Friday, July 22, 2011

Why We're Planning a Home Birth

In a society where the vast majority of women give birth in the hospital, it's not uncommon for many of us to feel like that may be our only option. But in the U.S., over 32 percent of women will have a c-section when trying to give birth in a hospital setting. And that may be perfectly fine for some, but many of us are looking for other options. We are continually learning truths about ourselves and our bodies that doctors simply aren't telling us - maybe because they honestly just don't know any better. Even though birth is a natural event, doctors make it a medical event. Most women will go along with this belief because they want to place their trust in the doctors.

But other women take a step back and think differently. I'm one of those women, and thanks to many amazing resources and other mothers out there, I had my first child born at home. Here are the reasons why I am planning my second home birth.

First of all, birth is not, by nature, a medical event. Can it be a medical event? Absolutely. I'll start this off with a big, fat disclaimer: women should only plan a home birth if they are healthy and have a low-risk pregnancy. When certain medical issues arise in pregnancy, there is a higher chance of issues arising during birth. When that happens, a hospital is the place for a woman to be.

However, there are very few of these pregnancies. The majority of pregnancies are low-risk and therefore, the births do not need to be handled in a hospital.

I've never birthed in a hospital, so I'm not going to bash them. I've heard a lot of stories of women who had wonderful nurses, accommodating doctors, and helpful lactation consultants. They say their experience in the hospital was great. I have no doubt about this! There are some real gems on the labor/delivery floors. However, I've also heard a lot of stories, as well as the facts and statistics, of hospitals interfering and intervening when it's unnecessary.

The Business of Being BornThe reason for this is because a hospital is the place where sick people go. Pregnant women aren't sick. But the hospital's mindset is that if someone is in their building, something must be wrong, and that something must be fixed. Hospitals are also businesses, in a sense. They need to run efficiently and make the most of their customers. But giving birth has nothing to do with efficiency or business. Instead, it's one of the most personal and intimate experiences of our lives.

That is the number one reason why I wanted (and still want) to have a homebirth. Even before going through the process the first time around, I had an idea of what I wanted. I knew it was important to have a "birth plan" - meaning, what you really wanted for the birth, even if it wasn't written down on a sheet of paper. I knew I wanted the lights dimmed, I wanted to be surrounded by people who I knew and trusted and felt 100% comfortable around. I wanted to have control over how I labored, in what position I gave birth, and to be able to hold my baby immediately, etc. I also wanted the baby's transition into the world to be peaceful. I wanted the first person to hold the baby to be me and my husband - not nurses or doctors. I didn't want any weighing, testing, shots, or anything to be done until the baby was comfortable and safe.

My labor and birth with Little Olive went amazingly. Thanks to everyone present, it was just what I wanted. Sure, it wasn't exactly the most fun 8 hours of my life, but they were all worth it. Knowing I had such a great experience the first time around has only fueled my desire to spread the great possibilities of homebirth to other women. I really encourage all mothers to think about what they really want - to even question the system if it's not what they want. The science is behind you; the facts are behind you. Homebirths are safe and perfectly okay. What happens at home could easily happen in the hospital too. What doesn't happen at home happens every day in the hospital.

If you want to give birth at home, I say go for it. :)


MB said...

So you mentioned all that "weighing, testing, and shots" so when does that end up happening?

Maggie said...

Weighing happened maybe an hour after L.O. was born, tests a few days later, and shots, never! :)

Cindy said...

Nicely put, fellow homebirther :) I've had two girls at home... like you I'd say it wasn't the most fun time ever but worth it!

MB said...

That's cool - so do you have to go to a hospital to do that stuff?

Natalie said...

Looking forward to homebirth #4. :) While I have lengthy, hard labors in general, I know they would be even lengthier and more stressful in a hospital setting. So grateful for the option of homebirth! :)

MB- most midwives will do all the basic weighing, blood tests (PKU, blood type, and so on) and all those things that a hospital would do. It's so nice to have time to bond with and nurse the baby before weighing, measuring, etc. takes place - good for mama AND baby! :) If there's something else that the state requires for the birth certificate, you can usually just go to your pediatrician some days after birth.

Maggie said...

No, we didn't have to go to the hospital for that! Our midwife weighed L.O. here at home with a nifty scale, and then a few days later when she did a home visit, she did the other tests. It was so calm, and there was hardly any crying I was extremely happy with how it all happened. :)

MB said...

Wow that is so awesome! I was just curious as to how all that worked! Thanks for filling me in. Sounds like a beautiful thing you have found! :)