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February 10, 2010

What is the appeal of home birth?

I've never understood why anyone would choose to give birth at home, rather than in a birthing center attached to a hospital. a) Why not go somewhere where you don't have to wash the sheets? b) If there's even a remote chance that you need emergency surgery, why not arrange to be seconds away from an operating room rather than minutes, or longer? 

I know that childbirth isn't a disease. On the other hand, if I had a non-disease where there was a small chance that I'd need emergency surgery within the next 72 hours, I'd prefer to park myself as close to an OR as possible. 

I understand that every woman has the absolute right to make her own decisions about where and how to give birth. I'm not trying to influence anyone else. (Hivemind, be nice to each other, okay?)

Just to reassure people, like my mom, who might be following along at home, this is a purely academic question for me. I ask because Jill & Emjaybee's blog is thought-provoking.

Comments

My comment may not be necessarily what you're looking for, but I'll give my two cents.

My state only allows CNM to attend home births, and they're few and far between. So I had the choice of a unassisted home birth, a hospital birth or a free standing birth center. I chose the freestanding birth center (no affiliation with a hospital) because they had less rules and provided the fredom and comfort I was looking for. I didn't have to do any test I didn't want to and did my own urine dips, checked my own weight and blood pressure and temperature. It was very hands on (my hands, not theirs!) and made for a great experience. I always saw the same people (2 midwifes, one birth attendant and one secretary) who knew me by name, my boyfriends name, and all about our baby and our lives. We actually mattered to them and weren't just patient in room 212.

What actually happened is my water broke and I'm one of those women who take a bit of time to get contractions going. Unfortunately for me, the state considers that "high risk" so I had to transfer to a hospital (regardless that the baby was fine, no signs of infections and I was fine). It was 2 am and I was told they'd let me sleep before starting pitocin to get labor going. They lied. I ended up being up for well over 48 hrs, spending most my time leaking fluid or sitting on the toilet (thanks to the castor oil). Finally at 10 am, I stopped "progressing fast enough" so I was offered the epidural. It was more of take the epidural and see if you progress or we go to surgery. I took the epidural and slept until 2 when they decided to wake me up and tell me it was time to push. I ended up pushing on my back with no clue..having people I didn't know telling me to push because I couldn't feel ANYTHING and took a good 2 and a half hours to push out my child (after a whopping 2 hrs of sleep).

Everything turned out fine except my tears and my giant hemroids.

I then had to spend 3 days in the hospital before the pediatrician would release my child because she was high risk and I refused vitamin k (and was told I was the first person ever and my daughter would die).

I hated it. If I had the name of the pediatrcian who cost me 3 days of my life, thousands of dollars (yes after insurance), and tried to scare me into compromise...I'd write her one nasty letter.

Next time my child will be born at home, even if I have to do it alone.

I've given birth five times, and have since attended about 200 births as a labor doula. My first three (personal) births were hospital births and the last two were at home. Here's the thing in a nutshell: the closer you park yourself to that OR, the more likely the people who work in that OR are going to (without malice, just out of routine and "protocol") create a reason for me to need that OR. I got better, more thorough, more human, more compassionate care from my two homebirth midwives than I did from the exceptional DO, the lovely family practitioner, and the hospital-based CNM who cared for me prior. There are many reasons. But this was bottom line for me. Besides, those midwives were skilled in knowing if I would actually need more clinical care based on their meticulous attention to my pregnancy and would have referred me out, and I trust that they would know how to deal with (care and/or transfer) any sudden emergency that could not be forseen. Those two births were peak life experiences for me. I've since attended nearly 200 births as a labor doula, a few of them homebirths. I still feel that my clients are safer at home with a midwife than in the hospital with most OBs. The research backs up my experience.

Yes, the car ride with my first baby was wretched (it was about 30 minutes, I was 7cm when I arrived). With my second I had done Hypnobirthing classes and found that I was able to deal with the car ride just fine (around 8-9cm when I got there) - aside from a pothole here and there coinciding with a contraction. :)

Oh I forgot another reason: waterbirth! It seems that most states are restricted to one or two OBs who are willing to "allow" women to labour or birth in water. My state has one OB in one hospital who allows labouring ONLY.

Those who have ever used water during their labour and/or birth all say the same thing: they will never go back and never again birth without it! It's a wonderful way to manage the contractions, it's peaceful and relaxing and it's simple to clean up afterwards.

