Kerry Maiorca has always been interested in the natural way of doing things.
She and her husband, Zach, opened Bloom Yoga Studio in Lincoln Square in 2004. That same year she organized the Chicago Homebirth Meetup Group.
So when Maiorca learned she was pregnant in 2005, home birth was the natural choice.
"I thought it would give me the best chance to have a birth that wasn’t interfered with," she says. But convincing her family was not as easy.
To ease everyone’s fears, the Maiorcas did their homework. A doctor answered all their questions about safety. They also found a certified nurse-midwife well-versed in home and hospital births and two doulas to provide additional support.
"It wasn’t a flaky decision," Maiorca says.
The next challenge? Prepping a two-bedroom apartment for the miracle of life.
Their nurse-midwife had a birth supply kit that Maiorca and her husband ordered and they bought a birthing tub in which she could soak during labor. The big event took place on the living room floor.
Labor was long, taking about 40 hours from the first contraction to birth. Near the end, Maiorca felt so tired a Cesarean section didn’t seem so bad.
"Had I been in the hospital," she says, "a nurse would have said, ‘Do you want an epidural?’ Not that that’s the worst thing in the world. But for me, to be able to do everything myself, I just felt like I could do anything after that."
Theodore Muir Maiorca arrived April 26, 2006.
"It was a really amazing experience," Maiorca says. "I would totally do it the same way again."
Now Maiorca works to teach others that home birth is possible. Bloom offers yoga as well as childbirth education classes.
"The biggest thing is talking about it," Maiorca says. "My husband and I made a choice together [for home birth]."
Talking also tops the agenda at Chicago Homebirth Meetup Group meetings, held monthly at Bloom on topics ranging from breastfeeding to water birth. The group now boasts 184 members.
Maiorca says having her son at home was the best choice.
"You don’t have to be some far-out hippie living in the woods to have a home birth," she says. "You can be the average Joe or Joanne."
Elisabeth Kilpatrick is a student at Northwestern University and writes for the Medill News Service.