We're so excited to share this super funny, super real blog post from Jake Moss - one of the Kindred Hearts home birth dads. Jake has become SUCH an enthusiastic supporter of home birth. Below he shares his journey from home birth skeptic to home birth evangelist.
PS - Does anyone know how we can get in touch with Elton John??
I don’t know exactly what you’re expecting from this post. As I write, even I am unsure where it will go. What started as a joking comment on Facebook brought me to a place of reflection over my own family’s planned home birth of our daughter.
About halfway through my Wonder Woman wife’s pregnancy journey, she told me she was interested in getting a doula for our birth. My first thought was, what the heck is a doula? Upon learning the role of a doula (labor coach), my next question was, isn’t that my job?
I was skeptical. My pride took a small hit. After all, with all my experience coaching people through labor, I was all that my wife needed in this journey to baby. But I digress.
One thing I learned throughout the process is that I was not the one going through the pregnancy and if my wife had wanted Sir Elton John in the room when she gave birth to provide emotional support, it was best for me to just support that and do everything I could do to help make it happen.
She came home and said that Chloe was awesome. She couldn’t wait for me to meet her. She also casually mentioned that Chloe did a lot of work with home birth. I shuddered slightly, thinking that homebirth was reserved for families who lived in hippie communes but our plan was still to have a hospital birth: we were safe.
Time moved on, I got to know Chloe, and our birth team started to take shape as we all became friends. Mandy began learning everything about birth that she could, listening to awkward and slightly condescending hypnobirth tracks and practicing relaxation techniques. We knew from day one that a natural birth was our plan and things were shaping up for that to work out in the comfort and safety of a hospital surrounded by professionals.
Mandy, however, started to lean towards the idea of us having a home birth as she watched countless videos and researched like crazy about birth in general. She requested more information from Chloe about home birth and, after reading, was convinced that it was the ideal environment to bring our daughter into the world according to our birth plan.
I, on the other hand, was scared shitless, to put it delicately. Absolutely not. We couldn’t have a home birth. This was one of those whimsical thoughts that we may entertain in conversation but for it to be a reality, there was no way. It wasn’t right for us. (Side note: God bless Mandy — she respected, honored and cared about my fear, doubt and skepticism. If it wasn’t for both of us, than it wasn’t for us. She encouraged me saying that if I wasn’t fully comfortable with it, then we wouldn’t do it. What an amazing woman.)
She really is talented in many ways, one of which being her ability to ninja my mind into doing things. Mandy is her name, subtlety is her game. It started with having friends over for dinner who had had a home birth. Shout out to Andy and Jessica who didn’t mock me but rather fielded my questions about this archaic practice that most certainly was not for my family.
Altogether I think my worst fear was that if we had a home birth, I would have to deliver the baby myself. And lo and behold, Andy and Jessica confirmed that fear because that’s what ended up happening to them! Wild. So while I had gained more knowledge, I still wasn’t necessarily more comfortable with the idea.
“Call the midwife...” they said. “They do free consultations” they said. “All of your questions will be answered” they said.
So we called. The cool thing was that Chloe, who we had now become friends with, was in training to become a midwife. So she recommended Susan with whom she was training.
These two midwives show up to our house and they’re just normal people. No lab coats. No fancy machines that beep and make you feel nervous. “These ladies are, like, gonna deliver our baby? She deserves the best care possible! And seriously where are the official lab coats and scrubs!?” ~My internal monologue as they strolled in to my sanctuary, my safe place, my home.
Pleasantries were exchanged and then we got down to business. Now I had done my research. I had asked people at our regular doctor appointments what I needed to ask about, I had googled questions to ask midwives and answers to be concerned by, I had done all I could to prepare for this moment of truth. It was inquisition time. (Another side note: Mandy made tea and muffins. I think she knew what they were in for and wanted them to feel comfortable. She’s also a phenomenal host. Go Mandy.)
“How many births have you done?”
“What’s the craziest story that you have?”
“What is your philosophy about birth?”
“What about hospital transfers?”
“What tools do you have?”
“Why are you better than going to the hospital?”
Susan and Chloe answered the rapid fire questions with grace, composure, and confidence. They welcomed them. Susan had seen everything. Her keen intuition and experience was unmatched. And Chloe’s understanding and research driven answers spoke to the logical part of my mind that wanted to reject this seemingly illogical option.
We covered everything. I learned so much. And we laughed a lot. It became a running joke where I would start by saying “so.... this is a serious question...” and you can fill in the blank. Every question you’ve ever had about home birth, even the weird ones that you’re embarrassed to ask, I have probably asked. And they never once made me feel dumb or less than anyone. Little did I know, our team was growing.
As Susan and Chloe left that day, they hugged both of us and told us they would support and care for us either way.
After a long journey, I was sold. I had learned a crazy amount about birth (probably more than the average guy) and they just made it seem so... normal. And it was. We made the decision that day that we wanted to have a homebirth. We booked Chloe and Susan the next day. It was right for our family. It was the way we wanted to bring our Eloise into the world.
If you wanna know the birth story itself, that’s a post for another time. You can also read my wife’s brilliant work in describing it HERE. Long story short, we ended up with a hospital transfer to deliver our Eloise. However, our intention in the future with the rest of our children is once again home birth. I already am confident that it is right for our family and for families far and wide. I will shout it from the mountain tops. Now, If you’re a guy, you might be thinking that this guy is crazy, and you would be right about that. But I am confident that if you do your own research and call that midwife, you will be surprised at what you find.
As a final encouragement, don’t shut it down until you have all of the information. And if you took nothing else away from this, remember — if your wife wants Elton John as her birth coach, then by golly, get her Elton John.