I had my first in a freestanding birth center, an hour away. it is the closest one to me, so I had to drive an hour in active labor in excruciating pain while unable to move or find comfort. I had my second in a hospital, where I was insulted and dehumanized and faced with a cascade of medical interventions that were purely for the doctor's comfort and schedule. I had my third at home. It was peaceful, calm, I was in charge of the situation, and I was within 5 minutes of hospital care.

I'm not against science. I trust science to do a lot of good things. However, I also know from research that a low risk pregnancy is safe at home. I also know that in a patriarchal society, institutions that give elite groups power over women can and do abuse that power for personal/monetary gains. I'm sure there are good doctors. Unfortunately there is a system in place that pushes interventions, fails to teach doctors how to handle normal birth, and teaches them that a medical degree puts them in a god-like position. I choose to avoid the negative aspects while still remaining safe.

And, a good friend came over to clean the mess for me while I relaxed.

I'm from the flip side...I don't really get why I'd want to go anywhere when I can have everyone come to me. I can have a pair of experienced, expert midwives and a doula come right to my own home bringing all the fancy equipment they need for the most commonly needed interventions.

Truly emergency every-second-counts C-sections are so rare, and when you're seconds away from the OR, it still takes minutes to prep said OR. There are midwifery practices with C-section rates below 1%, even in mixed-risk populations, so I know the rates of true emergency can't be higher than that. I'm not going to make sure I always eat in the hospital cafeteria because there's a chance I might choke.

As far as the sheets...I don't know of anyone who has gotten up right after giving birth to throw in a load of laundry! In your home, you are queen of the birth, and everyone there is just there to help you out. A midwife, doula, spouse, or friend will wash your sheets. And bring you whatever you want to eat, and put you to bed in your own bed for a lovely nap. And not wake you up until you're darn well ready. There's just really not as much mess as people think associated with a birth. You put down a few chux pads and that takes care of the vast majority of it.

Also, car seats are designed to torture laboring women. It is Detroit's dirty little secret. You do not want to ride in a car during contractions.

Honestly, though, it comes down to safety for our family. I don't know that there's a big safety difference between a homebirth and a freestanding birth center birth, but hospital birth centers are a different animal. They can vary quite a bit as to who's managing them and how much they practice evidence-based care. At any rate, even with an ideal perfect birth center (which doesn't exist in many places), home would be my first choice, because it's my turf, there's no driving anywhere, and there's no having to go home during the post-partum period.

Many already mentioned many of my reasons, but ultimately, it was because that is where I was most comfortable. Where a woman is most comfortable and feels safest and most secure is the safest & best place to give birth. A relaxed body is better able to birth the way nature intended without complication. If you feel more comfortable and safe in a hospital, then that is where you should give birth; if it's at home then stay home.

When I went into labor I could not IMAGINE getting in the car; I could not imagine birthing anywhere than where I was - at home. I knew I had made the right decision FOR ME.

Anyone considering alternative birth options should REALLY read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Child Birth. A prophetic quote from her book - "Having a OBGYN attend the birth of a perfectly healthy low risk pregnancy is akin to having a Pediatric Sergent babysit your 2 normal, healthy 2 year old."

I really wanted an out of hospital birth -- I wanted a calm, peaceful, family-centered, mother and baby safe birth for my son. I choose a free-standing birth center, midwife, and doula to help me achieve this. But as it turned out, it was one of those truely rare deliveries where a c-section was needed and could not be anticipated beforehand. I labored and pushed for hours at the birth center, and then making an informed and fact based decision to transfer to a hospital. We transported in a private car, not an ambulance because we were able to make the decision before either my son or I were in an emergency situation.

You will always hear stories about people who's baby "almost died" or, sadly, did die, in a homebirth setting, but if you want to only look at those anecdotal stories, look at how many more babies die in hospital births. I think if you compare an average midwife's intervention, cesarean, and mortality rates they would all be MUCH lower than an average OB's rates in comparable low risk births (since we want to compare apples to apples here). Talk to moms you know who have delivered in hospitals, look at how often they are induced, given cervadil to ripen the cervix, given pitocin to really work the contractions, had their membranes artificially ruptured to speed up labor, and then sectioned for "failure to progress", these things are all related. Oh, and lets not forget the endless "checks" where nurses and doctors and residents and interns (and sometimes Matt Lauer) show up and tell you spread your legs and stick their hand up your hoo-ha and you or your baby get to spend an extra few days in the hospital due to an infection.

I choose homebirth over birth center birth because births go better when you're most comfortable, which for me is at home and for you (sounds like) is attached to a hospital. Bully for us both!

