Nikki had to wait a day for sushi!

When I fell pregnant – after a 2 year battle with fertility problems – I was 30 years old. My husband and I were lucky enough to be living in New Zealand at the time. As Australian citizens we were covered under the Aus/NZ reciprocal health care agreement and as a result were able to have full access to maternity services free of charge, including access to an independent homebirth midwife. We had left Australia just as the results of the Maternity Services Review were being released in 2009 and so it was a relief to be in a country where homebirth was supported.

Both my husband and I are quiet, private people, so the idea of birthing in a hospital, surrounded by strangers, had always felt wrong to me, but I had just assumed that it was one of the discomforts you had to put up with when you gave birth and it never occurred to me to think about how we could do it differently. It wasn’t until we had made the decision to start trying-to-conceive that the concept of homebirth was even a factor. Both being avid readers the first thing we did when we had decided to start our family, was head to the local library to see what we could find. I’m so grateful that the books I picked up that day were about homebirth. Before I read them, I didn’t even realise that homebirth was an option, but from the moment I read about it, it was like a lightbulb going off in my head. We knew it was the perfect choice for us.

I loved the idea of our baby being held only by us, of discovering her sex in our own time, of birthing in our own dark quiet space. I loved the thought of being able to climb into my own bed when it was all over, while being served home made sushi and snuggling skin to skin with our new baby. Simply put, we wanted our baby’s birth to be as gentle as possible – for all of us – and the best way to ensure a gentle arrival was to stay at home.

I had never met anyone who had homebirthed before, and all the women in my family had all birthed in hospitals, but I found a great community of women online who supported me so well through the pregnancy (and all the pre-pregnancy stuff too). For the most part my close friends and family were supportive (or at least quiet about their concerns), but a few of them did struggle with our choice, especially when they discovered that we hadn’t visited a doctors office at all throughout the pregnancy, not even to have an ultrasound. We answered their questions as calmly as we could but did our best not to engage in any heavy discussions about our choices, I really wanted to create a positive space for myself and our baby and part of that was avoiding naysayers. We were prepared for the possibility that things might not go to plan but we were preparing for things to go just as we wanted them to.

As a first time mother, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when it came to the labour – there is only so much reading can tell you after all – but I decided early on that I wanted to try and birth with just my husband and I in the house. I had a midwife, who visited us at home all the way through my pregnancy, but while I enjoyed her company and knowledge in the lead up, what I wanted from her during my birth was for her to be ‘on call’ rather than at my house. Secretly I was hoping that I would call her from my couch once it was all over and I had a baby in my arms.

As it turned out, it wouldn’t have been just my husband and I anyway. My Mother was flying in from Australia to meet the baby, and had booked her flight 10 days after my “due” date, hoping to give my husband and I time to bond with the baby before she arrived. I had always said during my pregnancy that I didn’t believe in due dates and that the baby would come on it’s birthday, but it had never once occurred to me that I would still be pregnant when I picked my Mother up from the airport. Having a post dates pregnancy wasn’t something that I expected but it wasn’t something that caused too much concern for us either, my midwife offered monitoring at the hospital to make sure everything was okay, but I was determined to avoid getting put in the system and confident that everything was going perfectly. The baby was moving around all the time, and we had a foetal stethoscope at home as well if we needed to use it. I considered trying to get things going with natural induction methods, but in the end I decided just to let nature take it’s course.

At 42w5d, at 6am, I finally went into labour. My husband and I chatted and swayed through my surges together in the dark of the bedroom for a few hours before heading into the lounge room where I played scrabble with my Mother. My husband cooked for us throughout the day, and read a book, stopping every 8 minutes or so to press my accupressure points as I surged. After the sun set, my water broke, and my contractions went from a steady 8 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart. I smsed my midwife to let her know that things were happening and said I would call her if I needed her. We had been waiting for my contractions to be 5 minutes apart before we filled the pool so when I suddenly went from 8 to 3, things got a bit chaotic. My husband filled the birth pool, boiling huge pots on the stove when our hot water system ran cold and running back from the kitchen every 3 minutes to help me through each contraction.

