Sunday, May 30, 2010

Defending homebirth

I am working on a project for my company that requires me to work in various locations and I meet new people all the time. It's one aspect of the job I love. I met Heather, Ellen, and Sara. Lovely ladies who were very nice to me and I enjoyed talking to them and getting to know them. In the course of our conversation, they discovered I have a 2 & 1/2 year old. This follows with the typical, "So when are you going to have another one?" I felt comfortable talking to them and I am not really hiding the fact that I am preparing for baby #2 already, so I told them DH and I will be ttc sometime late 2010.
This got the ball rolling and of coarse birth was brought up in the conversation. They asked me what doctor I go to. I had to explain that the OB that delivered my son passed away and I need a new doctor or midwife. This is followed by the next dreaded question, "What hospital are you planning to deliver?" I said, "I haven't made up my mind yet, but as of today I am leaning toward a home birth." Ellen doesn't hesitate. "Wow. That's risky." I managed to stay calm and just point blank asked her if she had ever researched it. She tells me she hasn't, but that "it's irresponsible to gamble with your child's life like that! If something goes wrong, you're both as good as dead."

I look back and am amazed at the fact that I still remained calm while I told her that every statistic shows that a hospital birth is actually more risky, that home births have little to no unnecessary interventions, and are healthier for mother and baby. I didn't expect her to believe me, but I at least didn't shy away from the chance to inform someone the truth.

I was asked how I came to feel this way and I told them about the birth of my son. I was induced because my baby was so big. (I know better now) I had an epidural, and a 3rd degree episiotomy that didn't heal for 3 months after my son was born. I explained that I don't look at the day my son was born as a bad experience at all. In fact it was one of the best days in my life, but I was lucky. I was damn lucky. I left that hospital relatively unscathed by the effects of the interventions that could have gone so terribly wrong. Yes the episiotomy was unpleasant, but that was the worst of it.

I started learning a lot more about birth after my son was born. Even then, I didn't feel like I had a bad birth experience at all. I became interested in learning more about birth when my SIL started learning more about birth and kept asking how I felt about certain things. I realized I didn't even know how I felt. Once I researched pitocin and the avalanche of interventions that usually follow I knew I could never feel ok about having it again. I began to feel the same way about various other interventions.

I am just shocked at the overwhelmingly negative feelings toward home birth. The second I mentioned it, it was scoffed at and deemed "dangerous." Do people not realize there is a definite RISK in giving birth in a hospital?! Perfect example: The day after Lou was born, I was still in the hospital and DH's twin came to visit with his wife and their 6 month old daughter. DH's grandparent's were there as well. Grandpa was really concerned with my 6 month old niece being in the hospital. He kept talking about how much sickness was in the hospital and all the germs and such. He didn't like her being there and was concerned for her well being. Later I reflected on this experience and realized that a healthy mother and baby has no business being in a hospital full of sickness either. My baby was born very healthy. Why wouldn't someone be as concerned about a 1 day old baby in a hospital where he could acquire any number of dangerous bacteria? Why didn't I realize this before?!

I am grateful that my birth went well. I am grateful that my highly medicalized birth didn't result in any serious problems. I know better now though. I couldn't put myself or my child at risk again. I am starting to discover better birthing options, and while I haven't completely decided what I will do for my next birth, I have definitely ruled out several things.

1 comment:

  1. I hate the "when will you have another" question. Cuz you can time when that happens haha.

    I had totally forgotten about the hospital and Glade. I do remember Glade not being able to sit up very well, and kept falling over and everyone thought she was dying haha, but just now remembering the dirty thing.

    Good point. Even the gowns and blankets at the hospitals aren't clean. Your clothes have your own germs and things you are immune to. Your baby is immune to what you are. Having a "sterilized" gown or blanket or hat in itself can just spread germs you aren't used to from just being in the hospital. At #doulaparty we were discussing this on Friday haha.

    Great post :)

    I think you are turning to the dark side ;)