Someone wrote me about home births and I'm at a loss. Both my kids were born in a hospital and I didn't even entertain the thought of not having a hospital birth with only a doctor. I was raised to believe that women give birth flat on their backs, in the safety of a hospital with a doctor that knows everything.
But the question of home births got me to thinking about what the benefits and drawbacks would be to having a hospital vs. home birth and here's what I came up with:
- No clean up. Even though I'm sure the midwife would clean up there's just not that same hose-it-down-or -burn-it-I-don't-give-a-crap mentality you have when you're not at home.
- The machine that goes 'ping' is within arms reach. This was the biggy for me because I was always terrified that something might go really off the rails and I wanted to be as close as possible to the machine that went 'ping'.
- Fewer nay sayers. Generally people expect you to give birth this way so you aren't going to catch a lot of flak for it.
- You're not home. If you already have other kids you can pretend to be delirious and they might bring you crappy food that you didn't even have to make while they try to figure out what's wrong with you.
- Safety in numbers. A billion people come in and 'check on you' so you're bound to have at least one competent person catch something that doesn't seem right. In my experience, most nurses are super human and can tell you how much your baby will weigh before they get in the room so that tends to instil confidence.
- The epidurals and all glorious drugs are there.
- It seems less scary because you're in a hospital where people do this everyday.
- You're home. It's your stuff. You know where everything is and if you want to walk down the hall naked so you can stand in the shower, you can. You can give birth to thrash metal and burning White Castle burger candles if you want to and nobody can say boo.
- Clean(er). It's unlikely that your home is a festering hole of all things contagious like a hospital is. It wasn't until I was leaving the hospital with my perfect, little baby and some man started hacking up a lung in the elevator that it dawned on me – Hospitals are where sick people go! I don't care how many masked they have or how much they bleach the crap out of everything, hospitals are gross.
- You know your midwife. You will be dealing with somebody that had been with you throughout your pregnancy so they know what you're like and you know what they are like. I lucked out and got my actual doctor for both my deliveries but that's not always the case.
- You're the only one giving birth in your house. There were 12 other women giving birth the night I had my second son and my doctor was the only one on the floor at one point. I'm guessing it's harder to have things fall through the cracks.
- It seems less scary because you're not in a hospital where horrible things happen. I watch Grey's Anatomy!!
Really when I started thinking about it, I'm a big home birth fan. Everything about it sounds better yet I had two hospital births because drugs and that damn machine that goes ping were there and that trumped everything else. I think if I did it again I would have a midwife and give birth in a hospital but that's really easy for me to say because my fake baby, Flick, was pretty easy to deliver and I'm not having any more.
Please help me out here. What are you going to do? I know there are horror stories on both sides but it would be nice to know what you guys think the positives are to both routes.