"You're going to have a baby!" the news that most couples are thrilled to hear. Plans begin to form: where the baby will sleep, the color of the nursery, which daycare will baby attend, and the list goes on. But the most important question, "Where should we have the baby?", is one of the most important decisions made by expectant parents.For most people, the answer is the hospital, of course. For others, such as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, that answer is the most traditional place of all, home. Birth has only taken place routinely in the hospital for the past 100 years. Before this, women were attended in their homes by traditional midwives, women who were trained to care for expectant women throughout their pregnancies, births, and the postpartum period. When hospitals first began, the well-to-do women stayed home to have their babies, while the poor went to the hospital.
While it's common for Amish and Mennonite women to give birth at home, there is a growing movement among non-Amish and Mennonite mothers to have their babies at home. One local mom did just that, by choice.
Suzanne Reed and her husband Dustin planned for Suzanne to give birth to their newest little one at home, with two area Certified Professional Midwives in attendance. As you might expect, Suzanne said she received a lot of questions from family and friends about their choice to give birth at home, especially questions about the safety of having their baby at home. Suzanne said Dustin was very supportive of her desire to give birth at home, and that he did a lot of research and agreed that having a home birth was a great option for their family.
When asked what led her to pursue a home birth, Suzanne said that she didn't like getting pushed into things she didn't want when having her babies in the hospital. Suzanne also said that having 4 children at home already, it made sense logistically to give birth at home. The final reason that Suzanne mentioned was that she wanted a water birth because they always seemed so beautiful. For Suzanne, a hospital birth won't be an option again, saying that her home birth was "100 times better."
You can watch a slideshow of pictures captured by her birth photographer, Laura of New Creation Photography & Birth Photography.
Reed's Birth story reads as follows:
Briah Johnette Reed's Birth Story
Dustin and I found out we were expecting baby number 5 on August 4th 2018. My estimated due date was April 12, 2019. We decided with this one we wanted to have a water birth at home so I reached out to the only midwife I knew, Bethany Gates, midwife and owner of Shiphrah Birth Services, and her partner Anna.
Bethany introduced me to my Doula, Erica Foshe-Everett, and I hired a birth photographer, Laura. The first meetings we had was a lot of information to take in but we were excited about this experience. The first trimester was pretty easy, no morning sickness, no fatigue, and no aches or pains. I was pretty excited about this.
When I was 16 weeks along I started having pains in my lower back and trouble urinating. I went to the doctor and found I had hydronephrosis, just like I did with Olivia, only much sooner. I was given the options of stints, a nephrostomy, or I could tough it out. Not wanting to have any medical procedures while pregnant, I decided I would tough it out no matter how bad it got. This eventually put me on restricted activity at work as the pain would cause contractions and made it hard to lift and turn people.
At 20 weeks we had our normal ultrasound to check how the baby was growing and see what sex baby was. We found out we were having girl number 4. Poor Hunter was going to be very outnumbered. While we were a little disappointed we weren't having a boy, we were happy to be welcoming another baby girl into our family.
Around 36 weeks I started to have contractions 5 minutes apart while I was at work. I was not far enough along to be cleared for a home birth so I had to go to the hospital. I am not sure what caused these contractions but I think it was because we had moved into our new house on March 1st.
I had to quit working because I would end up having contractions if I overworked myself. I would have contractions even if I simply cleaned my house. Since I started having contractions so early in this pregnancy I figured I would go into labor sooner than my due date but April 12th came and went without a baby.
I started doing whatever I could to make the baby come. I went to the chiropractor, drank a lot of pregnancy tea, walked, ate spicy foods, and bounced on a birthing ball. Nothing did the trick. I finally gave up on trying and did what Bethany told me to, relax and enjoy the last of my pregnancy. I continued my days as normal, picking up the kids, cleaning, sometimes I sat and watched tv, and I took lots of baths.
On Sunday, April 14, 2019, I started having contractions that didn't go away, even when I sat down and relaxed or when I took a bath. I ignored them as I figured it was nothing and since I could sleep through them, I wasn't in labor. These contractions continued through until Monday, April 15th.
Dustin usually went bowling on Mondays while I stayed home with some of the kids. This time I decided I would go just to get myself out of the house. By the end of the night, I was having slightly stronger contractions and was not feeling well but I went to bed not thinking much of it. The next morning, when Dustin got up around 3 am for work, I told him to keep his phone on loud because I had been having contractions all night. Again, I didn't think much of it as I could sleep through them. 7 am came around, I got up and got the kids off to school, got Olivia up and made her breakfast,
I made several trips to the bathroom and at 8 am I knew I was in labor. I worked through the contractions, playing "here fishy fishy" with Olivia until I could no longer focus on breathing through them and playing games. This only took 20 minutes, at 8:20 am I called Dustin and told him he needed to come home.
By 9 am I made all my calls to my birth team and had everyone on their way and by 9:30 am everyone was here. Erica was the first to show up, she helped me get into the bathtub where I labored for quite a while. When Bethany and Anna got here they checked baby's heartbeat and prepared everything for birth.
Laura arrived shortly after and started photographing everything. After a little bit, Bethany suggested moving positions to keep things moving, so I moved to the birthing ball. I sat on the ball while Erica squeezed my hips together and Bethany reminded me to breathe and relax my shoulders when contractions came.
Once more, Bethany suggested a position change, suggesting I walk up the stairs. Contractions were strong at this point and I really didn't want to but I knew I should because it would help and the midwife said to do so, so I did. I had a few contractions while walking to the stairs that I had to stop for and I told Erica I did not want to walk up the stairs, thinking I wasn't going to make it up them.
She said, "It's ok", so we started walking anyways. Bethany, Erica, and Dustin helped me walk up but I only made it halfway before I had to stop. I knew things were close because all of a sudden I got the urge to push, so I let them know I felt this way and I heard Anna say, "Did she just say what I think she said?" to which Bethany simply said, "Yup, let's go back down."
I walked back down making it most of the way back to my room before having to drop to my knees with another contraction. I feel like I was carried the rest of the way to the bathroom where I heard a pop. My water broke! I have never had this happen before so it was a new sound, new feeling, and I could have sworn my baby would be born right there. I had to push and I had to push NOW!
Everyone quickly helped me move to the tub when I could no longer hold the pain inside. I squeezed Erica's hand while Bethany checked to see if the baby was crowning. Once the baby's head was out I was able to relax. Bethany said the cord was around the neck and was worked to get it off but it was a short cord.
When she asked for a second pair of hands Anna stepped in and I started to panic. I told them to just pull her out but they assured me that I'd be able to deliver her. I really had to focus to get her shoulders out, I also had to stand up. I stood and gave one last big push and she was here!
At 10:59 am, 2 minutes after my water broke, baby Briah was born. Bethany quickly unwrapped the cord and put her on my chest with a towel over her. My baby was here, she was healthy, and I just had a successful home birth!
Briah weighed 8lbs 9oz and was 21.25 inches long. She had lots of hair and was wide awake. My labor and delivery took 4 hours and 9 minutes. It was a beautiful birth!
*All personal information in this article used with permission of Suzanne Reed.
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Most complicating factors are ruled out by a competent midwife long before the due date.
It would be a great move to reducing medical costs to see more families consider more natural options regarding birth.
Laura Eckert is an amazing photographer. Congratulations to the Reed family on their new bundle of joy, and on choosing such a fantastic birth team.