After my daughter was born people would stop me and ask if she was born at home. After I'd smiled and nodded they explained, "you can tell. She looks so alert!"
What a great contrast to the conversations I had while pregnant. People asked who my doctor was as often as they asked if I was having a boy or a girl. When I answered that I had midwives instead of a doctor, and that I was having my baby at home, complete strangers felt compelled to convince me to change my mind. I heard every horror story in the book about what "would have happened" had this or that woman had her baby outside of the hospital.
I never planned to have my baby at home until I was actually pregnant, and found I had problems with the way things are done at the hospital. I had just watched The Business of Being Born and I was curious about my other options. Giving birth was the most important day of my life, and I am so glad I considered all of the options out there before deciding how I would do it. I could write a book about my fears concerning home birth before I had actual valid information, and my biggest concern was safety, for myself and my baby. Having heard from hippies and doctors alike that home birth is statistically safer than hospital birth, the most settling news was that my midwives had delivered over 2,500 babies and never lost one mom or baby.
After the suggestion of a friend (thank you, Adrienne!) I found The Santa Barbara Midwives - Anna Bunting, Alice Levine, and Laurel Phillips. You can contact Alice at (805)452-8681, or Anna at (805)563-0348. I highly recommend meeting with one of them (it's free!) and getting answers to your questions, even if you are not sure a home birth is for you. It's just more information and more options.
I feel the same way about birth that I do about everything else: get the information before you blindly form an opinion. Decisions based on information are so much more useful than those based on fear. My daughter's naps are not nearly long enough for me to include all of the statistics and information supporting home birth in this post, but a quick conversation with Anna will have you up to speed.
My husband and I met with all three midwives throughout my pregnancy, and Anna and Laurel were at the birth, which was awesome, and also the hardest, most intense, magical experience. Now I know I can do anything.
and Birth as We Know It.
Natural childbirth classes: The best is with Tracy Schmidt (805) 962-0871, mother of 5 beautiful babies, all born naturally (the last 4 were born at home.) About half of our "class" was planning a home birth, and the other half natural births in the hospital.