Saturday, December 5, 2009

Contemplating homebirth

One of my favorite things about pregnancy is that the spiritual, intuitive side of me seems to become much stronger. I don't know if it is just a case of me listening more, or what, but especially after Elena's birth, I pay close attention to any impressions or feelings I get.

Lately, the feelings are an increasingly stronger pull towards homebirth. We have not yet made a firm decision, but it seems that each moment I feel more peaceful about giving birth at home and a tense, anxious feeling like alarm bells at the idea of giving birth in the hospital. So, of course, I will be processing a lot of those feelings here! Feedback is welcome, regardless of your views.

What appeals to me about a homebirth?

The safety. While mortality rates tend to be about the same in all of the major studies comparing hospital births with planned homebirths, the chances of injury/illness in the mother or baby are actually higher in hospitals. There are all the cascading interventions, hospital-acquired infections...the list is long and sobering.

The peaceful atmosphere. In both Ariana and Elena's births, I had people screaming unhelpfully and unnecessarily during the pushing phase. I know from experience that the calm, quiet voices of my husband and midwife are far, far more helpful.

Having birthed naturally, I know that my body knows what to do, and I don't want to have to fight people who would try to get me to be flat on my back and still when that is counter-productive to labor and delivery.

Then there are all the procedures after the birth that I don't want--eye drops, Hep B vax, scrubbing the baby. I can decline them (and would) but it is so nice to not have to argue with anyone at that time.

I hate leaving the kidlets for days with a hospital birth, and would feel much more relaxed knowing that they are nearby. Both Ariana and Joel have expressed interest in being present for the birth, and at home there is much more flexibility than at a hospital.

This will most likely be my last birth, and I would like for it to be a peaceful, gentle welcome into the world, and that is much more likely to happen at home.

There are more, but those are some of the reasons that have been resonating inside me.

The reasons for a hospital birth?


Carlos is more comfortable with that right now. And his feelings are important to me. On the other hand, my feelings are important to him, and if I am anxious and unhappy about a hospital birth, he isn't going to feel good, either.

Insurance. At the moment, our insurance covers hospital births really cheaply for us. However, I have an amazing midwife who has been incredibly generous. And really, if we wind up with interventions or a long hospital stay because of birthing in the hospital, would having insurance help be worth it?

Emergency situations. Sure, those can happen. I have total confidence in our midwife and her ability to recognize a rare situation in which we would need to transfer to a hospital. And, ironically, Elena's birth had a rare complication (prolapsed cord), and yet the outcome would have been exactly the same if she had been born at home. Had I had a different OB, chances are good that it would have been an emergency C-section, but she was out in about four pushes, despite me being flat on my back!

Er...does it seem that I am talking myself into a homebirth more and more?


Heather said...

It's good to contemplate. Anyone considering birthing at home should think these things through. We never want anyone jumping into it just because it seems like a neat thing to do (and it is.. ;) .. but that shouldn't be the motivation).

I know from experience that a woman's feelings and intuition are VERY strong and are most often right. And knowing you, your wisdom in listening to what God is telling you and what your gut is saying, I know you are always right on. ;)

You know I'm praying for both of you as you make the best decision for this birth.

dulce de leche said...

Thank you so much, Heather. Your encouragement and prayers mean more than I can say.

Carrie said...

I will be praying for you and your husband as you make this decision.

As an aside, I LOVED my homebirths and would do them again in a heart beat (you know, if I HAD to----Giving birth isn't something I WANT to do). Being in the comforts of my own home, not being poked and prodded, being able to walk or sit or stand or squat without asking for permission.... and much, much more.

What I loved most about my last birth was that it was instinctive. When I wanted to howl, I howled. I sat in a rocking chair and during contractions lifted myself up a little and rocked while howling like a cat in heat. LOL! But seriously, going with my instincts gave me a short, easy delivery---much to everyone's surprise (my next shortest labor was 14 hours).

Or, in the words of Pa Kettle, "Just like shellin' peas!"


Both my homebirths were VBACs, too.

dulce de leche said...

Wow, Carrie, that is awesome! (actually, YOU are awesome!) Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and for the prayers. I am very grateful.

Karen said...

Having both hospital and homebirth, I have to say I appreciated the quiet, the choices, and the homey-ness of my homebirth. (is that a word?)

Intuition is definitely elevated during pregnancy and is such a great tool when making choices.

As far a my husband- he loves to talk about his role during the homebirth. He spent most of it sitting on the sofa (with the midwife & assistant) watching Shrek. I really wanted the alone time & it was nice that he was comfortable, close by and yet not right there- something that isn't really possible in a hospital.

Good luck with your decision-making. Follow your heart.

jane said...

What is interesting to me about your post is that the "pros" for a home birth are about you and your birth, your hopes, your feelings, your intuition, your experience. And the "pros" for a hospital birth are about other people and complications, either physical or financial. I think that is really telling.

After I had Tom, I really wished I'd decided to invest in a home birth midwife. It was a good birth as births go, in hospital, but I was messed with a lot, just on a low level. You know, needing to put in an IV, checking blood pressure, checking my stomach during a contraction, a grumpy midwife... every time I found my happy place, I'd be interrupted for someone else's convenience. It was most irritating.