Danny is already four months old and I’m just now getting around to writing this post comparing my home birth, birthing center, and hospital birth experiences.
I feel blessed to have been able to experience giving birth at two different birthing centers, a hospital, and my own home and I’m excited to share my thoughts comparing the three today.
Before I jump into it, I hope it goes without saying that however and wherever your baby is born, the most important thing is both yours and baby’s safety and well being. There is no one right way to do things, whether you give birth naturally, with an epidural, or have a c-section.
Read my babies’ birth stories here:
- Caleb’s birth story (birthing center birth)
- Sofia’s birth story (birthing center birth)
- Lucas’s birth story (birthing center birth)
- Alex’s birth story (hospital birth with epidural)
- Danny’s birth story (home birth)
My first three children were born at birthing centers, one in South Carolina and two in Texas. I liked the idea of using a birthing center because I thought it would feel more personal, my appointments would potentially be less rushed, and it would just be a less medical feeling environment than a hospital.
We also chose a birthing center instead of a home birth because at the time Pablo didn’t feel comfortable with me doing a home birth. He wasn’t sure if it was safe and I respected that so a birthing center it was!
I really don’t have anything negative to say about my experience with either of our birthing centers. They were both peaceful places to give birth and I received great care at both centers. For two of the three birthing center births I opted for a water birth, the first time in a regular tub and the second time in a blow-up tub. (The blow-up tub was much better by the way – I loved how comfy it was!)
For my fourth baby I decided to go the hospital route because an epidural was calling my name haha. I figured I’d never know if I preferred an unmedicated birth to a medicated one if I didn’t give an epidural a try.
I ended up finding a midwifery practice that operated at a hospital in Dallas so it felt like the best of both worlds.
While I didn’t love driving into Dallas for all my prenatal appointments, I LOVED my midwives at the hospital. I felt like I was chatting with a friend during my appointments, it was great.
I had a really good experience with my epidural during birth. The anesthesiologist did a fantastic job and I was able to feel enough to push well without feeling the pain. Honestly, it was amazing! (And it was the first birth where I didn’t tear.)
Despite an overall great experience at the hospital, I’ll admit that I did miss the more homey environment of the birthing center. This was for sure compounded by the fact that it was 2020 and there was all sorts of extra protocol AND I ended up testing positive for COVID (without symptoms) while in the hospital, so that probably skewed my opinion a bit.
I didn’t like the feeling that I couldn’t leave the hospital with my baby as soon as I was ready like I could at a birthing center. I did however very much enjoy my hospital food haha!
Before I even got pregnant with Danny I started to consider having a home birth. While I’d honestly loved my epidural experience, I was really attracted to the idea of having a midwife come to my home not only for baby’s birth but also for all my prenatal appointments.
I also found out that the midwives I’d used previously were no longer at the hospital, so I knew I’d need to look for someone else anyway.
When I broached the topic of home birth to Pablo he surprised me by being very positive about it. He felt reassured by the fact that none of my previous births had had any complications – and we live on the same road as our local fire station if God forbid we did need to call an ambulance. When we found out that a highly recommended midwife lived in the neighborhood right behind our house we were sold.
I am so grateful that we chose my wonderful midwife Renee. I believe that God knew she was exactly what I needed for that pregnancy, which ended up being my hardest.
I’d never had a midwife who was so involved – I could literally text or call her anytime about anything. One evening during third trimester when I was feeling especially poorly and kind of freaking out Pablo called her and she came over at like 9 pm to check on me.
And when it came time to give birth I LOVED that I didn’t need to get in the car to go somewhere while in labor. Those of you who’ve experienced that know that it is NOT fun.
I was able to do a water birth in a big blow-up tub just like I had used in the birthing center so that was great. And of course the fact that I could get into my own bed with the baby afterwards was wonderful.
Like I said at the beginning, there’s no one right way to do things. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice. However, given the choice, I have to say that home birth was over-all the best experience for me.
Now, I’ll give a few caveats to that. I would not want to give birth at home if my kids were around. In fact, my contractions stalled until Pablo left to take the kids to my mom.
I’ll also say that towards the end of labor I would not have told you it was a great experience – I was missing that epidural for sure. But looking back, the ability to have all my prenatal care at home, not needing to drive anywhere while in labor, and being able to get in my own bed afterwards were all really great perks of home birth.
As far as birthing centers go, I feel like home birth absolutely tops them. The midwives bring all the same equipment to your home that they would have at a center so it’s just as safe and you don’t have to go anywhere. So if I have another baby, and if I choose to go the unmedicated route again I would absolutely do a home birth instead of using a birthing center.
Well, those are all my thoughts on the subject for now anyway! If you’ve had multiple birth experiences, which was your favorite and why? Let me know in the comments!