From the first time that man could put a roof over his head natural home births have been the norm, as there was no other option. Starting around the early 20th century expectant mothers abandoned natural births for the more sterile environment of the hospital. With expanding medical knowledge, migration to urban centers and greater prosperity midwives and home births were left behind.
As a result of this new trend home birth declined rapidly over the 20th century. In the United States home birth declined from 50% in 1938 to fewer than 1% in 1955. Since 1989 the rate of out-of-hospital births has remained at 1% in the US, with 65% of them being in a residence, making the actual rate of home birth .65%.
There has been a renewed interest with this practice though as young mothers are looking for a more natural and relaxed way to give birth. Avoiding a hospital to give birth allows the mother to also avoid interventions by an impatient doctor needing to empty the bed, which also means she has a better chance of avoiding induction of labor or artificial breaking of her water. Being in the home allows for more control over the entire experience and who to share it with.
My wife decided long ago that this was the path she wanted to take. When she first told me about it I was excited at the idea of my child being born in our home with our family. Not having to rush out the door to the hospital, not having to argue with nurses over visiting hours and who is allowed in the room is appealing to us both. There is also the cost that will be saved. Our insurance coverage is excellent and will cover some of the costs of the midwife which are a fraction of what a hospital charges. For couples that are not as fortunate as we, home births are extremely affordable.
The naturalness of a home birth, for me, is the best part of it all. During the last few years we have been shifting our lives to a more natural one with what we eat, wash our clothes with, brush our teeth with and even drink. Taking advantage of farmers markets when we can and making what we need so that we know where it came from rather than buying every mass produced consumer product out there is important. We have been healthier as a result and want the same for our child from the beginning.
I was not so jacked though after meeting the midwife, things got very real for me. My first impression of the woman was not a good one. She had a flakiness about her; she was disorganized and couldn't find anything on her messy desk while she was trying to engage us in conversation. Once she put down her phone, cleared her mind and started answering our questions I was at ease. The woman knew her shit and didn't falter on any of her operational knowledge. Any question that I threw at her she answered in detail.
As April and the delivery date draw nearer I know that my anxiety about everything will amp up, and all of my initial apprehensions will be forefront. But I just need to remember that the midwife is smart and capable, humans have been doing it this way for centuries and this is what my wife wants. She has the hard part to do; all I have to do is stay out of the way and try not to pass out. I hope I don't screw it up.