By the time I got into the water I was roaring through each surge, and when I hit transition I asked for my midwife to be called. She arrived with 15 minutes to spare. At 11:30pm our daughter was born. I reached gently into the water to bring her to the surface, I found her leg, warm and slimy, and spun her around gently until I found her shoulders, and then brought her up to us. When he saw her, my husband said “oh my god!” and burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it. There she was. She had her eyes open from the start and we looked at each other as I held her in my arms. After about 10 minutes someone asked “is it a boy or a girl?” and we both laughed because we hadn’t even thought to look. Her cord was very short, so I couldn’t move it out of the way to check, so my Mum crawled over with a torch and had a look. “it’s a girl!”.

I birthed the placenta about 10 minutes later and we climbed out of the birth pool and settled onto the couch for skin to skin. We had decided to have a lotus birth so while I held our baby, the midwife cleaned off the placenta and got it ready for dusting and wrapping. It was about that time that the backup midwife arrived, expecting to find me in labour, she was suitably shocked to find us all sitting on the couch with cups of tea and chocolates. After a while the midwives checked me over and stitched me up – by far the most traumatic part of the day – and I left my husband and midwife to clean up while baby and I curled up in bed together. We stayed there – for the most part – for the next six days. On the sixth day the placenta detached, our daughter reached down, grabbed it in her little fist and pulled, the cord came off with an audible pop! Up until then the only people who had held her were myself, my husband and my mother.

It was a perfect start to our parenthood journey and I wouldn’t change a thing – except maybe that stitching up business! My only complaint? That I didn’t get my sushi until the next afternoon.

 

Nina loved her homebirth

There was never any question for me of a hospital birth.   I can’t stand the places, and the idea of giving the care of something so personal as giving birth over to a male doctor absolutely horrified me; at the time I was 24, pregnant for the second time (the first miscarried) and absolutely against the use of any artificial medications or drugs.   I wanted what was best for my baby, and that meant having the most natural birth possible.   I was very lucky to have access to the Community Midwifery program in Perth, where I was cared for by two wonderful midwives.

Thoughout the pregnancy, I saw a Doctor perhaps twice, and experienced no complications.   When the time came, I think it was almost a textbook labour: my waters broke at 4am, the midwife arrived around 7am, and I went into the tub of warm water around 10am.   Although the pain was awful, the water supported me and eased the contractions.   I remember that while it was me, the midwife, my partner and my best friend in the birthing room, it seemed there were a lot of people gathered outside.   My sister arrived from down south during the day, and was in time to see my son arrive.   By the time he came, I’d been in labour for 13 hours, and felt I didn’t have the strength to bring him into the world – but the last push was nothing, and he came out through the water, beautiful, perfect and clean.   My partner cried at the sight of him.

My son was, and remains, a healthy, happy, mischievous child.   The midwife was surprised when I had no problems with the milk coming through; our neighbour, an old Italian lady, brought me cakes and bread and told us how when she had her babies in Italy, her husband slaughtered a chicken to make broth to make the milk come through.

Giving birth at home was an experience I will never forget.   I am eternally grateful my son and I had no need to set foot in a hospital or be cared for by strangers.   I strongly believe it is a woman’s right to choose exactly how she births, and to do so without unnecessary interference.   Giving birth without drugs is not easy, and not for everyone – but having achieved this thing, I was able to begin my journey into motherhood with confidence and joy.   So many women have horror stories about their births, and live with that trauma.   I have none of those things.   I am glad I chose a homebirth, and proud of the start it gave to my son.

I have had no more children since then, but if I was to fall pregnant, I would hope the option of homebirthing would be open to me again.

Peta has birthed at home twice (so far!)

Where do you live?  I live in Greenwood, Western Australia

How many homebirths have you had?  I have had 2 home births.

Why did you birth at home?  I birthed at home because I believe, for me, it was where i could birth the way i wanted to and give me the best chance of a normal birth.

Did you homebirth your first baby or subsequent babies?  I birthed both my kids at home.  My first labour was 14 or so hours and i had a little girl weighing 3.3kg.  My second labour was barely 4 hours and i had a big boy weighing 4.3 kg!

Have you used a publicly funded homebirth scheme in any country in the world?  Yes, i used the Community Midwifery Program in Western Australia.

Have you experienced hospital or birth centre birth?  I have experienced public & private hospital and birth centre births as a midwife and support person.

Have you experienced trauma around birth?  Only from seeing what happens to other people.

How old were you when you were birthing at home?  29 and 31.

With what ethnicity do you identify?  Caucasian.

Have you had a caesarean? More than one?  No.

Have you had a breech homebirth?  No.

Do you identify as disabled/temporarily ablebodied?  No.

