Covid has definitely brought Home Births back into light. Having a baby at home is not for everyone. There are risk factors that have to be considered (my babies needed to be born in the hospital). However, when those risk factors aren’t present, home birth can be an amazing option.

Parents who desire a hands off, listen to your body, I can do this approach should definitely consider a home birth. Often when in our home, our bodies relax more, we feel safer, and we are able to maintain a quiet control.

Midwives are trained to monitor the situation, and transfer to hospitals when needed. But they are also trained to recognize that our bodies are pretty amazing and know how to do this thing called birth.

People try to scare you when you mention home birth, but I would ask you to sit and discuss it with a midwife (or two or three) and feel out if the situation might be perfect for you. Bonding, loving, quiet, calm, and control are all things you can have in your birth.

The photos pictured here were with Shannon of . She’s a very hands off, respectful midwife (as are all of the midwives I have worked with.). She listens to what you’re wanting and keeps you safe in the process. Have a conversation and see if it feels right for you during these crazy Covid times. You might be surprised.

This is one story of a birth. It is not the same story twice.

The moment comes that you find out you’re pregnant. Your excitement grows. You plan everything -how your pregnancy is going to go, how the nursery is going to look, and how you want your delivery to be. You’re asked questions like delayed cord clamping? Breast feeding? Skin to skin immediately? What immunizations are you ok with? You go to your twenty week ultrasound so nervous, wanting everything to be ok. Thankfully it is. It’s smooth flying.

You get to 36 weeks and all has been well. Or maybe it hasn’t. It all depends on your pregnancy. Some have scares, some have none. Yet both still plan on how the birth is going to be. Do I want an epidural? Do I not? You go in for your check and your blood pressure is slightly elevated. Or the doctor sees something a bit concerning and wants you monitored and mentions the word induction. But you’ve heard inductions are unnecessary.

There are options. You can discuss them with your doctor. Questions to ask at this moment… What are the Benefits of inducing? What are the Risks of waiting? What if we wait two days? (Etc) What Alternatives are there? What other Interventions may happen or could be used? And what if we do Nothing? And then you talk with your partner and discuss. You decide that you trust your medical team and you’ve got this. You’re keeping baby safe. You’re keeping you safe. And you feel strong.

You labor for hours and hours. But the doctors start mentioning a cesarean. Wait. That wasn’t the plan. The plan was helping your baby come out gently. Your plan was to have your baby “naturally”. The doctors go through all of the above and make a strong case that it’s time. Here is the point of this story…. this wasn’t the birth you planned. What I want you to hear is this is the birth that happened and in no way does it take away from your story. You birthed your baby through your belly with the same warrior attitude as someone that birthed their baby through their cervix. You did everything you felt right in the moment and it has led you to this moment, this moment when you finally get to meet your little one. So hold your head high.

You succeeded. This doesn’t determine the path for future births. This was what this child determined as his or her path. You handled it just like a new parent… with power, with tears, with love. You handled it perfectly. Congrats on making the best decision in the moments. It wasn’t always easy. As your doula and photographer, I am so glad I got to support you through all of the decisions you made, without judgement, with support and love. Your belly birth was amazing.

Suzanne Ledbetter is a birth doula and birth photographer serving the greater Puget sound and Seattle areas including Tacoma, Renton, Seattle and all areas in between. She serves all local hospitals, including Valley Medical, Swedish, UW, and Multicare , all birth centers and home births.

I started out in this business as a birth photographer. Capturing the moments that a new soul enters this world and the moments that a family grows is absolutely amazing. But I was missing something. 

In each of my births, I saw opportunity to be even more present for the families. There were moments the birthing parent needed some extra hands helping her through a contraction, and other moments where the birthing partner was forgetting to take care of themself. I found during these moments that birth was exactly where I wanted to be. I found that I wanted to train to provide even more support. 

Being a doulatog allows me the ability to do both. I can be hired as one or the other, but when hired as both I find my passion of guiding through this journey to parenthood – starting as prenatal support,then being able to not only capture moments still forever, allowing the partners to go back and see the first moments that they were so busy enjoying, they may have missed the little things…and then being able to continually support after little one goes home. 

Photography isn’t my passion. Doula isn’t my passion. The birth process and everything that it means from start to finish is 100% my passion. Every single birth is special. Every single birth will see me with tears in my eyes as I experience the intimate moments I’ve been invited into. Every single birth holds a special place in my heart forever. 

Whether you’re birthing at Puget Sound Birth Center, at Valley Medical Center, or at home in Renton, Seattle, Tacoma, Enumclaw, Bellevue or any of the surrounding hospitals or birth centers, I will happily be supportive of the birth that you want and be a part of your team. Swedish, UW, St Joes, St Francis, the lists go on. I would love to be there for you as a support.