I don't consider birth risk particularly higher than, say, shower risk--which I also opt to do at home, so that's not really a factor in making the decision.

And I've never had to wash the sheets. That's what midwives are for. I also really enjoy not driving in a car while in labor or post partum. I like having all my food on hand in my kitchen. I like having my whole life on hand rather than having to pack a bag for the birth. I like having my mom and daughter playing in my daughter's bedroom where they can hear if I call them. I like my bed. I liked laboring in front of our Christmas tree.

In summary, since I don't consider it risky (at all), then why in the world would I leave my home when my water breaks?

we ultimately chose a home birth because it felt like the right thing for our family. we are very healthy and did not want our child to be born in a hospital setting. our midwife was more than capable and the prenatal care was AMAZING. i have friends who birthed in hospital, cared for by OBs who still- after giving birth- seem to know very little about the physiology of birth. i feel that as a home birther you really do end up with a bit of an education by proxy. or maybe that was just my curious nature/fascination with childbearing???

brass tacks- i really did not want to be laboring with strangers, either. i mean, you have NO SAY in who gets to be present at your child's birth if in hospital (nurses, etc.- i am extremely sensitive to smells); i think someone earlier mentioned that as in wanting family around. i felt less like that. at home, intrusion was less likely (for us.) we had very few visitors and as a first time mom, i feel that was best. people seemed to respect our boundaries versus whereas it seems like just anyone can show up at the hospital to hold your baby! that would have EXHAUSTED ME!!!!!

i love home birth. the thing is, even if you do have to transfer to the hospital for your or your baby's life- it still does not cancel the wonderful care a home birth midwife provides!

I often wondered why anyone would want to give birth in a hospital. I've worked in one for 21 years, in obstetrics and frankly, as long as mom and baby are healthy, if mom's had a healthy pregnancy, I think women should stay far away from the hospital.

After more than 20 years in this field I am so discouraged a the road "we" have taken in advancing "active management" of labour as the norm, increased use of induction agents, and the resulting interventions that predictibly come with them. I am disheartened by the way women are treated and still manage somehow to feel that they were well-served because someone "saved" them from a crisis - even if the crisis was created by the interventions themselves.

I've been around long enough to know this is not news. It is more (and more) of the same stuff I/we have been discussing and trying to change for decades.

I had my firstborn by Cesarean section under a general anaesthetic. My second was born at home, all 10 pounds of her, and I had no stitches, no drugs, no germs or infections (I was inj hospital 11 days after my first was born because of a massive uterine infection i caught IN THE HOSPITAL). I was home with my baby, my toddler, my husband, and it was wonderful. If I'd needed the care of a hospital team, I was only minutes away from one and I trusted my caregivers (midwives and a supportive doctor) to know whether it was time to move or not.

Hospitals are for sick people. They are full of germs and unecessary interventions. Stay home.

Don't be fooled. Most of what passes for safety, for "saving" babies and moms from cries, is iatrogenic in nature and much of what is behind the move to increased sections and inductions is not about safety but is about managing costs, staffing models and budgets.

(Staff member at a teriary care hospital)

As a birth doula, I help women in hospitals. I've seen how my clients can be treated in a not-so-nice manner. It's not what i'd want for myself. Birthing at home was the best option for me. I'm low risk. Besides, my midwives cleaned my apartment, did the laundry, etc...it didn't even look like I had given birth at home the next morning.

There is oh so much I could say...

I worked in a beautiful hospital based birthing center for 5 years & my first two daughters were born there. My third daughter was born at home & it was perfection. I went about my day...had a baby...and continued on with my day. I had no pain and decided when I was ready to let her out.

To keep the deep concept simple, consider this:

hospitals are for people who need medical care, including ill pregnant women. I did not need medical care, so why would I go to a hospital?

(and my midwives cleaned up everything (including draining and cleaning my birth tub), gave me meds & herbs to stop post partum bleeding, made me tea, & came to check on us 1 & 3 days later....and so much more)

Even if the OR is seconds away, it doesn't mean that you can actually be sectioned in seconds. Surgeons have to be called in, scrubbed in, the room and instruments need to be prepped, mom herself needs to be prepped, paperwork needs to be begun. This can take up to 20 or 30 minutes. A midwife is very skilled at carefully monitoring her client and baby with eyes, ears, touch, and doppler to catch the first signs of potential transfer. If it becomes necessary, the first thing she will do is notify the hospital, and they can begin the OR setup while midwife and mom are en route.

