This post comes via my twin, err…I mean, Brittany Bullen. I met her last week on my friend Kerry’s blog, Winding Road, where she shared an awesome post about her journey from veganism to moderation and smoothies. ;) Another homeschooling, natural-birthing, (mostly) health-conscious mom of three, we are similar in so many ways.
Today she encourages mamas to consider the benefits of home birth. Enjoy!
Are you expecting? Have you considered birthing at home? Homebirth may sound scary, but it’s increasingly popular, and I’m here to tell you it’s worth considering. Here’s why.
My first birth was in a hospital. I never even thought about other options because I was scared of something bad happening. In my head, childbirth was a dangerous endeavor. That’s the way hospitals explain birth because that’s how they experience it. Little did I know, many of those dangers could have been avoided by just letting nature take its course, but your typical doctor is so scared of being sued, he/she won’t feel comfortable letting that happen.
I didn’t know that the first time around. I dutifully made my little birth plan and delivered it to my hospital-affiliated midwife, fully discussing each item long before the baby was due. When I actually got to the hospital, though, in large part my plans went out the window. I was overdue, first of all (8 days to be exact), so I “had to” be induced after some testing indicated that there was a need for it. (A midwife later told me that those tests are often inaccurate and simply drinking water can change your result, but I was a newbie and I didn’t know I had a choice.)
Even as a newbie, I knew I wanted a natural (drug-free) birth. I had read that it was safer for the baby and I’d been practicing with my hypnosis CDs every night, so I felt like I could handle it. We made sure that the nurses knew this.
Here’s the problem (if we’re friends, you’ve probably heard me say this before): Trying to avoid an epidural in the hospital is like trying to be on a diet in a donut shop. This may not always be the case, but it sure was for me. It seemed like every five minutes someone else was making sure I didn’t want to change my mind about the drugs. And after about 12 hours of pitocin-induced monster contractions, you’d better believe I was ready for some drugs! So, I did what the vast majority of women end up doing and got that epidural.
I’m not gonna lie, that sucker was gooood. I was doing mad libs with my sister between pushes, it was so good. I got lucky and somehow avoided the “snowball effect of medical interventions” all the natural birth advocates warn you about… but even so, afterwards, I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated. I wanted to be one of the tough chicks who sticks it out.
My other two births have been at home and I wouldn’t have wanted them any other way. Here’s why:
- At home there’s no option for drugs so you can’t be tempted.
- If you have a good midwife, she won’t bug you if you don’t want her to. I loved my midwife with my most recent birth. When she arrived she suggested a vaginal exam. I said, “No thanks.” She said, “OK.” That’s how it should be. If you’re a control freak like me, you want to be the one calling the shots while you labor. That sort of stuff usually doesn’t fly at the hospital.
- You get to “own” your baby from day one. At the hospital, they own your baby. They tell you when you can hold him/her, when he/she is ready to eat, and let’s not forget that you have to have proper identification because there’s a risk of kidnapping (YIKES!) in hospitals– AND when they finally release you, you feel like somebody’s handing you the keys to a car you never learned how to drive. It’s like… “Really? You’re just going to let me take this baby? What, no final exam?” I like to be the expert on my own babies, thanks.
- You get to labor and recover in a place that feels like home… because it IS home. No matter how fancy a hospital or birth center is, it’s still not YOUR space with YOUR stuff and YOUR snacks and YOUR carefully chosen decor. It’s foreign to you, and to some degree, you’ll feel out of place there. Some people like this feature, particularly those who have other kids at home. I get that it’s nice to be removed from home for some people, but I’d rather keep the home and remove the other kids! =)
- When you’re at home, you feel safe. When you feel safe, you feel relaxed. When you feel relaxed, your labor moves faster. When your labor moves faster, there’s less stress on the baby. When there’s less stress on the baby, there’s less risk for complications. When there’s less risk for complications, everybody ends up safer and healthier and happier in the end.
On the other hand, I also completely understand that some people would NOT feel safe giving birth at home because they still believe it’s safer to be in a hospital. This is most likely because they believe (what I think is) the myth that birth is scary and dangerous, a myth perpetuated by a medical system that brings about the complications they fear by interfering with a perfectly natural, safe process.
All that said, you feel the way you feel, and when it comes down to it I believe a woman should always give birth in the place where she will feel the safest because that’s the place where her body can relax the most. And it’s true– sometimes bad things really do happen and when they do, I am so thankful that modern medicine is there!
To sum up:
If you end up giving birth at home, I say hooray for you! You are part of a small minority of super-tough mommas who kick it old school style and your baby will thank you for your hard work and sacrifice.
If you end up giving birth in a birth center, I say hooray for you! You are part of a somewhat-larger minority of super-tough mommas who go au naturale for labor and delivery and your baby will thank you for your hard work and sacrifice.
If you end up giving birth in a hospital, I say hooray for you! You are part of a perfectly awesome majority of super-tough mommas who bring kids into the world in the very best way they can and your baby will thank you for your hard work and sacrifice.
Whatever you do, DON’T spend those first precious weeks of your baby’s life regretting or feeling bad about how your birth went. We do the very best we can and no two births are the same. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. You did an amazing thing and babies are super resilient. Your baby will be fine and so will you. I say, no matter how it went down, well done!
P.S. If you haven’t seen Jim Gaffigan’s take on home birth, you really should, it’s hilarious.
♦ ♦ ♦
Brittany Bullen is a mom to three boys, a performer, a thrifter and an aspiring vegan. She writes for brittanybullen.com and crowdserve.org. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Bloglovin and Twitter.
Thanks so much, Brittany!
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