All three of my kids are asleep. At the same time. In the middle of the day. This is a rare moment to be savored. Or used to do something that really needs to get done ie, dishes, laundry, packing, or most importantly blogging.
I have written approximately 20,000 blog entries about my home birth. All of them are sitting as drafts in my little blogger account. I get interrupted, or don't know how to finish my thoughts, so it never gets published. Today, right now I am determined to tell my story!
Every time I take a shower in the downstairs bathroom I think about being in labor with Nathan. I relive each moment, without the pain. Just the excitement. I can literally feel the excitement all over again. I love the fact that I had him at home. There, I'm owning it. At first I really didn't want to seem like I was in some super mom competition, and thinking I was better than everyone who has babies in hospitals. I absolutely don't feel that way. I also didn't want people to think I was a complete idiot for choosing to have my baby at home. Some people do. They think I just decided on a whim, hey let's forget about medicine and carelessly have a baby in my playroom. My decision to give birth at home was thought out, planned, and researched more than you could believe. I think I could have earned a PhD in google research, seriously. And I know I made the right choice for the right baby, at the right time. I may not have my next baby at home, if it doesn't feel right. I honestly do believe, if we listen we will be guided in these decisions.
I had my first baby with an epidural. I had my second naturally in the hospital. And I had my third in a kiddie-pool in my playroom. Have I told you before that it's a kiddie-pool? Covered in colorful sea creatures, and drowning warnings in several languages? Yeah it was. And it was like heaven. It was inflated on the bottom, and the sides, and it was full of hot water. It was seriously perfect. And then Nathan was all like, "Yeah I'm not coming down this way." And I was all... "I'm going to be in labor forever, I know it." And then my midwife helped me find the courage to roll over onto my knees, and with the next two contractions my body literally pushed my baby out. It was the craziest feeling in the world. With Abigail I was too panicked to think about feeling anything. I remember literally thinking, "Just focus on screaming. Don't think about anything else." And that's what I did. I screamed my lungs out. With Nathan, I was loud. And I may have sworn. But I don't remember screaming. It was all really peaceful. Oh, until we took Nathan out of the water. Then he screamed. For like an hour. I thought I was going to have this calm, peaceful baby since I chose to birth him in such an environment, but no -- I think he cried more than my girls did. He did not want to be out of there! Or maybe I was too out of it with my girls to remember them crying. Or I was expecting it so it wasn't such a surprise. I really remember feeling like "What the heck! You aren't supposed to cry! All those babies on youtube born in the water didn't cry!" I also remember thinking, "Holy crap - I have three kids!" And immediately feeling overwhelmed.
Now here are a few thoughts of things I learned from my home birth experience.
Almost every woman who has given birth naturally reaches the point where they feel like they can't do it. They can't go on. This always happens at the very end. Right before the greatest moment - it is complete despair. Some women report feeling like they are going to die. I absolutely experienced that. And I pushed through it. I was afraid and wanted to give up - but I couldn't. There is literally no way to give up at that point. So you dig within yourself for strength you are sure you don't have. And somewhere you find it. And you make it through that despair, into utter ecstasy. You hold that newborn baby against your chest, and instantly the thoughts of death are gone and you are filled with life. Heaven feels close, but in a different way now. Just writing about this moment, fills me with such emotion.
With Olivia this moment was different. I really just remember thinking I had to nurse her right away. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I don't know. I was so tired. And drugged.
With Abigail I was in complete shock. I couldn't believe I had gone through my whole labor without ever thinking I was really in pain. I was in shock that I just pushed out an almost 10lb baby. In like a single push. I held her, under bright hospital lights, and she didn't cry. And she was blue-ish. I was pretty sure she was not alive, and these nurses were just letting me hold my dead baby while the doctor stitched me up so I wouldn't freak out. With Olivia they took her and cleaned her and wrapped her up and all that so fast. They just let me hold Abigail as long as I wanted. I thought that meant she was dead. I was not completely with it. Once the nurses checked her and told me she was perfect, then I was just filled with emotion.
With Nathan - I lifted him from the water myself. Oh that screaming little boy. Who was certainly still a boy. And it was just glorious. My midwife helped me onto the futon we had set up in the playroom. I laid there and held my baby. No one was in a hurry to do anything. She gave me a couple of stitches. Right there in the playroom.
My biggest regret about the home birth -- and all my births really - is that we didn't take enough pictures. Next time I will be sure to arm Aaron with a camera.
Oh and some random concerns I had -- what about the mess? What about the placenta? What about those awesome giant diaper like pads they give you in the hospital? What about having a nurse take care of you for 2 days?
It really wasn't that messy. Since I had him the pool, all the mess was contained to there. And my midwife took care of all the clean up involved with that.
We threw it away. Unceremoniously wrapped in newspaper and a plastic bag - straight into the dumpster.
One word - Depends.
As for being taken care of - I told my husband the pay for him for being able to sleep in his own bed after having the baby, and not some couch/bed thing in the hospital is that he had to cater to my every need. Plus I have an amazing mother who took my other children for me. So I had 3 days of my own house - all alone with my husband and baby. No one coming to check my blood pressure as soon as I fell asleep. Or whatever else they check as soon as you fall asleep.
Anyway - so would I have a home birth again? Absolutely. Do I think everyone who chooses to have their baby in the hospital with an epidural is a wimp? Absolutely not. Do I think they are uneducated? Nope. I like to assume we are all doing our personal best. I do hope that people question what doctors tell them. Do their own research. It feels good. And some doctors don't tell you everything. I would recommend anyone who's not at high risk to consider a midwife. I absolutely loved my midwife experience, and don't think I will use an OB again. But that's just me. ... and here I am again not sure how to finish my thoughts.
So yeah... that's my story. No I'm not better than you, or dumber than you, I just did what I thought was best for my baby.