#117 | Home Birth of a Black MD from NYC: Why Home Seemed the Safest, Smartest Option

August 11, 2021

Dr. Jess MD is a NYC based doctor of Psychiatry who sought routine OB care early in her first pregnancy.  When her provider didn't know which trimester of pregnancy she was in, she realized she was just a number in a system that was not going to support the kind of birth experience she envisioned for herself, her husband, and her baby.  She sought out a home birth midwife and never looked back.  After experiencing birth as the supernatural, spiritual experience it can be, she wants all women, and especially Black women, to know that not only are they safer birthing at home than in the hospital; but also that they too can experience the bliss of a safe, positive birth experience.   Tune in as she shares her journey from OB to midwife to birth at home.

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You can sign up for Cynthia's HypnoBirthing classes as well as online breastfeeding classes and weekly postpartum support groups run by Cynthia & Trisha at HypnoBirthing of Connecticut

Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!

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View Episode Transcript

I had already weighed what the risks were. And what I knew was that by going in the hospital, that's not a 100%, safe option either. And I just knew I had weighed it, there were far less risk for me to be at home to be in a comfortable state, to, you know, not birth, where there were going to be all of these potential interventions, I knew that this was going to be best. And then I knew me and my husband were very sort of outspoken, it probably wouldn't been good for us either, because we probably would have gotten into some verbal, you know, like, it just wouldn't have been a good, good humane experience. But also the outcomes were just not good for me as a black woman in the hospital.

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

Hi, my name is Jessica. People know me as Dr. Just because I'm a psychiatrist who uses social media in a way to encourage people to engage in their own mental health. And I'm a new mom now. So for me, I can remember the moment I became pregnant, my husband and I had been secretly trying for about a year and it was pretty devastating. Because it did not happen right away, you know, in the way that you kind of grow up and imagine you have sexual get pregnant, it did not happen that way. And I think also, you know, as a black woman, we don't talk a lot about some of the challenges that do come with conceiving. And so I imagined also, it'd be easy, because again, we don't really talk about it. So it wasn't, I remember the day, it was a morning when I woke up, we were going to be getting ready to celebrate my husband's birthday. And I knew I'd be drinking a little alcohol. So I said, why not? Let me just see, because I don't want to, you know, drink and heaven forbid, I'm pregnant. And I surely I was and I just remember, both of us were in tears, because like I said, we really had been trying and even started the earlier steps of talking with a IVF specialist. But we were nowhere near that point. But we started to open our minds to it. So right away, I think like most people I thought about, you know, birth and you know what it would look like who's going to take care of me and I went to see an OB GYN I started that process. I think we both thought that that was going to be where we'd give birth, right? We'd have our ob gyn we'd go into a hospital. And so we started to look at reviews. And I found myself working with the OB GYN who was lovely. But I noticed very early on that I felt like a number and not really like an individual. So you know, I live in New York City. And I think what people don't know a lot about is our hospitals are pretty full all the time with people. And I noticed that, you know, when I would go in for my routine checkup, it was just one of many. And for me that that that experience just made me feel like I wasn't seen. And I'll never forget, I was working with my ob and I reviewed some of the notes. We were sort of earlier in the trimester when I went and she she had the trimester wrong. And I thought to myself, this is okay, a little concerning. You know, again, she's warm and loving. And I felt like there was a really good connection. But that was just something that I noticed when I reviewed my note. And we never really talked about the birthing plan. And in the back of my mind, that's something I was really excited about. I wanted to know, you know, what are my options? What is it going to be like when I go into the hospital, but we never got there. And it really brought me back to my experience when I was a medical student and I was working in the OB ob gyn like we do all these rotations and becoming a doctor and one of them is ob and I recall when I was a medical student working with an OB GYN who you know, we were helping a woman birth and you know, it was telling her push and next thing I know he you know, took out a scissors and did I guess you know cut cut, I guess in a PVC atomies maybe the term? Yes. And I remember her saying what happened and he told her that she tore so that was echoing in my mind also as I'm seeing this ob and I'm thinking about my own experience.

