When she was 30 weeks pregnant, Jen Barker went on the usual hospital tour to learn more about the place she'd labor and deliver.
She knew she wanted a natural birth, but as she went through the tour that day she wondered whether it would even be possible. Her guide talked about how she'd give birth in one room, move to another room and all the possible interventions during the process.
When she left the hospital, she broke down in tears.
"I freaked out," she told me.
So at 30 weeks, Barker left her obstetrician and moved to the Women's Birth and Wellness Center in Chapel Hill where certified nurse-midwives deliver babies with as little medical intervention as possible and most moms and babies are home within six hours of giving birth.
Because she was two weeks late when she went into labor, Barker actually ended up delivering her son at the hospital. But it was on her terms.
Her midwife came along with her. Techno music, her music of choice, blared in the delivery room. And, after signing a host of papers, she went home with her newborn son the same day she gave birth.
In fact, 12 hours after delivering her first child, she was in a Raleigh restaurant eating sushi and drinking sake - two favorites she missed during her pregnancy.
Barker, a triathlete, said she found labor and delivery exhilarating.
"It was just kind of fun," she said.
Barker had thought about a home birth with her first child, but couldn't convince her husband. Pregnant with No. 2, she broached the subject again. Barker said once he met and talked with Deb O'Connell, a nurse-midwife I featured last Monday, he said yes. O'Connell owns Carrboro Midwifery.
"I'm perfectly healthy," she said. "There is no reason why I can't do a home birth."
Barker is due to have her baby at home in the next week or two. Hear more from Barker about why she's having a home birth and whether she's worried about pain in the video.
And in the next few months, I hope to feature Barker and her new baby again to learn how it all went. Best wishes Jen!
And a note ... there are only a handful of certified nurse-midwives who can legally attend home births.
They include O'Connell of Carrboro Midwifery. O'Connell tells me the others in this region are: Nancy Harman (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Bear Creek near Sanford and Siler City; Donna Galati of Monarch Midwifery in Fayetteville; and Olivia Marshburn of Midwifery Services in Hampstead in Pender County.