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Switching from Hospital Birth to Home Birth | Mother Rising

An Interview with Celeste Bracey

For low risk women, out of hospital births are proven to be (link, link) as safe or safer than hospital births. Many who do research before, during and after pregnancy are finding that having their baby at home or in a free-standing birth center is their best option (or, in retrospect, would have been their best option).

Not all women come to this conclusion, but many do.

Switching Care Providers

Women who realize this mid to late pregnancy find themselves in a bit of a pickle because to follow their true desires, switching from hospital birth to home birth, would require switching care providers.

Understandably, she may feel fearful of firing an obstetrician and having to speak up to make her desires known. Family members may be unsupportive of her desires and consequentially plant seeds of fear and doubt in her mind.

She avoids making others feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or angry and fears the judge from others and within herself.

hospital birth to home birth

It Takes Courage

Birth, parenting and following intuition take courage. It takes courage to speak up, change plans and do what she knows to be true.

Making decisions in love instead of fear brings true peace that is felt within the body.

The following is an interview with a woman who did just that – recognized and acknowledged the red flags during her prenatal care, did soul searching to discover her true desires and spoke her wishes into being.

Her name is Celeste Bracey and this is her story.

Switching from hospital birth to home birth, especially late in pregnancy, can seem impossible. Here's one woman's story how she did just that.

(Founding members of the Tallahassee Doula Co-Op – Leslee Boldman, Cleste Bracey and me!)

Switching from Hospital Birth to Home Birth: An Interview with Celeste Bracey

Hey Celeste! Tell us a little about yourself.

I am Celeste Bracey. I am married to a wonderful man and we have a little boy who brings such joy and laughter into our lives. I am a SAHM and a doula through DONA International. I love helping moms and their partners have a positive birth experience. I am also a CLC – a certified lactation counselor. This is another passion of mine. I help moms have a successful and positive breastfeeding experience. All of these interests have arisen in me since having our son. I had no idea what a gift it is to be a mother!!!

Switching from hospital birth to home birth, especially late in pregnancy, can seem impossible. Here's one woman's story how she did just that.

At what point in your pregnancy did you start thinking about using an out of hospital midwife instead of an obstetrician?

I began thinking about this while we were trying to get pregnant (it took me a long time to have the courage to make this a reality). We lived in Athens, GA at the time and I saw a group of midwives associated with the hospital. Then when my husband graduated from Law school he ended up taking a job in Cairo, GA, which happened to be 20 minutes from Thomasville, GA where we both grew up and our family lives. We moved home.

I began seeing a midwife at an OB’s office in Thomasville. I knew after the first visit that it was the wrong place for me. I just had a gut feeling about it and so started the search for another OB/Midwife in Tallahassee.

I wanted to find a place where I could feel confident that whoever ended up with me on the day our baby was born I would feel comfortable whether it be a midwife or doctor.

It was very important to me to have no interventions. I wanted a natural birth and I am so stubborn that I would not stay with any group that did not hear that.

I started seeing some doctors and a wonderful midwife in Tallahassee. I loved the midwife, but had bad experiences with the doctors.

After much heartache, a very empowering Birthing From Within class, and many conversations with my husband we transferred to a local birth center in my 38th week of pregnancy! This was the best decision I have ever made!

How was the care with your obstetrician/midwife a problem for you?

I loved reading books about birth and so felt informed about things. However, I would go for my appointments and leave feeling like the doctor or midwife had not listened to me at all.

  1. I told one doctor that I had hired a doula and she said that she was not sure they even helped (I hired a doula based on data that has proven that doulas do indeed help). That was strike one against her and the whole group.
  2. Then I told her I wanted to write out a birth plan and she said that I could do that, but that she would not read it. It would just sit in my file. Strike two.
  3. Then another doctor in this same group told me my baby was breach, and after doing the ultrasound to be sure, she told me to prepare for a c-section. She gave me no information about effective ways to help babies turn. Strike three. I was out of there.