And he denied that he caught her he just he acted as though this tear happened when you saw him actually making an incision

Yes. Yes. And what's striking is I was a student and you know, I felt like something wasn't right. You know, but what, what could I do. But that memory stayed with me. And I think it was something I kind of filed away that, you know, maybe one day that could be me. And this was a woman of color, it was a Hispanic woman who was giving birth. And this is what she was told. So I just recalled that and I think it haunted me seeing this experience with my, my own ob just made me worried. And then the other piece for me is, you know, I'm married to a black man, I'm a black woman. But I think a lot about the intimidation that people can sometimes feel. And I was also worried about what his experience would be, like, giving birth in the hospital with me, you know, he's not actively giving birth, but his experience and I didn't want him to feel silenced or that people would be worried he can certainly have an intense aspect, you know, and giving watching someone give birth your wife, you know, your partner give birth is very exciting, but scary experience. So I worried about that. So these were all the things going through my mind. And so I'll I'll kind of get to how we ultimately came to the best decision, which was to give birth at home, but it happened when we were in our birthing class. So we went to the hospital, we planned to give birth that and I recall, there was no place to eat. So I thought, Okay, well, if we give birth on a weekend or late at night, or anything like where are we going to get food? Where is he going to get food? I remember the setting wasn't super clean. So I thought that was really kind of interesting, even though it's a very it's a top hospital. But I noticed that. So we're in the class. And the birth instructor actually was also a doula. And so we're going around the room and we sharing where we're giving birth, everyone's sharing the hospital that we were all at is where they're giving birth. My husband and I were the only black couple. And I just looked at him. And I said, I think I want to go back to a home birth. And he's like, All right. So when they came to us, they said, Where do you plan to give birth? I said, we're giving birth at home. And everyone was like, what they were shocked. But the instructor was like, excited. And she actually, you know, stopped us at the end of class and shared if we had questions or anything, but ultimately, that moment, for me was just a culmination of like, realizing that this the spaces that we were going into, were just not going to be as great as home. And and that moment, my husband and I were on the same page, and we started to shift everything over to how can we give birth at home?

Jessica, did you know at that time of your decision that birthing is so much more dangerous for women of color in this country? Or was it just like an instinct that led you to home birth?

So I knew that I knew that the rates, especially like in New York City, I think it's like 10, or 12 times higher? Yeah. So I knew it. And I had my experiences, like being the medical student working in my ob rotation. But I think probably like most folks, you know, I went into giving birth is like, you go to the hospital, you know, that's what you do. So I knew that, but I actually had a friend who I'm very, like, close with who, she's a black woman, and she shared with me her plans to do a home birth. And she actually gave birth four months before my son was born. And I think having that sort of in my circle gave me that like, okay, it's possible, right? I'm like, if she can do it, I can do it. But also, you know, and I think that really helped. But I did I knew about those numbers. But in that moment, it just, I just kind of thought something isn't right, if I know I'm going to go into a setting where it's not super clean, we're not going to have a place to really get good food. And then I'm worried about my husband and how he would be treated. Obviously, I'm worried about myself and how I'll be cared for. It just didn't make sense. And the other thing was, I knew that going into the hospital, I did not want to have like a lot of interventions. I sort of knew that already. I knew that I didn't want an epidural. And I think part of it was because of how long it even though one year is not a long time and thinking about folks who've had to wait even longer to conceive but I wanted to experience everything and I knew from my experience in seeing people give birth with epidurals, I felt like I would be cut off from certain experiences and in the birth experience, so I knew I didn't want that. So I thought, well, why am I going to go into the hospital if I'm not going to get an intervention, I knew I did not want a C section, although there's again, nothing against it. But I knew that there would be certain steps that would end up happening that I probably would end up in that direction.

I think it's an important distinction to to to underscore that what you didn't want was an unnecessary c section. And you recognize that if you I'm sure you felt if you needed one at your home birth transfer would have would have succeeded at getting you the C section you would have needed but by not being in the hospital, you were eliminating the likelihood of an unnecessary cenarion section?

