Real Mom: Our Homebirth Story

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February 2

Sold! Kristen Leonard, Certified Nurse Midwife, is exactly who I want with me when I deliver this baby. She hugged me when we met, and she talked to Theo like he was a regular person, not a small child. My husband, Nathan, and I asked her questions -- he focused on the what-to-do-in-case-of-an-emergency while I asked about postbirth cleanup and if she does baby footprints. (She assured us that it would not be crime-scene messy and said we'd have to order a footprint kit ourselves if we wanted one.) She tells us what she's capable of handling (she brings an oxygen tank to every birth, is trained in neonatal resuscitation, can stop hemorrhaging, can suture vaginal tears, and can give IVs) and what she's not able to do (C-sections or other surgical procedures, administering pain medication). She tells us when and why she's had to take patients to the hospital (often a patient has changed her mind and wanted pain meds). And she asks us questions -- not just about my pregnancy but about the stress and excitement of adding to the family. She wants to know us. After she leaves, Nathan says, "I love her." Plus, the tumbleweeds of cat hair rolling through my apartment didn't seem to faze her one single bit.

February 7

Date night. Steak. Holy heaven, it was so good. And Nathan and I finally got to really talk about this baby. Between work and toddler wrangling, we haven't had a moment to bask in this pregnancy at all. We talk about Kristen and how comfortable it seems. We talk about how this pregnancy is what we'd imagine it's like to run the Boston Marathon for the second time but with weights strapped to your ankles. The fanfare is gone, and the race feels longer and harder. A homebirth would be a nice reward at the end of it all. And it'll give my little No. 2 fanfare of his own. He deserves it. Why should Theo be the only one with a great birth story?

February 9

There's no turning back: I called my ob-gyn and dumped her. Said I picked a hospital closer to home. Bad, but I didn't want a lecture. I'm not dumb. I know what people think of homebirth. I might as well braid my armpit hair and breastfeed the whole neighborhood.

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