Have you had a midwife-attended homebirth?  Yes, and i was lucky enough to have the same midwife for both my births.

Are you in a relationship?  Not currently.  I was married when i had my children.

Are you single?  Yes.

How did you pay for your homebirth?  The first time i joined the connected not for profit group and paid $110 to the community midwifery program.  The second time they had learned that they actually were not allowed to charge people for a publicly funded service, so it was covered by medicare and i paid nothing.

Do you work at home or in the paid workforce?  I am a midwife in a local public hospital.

Does your family have a history of homebirthing?  My mother had 4 vaginal births (1969, 77, 79, 81) at a local public hospital under a GP/Obstetrician.  My younger sisters have had vaginal births in private hospitals.  My family were concerned by my choice but respected it.  My mother attended my first birth, but really found it too overwhelming to witness her daughter experience that and the second time she looked after my eldest while i birthed.

Kerrilynn realised a natural birth wouldn’t happen in hospital

Where do you live?

Beerwah, Sunshine Coast, QLD

How many homebirths have you had? One

Why did you birth at home? I wanted to have a completely natural birth without intervention. Through reading and research I came to the realisation that this would not be possible at a hospital so opted for a homebirth. It was an amazing journey to come to that decision. Starting out being booked into a hospital, then birth centre and then finally settling on a homebirth at 28 weeks. It was the best decision ever for me and my husband. Our families were a bit hesitant but once the birth was over and all had gone well, they were a lot more open to homebirth and supportive.

I also have anxiety and so the idea of being in a hospital (a strange place) while I am trying to give birth with strangers telling me what to do and not in the comfort of my own home scared me. I felt alot safer and supported at home. I didn’t want to have strange people telling me what to do when they don’t even know who I am or what I need. I needed that one to one care with a midwife who knew me and knew what I needed. This really helped my anxiety. I was nervous about how it would go but once labour started I surrendered and let me body do what it needed to do. I could share so much more if you want me to. My birth was the most amazing experience of my life. It has helped me discover how strong I really am.

These are some other things to consider:

Did you homebirth your first baby or subsequent babies? I homebirthed my first baby.

Have you used a publicly funded homebirth scheme in any country in the world? No.

Have you experienced hospital or birth centre birth? No.

Have you experienced trauma around birth? No.

How old were you when you were birthing at home? 26 nearly 27.

With what ethnicity do you identify? Australian Swiss

Have you had a caesarean? More than one? no

Have you had a breech homebirth? no

Do you identify as disabled/temporarily ablebodied? no

Have you had a midwife-attended homebirth? Yes

Are you in a relationship? Yes

Are you single? no

How did you pay for your homebirth? I paid for it using baby bonus. My midwife was very happy for us to pay her back over time once our baby bonus started being paid to us. We couldn’t have afforded it otherwise. The cost was one of the things that made my husband very hesitant about homebirth. We both agree now that was is totally worth it.

Do you work at home or in the paid workforce? I’m a stay at home mum

Does your family have a history of homebirthing? No.

Effie had her first babe at home

Where do you live? WHEELERS HILL, MELBOURNE, VICTORIA

How many homebirths have you had? ONE

Why did you birth at home? I HAVENT HAD ANY GOOD EXPERIENCES IN HOSPITALS, DOCTORS HAVE ALWAYS SCARED ME, I AM VERY STUBBORN IN MY WAYS AND KNOW THAT I WAS MEANT TO BIRTH NATURALLY, DRUG FREE, AND WITH NO INTERFERENCE, I SUFFER FROM HIGH ANXIETY AS IT IS, I DIDNT WANT TO HAVE EVEN MORE BY BEING STRAPPED AND LOCKED INTO SOMETHING THAT I DO NOT BELIEVE IN.

Did you homebirth your first baby or subsequent babies? I HOMEBIRTHED MY FIRST CHILD.