It's possible that a situation may arise in which a "crash C-section" may be necessary and the seconds will really count. But it is up to the mom to weigh the very small possibility of such a thing occuring, with the very large possibility of her being sectioned for a non-emergent reason and her or her baby suffering negative effects.

Nothing in life is ever without risk. You just have to choose the set of risks you are most comfortable with. Infinite amounts of research point to homebirth as an equally safe, if not safer, option for low-risk women and babies. Sure, in a perfect world we could have a birth center steps away from the OR where we could replicate a homebirth almost perfectly. But even if such a thing were possible, many women would still choose to birth at home. You can't beat being on your own turf for such an important, intimate event.

I trust my midwife implicitly. She knows me, she knows my body. The care I recieve from her infinitely superior to any other care I have ever recieved. You can't get that at a hospital or anything affiliated with one. I've had that kind of care, and it staggers me anytime I compare the two. There's just no comparison. I don't trust people who have to look at a chart to remember my name. I'm not a person to them. I'm just another patient on the assembly line.

There are lots of reasons I choose home over a birthing center or hospital. I am a former NICU Respiratory Therapist and planning my second homebirth in April. At home you are in your own germ environment. No chance of catching some nasty germ that lives at a birth center or at a hospital. My baby will not be exposed to those germs either. Also, the argument you use that if you needed emergency surgery you could be in the OR in seconds, does not hold any weight. The majority of hospitals do not staff their OR's 24 hours a day. This means that they have to call in anesthesia, a second surgeon to assist, and possibly other staff. So, you could be waiting 20-30 minutes or more for the hospital to get its act together. If there is an emergency at home the midwife would call and let them know you are coming in and during that time the hospital is rounding up staff. When I had my homebirth I did not clean up anything. My midwife washed everything and there was not even a drop of blood to see. Also, at home I did not have strangers coming in all the time wanting to check my cervix. I was allowed to labor how I wanted to labor and push when and where I wanted to. No one was telling me what to do and certainly no one was yelling at me to PUSH while they counted loundly to 10.

What Jill said. And everyone else. Knowing that first babies usually go past their due date and having started to learn about the reality of birth in a hospital, I was dead set against being induced or having any sort of intervention unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. I'd also already been butting heads with the nurse midwives, who I was seeing first before switching to proper mdwives & home birth.

Without going into my personal backstory, I'd decided that after everything I've been through in my life, I wanted to approach the birth of my son differently. I didn't want to be afraid, or view it as something I just needed to "get through" somehow. I also found the hospital environment to be cold & sterile. A birth center would be ok, I suppose, but I wanted the comfort of my own turf.

And, according to my Doula and the midwife who attended our birth, I'm rebellious and like to go against the grain. :)

Never in a million years would I have thought I'd do a home birth. I use to think home birth was for crazy, "dirty hippies." Not only am I a convert, but I'm now an advocate and am planing a career change to birth education.

We had a great birth experience - my son (and first) wound up coming 10 days early. As for washing the sheets - my midwife and her assistants swept through and cleaned everything so well you'd never believe a birth happened on my sheets. AND they hung around to feed us after.

I get a little giddy everytime I hear my husband tell people that his wife is a rockstar. Not so much as a Tylenol. I'm really proud of doing the one thing that once seemed like the scariest thing ever.

I had a "high risk" label slapped on during my first pregnancy, in which I did all the "normal stuff" like go to a doctor for prenatal care. Ended up with an unnessecary induction, which my body wasn't ready for (look up "bishop scale", no amount of drugs can induce labour in a body that's not ready) and had an "emergency" c-section after two days of horrible pitocin induced contractions.
With the second pregnancy we decided to hire a mid wife (best $3000 we EVER spent) and birth at home. I knew if I even walked into a hospital we'd have another surgical birth. The labour was long, and I was strong and powerful. I grew to love my husband more than I ever had, because he could truly support me in our home environment. Our son was cared for in his home by loving family, and later had his first sleep over at granny's. We laboured together in strength and peace. The midwife came about an hour before the baby, readied her supplies while I pushed and our daughter was born. Then we snuggled and called our friends. When I started hemorrhaging, the midwife gave me pitocin and an IV, and some herbs, and I birthed the placenta, and all was well. (the hemorrhaging was caused by the placenta growing around the c-section scar, then not detaching properly)The midwife cleaned up with we got to know each other as a new family. She also made me tea, and drew a bath for me, heated up towels and clean jammies in the dryer for me to wear afterwards :)
Things I considered in making the decision were:
1. we lived an hour away from the hospital, and it was the middle of winter. Who did I want to be driving while I was in labour, during a potential blizzard? Not me or my husband. Let the midwife drive.
2. A childbirth emergency can happen at ANYTIME during the pregnancy. You could have a placental abruption at 34 weeks at home, or the grocery store.
3. An infant is at highest risk of death between 36 and 72 hours after birth. Most women are out of the hospital and back home by then.
4. THe US has higher infant and maternal mortality rates than Afghanistan!!!!