Oh, yes, absolutely. I had a really wonderful doula who, when we started working with her, she actually we went to her for a birthing class, the HypnoBirthing, which I found out I like discovered because on Instagram, there's so many like, you can find so many beautiful images and videos of people birthing, and I kind of would just follow rabbit holes. So she started to teach us about the HypnoBirthing. And when she came into our home, she really kind of planted those beautiful seeds of like, this would be a wonderful place to birth. But she also shared with me when I said oh, no girl, I do not want to lie on my back and push because I can't you no lie on my back anyways to sleep. So this just doesn't seem like it's an appropriate way to like give birth, but that's what you're doing. She just would gently remind me that Hmm, that's what you think that you would be in control of what happens in the hospital, she sort of gently laid that foundation when I said, No, no one's gonna tell me to push on my back. Well, you know, when you're in the hospital, this is what happened. And she, she obviously spoke from her experience. But that's what really kind of opened my eyes to the realities, even though I'm in my seat saying, no one's gonna tell me what to do.

Yeah, well, here's how it goes. They say, Well, you know what, we just need to get you on your back for a minute, because we need to just check to see where you are. Or maybe the baby, you know, needs a little assessment or something's not looking good. And then I get you on your back. And then it's like, well, let's just try a few pushes here and see how it goes in before long, you're just sort of following orders. Because when we're in that space, we feel somebody else knows better than us.

Well, either way, it's a current that you have to fight. And I think that's the thing, like I'm always telling my clients the same thing. You have the right, and the ability to go through any hospital birth with their arms up, go, No, don't stand back, leave me alone, over there. I got it, leave it to stand back. You can birth that way if you choose. But you're fighting occurrent the whole time. And you will almost definitely succeed at that. And then come out and say, Oh, my God, but for the second baby, no way. Am I birthing there. So why not just consider that the first time and say maybe I don't have to find a current here. If you already know that's what you you want?

What do you Oh, yes, I agree. I'm nodding because that was what was shared with me. So like, once I had my husband and I had this like, aha moment, we looked at each other, and we're like, we're going to birth in the, you know, at home. Of course, probably like some folks I, you know, shared a little bit of my plans. And then I got I got afraid like I really became frightened I had someone share. Well, this person while they were in the hospital, they lost more blood. And I think they almost passed out. And you know, I'm like, oh, gosh, you're right. Well, what would you do if you need blood? So I actually pivoted to having a midwife work in a hospital setting. We went to a few visits there. But again, what stayed constant was this doula. So you know, she just would sort of remind this undercurrent that you both I love this example, you guys, because that's exactly what what was really portrayed to me that you will constantly be putting up your arms? And is this what you want to do? Because eventually you will say, well, the second baby, I'll have, you know, in a different setting at home. So why do that, and I think it really sort of all resonated with me. When I thought about that is not how I want to birth. This is a moment where we have waited so long for our baby. I am a spiritual person, but I also believe in like science, and I also believe in like, you know, data, but I don't want to have this beautiful experience disrupted by someone else telling me what to do. It just doesn't make sense.

And the data supports home birthing very well.

That's always everybody's response to having when you tell someone you're having your baby at home, their first response is, well, what if something happens? What if something goes wrong? Isn't that unsafe? Or, you know, my baby is the highest priority. So that seems like not the best space to give birth?

