When friends and loved ones find out we are having our baby at home the first question is "why?". I always feel like I don't do a good job at explaining it in the moment so I will attempt it here. I am pretty much preaching to the choir here since most of my friends on this site understand the reasons. This post is more for my friends and family on Facebook who still may be perplexed as to why we are going this route.
I didn't do much research when I was pregnant with Logan. By chance, I went with an OB office that believed in using midwives for low risk pregnancies. It worked for me since I preferred to schedule appointments with the midwives. They took the time to listen as opposed to always feeling rushed during my appointments with the OB's.
We ended up choosing the closest hospital to our house. I had heard good things, and after taking the tour I couldn't think of a good reason not to have our baby there.
My water started leaking a few days before my due date. Once confirmed, I was admitted to the hospital. They started me on pitocin and gave me something to help me sleep. By the morning the pitocin had kicked in pretty strong, and was making it difficult for me to breath. I asked if I could take a hot bath or shower to ease the discomfort. I was told that only two rooms on the L&D floor had a shower, and ours was not one of them.
I felt defeated. I had not practiced my breathing exercises, and moving around was pretty much impossible with the IV and wires that were attached to me. I caved and got the pain meds. It was a terrible choice that I regret. It distorted my reality and only made the discomfort of the contractions seem distant. I didn't mess with that stuff anymore and accepted the epidural.
The epidural helped things to progress at first, but I stalled at 8 centimeters. I begged the nurse for water while I waited for things to get moving, and was denied. Instead they gave me ice chips to suck on which only increased my desire for water. When Logan's heart rate got crazy they gave me some oxygen and flipped me on my side. By the time it came back to normal I was ready to push.
They sat me up on the bed and pushed my knees practically behind my ears. My husband was hesitant to help the nurses at first because he thought it would hurt me. I told him it was okay since I trusted that this was normal procedure.
After a few pushes they had me hold my breath, count to ten and push with all my might. I felt like I was going to pass out between contractions. It was far from a beautiful experience at that point. Again, I thought this was standard practice since the directions were coming from nurses. After two and a half hours he was out. I was left feeling like my head was going to explode. I still had the euphoric mommy high when they placed him on my chest, but it was dulled by the lack of oxygen to my brain. The headache from that ordeal didn't go away until the following day.
The nurse allowed me to breastfeed him for a bit before taking him away to the nursery (with Danny close behind). They transferred me to the postpartum room in the meantime. It felt like hours before I got my baby back. Once he was returned I was in love instantly.
As you all can see, my birth story is far from traumatic. The issue I have with it is that it was less than ideal.
Options I expect this time around:
- To be able to eat and drink during labor
- To be able to move around during labor
- To have access to a bath tub and shower
- The freedom to choose how many people attend the birth
- An attendant who is with me the entire birth, if I desire it
- An attendant who encourages natural methods to ease the discomforts of birth
- An attendant who intervenes in the process only if medically necessary
- The freedom to push in the position and rate that my body directs
- To not have my baby taken away from me unless medically necessary
After much research, I decided that birthing at home with a midwife was our best option. A freestanding birth center came in at a close second.
I have learned that where you have your baby and who attends makes all the difference in how things will turn out. Different providers and establishments have different comfort levels based on their experience and philosophy. That is why it is so important to pick a person and place that matches your belief system regarding birth.