I’d like a homebirth at the hospital, please.

5 August 2009 at 10:59 pm 2 comments

I’m sitting here at my kitchen table eating ice cream (chocolate, of course!), pregnant with my third child who will be arriving in a month or so. I delivered my first with a midwife in a hospital and a planned epidural. It was a good experience, but I felt like something was missing. With my second, I researched, planned, prepared for, and achieved an all-natural hospital birth again with a midwife. (The only intervention was 20 minutes of required fetal monitoring in triage.) It was amazing! Now here pregnant with my third, I knew from the beginning that this birth would involve a midwife and another all-natural birth, preferably a waterbirth, unless true medical necessity required otherwise. But what I couldn’t decide was where. There’s a lot about homebirth that appeals to me, but for a few reasons I won’t bother to elaborate, it wasn’t a realistic option for me. So it came down to another hospital birth or a birth center birth.

I visited the nearest birth center, researched hospital options, and spoke with a couple of different midwife groups.  When it came down to it, my only options if I really wanted a waterbirth were the birth center or the one hospital in the area that does allow waterbirths.  I LOVED the birth center.  Loved it.  Loved the feel of it, the idea of being surrounded by supportive and knowledgeable women, the people I met there, the fact that I wouldn’t have to fight against unwanted and unnecessary interventions.  But there was concern about the transfer rate, the number of midwives and my ability to get to know them, the midwives’ obligations to the hospital upon which the birth center depends for its existence, and  — the biggest downside for me — concern about the usual length of stay after a birthcenter birth, which was about 8 hours, sometimes less.  I don’t question the safety of going home that soon after birth.  It’s just that, well, I have two other young children at home who will be climbing all over me and clamoring for my attention as soon as I get home, whether that’s 8 hours after birth or 48.  I’d like a little more time with the new baby first and — I’m not ashamed to say it — I’d like a little more of a break!  I spoke with a midwife at the birth center about this concern, and she acknowledged that it’s an issue for many moms having their second or more child.  She wished they could offer a better solution for women who would prefer a longer stay, but resources are limited.

I looked more closely at my hospital option, and it was pretty good, but inevitably there were policies here and there that I didn’t like.  There’s the unescapably clinical, medicalized feel of the hospital.  There’s the fact that a hospital is for sick people, not healthy ones experiencing a joyous life event.

So what I’ve decided I need is all the benefits of a homebirth, the familiar and non-clinical surroundings, the midwife you get to know through your whole pregnancy who is all but guaranteed to be at your birth, the ability to have a waterbirth, the freedom from policies and procedures, etc. in a hospital where I can stay and be pampered for up to 48 hours (though I usually only stay 24) after the birth.

If anyone hears of such an option being offered, please let me know.  In the meantime, I guess I’ll be having this baby at the hospital.  At least they have ice cream.

— Maren

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Quick link: Insurance woes for childbirth expenses More on the Homebirth Debate

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Melissa  |  7 August 2009 at 2:30 am

    Stay home? Stock up on chocolate ice cream. Buy a birth pool …. what cuold be better?

    Reply
  • 2. wundermuffin  |  11 August 2009 at 12:19 pm

    women’s health associates midwives at newton wellesley. there’s a team of 3-4 MWs, you get to know them all, and i had a beautiful, natural, intervention-free, hands-off birth experience.

    Reply

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