Choosing a Home Water Birth: The What, The How & Our Why

Since moving to Belgium, I have experienced A LOT of new. 

New marriage.

New country.

New bonus daughter (and role as a bonus mom)

New language. 

and a NEW & exciting PREGNANCY. 

However, something that isn’t NEW to me anymore, is trusting God. Where I won’t say I’ve got THAT perfected (be careful what you PRAY for or SPEAK out, right?!), I will humbly admit it’s become a way of life now.

I have been through so many unknowns, challenges and surprise circumstances over the past 2 years, that I’ve really just embraced my CAREFREE attitude fully & let GO and let GOD continually lead me into the next season and the next chapter.

Also, something that isn’t NEW to me, and has taken a lot of trust & faith in God (and will continue to require that of me), is the decision to have our baby at HOME.

Funny enough, this is something I’ve wanted since I was 15 years old. I’ll never forget upon first moving to Florida in 2003, and getting cable for the FIRST TIME, I quickly became obsessed with the Discovery Health Channel.

I LOVED all the baby shows – one of my favorites that was always on the DVR was “Birth Day”! This hour long program would take you through a family’s entire journey from labor to delivery. It was on that show, for the first time, I had ever heard about natural child birth & having your baby at home.

NO ONE I knew in my family had their babies at home. The last baby in my family to be born at home, as far as I know, was my Grandma Grace – almost 93 years ago! Most of the women I knew, or had talked to at that point, and even since, have had medicated child birth’s at the hospital.

The only reason my own mother didn’t use any extra medicinal help for her own labor with me, was that I came out very quick and 6 weeks early!!! I was, however, delivered in a hospital, with my mom squeezing a sweet nurse’s hand at her side.

It is also VERY uncommon for women here in Belgium to have their babies at home – only about 2% do so! 

Now, I, just like my beliefs with weight loss, believe that for birth, there’s no “cookie cutter” way of doing it – meaning, what works for one person, won’t necessarily work for EVERYONE. I believe you have to find something that works & resonates for you and your spirit, heart & body. I also believe, that you also must make a decision with the strong support of your spouse, as this is not only your baby, but also his too. (I’ll never forget a huge fight with a previous boyfriend whom thought I WAS SO RECKLESS & irresponsible for having the desire to have an unmedicated, home birth. He continually told me he would NEVER let his wife do that. Obviously that, among many other reasons, were a gentle way of God telling me: HE WASN’T THE ONE!)

So, for Kim & I, we both couldn’t be more excited & affirmed in our decision in planning our very own HOME BIRTH. We ideally are intending to give birth in a WATER TUB, with Kim there guiding me & supporting me, with our two midwives at our side.

We had MANY reasons why we felt this was best for our family, and here are just a few of the most important ones:

1.The Comfort of Home – Kim & I are such personable, loving, open & family-oriented people. We love the idea of bringing our baby into this world in the very place he or she was conceived. They were created in love & passion and we want to bring them into this world by giving him or her that same atmosphere. At home, we will have more control over our environment & our decisions when it comes to my comfort, the labor process & post-natal care.

2. The Love & Support of MidWives – No sooner had I found out I was pregnant, I knew it was important to me to get connected to a care provider & supporter than I could respect and trust. Especially with me now giving birth to not only my first baby, but also in a foreign country, I wanted to feel comfortable and at ease with the person who would help usher in the greatest miracle I’ve ever experienced. It was also important for me to have this person speak English! Even though my Dutch has improved greatly, I knew the risk was too great to chose someone who wasn’t comfortable speaking and explaining to me important details in my mother tongue. After doing some research and getting excellent reviews from friend’s at church & our niece’s mama, we found the amazing Michou Morak. 

From the first meeting at our home, which was well over an hour, we instantly felt bonded and connected to Michou. She shared her many birth experiences (she herself is a mama of 2), and set our hearts at peace and ease. She answered every question with poise (from this over-the-top planner) and immediately just felt like FAMILY. We knew, this was the person we wanted to help guide us through not only our labor, but all the appointments & steps leading up to our big DAY. Besides Michou, we also get the priviledge of having her equally as fabulous midwife partner, Hanne with us on birth day. We consider them the BEST 2-for-1 special in the world! 

