Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Home births, Hospital births

This has been on my mind a lot...

I feel like hospital births have been given a bad reputation lately. A lot of my friends are either against them, or strongly for home births or births at a birth center. I don't want to disagree with them, because I understand their concern and desire for natural birth.

I understand that there is so much more medical intervention at a hospital and you do lose a bit of "control," but before you totally bash a hospital, you have to know about your hospital, and in the end, do what's right for you.

We have the privilege of having a wonderful women's & babies hospital that allows for women to have a big part in the birth of their child. I am so thankful that I have had wonderful midwives who have been through the whole journey with me.

I had a wonderful midwife with both of my children's hospital births, and again this time. Since Ella was in distress and they weren't sure why, they turned me over to a doctor, who could deliver her by c-section if it became an emergency. Never did he say that they should deliver Ella by c-section, just to be on the safe side. They evaluated the situation, monitored me for 24 hours, and then handed me back to the midwife and allowed me to proceed with a natural delivery. I am so thankful for their expertise and their care for my well being.

I realize that women have been giving birth forever. Giving birth is very natural. We live in a time where medications and pain relievers are around for every ache and pain. I don't believe we should automatically turn to medicine. Sometimes there are alternatives, and sometimes we just need to suck it up. As long as you do your research, come up with a birth plan, and realize that drugs and medical intervention do at times have side effects, I can't see why proceeding with a hospital birth is all that bad.

But I think it is a choice. I had an epidural both times. The first time I loved it, and the second time I had a few regrets. With Elijah I had terrible back labor, and from the beginning of my labor until I finally got the epidural, I was in terrible pain. It never subsided between contractions. Once I had the epidural, I could enjoy the birth of my son and look forward to meeting him. I was miserable beforehand. With Ella, however, I was scared to not have an epidural and had got one right away. In the end, it wore off significantly and I felt a lot of it anyway. Plus, being a 5lb baby, I wish I would have tried...no telling how much this next one will weigh if I keep up with my cravings ;)

They never pushed pain medications, just made them available. I realize that I received a lot of "unnecessary" medications and a few precautionary medications. Pitocin is not FDA approved for induction unless the risk of not inducing is worse than the risk of the pitocin. I didn't know that until recently. I also do not support inductions for when a women passes her due date. It's an "estimation, not an expiration date," as someone put it. But I know that pitocin is given after delivery to control bleeding. Necessary? Probably not in most cases. To be honest, I'm going to start researching a bit more and come up with a birth plan for this baby. But, I can say that knowing that if I truly was opposed, they would not force them on me.

Our hospital takes great care in helping a mother in labor find personal comfort. You are not confined to a bed or to your back (unless of course you have an epidural). They offer jacuzzi's, encourage you to not just lie on your back and push. It all does depend on your doctor or midwife, but I know from other women's stories, that they are so flexible with a mother.

Aside from the medicinal aspects of a hospital, it just gives me such great comfort to know that if anything were to go wrong, that I would be as close to emergency care as possible. I didn't expect Ella to have to stay in the NICU, and actually, my doctors and midwife didn't either. I'm so thankful we were in a hospital with a NICU on site.

This might be selfish, but one of my favorite parts of being in a hospital with my new baby, is that other people take care of me. I get to stay in bed, walk around, shower at my leisure, without any other children demanding my attention. I get two days to bond with my new baby with just me and Joel, and just totally fall more in love with this new baby! I'm sure it happens at home as well, but I'm not in a rush to be in a messy house with noisy toddlers running around. Both times I found the hospital incredibly restful and peaceful. I actually look forward to it this time around! Plus, our hospital has amazing food (really, they do!). I can order food anytime I want from bed! Ha!

I hear a lot of first time expectant moms, first time moms, or even a few friends who have yet to have children talk about how they plan on having a natural, home birth because of everything unnecessary in a hospital and I can agree! There is so much about hospital births that are just precautionary and not necessary, but please don't make me feel as though I haven't done research or thought this out for myself. It's a personal choice, and one that I have made in confidence and actually get excited about doing once again.


Shirley said...

I totally agree! Women's and Babies is exceptional - I loved the mix of doctors and midwives and really appreciated that I could have a midwife (unless absolutely necessary).
This is a personal choice and no one should look down on someone else for their choice.
I hate to warn you - it doesn't stop at the birth :) We still have these kinds of things come up with "to homeschool or not".
The decision belongs to you and Joel alone! Enjoy your time at the hospital - I agree, the food totally rocks there!

Erin said...

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! (And a BIG AMEN to the good food at W&B...I'm excited about it, too!)

When are you due? Our due date is 6/7.

Leah said...

I liked this post a lot. I obviously am no where close to having to make all these decisions, but I can see already that these issues raise a lot of controversy and passionate emotions among many women. As an 'outsider' in this baby talk world, I am just interested to learn all that I can at this stage, so that I can be well informed later in life. I thought you presented your thoughts very well, and did not come across as judgmental or condescending at all. And I must say, I have to agree with you about the hospital thing - while I would love to do the process naturally, I know I still will want to be in a hospital when it happens. That way, heaven forbid, if anything goes wrong I have all the help I need. So thanks for sharing your views :)

P.S. We should hang out again soon!