So now we are contemplating the conception of our third child and we will have an unassisted (no one but loving supportive friends and family, or maybe just us, or just me) homebirth for a
number of reasons.
1. in our area midwives are no longer attending VBAC clients.
2. Have learned a lot about birth in the past six years, and believe that birth is as safe as the act of conceiving the baby.
3. Trust my body and my intuition, to get me to medical care should I need it.
4. not having ANYONE interfere with the birth.
5. snuggling at home with the baby/ not having to have the baby in or bring the baby home from an infectious disease laden environment where sick people go to die.

Hospitals are for sick people, and a pregnant woman with no risk factors is not.

My maternal grandmother gave birth to eleven children. 10 at home and one in a hospital. The one born in the hospital got pneumonia and died. I wish I had been told this story after I had 2 hospital births. As a first time mother, I was 36 weeks pregnant with a breech baby. After my OB told me my son HAD to be born via cesarean section and that I would not find an OB in our city that would deliver him vaginally, I blindly took his word for it. I didn't know my options, so I had none. I was scared into "do what's best for your baby".

While I was pregnant with my second child and fighting tooth and nail for a VBAC, I wanted to have a home birth, but my OB scared me into deciding against it.

This is why I wanted a home birth: While in labor, a hospital room with strangers is the last place I wanted to be. It was uncomfortable, bright, being asked question, after question, after question. The OB was a woman I had never met before (she was nice, I admit), but there's something about sharing one of the most intimate moments of your LIFE with a stranger. And after my daughter was born (successful VBAC, thank you!), I wanted to go home. Right then. But, I had to wait 48 hours. In their uncomfortable beds, away from my 2 year old son.

Birth is natural. We have come so far away from this, sticking our middle finger in Mother Nature's face. I am thankful for modern medicine. But, why does America have the second worst newborn death rate?

Less than 1% of births are home births. We as a nation have succombed to the notion that hospitals and doctors know best. We fail to question them and look at research with our own eyes. I doubt I will have a third child, but if we do, I will certainly be giving birth at home. Happily.

Birth is just another bodily function .. albeit a miraculous one that produces a human being! But compare it to having a bowel movement (it's actually more similar than you might think). If you were going to have a BM, where would you rather do it? At home in the privacy of your own bathroom, or on a bed in a bedpan, hooked up to monitors and an IV line, with people watching, and doctors and nurses assisting and coaching you? "Come on, you can do it! PUSH PUSH PUSH!" or how about "I see you're having some trouble, so I'll just reach in with these forceps and pull it out." or maybe, "You're going to tear, so I need to cut you." I don't need a doctor to go the bathroom and I don't need one to have a baby. In fact, I prefer to do it in the comfort and privacy of my own home. Maybe if I got really, really constipated, I might ask for help. You see the parallel?
I've had two babies at home without a doctor and one in the hospital and I very much prefer my home-births. Conceived at home, born at home! Sex is another very private act I don't wish to share with my doctor.... but that's another analogy for another day.

The research and statistics say that hospital births are much more likely to include unnecessary & potentially dangerous procedures than home births. That's because hospitals must make a profit off their long list of service products. They are in business to sell you a procedure, a drug, rent you a room, a nurse and a doctor. Once you enter their doors you are agreeing to be sold a service, whatever they want to sell you, whether you actually need it or not, and you are most likely in no condition at that time to rationally be able to agree to their conditions or refuse them. They know that and that's how they can maximize profits off you and your baby. Now if you actually need their service, I, like most of you are happy they are offering it and glad to pay for it. But they've also spent a lot of money convincing everyone that their procedures are necessary when in fact, most of them are not. Most women have bought into the fear their campaigns have sold us. So many women won't even read about home births because they have been sold the idea that they are unsafe, when research and statistics actually show the opposite. But the medical community is big and powerful and they are willing to dupe us, risk our health and that of our babies just to ensure their profits. They don't care if your birth experience is a positive one for you or your baby. They don't care about the long term effects of the traumatic experiences you or your baby may endure. As long as no-one dies and they don't get sued, the bottom line is to make as much money off of your unnecessary hospital stay as possible. If they really cared & profit wasn't their main motive, they would examine you and send you home with your midwife saying you don't need a hospital, you need to be warm and comfortable at home, and they'll be there when you do need their expertise. If your pregnancy is normal, why would you elect to subject yourself and your baby to something like that?