Have you used a publicly funded homebirth scheme in any country in the world? NO

Have you experienced hospital or birth centre birth? NO BUT EACH AND EVERY STORY I HAVE HEARD, IT HAS NEVER GONE TO PLAN, OR GONE SMOOTHLY OR UNMEDICATED OR WITHOUT DRAMA

Have you experienced trauma around birth? NO

How old were you when you were birthing at home? 32 YEARS OLD

With what ethnicity do you identify? MY PARENTS WERE BOTH BORN IN GREECE, AND SO WERE MY HUSBANDS

Have you had a caesarean? NEVER

Have you had a breech homebirth? NOT YET :)

Do you identify as disabled/temporarily ablebodied? NO

Have you had a midwife-attended homebirth? YES MY MAIN MIDWIFE, MY BACKUP AND MY DOULA

Are you in a relationship? YES I AM MARRIED

Are you single? N O

How did you pay for your homebirth? WE PAID IT ALL OURSELVES, OUR MIDWIFE WAS AMAZING AND ALLOWED US TO PAY WITH INSTALMENTS….AMAZING WOMAN!!!

Do you work at home or in the paid workforce? MY HUSBAND IS A SUBCONTRACTOR AND HAS HIS OWN COMPANY, I AM A STAY AT HOME MUM NOW AND LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

Does your family have a history of homebirthing? MY MOTHER IN LAW WITNESSED HER BROTHERS AND HER SISTER BEING BIRTHED AT HOME IN THE VILLAGE IN GREECE BACK IN THE 40′S AND 50′S. ON MY MOTHERS SIDE, HER STEP MOTHER HAD 2 C SECTIONS, HER BIOLOGICAL MOTHER PASSED AWAY DUE TO HEMORAGING FROM A C SECTION, WAS QUITE SAD.

I AM THE ONLY MEMBER OF MY FAMILY AND CIRCLE OF FRIENDS WHO HAS EVER HAD A HOMEBIRTH, I HAVE HEARD PEOPLE SAY THEY WANT TO DO IT, BUT NO ONE HAD THE BALLS TO. I AM NOT SURE WHY THEY LET DOCTORS GET THE BETTER OF THEM AND BRAIN WASH THEM AND INSTIL ALL THIS FEAR IN THEM.

I AM PROUD OF MYSELF AND CANNOT WAIT FOR MY NEXT HOME BIRTH :)

Emma has had eight homebirths!

Who homebirths? ME!

My name is Emma and my eight children have all been born at home. My oldest child was born when I was 20 and my youngest when I was 35. The land of my birth is England and I have Welsh, English and Irish descent.

I have travelled extensively and my first two children were born ‘on the road’ in England: the first with a midwife, through the publicly funded community midwife scheme, and the second with a lay midwife who was a Lakota Elder. My subsequent babies were born under publicly funded midwifery care in four different areas of New Zealand.

I have never had to pay for a homebirth or even any related costs ~ extra towels, sheets, a temporary nappy service, home help and osteopath visits were funded by the midwives (in New Zealand) out of the additional payments they receive to care for mothers who birth at home.

I have been living in Australia for four years, and I am in a long term heterosexual relationship. I work in and from home, and within the local community, for love only.

I do not have an immediate family herstory of home birth, and went against the grain of all my living family, friends, colleagues and peers by birthing at home.

I birth at home simply because it makes perfect common sense and subsequent independent research, as well as experience, has consistently confirmed this.

Any difficulties I encountered along the way ~ such as my losing my first born’s twin at 12 weeks, a babe who was transverse until the final moments of labour and another with true shoulder dystocia ~ have been handled gently, respectfully and successfully at home. Although I would of course transfer to hospital in the case of any genuine medical need, I know home is the best place for the best welcome to this world my children could possibly receive.

Why I don’t do due dates – one woman’s perspective

One woman's induction in hospital.

A first time birthing woman I know has been managing the fear others are feeling around her upcoming birth by choosing to present some facts for those who haven’t yet found out that obstetrics is mostly antiquated nonsense. I found her thoughts and perspective interesting given my own perspective as a writer and birth attendant and observer of hundreds of women nearing birth time over the last few years.

Her admirable summary, which has footnotes for those who like them, is written clearly, concisely and with ownership over her political views around birth.

Some other information to peruse while you ponder the notion of “postdates”* is here and here. Thanks for sharing, I’m sure many women will find your thoughts helpful as they too manage the obstetrically-induced fear that piles up at the end of pregnancy.

Why I don’t do due dates

I’ve been asked a few times lately what my actual due date is. I by no means wish for this explanation to be a personal affront to anyone, and hope that this is taken as my perspective rather than a personal comment or judgement.

