the right decision!
    –Gena at

    • Jenni says:

      Thanks Gena :) I confess there is a part of me that would love to birth at a hospital for those two days following the birth! But I do love being able to just sit at home while my family is enjoying the new baby, and sleeping in my own bed, and eating the food that we love instead of hospital food :) There are pros and cons both ways! Thanks for your prayers and thoughts Gena!!

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  4. Something, too, you might think about… not only would you be going *to* the birth center, but you’ll be coming home *from* the birth center 4-6 hours postpartum. That’s you getting somewhat dressed, getting the baby dressed, putting the baby in the carseat and then you all going home and being greeted by the happy hoards.

    I’d encourage you to ask some of those really wonderful support folks to come over and help you get the house ready for the birth while you sleep! It sounds like you have lots of loving people around and I’d bet any of them would be glad to help you in labor, not just be an observer. Oh, and I know how hard it is to let people clean up your own house, especially while you’re sleeping, but that might be one of the lessons: ACCEPT HELP! :)

    Much good luck in your decision… I’ll be watching to see how your birth unfolds.

    • Jenni says:

      So true, the fact that I will have to drive home after the birth is probably the biggest “con” for the birthing center. After all this mulling it over, I’m pretty sure we’ll end up staying home and asking the mom’s to help some with the cleaning while they are hanging around waiting for baby to come :) I’ve been blessed with some great parents on both sides!

      Thanks for your comment, I too am looking forward to seeing how this all unfolds :)

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