The main reason for my choice to birth at home was that I didn't want to have to fight every step of the way for the intervention-free birth I wanted. I knew that if I went to a hospital, I would have to have people advocating for me strongly to not have the hospital staff do their "standard" things that I believe are unnecessary or even harmful, and that I could and probably would still lose some of those battles. At home, my midwife is on my side and supports every choice I've made, so there is no need to be constantly reminding her that I don't want to do X, Y, or Z, because her standard practices already match up with my ideals. As far as a birthing center, the only one here does not take my insurance, and the idea of having to travel during labor is totally unappealing to me. I probably would have ended up transferred to the hospital both times I gave birth if I'd been at the birth center anyway, because of strict policies with the hospital they are attached to, and that was not an issue at home.

My first son was born via c-section after a typical failed induction and a cascade of interventions. At 41w5d, after Cytotec, Pitocin, EFM, IV, Stadol and epidural (to combat the horrific pit contractions), uterine fluid infusion and a scalp monitor on my infant son, I had exhausted my OB's patience. She was due to go out of town, so she told me my baby was stuck and my body wasn't working and it was time to cut him out. My epidural failed with the first cut, and I got general anesthesia. My husband and I did not welcome our child into the world; I didn't see him for hours and couldn't function for days because of the magnesium they were pumping into me. (I developed pre-e, and no one at my hospital ever mentioned diet changes or nutritional needs of a pregnant woman to combat PIH.)

That was my first horror story. When I became pregnant with my second son, I did my research, spoke with my OB, and got her to reluctantly agree to "let" me "try" a VBAC. I know now that that type of language has no place in VBAC planning, but at the time, I was naive enough to believe that if I really insisted on sticking to the birth plan, and if I brought in enough peer-reviewed studies for my OB to read, that I would succeed. My OB pulled a "bait-and-switch" on me, promising a trial of labor and then unleashing the hounds as soon as I checked into L&D. I was accused of being selfish, ignorant and downright homicidal for even attempting a VBAC. I labored 24 hours at home and 6 hours battling at the hospital before my doctor went home for dinner and another doctor parked herself in my room and told me I wasn't going to "win" this one. I had a repeat cesarean.

As a VBA2C, if I get pregnant again, I know that no medical professional within 3 hours' drive will take me because of the perceived liability. I am looking into homebirth midwives, but I doubt they will attend me. My husband will not agree to homebirth. My family and friends laugh a little when I say that my next birth, I will deliver squatting in the woods, and I let them laugh. ;)

What's the appeal? Let's see.
Calmer, more comfortable, MY rules, no continuous monitoring, no pushy OB, no machine that goes PING! I could eat, drink, bathe, move, or anything else. Less risk of hospital-acquired infection. No nurse snatching my baby to bathe him, no one rushing us to cut the cord.
Didn't have to get in a car, didn't have to put my son in a car. Planned births are statistically as safe if not safer than hospital births. My midwife was well-trained and I trusted her...as well I should have. I had rather severe post-partum hemorrhaging, which she was able to calmly and competently stop with no mention of a hospital. Had I been in the hospital, I almost certainly would have been given a "necessary" episiotomy if not c-section (or at least they would have tried to make me).
THAT'S the appeal :)

Oh, and there were no sheets to wash for my births. I had water births, so the mess got dumped out with the water. And I had prepared my bed with a waterproof mattress pad over a second set of sheets, so all that would have had to be done was pull the top set of sheets and the pad off and throw them in the washer. There were chux pads all over too, so I doubt much would have gotten on the bed.

i chose my 2 homebirths because i trust my body, and my mother-who is a homebirth midwife.

they both went wonderfully. 2 beautiful healthy babies...and i can not even imagine doing it any other way.

it was peaceful, comfy, safe, i could move throught the house, go for walks...etc...

and then at the end i could snuggle down into my bed and cuddled up with my babies. :)

my midwife does all the laundry before she leaves her clients house...she does the dishes if it is a long labor, she has iv's, drugs, ...you know, all the goods to keep it safe. and yes. she does EVERYONES laundry and dishes..not just me and my sister. ;)

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