This question has been on my mind and I want to just write it out because that's what helps me think and form my thoughts. I've given birth 3 times now, each experience completely different from the other. Olivia - in the hospital with an epidural (after 26+ hours of hard labor!) Abigail - in the hospital with no drugs, but I certainly wouldn't call it natural! And then Nathan at home, which I would call a very natural birth.
Now getting ready to have baby number 4 and I can't stop thinking about how I want to have this baby.
What I loved about my home birth:
-Getting to sleep in my own bed.
-No nurses coming in at crazy hours to find out when my baby last pooped, or check my blood pressure.
-No fighting anyone for what I wanted - ie, no Hep B vaccine at birth, and no eye goopy stuff. It was seriously so nice to be in the care of someone who completely respected my opinion either way. Fetal monitoring limited to a stethoscope.
-Very, very minimal cervical checks - as in 1.
-No coached pushing. Literally the contractions pushed him out, and I just screamed. No pushing! Actually, if I'm being honest there was a moment when I thought, "If I push maybe this will just be over faster." And so with a contraction I gave the tiniest push, and out he came. There was no legs up in stirrups, no one yelling "PUSH!" it all just happened very naturally.
-Laboring at home, and not having to worry about going to the hospital too soon. Plus it was just comfortable. Walking around my own house, playing video games with my husband, talking to my best friend on the phone, folding laundry... all great labor activities! There's not that much to distract you from the pain in the hospital.
-Let's not forget my fabulous 3 hour massage. In my house. Seriously FANTASTIC, and every woman in labor deserves a massage.
-And this was unique, but we had the house to ourselves for 2 days with just Nathan, Aaron and me, because my fabulous mother took my girls for me. Yeah that was awesome. Got the "break" you get when you deliver at the hospital, but got to sleep in my own bed! I think that puts sleeping in my own bed on this list twice, but it deserves it. Sooo nice.
-Getting to hold my baby on my chest as long as I wanted, with no nurses waiting around to take him and clean him up. All mine!! I loved being the very first person to pick him up, bring him to my chest and bask in the magical moment. Of course he was screaming bloody murder, and the peaceful moment was more of a harsh reality check that there was now a third person I had to take care of!
What I didn't love about my home birth:
-It hurt. A lot.
-I worried I wouldn't be able to do it. I was never once worried about my baby. I trusted my midwife 110% and never would have done it otherwise. I knew she would be the first to suggest going to the hospital if something was wrong, but I knew she was equipped to handle 99% of what could happen.
What I loved about My hospital births:
-Nurses to take care of you, and have three meals delivered to you each day.
-Hospital swag - ya know the free diaper bag, cute pillow, cookies at 3 for Mommy and me. That was nice.
-The pain relief. That epidural with Olivia was freaking amaaaazing.
-Not having to clean anything. In your own house you still feel the need to tidy up, and whatnot. No doing that in the hospital!
What I hated about my hospital births:
-Having to fight for every single thing, and feeling like people thought I was making ignorant decisions about my baby.
-Pushing. Legs in stirrups, all the yelling. I was SO swollen after pushing. I didn't have that swelling after my home birth.
-Ugly hospital gowns.
-The potential for things to go wrong because of unnecessary medical interventions. Like checking my cervix every few hours and somehow telling me I was less than I was 4 hours ago!! That was literally the point I gave up and asked for the epidural. I am just scared of doctors and hospitals in general, so it's really hard for me to relax and labor in an environment where I'm just not comfortable.
-A nurse forcing me to pee, or threatening me with a catheter... I hadn't had anything to eat or drink for hours, how on earth do you expect me to pee?! Fortunately my hubby went to bat for me on that one, and saved me from further pelvic trauma.
-Lactation Consultants who tell you you're off to a very bad start, when you felt like things were going great.
-Waiting around forever to get to go home.
-Being forced to fill out paperwork, and having to convince a receptionist it would have to wait because I was about to have baby.
Okay so this list makes it seem obvious that I'd do another home birth, right? But that's not an option in Yuma, so I HAVE to have the baby in the hospital. I've been promised it would be as natural as possible, but I'm sure most of what I hate about hospitals will be unable to be avoided, so then I think, well why even bother trying to make it natural. Why not get that lovely epidural??
So then I wonder if some of the "problems" I had with Olivia were in any way related to the epidural. I needed oxygen while pushing, and we had a horrible time with nursing at the beginning. My milk didn't come in for a WEEK! And she had some breathing issues. Was that just her? Was that just because it was my first?
So after writing this all out I think I'm going to labor at home as long as possible and then ask for an epidural as soon as I get to the hospital. But I worry about other things that could go wrong, like infection and spinal headache, and future back pain. But really those chances are slim, right? And the only con on my home birth list is that it hurt, but man it hurts a lot!! I'm going to talk to my midwife at my next appointment and see what she says.