Whatever your mental image of home births, this Mississippi mom’s story, complete with photos, will shake what you thought you knew.
Laura Hill Flippin, 29, already had two children — “two uneventful vaginal births” in a hospital — when she decided to consider a home birth, she told Cafe Mom. Her health and simple previous pregnancies made her a “prime candidate” for the method.
Flippin, an emergency room nurse, said her friends and family were terrified that something might go wrong.
“All of my coworkers, ER doctors, family and friends were so scared,” she said. “Like literally about to have a fit, asking me what would happen if I bled out. I said I guess I’d die at home instead of in labor and delivery.”
Even with her family on the fence, Flippin continued on her quest to prepare for an at-home delivery. She found Missy Padgett, a certified professional midwife, with whom she instantly “clicked.”
Once she found Padgett, she saw her and her apprentices for prenatal checkups rather than visiting an obstetrician at a medical facility. The team was charged to monitor her health, alleviate her concerns and keep her comfortable throughout pregnancy.
“They personalized my prenatal and birth experiences to suit my hopes and needs,” Flippin said. “[It was] such a breath of fresh air.”
Though she admittedly had some moments of fear and doubt, Padgett directed her to read positive home-birth stories to soothe her worries — and Flippin said her strategy worked.
“You have to understand that the odds of a normal birth are way higher than having a complication,” she said. “To those who are critical of home-birthing mothers, I suggest you look at the odds. Read the positive birth stories.”
On Nov. 2, 2016, Flippin began having painful contractions while getting her daughters ready for school. She knew the baby would be coming soon, she said, so she called her husband and alerted her midwife.
While waiting, the mom kept herself busy by dyeing and styling her hair and putting on some makeup, "just like I did with my other two births," she said.
As the time drew nearer, Flippin’s husband, daughters, mother, midwives, birth photographer and several other family members came over to witness the joyful event.
"I had time to listen to my body carefully and respond appropriately. All the while my midwives are being amazing. Hands off when I needed, hands on when I needed, and I never had to say a word," she said, recalling that she had trouble relaxing her bottom and pelvic floor at times. "They could read my body language and determine what I needed."
After only about five pushes, baby Eli was born.
"He was alert, interested in nursing, and active," she said. "So I didn't stress about checking his numbers."
Soon after the birth, all the guests cleared out to give Flippin time to bond with Eli. "He was in my arms, warm and secure, milk on demand, right where he belonged,” she remembered.
Her midwives returned to the house to check on the mom and baby about 25 hours after birth. They performed a heel prick to send to the state to check for metabolic type disorders, parallel to what a hospital would do.
When she visited the team again six weeks later, Eli was healthy, but Flippin was advised to visit a doctor about a potential bladder prolapse. Fortunately, the issue resolved itself and she was given an all-clear.
The mom said she recently took Eli to his one-year checkup, where he hit each of his developmental milestones and growth expectations.