An Estimated Due Date is just that – an estimated date calculated on the basis of a woman’s last menstrual period (if known), conception date (if known), or ultrasound scan (increasingly inaccurate as pregnancy progresses)(1). Due to practices of risk management via routine induction in many hospitals, an Estimated Due Date has become more like an expiry date for a pregnant woman. Just as we all have different menstrual cycles, breast sizes, preferences for salty or sweet foods, etc, we all have differing gestation as well.

A healthy term pregnancy is considered by the World Health Organisation to be anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks gestation. In the absence of any indicators of ill health or complications, it is my firm belief that a woman should be able to gestate for the length of time required for spontaneous labour to occur. Fewer than 5% of babies are born on their actual ‘estimated due date’(2). So telling people this date, really just gives them (a) a one in 20 shot of knowing when your baby will be born and (b) the ability to calculate back the day upon which, 38 weeks earlier, you had sex. It’s a “probability, not a deadline”(3).

My stance is a political one as well. Most hospitals prescribe routine induction at 40 weeks +10 days(4). This arbitrary calculation creates a lot of anxiety for women who know that they will be induced if they go past this date. It disempowers the pregnant woman, putting her in the hands of risk managers rather than care providers. With no other evidence and significantly poorer outcomes of subsequent intervention, many women are forced into induction at 40+10 (usually after days of effort on their own behalf, using ‘natural’ induction methods such as acupuncture, essential oils, sex, castor oil, etc, to ‘bring labour on’ before their body and baby are ready). This creates unnecessary anxiety and risks for the woman and her baby, with the ‘cascade of intervention’ a real danger.(5)

Recently, a friend of mine gestated to 42 weeks. Unfortunately, many of her Facebook friends knew her Estimated Due Date. What ensued, on behalf of people that would normally fulfil a supportive, anticipatory, excited role in my friend’s life, became external pressure, ‘concerns’ for my friend, and constant badgering. My friend made an innocent comment in her status update about knitting, only for the response to be something about pushing! This cheerleading in a public forum is not helpful to a woman who certainly feels the measure of passing time and its concomitant anticipation more acutely than all around her.

In short, I am very excited for the birth of my wee babe, as I am sure you are. I absolutely appreciate your interest and anticipatory excitement. However, I can’t reliably predict when my baby will be born. I will be delighted to share the news with you when it is, though.

(1) http://www.bellybelly.com.au/articles/pregnancy/due-date-calculator
(2) American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp069.cfm
(3) Henci Goer: When is that baby due? http://www.ivillage.com/when-baby-due/6-a-129259
(4) http://www.kemh.health.wa.gov.au/development/manuals/O&G_guidelines/sectionb/2/5177.pdf
(5) Childbirth Connection: The Cascade of Intervention in Childbirth http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10182

* There’s no such thing as postdates, it’s all prebaby.

Talia is planning a homebirth for her first baby

 

I am a 25 year old married woman, of Irish ancestry, living what most would see as a very conventional life – we own our home, both work in corporate jobs, drive European cars.  So, of course, people fall of their chairs in disbelief that someone as ‘normal’ as me would want a ‘hippie’ birth.

Well, my answer is – to me, home birth IS normal!

We have been trying for our first baby for nearly 6 months, and I am becoming increasingly distressed as, if we do not conceive before September, we will not legally be able to choose a home birth, attended by an experienced midwife.  If we choose to subvert the laws, we have two possibilities:  ask a midwife to risk a $30,000 fine by attending our birth, or try to birth alone, which is not what I personally would choose for my first baby.  I have always really looked forward to the calm and experienced support of an amazing independent midwife.

I want to have our precious baby at home because I honestly believe that this is the Safest option for our baby, and for myself.  I am an educated woman, and have done months of extensive research, reading a range of primary and secondary material from both ‘sides of the fence’, and have concluded that home birth is the best, safest and most natural way of birthing my future baby.

We are fortunate that we can afford the $5000+ for a private midwife, doula, birthing pool and some in-home after care from a doula of our choice.  I hate to think what an awful and crippling expense this would be for many families.

Since I was a child, I have had positive experiences with birth.  My friends, 4 siblings, were all born at home, with all the other children (and friends, and family) running around the home as though it was a wonderful celebration (it was!)  Instead of ‘mummies and daddies’ games, we used to play ‘home birth’, taking turns of ‘birthing’ our baby dolls on the bunk beds, surrounded by our little friends.  After childhood memories like that, rushing off to hospital is the furthest thing from my wishes!!