Side Note:  Some of the nurses there DID find a sheet about lying on a tilt board and they were very nice. But our baby turned after using a tilt board, acupuncture, visualizing the baby in the correct position, lots of birth art that I learned in my Birthing From Within class, and of course listening to music playing at the bottom of my belly to encourage baby to turn. No C-Section for me thank you very much!

Switching from hospital birth to home birth, especially late in pregnancy, can seem impossible. Here's one woman's story how she did just that.

(Here’s doula Celeste helping a client’s son meet his newest sibling.)

What was it that you were really wanting from a care provider?

I wanted to be heard. I wanted to be supported in my desire to have a natural birth.

What were your husband’s thoughts about transferring?

At first my husband was scared of the idea of having an out of hospital birth. After meeting with the midwives at the birth center he became more and more comfortable with the idea. I think that having real, factual information is key in making a decision like this. The midwives at the birth center gave us these facts, listened to us and spent time answering our questions.

I also think the Birthing From Within class helped him face some of his own fears about birth and labor, which in turn helped us both make this decision.

Was there something that pushed you over the edge, so to speak, that made you go with the decision to transfer care?

I think there were many factors at play here. We had a wonderful doula and backup doula and they were both so supportive which helped give me the confidence to find my own voice.

I also know that the Birthing From Within class that we took played a huge role. The birth art that I did in class and at home helped me face my fear of a c-section and also helped me learn to visualize our beautiful birth happening exactly how we wanted it.

It is funny… a few days before I went into labor, I painted a picture of me and my husband and our brand new baby in bed at the birth center. I wrote the words from the Birthing From Within book – labor is hard work, it hurts and you can do it – on the painting. When we came home with our new baby, I found this and we were all in the picture just how we had been hours before in the bed at the birth center snuggled up together.

My husband framed it and placed it on my bedside table.

Switching from hospital birth to home birth, especially late in pregnancy, can seem impossible. Here's one woman's story how she did just that.

How did you know switching care providers was for you?

I just knew. I finally became honest with myself about it. I had tried to be OK with having a hospital birth, but was really doing that for other people who were fearful of an out of hospital birth. It took me until my 38th week to transfer, but I am so thankful that we did it. My husband is too!

What was the reaction of your OB when you told them your decision to transfer? What about the birth center midwives? Did they mind taking you so late in your pregnancy?

I never saw the doctors again and so do not know what their reactions were. The birth center midwives were great about taking me so late in my pregnancy. They were so amazing and really spent time getting to know us and what we wanted for our birth.

What advice would you give to parents who are currently in this situation?

Follow your gut and heart. Become informed. Take a good childbirth class. Seek out care providers who support your desires and take the time to listen to you.

Also, hire a doula.

Switching from Hospital Birth to Home Birth

Thanks, Celeste for talking with us about your story switching from hospital birth to home birth!

You were and still are an inspiration!


Friday 24th of September 2010

Celeste is my sister, mom and I just read this interview and agree, Celeste is a birth warrior! She is amazing and we are soooo proud of her and her husband for following their hearts. What a blessing of an addition to the family! We love you Beeny!


Thursday 23rd of September 2010

What an inspiring interview/birth story! I think I've actually met Celeste at BB...I loved her beautiful smile, and somehow I could tell she was a birth warrior. :-)


Thursday 23rd of September 2010

Makes my heart happy!


Thursday 23rd of September 2010

Well you know I love it! And Lindsey your questions were really good. It is amazing how treating birth as natural and as loving can make an impact on someone's life. Look how it did yours and Celeste's. I love watching women transform into these roles. So when someone asks me how or why I became a midwife I tell them it was evolution.... one little thing early in my life opened the door to today.All of us can make great impacts on others. You can see how just Birthing from Within classes affected Celeste. LOVE


Thursday 23rd of September 2010

Awesome! Thanks for sharing. I am happy that she listened to her gut and did what was best. I hate to hear women tell stories of regret.