Friday, May 18, 2012

My Personal Decision To Have A Home Birth

I am going to take this post on a bit of a side bar from my usual posting, because this is what is happening in my home and my life, it is still relevant.  It is also long, and possibly slightly controversial.  I do not mean to offend, just share my experience and personal preference/opinion with you.

My son right after he was born
I am due in two weeks, on May 31st with my second child.  My husband and I are thrilled our kids are going to be 18 months apart and we hope friends for life.  This was a planned pregnancy, and when we started trying again, I knew that I wanted to try and have a different birth experience than I did with my son.  With my son, I honestly thought only "crazy" or "out there" people did home births.  I never even considered it.  Towards the end of my pregnancy  I saw the documentary called "The business of being born" (it is on netflix if you want to check it out), and it opened my mind to the idea but I loved/trusted my doctor and wasn't about to switch so late in my pregnancy.  I looked into home birth as an option for many reasons, but here are the main three.

Reason 1: Horrible Hospital Experience
Long story short, with my son I was lied to in our insurance company, the hospital birthing class, hospital tour and by my nurses and Doctor.

  • I was told I would be allowed to move/walk be on a birthing ball.  LIES as soon as I got to my room, I was basically strapped to the bed and not allowed to move.  
  • I was told that I would not have my water broken or an episiotomy without my knowledge or consent.  LIES, both happened without be being told ahead of time.  
  • I was told if I had to share a recovery room we would be paired with someone at the same care level as us (vaginal births with vaginal births, c-sections with c-sections etc) LIES, a woman was placed in my room less than an hour after her section and she was practically screaming in pain for the whole day/night.  It was super awkward and hard to sleep/bond with baby.
  • I was told that our hospital was extremely pro-breastfeeding and that we could see a Lactation Consultant after delivery if we needed one.  LIES, I asked for help multiple times as my sweet boy wouldn't latch right and I was just tossed a nipple shield (with no explanation on how to use it) and when we still couldn't get it I was given formula which I specifically said I didn't want to use!  
  • I was told that I didn't need to and SHOULDN'T bring my pump to the hospital because the hospital grade ones were better and we would be able to use one when we were there, should we need it.  LIES, there were no available pumps, so I was tossed a hand pump to try and feed my baby.
  • I gave birth at 12:44pm on a Monday, I made it clear that I didn't want to stay more than 1 day which since I had the baby before 1pm I was told was possible.  My baby was cleared to leave by his Dr. at 9:30am on Tuesday.  I was not even SEEN by a Dr. until 8:30pm, (remember I had stitches due to the unwanted episiotomy).
  • I had 2 insurance plans and I was told before hand that my copays were met and I would owe no more money.  LIES, the hospital overcharged and I got stuck paying extra for things that were NOT MY FAULT.  I was in the hospital less for less than 48 hours but was charged for 4 days, because I checked in at 11:30pm on Sunday night, and checked out AFTER check out time on Tuesday.  I got charged for all day Sunday, all day Monday (which was my only full day) all day Tuesday (left at 9pm) and all day Wednesday because I didn't check out by 1pm the day before.  Tried to fight it and lost.
There are other ways my hospital totally failed (like putting the wrong doctor on my paperwork) but these were the big ones.  I honestly had a horrible experience, so much so that while I am thankful we have Doctors, hospitals and medical access should we need it, that I did not want to go that route unless my health or the health of my baby were in jeopardy.

Reason 2: Birth Is A Natural and Normal Process
I am not sick, so do I really need to go to the hospital?  It seems like a simple reason, but women have been having babies for centuries without needing to go to a hospital.  Granted the death rate in moms and babies were much higher in those days, and with medical advancement we have drastically lowered the death rates.  However studies have shown that in planed home births attended by a trained, professional mid-wife have the same or lower rates of maternal/infant mortality as hospital births.  I am doing something my body is made to do.  Having a home birth means I can be flexible and in control.  I don't have to stay strapped in a bed, (unless I want to) and I can even have a water birth should I choose to.  It is a relaxed, comfortable and familiar environment.   Instead of being rushed to a hospital seen by people you have never met and laying in an unfamiliar bed in a strange room.  I will be in my home, I have all the comforts of home because I AM HOME.  I also don't have to put my sweet day old baby in a car unless I want to, which I see as a plus.  Bottom line, it is a natural process that can have complications requiring a hospital (and thankfully we have that option), but it doesn't mean every birth needs the hospital automatically.

Reason 3: I Am a Person, Not a Number
How many of you who have given birth had your OB's direct cell phone number?  If you did, could you text him/her and ask her a basic question?  I can do this with my mid-wife.  It is amazing!  Our appointments are 45min-1hour.  That is time she spends WITH ME, not me sitting in a waiting room, getting my vitals checked by a nurse, sitting in the room some more, seeing the doctor for all of 10 minutes and leaving after having been there for over an hour or even two.  I have an honest connection with my mid-wife, she actually knows me, knows about my life and my health.  I get asked the routine questions, but I also am comfortable enough to bring up any concerns and know that she is actually listening, not just brushing me off.  Perhaps you have had this experience with a doctor, but I have not, and it is so great to know who is delivering your baby and totally trust them, not just because they have a degree but because you feel like you know them.  It is truly an amazing experience.

I don't think that home birth's are for everyone.  I also am fully aware that something can "go wrong" at any time, and I may end up giving birth at the hospital again.  I am not anti-hospital, if something should happen during the birth that will put me and/or my baby in jeopardy, I will not hesitate to go.  I just feel that when you have a medical professional with you who you trust, there is no reason to HAVE to give birth in a hospital.  My mid-wife carries oxygen, labor inducing drugs, and other drugs to stop bleeding etc.  She has enough to stabilize me and/or the baby until an ambulance can get here.  My mid-wife has never had to emergency transfer.  She will send us to the hospital before it gets to an emergency situation, and she will also advocate for me while there.  

I am excited to welcome my sweet baby girl soon, and slightly nervous to have a birth with no option of pain drugs (unless I choose to go to the hospital).  It could happen any time now, we are ready and waiting to meet the newest addition to our family.

I hope that this post doesn't offend you, I am willing to answer any questions you may have in the comments, however please know that if the comments drift into the realm where they can be offensive or nasty I will delete them and/or disable the comments completely.  Feel free to voice your personal opinion, but do it in a respectful way.  Thanks!

Cheers!

Ashley

2 comments:

  1. I'll be praying for you as you near the birth of your baby. I home birthed a year ago. BEST birth experience I had. If I were to get pregnant again, I would home birth again! Peaceful, not poked, prodded, or bothered. Relaxed through labor and contractions and my baby made her entrance into the world the way she & my body wanted to. Blessings to you and your precious family. I pray people are not hard on you, judgmental, or try to scare you with horror stories. I had more traumatic experiences happen at the hospital with my first 2 births than I ever would have had in my home. Enjoy your birth experience and the bonding afterwards. Blessings!
    Janiene
    http://bishopsfamilysite.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm excited to be experiencing a home birth this time. I'm glad you had a great experience with it.

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