3. The Ability to Create – The more I researched options for birth, the more and more I felt the hospital wasn’t the right choice for me and my family. One reason that stood out to me, that just didn’t agree with my spirit, was the lack of control and options at most hospitals. I wanted the opportunity to freely create the perfect birth atmosphere for our baby to come into this world. While I am open to many unexpected surprises and variables with our birth, I have such peace about knowing that we can create an atmosphere that feels calm, relaxing and joyful – without the outside influence of required tests, monitoring and beeping of machines and potential shift changes of hospital staff.

Are you thinking – WHAT?! What do I mean by all of that?! 

Some of the beautiful preparations we are making & plan to have for our HOME BIRTH are as follows:

-Magical, warm, low lit lights around the room

-Birth affirmations & Scriptures hung up in every room in the house. Yes, even the shower or the toilet – as I may just be laboring in there!

-A soft, empowering playlist on Spotify – that I am currently taking suggestions for! Send me some ideas, please!

-Candles lit around the room – including one very SPECIAL one we can continue to burn & remember these moments once Baby Cleyman arrives

-An essential oil diffuser sharing the beautiful healing power & energy of different oils specificialy suggested for labor & delivery ex. Evening primrose oil, lavender, clary sage & more

-Freshly baked meals for our family, our midwives & any guests

-A tea station – Red raspberry leaf, nettle & rose hip teas

-Massage stations! Balls, mats – wherever, and whenever!

-Birth Tub – assembled in our living room (since we only have a shower!) – for purpose of soothing during labor and possibly, the delivery itself

-The opportunity for my bonus daughter to be there (if she choses) and possibly my parents as well -if Baby Cleyman stays cooking an extra week!

4. To Feel The Supernatural Power of God – Now, I am NOT saying, that women who chose to have a medicated, hospital birth cannot feel God or His supernatural strength. I have heard many countless stories from friends, family & many women from my new favorite podcast (@TheBirthHour) of how challenging and yet empowering birth can be in any circumstance. 

However, for me, I believe and trust in the power of the body that God created for me. The same strength I had to harness to lose 100 pounds pounds, I know I will be tapping into during my labor. I know He created me for a divine purpose – and part of that, I believe, is to give birth to this precious boy or girl He’s entrusted Kim & I with. I know He’s given me the strength, determination and power to deliver this baby.

One thing I am more thankful NOW more than EVER – are the 3 marathons I have previously run. There was just as much mental prep, as physical prep, when it came to accomplishing those epic runs. I remember the crushing & debilitating pain I felt in EVERY marathon. I remember the courage, the will & the focus it took to push past it, and to push through it to get me to that finish line. I believe those moments too were moments of preperation for this next mental, physical & spiritual moment of my life.

Some resources I have been using & digesting while prepping for our birth (and I would highly recommend to anyone) are:

Book – “Guide To Childbirth” by Ina May Gaskin

DVD – “Orgasmic Birth” by Debra Pascali-Bonaro

Podcast – “The Birth Hour” by Bryn Huntpalmer 

Instagram – @Orgasmic Birth

                        @FreeBirthSociety 

                        @AHeavenlyWelcome

                        @BirthingFromWithin 

Apps – Nuture, BabyCentre, WhatToExpect, Pregnancy+ & Expectful

Besides prepping for our home birth, I am also currently exercising by either bike riding, working out with Kim, or walking 3 miles a day – 3-4x a week. I’m also taking Pregnancy Yoga at RadiantLight Yoga here in Wilrijk on Wednesday nights. Kim & I start our Birth Classes soon and are very pumped up for that adventure. Lots of swaying, stretching and making horse sounds in our near future! 

Thanks for letting us share our truth, our story and coming along with us in this exciting next chapter of our lives. We are OPEN BOOKS – so please feel free to leave any comments or questions you have below, or reach out to us on our social media pages.

Baby Cleyman – we have just 2 months to go! We love you!

-Kim & Cheyanne Cleyman 

 

Published by Kim & Cheyanne Cleyman

Married Belgian-American couple living in Europe helping families connect through fitness across cultures and continents; with a passion for well-being - mind, body, heart and soul.

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