Yeah, I mean, what I tell people, you know, it's like research, research research. We're in a time where there's so much information out there. I mean, that's what what I did. I sat at home and I searched New York City. homebirth midwives I found many, many websites, the Can I shout out my midwife on here? Can I do that? Okay, I definitely have to shout out my midwife. She's amazing. Her name is yen Chan, and it's TLC midwifery. What I what I had was all of this information and I, you know, could go through and learn about what the common risk are. But also what I did was a lot of like, unlearning, right? I think we're sort of taught whether it's just like watching TV, right? TV shows woman on her back, she's pushing, she's screaming, she's flooding me, it's just a terrifying experience if you if you just use that. But what I saw from the Instagram videos where people were calm, and I thought, well, these people look like they're comfortable. And or at least it's not as terrifying as what I'm seeing. So that became a little bit of data, it's real lived experience. On these websites, I'm seeing midwives. Explain, you know, if you are willing to do this work, go into people's homes, I'm a I'm a provider, I'm a doctor myself, we are not willing to put our licenses on the line for something that isn't safe, or is an evidence base. So that already reassured me This is someone who knows what they are doing. But also they're following what we know. It's, it's previously that's where people gave birth at home, right? This was something that our great grandmother's and grandmothers they sort of had to do. There wasn't a hospital, this was sort of sleep to go into the setting. So I use the data and information that was provided on many different websites. Some people were more detailed about the risk. Some were, you know, not so much. But I used all of that together, I made the call my midwife was amazing. We spent like an hour before I even, you know, agreed to like switch my care over with her answering all of my questions. And one of the things I learned in this was that midwives approach cares though pregnancy and birthing is like a normal, healthy experience. obese, and I'll use an example is I have a good friend who's one and she's amazing. But they tend to think about like, what can go wrong, right? And so what I find is that when you're thinking about what can go wrong, you're looking for what can go wrong. midwives are also paying attention to what could potentially be delayed birth or, you know, but but the perspective is not that this is something I have to intervene in and I'll let you all kind of help me in explaining that better. But that was reassuring. I knew that she was watching, but she wasn't watching with the perspective that the slightest hiccup means I have to go in and intervene right now. It was what can we do with positioning? Can we get you into the water? Can you know there was more around that than what I think would have happened in the hospital, which was there's one inter one, you know, hiccup time to intervene?

Well, it starts with its insidious interventions, it starts with one simple thing that leads to another simple thing that leads to another bigger thing that leads down it's called the cascade of interventions. And we can see the same story happening over and over and over in the hospital. But your point about the midwifery model of care versus the obstetric or medical model of care is something we talk about a lot. It has everything to do with how the two different providers are trained and educated. So midwives come from the place of birth is a normal, natural physiologic process. Almost all the time, it's going to go right. And we watch birth, go right over and over and over again. And we take a more backseat approach, as you said, looking for the warning signs when things are starting to go off course. And when you see it through that lens and you watch it as normal, and then you become very aware of those warning signs. You actually get better at identifying what's normal and what's not. In the medical model of care. Everything is about your eye on the problem and finding the problem when the problem hasn't even started.

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I think there's another piece to this that I always find very interesting. It's like to say that they're trained to always look for what's going wrong. That's true, but it's almost too much of an out because what the data shows is, just as Trisha said, the interventions make it more likely to cause a problem now, and this is the great irony. It's like, Oh, you know, you have to, doctors can easily say, Oh, you have to forgive me, I'm always I'm always going to look out for what can go wrong. So I just have to step in here. Well, it's the stepping in, that's linked to our high maternal mortality rate in this country. And you know, my own doctor admitted to me before I fired her in my first pregnancy, that her cenarion section was about 50%. And she listed literally 12 reasons why she, quote, likes to give them. And at the end of her long list, I was just sitting there absolutely. In just stunned and I didn't even know how to process what she was saying, practically, it was so overwhelming. She then said to me, I'll be honest, Cynthia, litigation plays a big role. And I had to think about that. Well, I said, I'd later pieced it together. And I said, How insidious for her to say to me, litigation plays a big role. It's so insidious, because you know what that implies, she wanted the safer outcome that implies Look, I just don't want a bad outcome here. So my C section rate is high, because I can't take any chances. Well, guess what the data shows Dr. Your high C section rate is causing the high mortality rate in this country. And the data shows that, that that's been identified as, quote, a major contributor to our high maternal mortality rates. So it's such a, it's a cop out to me, it's an excuse, oh, I don't want litigation here. Well, then why are you doing the course of action that's more likely to result in an adverse outcome that can result in litigation then, right,

because the system still protects you for doing the intervention. That's why I'm punishes you for doing nothing.

That's correct. And that's why it's insidious. Because as the parents sitting there hearing the comment, you're like, Oh, well, I have to hand it to the doctor. They don't want to take any chances. That's not why they're saying the litigation common.

Right. And how easy is it to turn the tables and say, Well, look, your baby's fine. I saved your baby. Oh, my goodness. I mean, there's not happened to you know, what happened to me? What happened to my body? What happened to my ex Marian identidades? What happened to my experience? What happened to my self worth?