I was born in a midwife-run family birthing centre, in 1984, and my sister was born in the same birthing centre, when I was 17 years old.  Mum had an amazing private midwife, and I found being at the birth an incredible experience – I was amazed at the fact that mum was falling asleep in between her contractions (in the birthing pool).  Interestingly, the private midwife had to ‘kick out’ all the centre’s midwives at the time of birth, as the centre had a policy that babies could not be born under water.  Thankfully, mum’s midwife (Jan Ireland) was nice and bossy!

My mum’s sister, my aunt, had two horrendous hospital labours –both over 35 hours, both ending in C-sections.  When she fell pregnant again at 42, she shunned the system entirely, choosing to have no ultrasounds, and to give birth at home, 30 minutes from the nearest hospital.  Everyone said she was crazy, and going to kill herself and the baby, yet the labour was a beautiful, 6 hour event, ending in a massive, healthy baby, and a joyously happy family!

So.  With all that I have written, I imagine that it is abundantly clear why I will choose a home birth.  I just hope that I am able to do this legally, with an experienced midwife of my choosing there to support me through the beautiful event.

Sarah’s first baby was homebirthed with doulas and her partner attending

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I have a bachelor of arts, with honours in political science. I’m a white, married, heterosexual. I am the mother of one homeborn daughter. She was born shortly after my 25th birthday, in the presence of her father and two doulas. Her siblings (of which we hope to have four) will be born at home as well.

I knew that homebirth was for me before I knew who would father my children! I had an interest in motherhood and reproduction and in particular feminist studies of these experiences. During my studies I found a wonderful homebirth community of which I became a part. I couldn’t imagine birthing in a hospital. My energy would be diverted from the work my body was doing to struggling against protocol and staff interests. I wanted to be free to do what felt right in the moment, to lose myself to birth and I could not do that in a clinical environment where the threat of intervention loomed.

At first I assumed that I, like most homebirthers, would hire a skilled midwife to attend me during birth “just in case” something went wrong. But when my partner and I started trying to conceive I realised that I was not comfortable with the idea of having any medical professionals in my birth space. We chose to homebirth without a midwife (freebirth) before our child was conceived. I was concerned that my focus would be on the midwife and “what ifs” should I homebirth with a midwife. I wanted to let go of my fears and focus on nothing but what my body was telling me in the moment.

My partner was very pro-freebirth. His main concern was that a midwife might suggest an unnecessary transfer to hospital, as we heard this had happened to others. We both agreed that no one should have the power to use the “H” word (hospital) in the birth space except for me: the birthing woman. Instead we hired two doulas (non-medical birth attendants) to wait on us. I had no examinations or tests performed on me while I laboured.

We definitely made the right choice. I experienced a 59 hour posterior labour in the comfort of my home. There was no need to rush. There was no threat of augmentation or caesarean, which I certainly would have ended up with had I been in the hospital system (a friend had a labour similar to mine at my local hospital and she was allowed 20 hours, then cut open, her baby and her birth taken from her).

My partner and our doulas worked in shifts to be by my side: massaging me, hand feeding me grapes like an Egyptian Queen, offering me water, holding heat packs to my back, whispering words of encouragement. My partner was a wonderful presence. When he held me I felt the pain of my labour decrease. He would whisper in my ear “you’re doing it”, never “you can do it”, every time he said it I felt so loved, my hard work acknowledged and I felt powerful!

It was the most intimate experience for us. My favourite memories from the birth were of my partner and I, alone, swaying in one anothers’ arms in our candlelit lounge room. My partner was such a perfect doula to me that we plan not to hire doulas next time.

After the birth I rang my father to let him know his granddaughter had been born. He was so thrilled, he told me he was excited not just about another addition to our family, but that I had got the birth I had prepared for. We realised that not only was I the first to homebirth as far back as we could remember, but I was the first to have a drug free birth as well.

At the time of the birth I was a full time student living on a scholarship and my partner’s income. My partner was on a $40K per annum salary. We paid for our homebirth by using the lump sum “baby bonus” the Australian government was offering at the time. Our doulas patiently waited for months after the birth to receive payment, for which we were really grateful. It cost us approximately $2000. In future, if we were going to hire people to attend one of my homebirths we would pay them in installments from the first meeting in early pregnancy until the last postpartum visit to avoid owing money months after the birth.
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You can read the full story of my daughter’s home/water/lotus birth (complete with photos and links to articles and sites about birth) here: http://harrietsfreebirth.blogspot.com