This Is What Home Birth Really Looks Like -- & It's Not What You Think

Laura Hill Flippin

With studies showing that home births can be just as safe and successful as hospital births, the practice is gaining more popularity in the US. More and more mothers are choosing to forgo what people view as a "normal" experience and give birth in the comfort of their own home. Mom Laura Hill Flippin is one of those moms, and she shared the story of the Mississippi home birth of her son with CafeMom to give the world a look into what really happens during such an incredible event.

  • Laura says her decision to deliver her third child at home was brought on by wanting to try something new.

    "It's very rare here [in Mississippi]," she told CafeMom, pointing to the fact that home births still aren't as widely accepted as hospital births. But the mom was determined, so she expressed her desire to her husband, who turned out to be completely on board. "I've got some construction plastic I can put down everywhere," Laura recalls his saying in response. 

    More from CafeMom: 

    Laura shared that while she and her husband were completely on board, her other friends and family members were terrified of something going wrong. "It’s important to mention that I am an emergency room nurse, and so is my mother. We have seen any and everything that can and has gone wrong in a multitude of circumstances," she told CafeMom. "All of my coworkers, ER doctors, family, and friends were so scared. 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.'" Laura notes that they didn't find the joke particularly funny. 

  • Advertisement
  • Even faced with worry and skepticism from the people she loved, this mom was determined.

    "I was 29, [had] absolutely no health problems, [was] very healthy, had no pregnancy complications, and previously had two uneventful vaginal births," she explained. "I was a prime candidate for a home birth."  

  • After making the decision to have a home birth, Laura went about the difficult task of finding the right midwife.

    While the search isn't always easy, Laura says she found the perfect match right off the bat in Missy Padgett, a certified professional midwife and the assistant director for the Mississippi Midwives Alliance.

    "I began researching local midwives and made an appointment with one based off her online photo. I totally judged a book by its cover. I said, 'She just looks like a really kind, sweet person,'" the mom explained. "She absolutely is kind, sweet, and every other good quality you would want in the person whom you were trusting with your life and the life of your baby. We just clicked, and I paid my deposit at our initial meeting."

  • Laura saw Padgett and her apprentices for prenatal checkups instead of a traditional obstetrician.

    Together, the midwife and her team helped monitor Laura's health, keep her calm about the impending birth, and make sure she was comfortable along the way. "They personalized my prenatal and birth experiences to suit my hopes and needs," Laura said. "[It was] such a breath of fresh air."

    Even with all of the support, Laura shared that there were still moments when she quietly doubted her decision. "I’d be lying if I said I didn't have times of doubt and fear. Mostly my fears were the most rare, far-fetched complications imaginable," she said.

    Luckily, her midwife suggested that she read plenty of positive home-birth stories to ease her fears. "That really helped! You have to understand that the odds of a normal birth are way higher than having a complication," Laura explained. "To those who are critical of home-birthing mothers, I suggest you look at the odds. Read the positive birth stories."

  • Laura finally gave birth on Wednesday, November 2, 2016.

    She started having painful contractions while getting her daughters ready for school. She immediately called her husband to let him know that she was almost certainly going to be delivering that day, then phoned the midwives to keep them "on standby." 

    While she waiting for her contractions to become regular, Laura kept herself busy. "I decided that [it] was the perfect time to dye my hair. Then I dried and flat ironed it, just like I did with my other two births, and put a little makeup on between contractions."

  • Just a few hours later, Laura had a full house.

    In addition to her husband, kids, and midwives, her birth photographer, Kim Kelley, her mother, and several other family members there to witness the birth of her son.

    Laura admitted she had a few difficulties during her birth. First, the only position she felt comfortable in was squatting; then she had trouble relaxing her bottom and pelvic floor. But, even through this, she said her midwives made the experience ideal. "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 told CafeMom. "They could read my body language and determine what I needed."

  • Baby Eli came quick; Laura says she only pushed about five times.

    "It all seemed so unreal. Me, a nurse, with two 'big' children already, just had a baby on my bedroom floor, in the middle of nowhere rural Mississippi. I finally felt fear for a split second! Then I looked at my crying baby and said, 'Oh my God, he's so clean!'"

  • After the delivery, the mom took the time to enjoy having a successful birth and a healthy son.

    "He was alert, interested in nursing, and active," she said. "So I didn't stress about checking his numbers."

    More from CafeMom: 

    After ensuring that mom and baby were okay, the house cleared out and the excited mom finally got to spend some quality time with her baby. Laura says that in those moments, all she was focused on was how amazing her son was. "He was in my arms, warm and secure, milk on demand, right where he belonged."

    About 25 hours after giving birth, the midwives returned to check on Laura and Eli. "They did the heel prick to send to the state to check for metabolic type disorders," she said. "Just like they do with hospital births."

    Six weeks later, Laura and Eli went back to the midwives, and while the little boy was in perfect health, Laura was advised to see a doctor about what may have been a bladder prolapse. Luckily, nothing came of it. "It did resolve spontaneously within a couple weeks, no surgery needed," she told CafeMom. Laura also shared that little Eli recently had his 1-year checkup and hit all of his developmental milestones and growth curves. He is a happy, healthy little boy.

homebirth birth stories