How did you make the decision to birth at home?
C had the idea early on and I didn't object to it at all. I wanted to avoid the hospital due to unnecesary interventions or possible infection.
When you made the decision, what was your prior knowledge or experience with home birth (or birth in general)?
None. Only stuff I'd seen on tv basically. We learned a whole lot more due to the 6 weeks of birth classes that we took.
What did your family and friends think about your decision?
They thought it was a strange and bad idea, dangerous even. I didn't care what they thought. Everything they said just strengthened my resolve and we knew what we had fully researched birth options. We knew what was best.
Did you have any concerns or hesitations about birthing at home?
Yes. There was anxiety over the unknown and concerns about surprises that may occcur. I was hesitant about birthing in a hospital actually due to the horror stories I've heard commonly occur in that setting. What concerns me most is knowing that a lot of people walk into birth without knowing any information about it.
How do you feel about the prenatal care you and your partner received?
It was great. Very thorough and informative.
Did you feel actively involved in the process of the pregnancy and birth?
Yes I did. I wanted my role to be helpful. During labor I was active at making and keeping C as calm and comfortable as possible.
Thinking to the day of the birth, were you ever worried that something would go worng?
Yes, of course. I was worried about the big unknowns. I was concerned about C having an emergency... just anything. What if there was too much pain? What if C changed her mind and wanted to go to the hospital? I focused on avoiding panic, 'cause things can quickly and easily go into panic-mode. There was a general fear of things going wrong but C hadn't had any health issues so I wasn't really worried about anything in particular. At one point, I was concerned about fatigue and having to go to the hospital due to it. There were times the baby was close, but not close, so I was afraid we would end up having a longer day by going to the hospital.
Overall, what is your general feeling about the home birth?
It was great! Things went exactly as we wanted. We even had wine at the end :) The home birth went as well as it could have. Everyone was happy and healthy. I also thought it was great that our midwife and her assistant took care of everything and even cleaned up the apartment.
In retrospect, is there anything that you would have done differently?
Have more food in the house :) Snack foods, really. And caffeine! Stock up on everything you may need and keep in mind the time. Our daughter was born at 7:26pm, so we were able to order pizza. But what if it was in the middle of the night??
Would you choose homebirth again?
Any words or wisdom for other dads?
READ. Find out why you would want to home birth. Research hospital policies to see if the hospital seeting will work with you. Beware of extreme advice. You don't want partisan information, it's just not helpful. Try to get the little errands around the house done beforehand (dry cleaning, take out the garbage). You won't want to do anything for a couple of days afterward. Also, designate people to make calls for you to let others know what's going on and invove them in the birth. Oh... and babies are a lot of work.
The day of the home birth. In his own words....
If you have taken a class, you kinda just go along with what you've learned and just go through the motions and don't think too much about things. I felt in control. Going to the class really helped because we got a lot of useful information. When our midwife arrived, I was still feeling as in control as someone could feel in a birth :) Our midwife was very hands-off, which was helpful. I had a front-row seat to my daughter's birth. When she was born I was amazed. I thought, 'wow, we have a baby!'.