Oh, yeah, process. I think that's also what complicates this sort of decision that people have, right? Because on the one hand, this is like, this is new, right? I've only birth once in my lifetime, you know, so you you go into it, thinking that someone else knows better and, and they do. That's why I see a midwife. But you know, I'm not I'm certainly not free birthing. I know people do that I've learned but I you know, but I think it's this piece, we think, okay, the intervention is must have been what's helped. I mean, I've heard people tell me their stories, and they end up with C sections. But the narrative is that this I had to this is what there was a complication. And then the other narrative on this end, which I know is to sort of support women and the outcome, no matter what is we have to support you is that you know, your no birth is a bad birth. And I'm just like, wait a minute. I agree. Because you know, you have your healthy baby, but there there is a bad birth and that is your experience. I think we have to really be honest about that. My birth was perfect. I mean, I really I can it was I when I had my baby, I thought why didn't I do this sooner? Like I want to have another baby like, you know, it was intense. I'm not sort of sort of I didn't have that euphoric birthing experience in terms of but it was ideal there was not a single negative outcome I can recall seeing my midwife You know, there with me, I recall when she put on her little cap and I knew Okay, this must mean we're like it's it's it's time that we're moving things along. I recall no one telling me to push not because I was in there telling people don't tell me to push. My body was doing that. When I was a medical student and saw people birthing, you couldn't tell me that their bodies were actually pushing for them. You would you would tell me that someone needs to tell them to push. I recall saying to my midwife my body, it feels like I need to I pushed and she shared, listen to it. You know, if there wasn't a bear there, let me help you. So I think there's so much mis education. I wish that more people need it. I wish OBS could were required to watch homebirths because I think it would open their eyes to your point of not taking so many so many steps to intervene and really seeing the natural process.

Yeah, and, you know, they need to open their eyes to the fact that so many women have traumatic birth experiences and the focus in The medical model of care is unhealthy mom and a healthy baby. And that's all that matters. And it's hard to argue with that. It is

our Jessica, our white women disproportionately home birth and more than women of color.

Absolutely, I think I think more of us need to just see it. You know, I think it is something that when you do kind of go look at videos, at least this is even what my doula shared was a black woman that, you know, she kind of said, if you if you are open to letting me video, you know, but I wasn't. But her reason was because she wanted more videos of black women who used HypnoBirthing to exist because that's what led me to really see that home birthing was possible to see these different women who use HypnoBirthing as their, you know, technique for going through the experience. But I think that's it, I think also just the MIS education, I just wish more people knew about what the experience is actually like for your body, especially the first time I mean, I keep harboring on my body was pushing for me because that blew my mind. I would never have thought that I would have never thought that I would birth without anyone saying push and birth in the position my body liked I birthed on a horse, I would never have thought that.

It's really amazing how your body tells you Well, if you think I mean it's it sounds so radical to say such a thing. But you really have to think about human history. And how many women in human history hid that they were pregnant, wished the baby would never come out, tried to hide, there's no keeping the baby in. So your know your body has a mechanism to expel whatever has to come out. And it is that natural expulsive reflex. That's why you feel that urge to push but how would we know it when most women have epidurals and that's a great tool when you need one. But then you become reliant on the electronic fetal monitor, which gives a faulty reading as to when your body is actually surging. And then someone has to tell you when to try to work with it, which is a little bit futile for the woman and she's working so hard, because she can't really feel much anyway. So it's, you know, it's you're trading off, I think you put it well earlier, you're cutting off communication between your baby and yourself. And sometimes it's a worthy trade off. If you're exhausted and you need a break, you get an epidural, and you can still have a really good birth. But I do view it personally as easier birthing without an epidural because the communication is so valuable.

