So I’m now officially 38 weeks pregnant by the latest due date they gave me… which is about 2 weeks more pregnant than I’ve ever been. This is a good thing though. The past few weeks have been crazy hectic and I’ve been begging my little baby to stay in just a little longer.
We did some EXTREME nesting (started by moving the office downstairs and girls room upstairs, then decided to hire the neighbor to install the hardwood floors that have been sitting in the guest room for a year, which then turned into installing all new mouldings, painting, and completely remodeling our upstairs bathroom) and I ALMOST have the house put back together. I think the hubby is going to finish painting the girls new room this weekend, and I’m planning to spend a few days deep cleaning… oh, and hopefully have a chance to blog about the before and after of the whole project.
Anyway, in the middle of our remodel, when the house was pretty much turned upside down and I was just a week from when I had originally expected the baby to come (36 weeks… which was when our first munchkin was born) my sweet hubby said to me “So we had better decide if we’re going to do a homebirth or not.” This totally caught me by surprise, because I thought the issue was off the table.
I guess I should back up… In March a friend had given me a copy of world-renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin’s book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. It’s such an inspiring and empowering book, I could hardly put it down! And it l left me really wanting the homebirth experience.
So I asked my hubby what he thought of the idea. When we were pregnant with our first and I had told him I wanted to have her at a birth center, he wasn’t really excited about the idea, but then we watched The Business of Being Born and he decided he never wanted to have a baby in a hospital. Well, we all know how that turned out… I had an amazing, natural hospital birth J
So my hubby’s question was, “What’s wrong with another hospital birth?” Theoretically, if it went well the first time, with no unnecessary interventions, then it should go well this time too, right?
While I know I most likely would have been able to have another successful natural birth at the hospital, there were a couple of things missing. First, the option of a waterbirth. None of the hospitals near me allow pregnant women to deliver in the water. A few hospitals have tubs that moms can labor in, but many of the benefits of a water birth (such as reducing tearing of the perineum and easing the baby’s transition from the womb to the world) occur during the actual delivery of the baby. (If you’re interested in some of the other noted benefits of water birth, check out this website: http://www.waterbirthinfo.com/benefits.html)
The other thing I didn’t love about my hospital birth was the recovery. Between all the noise, the uncomfortable bed, and the well-meaning nurses coming in to check on me every hour or so, I got almost no sleep while I was in the hospital! Not to mention the fact that they convinced me to let them take my baby away for some reason in the middle of the night when my husband was sleeping and I was only half awake. (My hubby was NOT happy when he found out about that, since we had agreed that the baby would never be out of our sight!) I didn’t feel like I did any “recovering” until I got home.
I was also not excited about the thought of having to spend 24 – 48 hours in the hospital after the birth, and not being able to have my 2 year old with me. We are pretty much attached at the hip, and we’ve only ever spent one night (a total of 10 hours) apart. I figured the addition of a new little person to share mommy’s love on top of being separated from mommy for that long might be a bit too much for her to handle.
So, back to my shock at the hubby bringing up the option of homebirth again... we had discussed the option back in March and it seemed like his mind was made up against it. I could see his point of view… we had a good experience at the hospital the first time and he felt safer there. His sister was born with special needs and, although no one is sure what caused her condition (or even what condition she has), she was born with the umbilical cord tightly around her neck. While I understand the concern regarding suffocation by the umbilical cord, I found it comforting to learn that according to the March of Dimes, about 25% of babies are born with the umbilical cord around their necks and it rarely causes any problems. (Here’s another interesting article about the likelihood of a baby being strangled by the umbilical cord.)
I know there are a lot of concerns in general about the safety of home birth. What many people may not realize is that homebirth midwives are well prepared for the many childbirth emergencies. They carry with them oxygen for moms and babies and can administer Pitocin via IV in case of hemorrhage. According to a 2005 study of over 5400 planned home births attended by Certified Professional Midwives in North America (comprised of 98 % US citizens and 2% Canadian), (estimated to be 80 – 90% of American women) is just as safe as hospital birth and is associated with MUCH lower rates of intervention. In fact, according to the study, your chances of having a cesarean section are six times higher if you deliver in a hospital! That’s reason enough to keep me out of the hospital!
So now it’s official… we’re having a home birth! I’m still not sure what made my husband change his mind about having a home birth. Maybe it was spending lots of time during our remodel with our neighbor who was one of six kids born at home. I know about half of my friends will be super excited for me, and the rest of you will probably think I’m crazy. I personally know I’m crazy! I mean, I know insurance won’t cover my homebirth and I’m actually choosing to pay more for something than I absolutely have to… ME… the coupon queen/bargain hunter!! This is pretty momentous and I’m not going to lie, it has caused me a bit of inner turmoil over the money aspect. But in the end, I know being able to have the water birth I’ve always wanted in the comfort of my own home will be priceless!!