First, let me give you some background. This will be my fifth baby. My previous 4 were all born in hospitals, the last 3 were actually born in the same room at our local hospital. While none of my experiences have been downright horrible, only one, my second birth, was actually a really good experience. Bringing a baby into the world is a miraculous event. Shouldn’t they all be good experiences? So with that said, here are my reasons for choosing to have a home birth this time around.
- I don’t want to be rushed! - If you’ve ever given birth in a hospital, you know that doctors have a time frame. Some doctors may be more lenient than others, but if you’re not progressing in what is their idea of an acceptable time frame, they will want to start with the interventions. My first birth wasn’t progressing fast enough, so I was given pitocin to augment my labor. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me at the time, but looking back I don’t know what the doctors were thinking. From my arrival to the hospital until my daughter was born was less than 16 hours. At what point during that did they think that 16 hours wasn’t good time for a first birth? My fourth birth was induced due to gestational diabetes (more on that in the next reason) and because the pitocin wasn’t working fast enough, they broke my water. Breaking a woman’s water in labor is a common practice but it comes with many risks. If the baby’s head isn’t low enough, the cord could prolapse (come out before the head) and then get compressed during a contraction, cutting off the baby’s oxygen supply. It also increases risk of infection for mom and baby. Because of the increased risk of infection, another time frame is put on labor and this time if the baby isn’t born in time, they will perform a c-section.
- I don’t want unnecessary interventions! - As you can see from the previous reason, just by putting birth on a time frame you are opening it up to a whole plethora of unnecessary interventions. At least they would be unnecessary if birth were allowed to progress on its own. When I was pregnant with my fourth I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was put on insulin and had to give myself 4 shots a day. While I acknowledge the fact that gestational diabetes is a serious issue and should be treated as such, I have since come to question whether insulin was the right course of action. My blood sugar levels were usually lower than 145, although they wanted me to be below 120. And they didn’t get me in to see a nutritionist for 4 months! I’m sure it could have been controlled with diet and exercise had I been given better support. Instead I got insulin. Which led to induction and more interventions.
- I don’t want to be manipulated! - Because I had gestational diabetes with my last baby, the team of doctors I was seeing were constantly using fear tactics to try to get me to just go along with whatever course of action they wanted to take. The first doctor told me that I HAD to schedule a c-section at 38 weeks because my baby would be too big (due to the diabetes) to be born naturally. That didn’t fly with me because baby #2 was 9 pounds, 12 ounces and baby #3 was 10 pounds, 7 ounces. And they were both fast labors with no pain medicine. I am 6 feet tall, my body can handle big babies, thank you very much. So I changed doctors. My second doctor wanted me to induce at 39 weeks, which I wasn’t comfortable with. I did agree to go twice a week into the hospital so they could monitor the baby’s heartbeat and my vitals, and there was never any cause for alarm. Still, she kept insisting I get induced and told me that if I went over 40 weeks my placenta would deteriorate and my baby would die. Just like that. Even though my bi-weekly checks were showing everything was fine. If my placenta were really deteriorating, there would have been signs. My baby would have been stressed. But because I didn’t do my research and she kept up with the death talk, I agreed and went in on my due date for an induction. I knew it was wrong and I was crying as they hooked up the pitocin drip. Luckily my baby girl was alright, but it was the hardest and longest birth because she just wasn’t ready. And she was only 8 pounds, way lighter than my previous two.
- I hate epidurals! - I know, some of you moms are wondering how I could say such a thing. But I just do. I have had two epidurals, with my first and my fourth, so I know how great the pain relief can be. But I am always so paranoid that I will be that one in a million (or whatever the stats are) that end up paralyzed for life because the guy stuck the needle in the wrong way. Also, I hate catheters. They really gross me out, and you have to have one with the epidural. And, in my experience, it is much harder to push that baby out when you have to lay on your back and can’t even feel what’s going on. It is so much more tiring than being able to move around and work with gravity and your body’s sensations to get the baby out. Still, I know that in the heat of the moment, I will be asking for the epidural if I know it’s available. So better for me to stay home and not have it available. I have to add-having a drug free birth makes you feel truly alive. You can feel the full power of your body and what it is capable of. And the second your baby is out, the pain really does disappear. God made our bodies to do this, ladies! And it’s a beautiful thing!
Whether you choose to give birth at home or in a hospital, each life is special and is meant to be celebrated. These are just my thoughts based on my research and experiences. What do you think? Have you ever or would you ever consider a home birth? Why or why not?
In Part 2 I will give a more personal reason for choosing a home birth with this pregnancy. I hope you will check it out.
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