Emily: Hey everyone! As you know, I’ve traveled a lot in my life, thanks to miles & points. I’ve hiked the mountains in Japan, pet sting rays in Bora Bora, and even held a boa constrictor in Brazil!
But none of these experiences prepared me for the greatest adventure yet—parenthood.
From time to time, I’ll be posting about my life as a parent. I’ll share things that scare me, what I learn, and how being a new mom helps me grow as a person.
This post is about my daughter Arya’s birth story.
As a reminder, Daraius and I are no longer together as a couple, but are still great friends. I have a new partner named Alfy who happens to be a talented photographer! You may see his work on the blog from time to time. 🙂
Was A Home Birth For Me?
My daughter, Arya, was born at home on a warm September summer day. Early in my pregnancy, I knew I wanted a home birth. I love the comforts and freedom of being at home, and hospitals have always felt so impersonal and sterile to me.
Many people doubted my decision to birth at home without drugs, and Daraius even encouraged me to get a will! I, too, was scared of the pain at first, and overcame that fear by reading inspirational stories and watching videos of women who gave birth naturally. I thought to myself, “If they can do it, so can I!”
I learned to believe in myself and my natural abilities—and I couldn’t have asked for a better birth experience. Home births are safe for low risk pregnancies, and the need for a c-section is ~25% lower with a home birth. Plus, new research is showing the alarming risks of drugs used during labor.
I did some research and found a midwife in my city. Midwives are licensed by the state, and must go through rigorous educational and apprenticeship prerequisites to deliver babies at home. Midwives are also experienced with emergency situations and transferring to a hospital if needed.
I felt very safe with my midwife, Melek. She was patient, knowledgeable, and confident, and very affordable, too! Each month I had a doctor’s appointment, I saw Melek. I loved that I saw the same person every time. We developed mutual trust, and I felt I could ask her anything! Also, I really appreciated the at-home postnatal visits! I was so thankful I did not have to leave the house after just giving birth. Instead, I could focus on my healing and the needs of my baby.
$3,000 would cover all my prenatal appointments, the birth, and my postnatal visits. Since she was an “out of network” provider, I’d assumed I’d get back around 60% or $1,200 of the cost…But I recently received notice that insurance is paying all but ~$600! The average cost of a hospital varies widely in the US, but I’m convinced I would have had to pay much more if I had a hospital birth.
The Day Everything Changed
On a tranquil Saturday around 12 pm, things started picking up. The first couple contractions were very intense, and I questioned my ability to continue. I thought I might really need to go to the hospital for an epidural.
But then, I thought of how I have the power to transform the feelings into something else. I started envisioning the contractions as heavy hugs, almost like a grizzly bear was squeezing me. I thought “When in my life will I be hugged by a bear ever again?” and surrendered to the feelings.
After just a couple of hours, the contractions were occurring more frequently, so we called the midwife. Alfy was great at reminding me to take deep breaths—even breathing with me—and giving me gentle back massages.
Before I knew it, I could feel the baby start to crown! Alfy called the midwife, and within 30 minutes, the she had arrived. And with just another ~15 minutes of deep breathing and pushing, the baby was born! She was born en caul, or in her amniotic sac. The whole experience was MUCH easier than I thought.
I know having a home birth isn’t for everyone, and I am thankful that I had a low-risk pregnancy. The natural highs I got from the experience propelled me into the next few weeks of motherhood, which were much more challenging than the birth itself. But more on that in a future post! 🙂
I can’t wait to share with you my journey of motherhood!
I’m happy to be a mom, and I’m looking forward to sharing lots of special moments with my daughter. I want the world to see her as much as I want her to see the world. Just last week, she got her passport! 🙂