Oh, yes, I would agree. I would agree. You know, and I think I wondered about what those interventions would do with the time. You know, I think one thing that I would encourage people were like thinking about it when you know, go to your family, I've learned from my you know, my mother and sort of her sisters, like how much time we usually take to birth so I knew the turnaround. Luckily for me, I wasn't going to labor for a long time. And I did anything my labor was maybe, I don't know, six hours. That's HypnoBirthing is that Oh, wow. It was like we I think technically we went until they were like 5pm Yeah, I have the classic water breaking first my mom did too. She shared her water broke and then contractions later, but my my midwife came to my home and we kind of did some like, like nipple stimulation to kind of help and then we walked around her home, because it was a pandemic. So we were still like not going outside was very early. My son was born in April of 2020. So we were just very cautious. But um, yeah, I think you know, I would just encourage people to really like just watch these videos and just see how like natural the processes and I think kind of thinking about the body connection that you shared. I think the other piece I'd wanted to kind of chime in is you know, I think a lot of people they were they get tired and we're out in the experience and it's gonna be different for everyone but I was encouraged to like eat you know, so I had like this amazing meal plan for after my husband had sort of made he's from New Orleans, so quintilian they love his red beans and rice and I wanted him to like start the red beans while we're like the birthing process is happening is I needed him to do something and he's a doer and I didn't want him to like anxious and that takes about like four or five hours. So by the time we were done birthing my red beans were ready and my midwife is just like you know have your meal and it just there was never a discouragement to like had some food to keep yourself nourish I wasn't eating a heavy meal by any means but it would be very different. If I were in the hospital I steps all the way Yeah. Oh come on. I'm so sensitive to like my to not eating I would have tired out I would have probably had a completely different outcome. I'm very sensitive to like low blood sugar.

depriving women of food during labor is linked to both failure to progress and fetal distress the top one and two reasons for cenarion section in this country. We are still doing it. We're still doing it in this country so absurd. It's absurd and in shockingly absurd. Yep. And In 2015, the American Association of anesthesiologists came out and said, Oh, look, women that had a press release women benefit from eating and labor. And guess what's changed ever since that press release? Nothing. Of course, I think

of so many years for hospital policies to change. It takes so many years to integrate evidence into practice. Medicine. Yeah, it's really we just get behind because the evidence is there and Nobody puts it into practice. Absolutely.

And the reason I guess people can't even if they're worried about what would happen if you have to go to surgery. And that goes back to what you're saying and the Cz ologists are seeing the data, it's fine. But it again, the reason is not because of what's happening during the birth. It's down the road. And if you see, it makes me upset

and how much are we hurting women by doing that? How many women have had unnecessary epidurals? pitocin augmentation so sorry, in sections fetal distress, because they've been simply deprived of the energy that her body needs to do the job that their body wants to do.

So Jessica, we did us an Instagram story this week asking about home birth. And Trisha put a question out there that said, If you knew home birth was safe or as safe as a hospital birth, well, how did you phrase it Trisha?

If you believed home births, were as safe as hospital birth, would

you do it? And over 90%? I think 91% of women said yes, but some of them replied, It was really entertaining. Some of them were like, Oh, I just I wouldn't do it because of the mess. Or what if something goes wrong? So can you comment on those common doubts that people have? What do you say to that?

Oh, yeah, I mean, I think to start with the so called mess. You know, the environment that you create for yourself, when you're giving birth at home, it can look just like a so called hospital setting. What I mean by that is, you're you, you start, you're very prepared. I had a whole home birthing kit that my my midwife had organized, I went on a website and purchased everything on that kit. It was not expensive, but it had things to keep the environment clean, but also my midwife and her team they engaged in helping to clean right i think they're not, you know, certainly wiping down my house with you know, but they don't just let you birth and leave. I think that's what happens in the hospital, your ob is done, they're out the door to the next birth, but you are their patient for the entire duration until the baby's born and after

it's a minimum of three hours. midwives will stay with you at home after the baby is born.

Listen, remember you guys like you put laundry in there was a little speck of blood on the floor that that you guys cleaned at Trisha and my other midwife, Amy Romano, and I could feel from them that it was a message of even to my husband. It's like you guys just bond right now we're gonna take care of the laundries in she's eaten, like, okay, just you guys bond. That's all we need you to do. We'll be back tomorrow. Oh, yeah, message. And that's why they do that, that is there that much.

