I have been amazed recently at how popular home birthing is/is becoming in Richmond. I have friends, neighbors and coworkers who have all done it, attempted it, or are attempting it.
**Disclaimer-this blog is about how I see home birthing from my perspective, as an option for me. I don't care how anyone else births their baby, I haven't done extensive research, I am not going to try to convince you to do it or not do it, and since my kid is already out, I don't really have a horse in this race. These are just observations on my part and I'm not going to debate the issues surrounding home birthing because I'm not an expert on it. I'm not an expert on anything, except maybe Simpsons trivia.**
After spending four days in the hospital after the birth of my kid, I can see the appeal in a home birth. The whole time I was in labor, (before I got my epidural) I was stuck in an uncomfortable bed, and every time I had to pee (which was often) I had to get a nurse to come in and unhook me from ten different monitors, drag myself and my IV bag in there, go, attempt to clean up the mess, and get them to hook me back up, only to have to go again ten minutes later. I hated being stuck in a strange place for so long, and can see liking being at home, being able to go outside for walks, being able to watch a movie....
But on the other hand, the hospital had the drugs. And as valiantly as I tried to have a natural birth, after twelve hours of labor, I had had enough. Earlier they had given me Stadol, but that was a really unpleasant experience for me. Stadol made me feel like when you're out with friends, and you decide taking multiple shots is a GREAT idea, until it hits you that you are WAY too drunk, and there's nothing you can do about it. That's exactly how I felt on that stuff-I had the spins, was nauseous, and kept trying to bargain my way into feeling normal (who I was bargaining with is debatable, Ben was asleep and the nurses were MIA until I paged them for one of my billion bathroom trips).
So after twelve hours of back labor and wishing for death, I finally decided I could not take it anymore, I turned to Ben. Now, he was asleep, and to say Ben sleeps solid is like saying that Elton John is just a little bit gay. Nothing wakes him up-even piercing baby screams, it turns out. So I didn't know if I'd be able to get him up, I was actually looking for something to throw at him. I gritted my teeth and said "Ben." Must have been something about my tone, but he shot off that couch like someone had stabbed him, and I continued "Go get someone. And get them to give me something. NOW." And off he went.
And it turned out that there was no way that kid was taking the basement exit anyway, and I ended up having a C-section, so I was grateful for the hospital and all the help and all the morphine. Earlier in my pregnancy when I had pitched the idea of home birth to Ben, he'd had one thing to say "No way." He was concerned about me and the baby, but I think he was also afraid that I was going to poop on our bed and he was going to have to clean it up.
But my neighbor had a home birth, and really, it seemed to not faze her at all. Another friend tried one, but had to go to the hospital because the baby was breech, where she pushed for over two hours before surgery was necessary. Of course, she also competes in Iron Man triathlons, so she's either batsh*t crazy or a complete badass (if you met her, you'd know it was the latter). Having your baby and then being home around your own stuff and your own shower and your own food sounds ok to me.
Plus then you can limit the number of people who have access to you-I don't even want to think about how many people saw my private parts. I went from being a fairly modest person to thinking that maybe I should just strip for a living, because hell, everyone had seen it anyway, so I may as well make some money off of it. The first time I met the nurse who was with me all day the day Henry was actually born, the doctor had just gotten me set up for an exam, so when the nurse (and an observing student, it turns out) walked into the room, the first thing they saw was the place where all life originates, splayed out in what I'm sure was a truly flattering way.
I just said "Hi, I'm Megan, the person attached to this vagina." And she laughed and said "I already like you." She was great, and that made me wish she could have stayed with me the whole time. With a midwife or a doula, you get that-the full-time company and attention of someone who knows what's going on and knows what they're doing. Ben was a trooper, but he was just as lost and possibly more scared than me. So maybe if there's a next time I'll take some of the pressure off him, and he won't eye me the whole time like the kid's going to pop out Alien-style. We'll see.