When I talk about home birth, some people look at me like I have an elbow growing out of my forehead. Well, how do you think women have given birth for thousands of years before medical hospitals were invented. Midwives. All done at home.
And plus I live 4 minutes away from the hospital, so it's not like I couldn't get transferred in the event of an emergency.
But, WHY? is the question. Don't I want the comfort and safety of the hospital? Oh, the needles and tubes and wires and gadgets stuck to me, winding around my legs while I am trying to cope with labor pains; the nurse telling me I have to wait to push, even though the baby is already 2+ station coming out....just because they need the OB to catch the newborn...and the OB is not here yet?
Actually, the biggest reason I don't want to give birth in a hospital is for post-partum reasons. I literally did not sleep a wink at the hospital after giving birth to Noelle. We had her at 5am. I was not "discharged" until the following morning at 8am. Count the hours awake: somewhere around 49 to 50 hours, and the first quarter of those hours were spent in labor.
For a person like me, the hospital is not a place of safety, comfort and rest. Sorry! I just have trouble sleeping in an unfamiliar environment and those who have known me since I was young know that this is true. In fact, when Kevin and I first got married, it took me a full year to adjust and start sleeping well again! Normally, it's ok to to lose some sleep - but not when you've just gone through labor with no epidural, you haven't been sleeping well anyway because you were 38 weeks pregnant, and you won't be sleeping well for the next 3 months!!
When Kevin brought me and Noelle home from the hospital (this was after we begged them to release us so that I could go home and get some sleep), I remember collapsing in the comfort of our bed and thinking, "Never again."
Next time I am doing it at home. No more jackhammers (yes, they had jackhammers outside my hospital window), no more overhead calls from nurses broadcasting to other nurses in the ward (can you turn it off or at least turn it down? No, because the nurses need to be able to hear it), no more noise and hustle from interrupting nurses and pediatricians and doctors and photo-takers and religious clerics, no more being unable to sleep and nurse with the baby in bed, and no more separation from family (I didn't like being in the hospital alone with strangers who don't care about me).
Do I sound ungrateful? I'll try not to be and just say this: I am thankful that hospitals exist for the many times that births cannot happen naturally and need the help of pitocin, epidurals and c-sections. In the event that something goes wrong, I know I would be very thankful to be sent to the hospital to be cared for. And to give hospitals some more credit, some moms I know say that they had a good experience, that the nurses waited on them and it felt like a "hotel."
For me, however, if I am ever able to have another baby again, I know for sure that the hospital path is not one I will seek out. It might sound crazy, but to me, it sounds so normal to give birth at home.