It's my son was born at 146. In the morning, my midwife left probably at like you said, like 435 o'clock in the morning. But there's this sense of care that I've never I've never felt that cared for, except for like, when I'm at home with my own mother, you know, they're there is this quite a compliment. I mean, there was no mess. You know, there was just it's an experience that I wish more people would be open to because it was a gift that I felt like I gave myself I gave my husband we gave our baby, the lights were low, Everything was quiet. We, you know, got to do the skin to skin for a very long time. It wasn't until I my son had his first nursing that she then did the Wayne and all of that it was just focused on it almost. It completely blew my mind is how much we're missing in the hospital system. I mean, again, it was just a complete wraparound of care. That's that's what i can think about.

home birth treats the process of giving birth to the mom and the baby as a connected unit. Still after the birth. In the hospital, the minute the baby is born, mother and baby are the cord is severed, and mother and baby are separated. And it's like it's the that separation happens so fast. And the focus immediately becomes the baby and mums separately. Whereas in home birth, it's still we're still the mom and baby are connected and more watching the two the two are supporting each other's post birth transition. And that is the way it's meant to be. Baby helps mom and mom helps baby transition.

It was powerful. It was powerful. I mean, it was just an amazing experience. I mean I sometimes get like tearful thinking about it. It was just again, I felt like the the experience of becoming pregnant of carrying a baby for that long was a sacred experience and my birth was as well. Um, you know, in terms of what could go wrong, you're prepared well before if you plan your home birth, right, if you're planning it, these are things that your midwife doesn't over emphasize. But we went through that which hospitals were closer, which hospitals she would recommend, you know, with me sort of having the, the my water break before I actually had contractions or surges is what HypnoBirthing calls it. You know, there was a whole plan for that. But again, the emphasis was never Oh, you know, if this doesn't happen four hours, you're going to the hospital, it was me getting a sense of what could happen. But there was still this calm and this sense of like, she's got this she's she's thinking through taking the worry off of me, but also she is thinking through everything.

Did you have any specific fears about giving birth at home? Was there like, moms will often worry about one specific, specific thing, what if I bleed? Or what if the baby's not breathing when they're born? Did anything come up for you?

So with HypnoBirthing, we did spend some time going over the fear. I think I initially shut all the way out that there would be a major complication. I just did not today that's not for us. Everything was perfect and beautiful. It was I was feeling centered. I always trust my intuition. So I'm not gonna even like what but I did require antibiotics because I had like the GBS positive. Right. So what I did like about my midwife is she she does include her background, she was a nurse practitioner before. And so you know, she wasn't completely like hands off from interventions. The point I'm making here was, for a moment, I had a fear, I have a history of like, an allergy to an antibiotic, but never anything, like threatening, but I had for a moment this fear that like the antibiotics, were going to harm me. But I think I immediately sort of shook that there was a moment during my birthing experience when it felt intense. And I did say, Oh, no, I think I made the wrong decision. Immediately, everyone in the room I doula, my midwife, you're doing great. And it kind of went back to it. But the rest of it, I guess, I gave it over to the universe, in a sense, and I don't want to be woowoo here. But I mean, I had already weighed what the risk were. And what I knew was that by going in the hospital, that's not a 100%, safe option, either. I think we go into this like, that is where all the outcomes are going to be best. But we also have to know there are risks inherent to everything, right. And I just knew I had waited, there were far less risk for me to be at home to be in a comfortable state, to you know, not birth, where there were going to be all of these potential interventions, I knew that this was going to be best. And I also knew going into the hospital was not going to guarantee me and actually based on the data, it probably wasn't going to be good. And then I knew me and my husband were very sort of outspoken, it probably wouldn't been good for us either, because we probably would have gotten into some verbal, you know, like, stop touching me and him say, you know, and it would have just wouldn't have been a good, good humane experience, but also the outcomes were just not good for me as a black woman in the hospital. So I you know, I think that my advice would be to really consider a home birth. Really look up the information and ask questions and have those initial conversations with anyone that you're thinking about. It was the best decision for me and I think so many more people should consider it.

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Well, I'll be sharing your resource because this I mean, I can just see the amazing work that you both are doing and you know you've inspired me to keep this part of my experience very much in the forefront because it's it's a rite rite of passage of many women will will cross but we're not crossing it in a way that I think is could be as beautiful. This was just like a beautiful experience.

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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