Great joy from birth at home

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AT this exact moment, 18 years ago, my household was preparing for the arrival of our third child ... you would have thought we'd have matters under control, and maybe my wife did, but I didn't, because months earlier, she'd announced that she wanted the next child to be born at home.

I have to admit this declaration alarmed me and I told her so. I assumed common sense would eventually prevail and she'd change her mind, but it didn't happen.

... To put it simply, she hadn't enjoyed the births of our first two kids. When she felt pain, they offered her drugs. When our first child was a little reluctant to pop out, they wanted to induce.

My wife declined painkillers and applied her own inducing techniques by walking four or five laps of the ward. Bingo.

Now the third was on the way and we were walking down a far different road.

... When the contractions started, we rang the midwife. She came, examined my wife and said nothing much would happen for two or three hours, so my wife baked a cake while I went out and bought some champagne.

Then we took our two kids for a walk to the local playground, my wife stopping every 100m to double up with the pain of another contraction. By the time we got home, the contractions were quite close.

My wife was more comfortable standing and, as it turned out, she gave birth bending over our dining room table.

Then we ate the cake, drank the champagne, I buried the placenta in the garden and we watched the second half of the footy on television.

It was all so normal and I can remember every moment of it, but ask me to detail our two hospital births and I can't.

I didn't enjoy them and didn't feel a part of them. The end results were great, but the process wasn't.

... Looking back, I consider myself very lucky to have a wife who was fit enough and confident enough in her own body to have a home birth.

... I understand people's concerns, but I don't accept the blanket dismissal by those who think they know what's best for us all, like politicians and self-interested medical groups.

Births gave me four of the most joyous moments of my life, but home birthing gave me the two most enjoyable experiences of my life. People who choose such a course shouldn't be denied it.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448