Okay, so now you know Cora’s textbook-perfect hospital birth story. And you have read my intellectual overview of why homebirths are not nearly as risky as doctors would have you believe. Which means it’s finally time for me to share all my personal motivations for this big decision.
Nathan wants nothing to do with the birth (“I just want to be out of the house!”), which is ironic, because it was seeing him separated from Cora by a wall of glass that made me want to not do a hospital birth again. Just because he wasn’t 16, he wasn’t allowed to come and meet, see, and hold his brand new baby sister. Of all the stupid %##@! rules… How ridiculously arbitrary is that?
What I envision instead: Baby’s siblings allowed to be present (or not!) for the birth… Cora playing in the birthing pool with me, asking “What’doing?” and checking out the birthed placenta. Nathan going to see a movie with grandparents and coming home to hold and rock his littlest brother.
Husbands seem to be second-hand citizens in a tight-on-space hospital. He was always present in the first birth, but actual involvement was pretty limited to hand-holding and verbal encouragement. Then, after the birth, he has to go home? Two nights in a row? Are you kidding me??
What I envision instead: Michael beside me in the pool, or me hugging him as I stand and sway through a contraction. Him catching the baby as it emerges and us cuddling in bed after: newborn snuggled between us and the older kids piled on top.
3. Comfort & Care
I’m not going to dance around the point — giving at birth just sounds so much more enjoyable than in a hospital. I don’t have to scramble to put clothes into a bag and drive through the cold at any hour of the day so I can filled out reams of paperwork and sit uncomfortably in a chair to wait among a crowd of strangers under fluorescent lights for the attention of an overworked staff member who only knows me by the marks on a chart.
Also, pre-natal care. The first time I went to see Dr. A, I sat in his waiting room for TWO HOURS before he saw me. At which point, he examined me for 10 minutes and left. The first time I went to see my midwife, I also sat for two hours — on her sofa, talking about me and my pregnancy and my concerns — and received plenty of personalized care. At the birth, I will have the undivided attention of three women (who have all had their own homebirths) attending to me and the baby.
What I envision: Experiencing my first contractions and taking a walk around the property with Michael, keeping track of duration and timing. Calling the midwife and letting her know how I’m progressing so she and her assistants can come to my home where I have an indoor jacuzzi (thanks to the Argenbrights!!) filled with warm water, jets, and soothing essential oils. My family and friends coming in to check on me and offer me encouragement in a casual way, maybe stopping to chat, or simply give me a hug. Playing my “Inspiration” playlist at full blast or listening to the soothing voice of my Hypnobabies tapes. Bouncing on my ball or climbing into the tub or squatting in a doorway or holding onto Michael for dear life as I scream or cry, or laugh or sing.
I envision doing this My Way.
Several years ago, Michael’s great-grandmother was ill and we were considering taking her into our home for her final days. I had to be okay with the fact that Death would be present in our home. And you know what? I welcomed it. Somehow, our migration to urban-life and modernity disconnected us from the two points where our present lives intersect with Eternity — all of our births and deaths occur outside of the home, in a sterile hospital, surrounded by strangers, connected by wires instead of prayers.
What I envision: A home that has sheltered Life in the Raw. Children who have experienced that life can be messy, but have found beauty in the blood.
Because a doctor has years of medical training, we trust him to know better than us how to get a baby out safely and efficiently. And I’m sure that he knows exactly everything that could possibly go wrong and what to do in those situations. Unfortunately, what he does not have is a body that has been created to make humans, a body that has evolved with instinctual knowledge about how to bring life into the world. Don’t get me wrong — I love epidurals with the best of them, but I want to go head-to-head against the Curse of Eve… and WIN.
Any woman who has carried a child knows that it is a pivotal turning point in one’s concept of one’s self as Woman. Suddenly, “goddesses” make sense — we achieve the Divine. We are Givers of Life. This is my way of embracing that.
What I envision: Me standing fully in my power, trusting in the grace of God, knowing exactly what to do. Me listening to my body and my baby; reason and instinct united, moving in rhythm with the wisdom of the ages.
…I’m sure there are more reasons and clearer visions, but that’s a good start. 🙂