Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why Homebirth

One large reason I've started this blog is that I'm barely pregnant and already SO sick of the negativity surrounding homebirth. Everything from "oh- that's... brave" (here's a great article about that) to "hospitals are there for a reason- to keep your baby from DYING". *sigh*.

While they won't change my opinion of childbirth, I got sick of explaining myself to people who won't listen either because they don't really care, or because I might imply that their idea of scheduling labor at 34 weeks along "because one of the twins was breech and the doctor was worried" might not have been a good idea. I don't want to estrange my non-natural-childbirth friends, and they all already know my views on the matter.
But I want to shout from the rooftops: women, it can be better. Labor can be an amazing, empowering experience.
Doctors are wonderful if something goes wrong. Their training is FOR when something goes wrong. Few of them even see a normal, healthy delivery during their education, since more complicated procedures require much more training.
If something goes wrong with my pregnancy or delivery, I will get my butt to a hospital. And I won't feel like I failed at homebirth- I will feel like I am living proof that a homebirthing mother and her midwife don't take unnecessary risks.

See, where most OB-GYNs view every labor as a problem to solve, most midwives view it as a natural process that just needs some guidance and supervision. They are trained to spot when things go wrong (or might go wrong in the future), at which point a doctor (usually working in conjunction with the midwife) is more than welcome on the birthteam.
Midwives aren't the crazy birkenstock-wearing hippies you might think of. Ok, well, a lot of them are a bit on the "organic" side.... but they are trained, educated, and loving women. They bring with them pitocin, oxygen, monitoring systems, and most sanitation supplies you'd see in a hospital. They have a smaller client load, less liability to worry about, and statistically, they spend much more time at each prenatal appointment than doctors do. Unlike doctors, they are there for the whole labor- not just to "catch a baby". Most importantly they, like me, believe in the power of a woman's body to know what to do.

When someone asks me why I would take the risk of birthing at home, I think "why would a normal, healthy pregnancy take the risk of birthing at a hospital". Statistically, a low-risk pregnancy is much more likely to have major complications at a hospital. And yes, even the infant mortality rate is higher at a hospital, even when just looking at normal, healthy pregnancies with no underlying complications.

It is possible to have a natural, intervention-free birth in a hospital. Many midwives deliver in hospitals, in fact. I had a fine epidural-free delivery at a hospital for my first son. I had to fight my OB tooth-and-nail, but it was possible. My only regrets are the minor interventions I did allow (a post about that later).

I'm not saying interventions or hospitals are never acceptable. Not at all. If you HAVE to be induced because of some real risk, then by all means, get an epidural! I wouldn't go near pitocin without some medical help. If you've been laboring for 36 hours and need some relief so you can relax and regroup? Get an epidural! I won't judge. There are many just reasons for epidurals, inductions, and c-sections. So long as the benefits outweigh the risks. And the MOTHER is the one making an informed decision.

The biggest sign to me that this is the right path to me is that I find myself LOOKING FORWARD to labor. Not just to meeting my baby, but to labor itself. And people can no longer say to me "just wait til you're really there and the pain kicks in" cause you know what? I've already been there now. And while yes, there was pain, I never felt like it was unmanageable, I never felt a loss of control. And when I was done, I was so proud of myself. I had set a goal and accomplished it. I had joined the millions of mothers before me. I felt like I had climbed a mountain.

I dare anyone who doubts natural childbirth to research it. The more you find out, the more you'll see that America's standard way of birthing is disastrous to mother and child more often than it should be.

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog from your comment on Gift of Giving Life. Congrats on your new pregnancy. Your baby will be born about the same time as my first (Dec 23). I am pregnant with my second also - the first was a homebirth and I'm planning another. I actually haven't been too bothered by others' comments. I don't actually advertise the fact, but it comes up if people ask. Most people have been genuinely curious about what a homebirth is like when they find out. It does help that my family are homebirth-supporters and my husband's family are laidback, do-whatever-you-want type of people.