It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a new post in the Homebirth Dads series, so I’m jazzed to share this latest one with you:
10 Questions for Homebirth Dads with Lome Aseron
1. Why did you choose homebirth?
My wife Janine has a terrible fear of hospitals. She gets woozy if you just say the word “needle.” When we went on a tour of the birthing ward covered by insurance, she practically fainted. It was clear that she wouldn’t be comfortable giving birth in a hospital.
2. Whose idea was it, yours or hers? If hers, what convinced you to agree? If yours, what gave you the idea?
It was actually our Ob-Gyn’s idea. At one of our check-ups, Janine started to tear up when she heard that pre-delivery triage included inserting an IV in her hand. Interestingly enough, our Ob-Gyn refused to see us after we decided to have a homebirth. She deserves a lot of credit for transcending her own self-interest to recommend what she thought was best for Janine.
Given Janine’s reaction to hospitals, I didn’t take much convincing. And since she was going to do most of the heavy lifting, I didn’t see any reason to oppose her desire for a homebirth.
3. What homebirth books or resources did you find to be the most helpful?
During Janine’s second trimester, I read an article in Mothering by a mom who’d had a 45-minute labor using HypnoBirthing. We got the book and CD, which we fell asleep to every night for three months. Janine loved Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.
4. Before the birth, what fears or issues did you have surrounding homebirth (or birth in general)? How did those change for you after experiencing the birth?
I wanted to make sure we had a viable back-up plan in case things didn’t go smoothly at home. One of the many reasons why we chose our particular midwife was because of her ability to articulate how she would handle a hospital transfer. Witnessing Janine’s relief about having a homebirth and experiencing the level of care she received from the midwives eliminated a lot of concerns I’d had.
5. What do you wish someone had told you before your first homebirth? What advice would you give to a first time homebirth dad?
My first son came so quickly that neither the midwife nor doula made it in time, so I delivered him myself. It was an incredibly wonderful and harrowing experience. I would advise a first time homebirth dad to accept that birth is a journey driven more by the baby’s intent and will than anything you or your partner has done. The great thing about homebirths is that there is very little third-party intrusion, so you get to participate in the magic of birth in a very personal and intense way.
6. Which part of the birth did you find to be the most difficult or challenging for you?
For my first son, being the one delivering the baby out of necessity. For my second son, worrying that I would be the one delivering the baby out of necessity.
7. Did you have support during the birth from your guy friends? If so, what was the most supportive? If not, what would have helped you the most?
I only told a select few of my friends, male and female, that we were having a homebirth. I stand by that decision. Ultimately, you want an experience that’s as unaffected by other people as possible. So I would definitely recommend keeping it to yourself to the extent you’re comfortable doing so.
8. How was your interaction with the midwife during the birth? What could have made that better?
The best part of having a homebirth, other than having a baby, is working with a midwife. I can’t speak for all midwives, but ours were incredible. I’ve never seen care like that before. They were so attentive to Janine’s needs and fears, so committed to childbirth as an organic, natural process. For me, every visit was like stepping into a womb of loving expectancy where I was gestating as a father. Because we had an Ob-Gyn for the first two trimesters, we experienced both approaches. People who’ve never had a homebirth wouldn’t believe the difference in care a midwife provides. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, I highly recommend East Bay Homebirth Midwifery (www.eastbayhomebirth.com or 510-655-2229). Beah, Michelle, Nichole, and Ellah are absolutely fantastic.
With respect to what I would change, it’d be easy to say it would have been better if our midwife had been present, but the birth was absolutely perfect the way it was. The fact that Janine’s labor was so short (less than 4 hours for a first birth), is a testament to how comfortable and empowered she felt.
9. How has the relationship with your partner changed after having a homebirth together?
The bond of having a child together is heightened with a homebirth, because the experience is so unfiltered. We probably trust each other’s decisions in a way that we might not have if we’d had a hospital birth, because we were able to go by our own clock rather than having to follow someone else’s idea of how a birth should go.
10. Would you have another homebirth? Why or why not?
If we have more kids, we’re going to adopt. Homebirths are incredible, but I recommend that birth take place wherever the mother feels most comfortable. For us, that was home. Homebirth is a safe, viable alternative to a hospital birth. I suggest that expecting couples talk about their ideal birth. Just having the conversation about where to birth is valuable.
[Lome A. Aseron is the father of two amazing sons, Joaquin and Mico, and a husband to a magnificent wife, Janine. He tries to capture (hopefully with some success) the beauty and joy of fatherhood at NewDadforLife.com and LIFEclectic.com.]