Why we’re having a home birth

{mosimage}As promised…but first, a bit about how we got there.

So when I first came over here, I had some bad information. I thought I wouldn’t be eligible for Medicare till I got my permanent residency. So I started looking at private health cover options, and signed us up for one, and we’ve been paying for it since then. And we haven’t used it. And after finding out that, yes, I was eligible for Medicare as soon as I got my temporary residence, we still kept it because I thought that Medicare wouldn’t cover pregnancy & childbirth anymore. But they do.

So. On the 24th of July we found out for sure that I was pregnant (although we’d suspected it for about a week before). And I started looking into my options. And I thought that a birth centre would be my best bet, because it’s run by midwives, and attached to the hospital in case anything goes wrong, and midwives tend to be WOMEN, and call me whatever you wish, but I’d prefer strange men NOT be looking at my private bits.

Anyway. Then I found out that the birth centres are only for public (Medicare) patients. So I thought, okay, I’ll go public. And my doctor made an appointment for me at the Women’s & Children’s hospital.

And all this time I was reading up on pregnancy and birth, and all the options, and reading forums, and hearing little bits & pieces about home birth, and I thought it did sound good, but I was hung up on this “what if something happens” thing. So I was sticking with the hospital for the time being. And then I heard from Lisa, an independent home birth midwife, and she offered to come over and talk about my different options. So we set up a meeting. And she certainly did what she said, and I told her that for the first one, I’d like to be in a hospital “just in case,” and she said “In case of what?”

And I honestly couldn’t come up with an answer.

So I went off to my antenatal appointment at the hospital the next Monday. And I had the usual tests. And the midwife I saw asked me questions, and told me stuff, and booked me for an ultrasound, and said she’d book me for an appointment with the anesthetist “because in case you need anesthetic, they like to meet you first.” But. She didn’t believe me when I told her what I thought my due date was, even though I KNOW it’s the right one (she told me the 21st of March, which would mean they’d be pushing me for an induction probably before the 29th if I was birthing there). And she kinda made a face when I said I’d been seeing a chiropractor, and said “You might want to see our physiotherapist for your back pain.” You know, trying to get ALL my medical care under one roof kind of thing, so the hospital gets more money (even if it’s not directly MY money).

But they did give me the Bounty bag with 250g Cadbury chocolate. 🙂

Anyway. This is getting a bit longwinded. When Lisa was here, she told me about a home birth website, and I looked it up, and started reading. And the more of people’s hospital birth stories I read, the less I wanted one. And so she came over one more time, basically so Darrin could meet her too before we made a final decision, even though we’d really already decided. And so the result is we’re having a home birth. Just me, Darrin, and Lisa. And the baby of course. 😉

1. I want a birth as natural as possible. This means no drugs, no induction, and no caesarean, without good medical reason. And I want to be allowed to sit, stand, walk, lie down in whatever position is most comfortable for me at the time, rather than being made to lie flat on my back in a bed.

2. Pregnancy is not an illness. Hospitals are for sick people and injured people. I’m not sick or injured, and as far as I know neither is my baby, so why should I have to give birth in a hospital?

3. Hospitals change shifts every 8-12 hours. If I’m labouring for longer than that, I’ll have a change in the people who look after me. I don’t want everyone and his brother giving me examinations every x hours just because it’s “policy.”

4. Hospitals have a policy of “get them in, get them out.” So if you’re not labouring fast enough for their timetable, they’ll push for induction, augmentation, or a Caesarean, even when it’s not medically necessary.

5. Studies continuously show that a pregnant woman has a quicker birth with less pain when she’s in a place she’s comfortable. Can you think of a place more uncomfortable than a sterile hospital, with machines beeping and hundreds of people rushing about? Especially for people like Darrin and me, introverts to the core.

6. I suspect that when you’re in labour, the last thing you want to do is get in the car and go for a ride (with a panicing husband at the wheel). Especially in Adelaide’s traffic! I know how bad it is riding in a car when I just have a headache.

7. With a home birth, you can ask your midwife to come over at whatever point you choose. If you want her to come over when your water breaks, she’ll come over then. If you don’t want her to come till you’re having contractions, she’ll wait. You are in charge, and she lets you do as you choose (within reason).

8. Because I really, really, really like the idea of a water birth. Sitting in the water is supposed to be really good for pain relief, and since baby doesn’t breathe till his/her face hits air anyway (since they’re still getting oxygen through the umbilical cord), it’s not nearly as dangerous as it might sound at first. I’ve heard that Scandanavian women are known to give birth in the sea with little or no assistance.

9. The more I learn, the less I trust doctors, and the more I think the only time I’ll use one in the future is if I need a confirmation on a diagnosis, I’ve broken a bone, or I’m dying.

10. As stated in a previous post, we’ve decided against vaccinating our child. And I suspect we’ll have a lot less trouble standing up to one midwife (if it even comes to that; many home birthers don’t vaccinate either, or if they do, they only do certain ones, and at least they tell you to look at both sides of the issue for yourself) than we will to a team of doctors, nurses, and midwives in a hospital.

11. People talk about complications in birth. These complications are usually either caused or imagined by hospital personnel and procedures, thus increasing the “need” for interventions. And if there are any serious, real complications, they tend to happen slowly, so you still have plenty of time to get to a hospital, and it won’t take you any longer to get a specialist than if you had the complication in the hospital itself.

12. If you birth at home, you can do whatever you want during your labour. You can do dishes, go for a walk, tidy up the bedroom, get the baby’s clothes laid out, put clean sheets on the bed, have a bath or shower, do some laundry, watch a movie, work on a jigsaw, bake a birthday cake, whatever you can come up with! In a hospital they tend to stick you in a room to just wait.

13. There’s a web site I go to daily, Joyous Birth (some graphic birth images on that site, be warned if that kinda thing bothers you, although they do warn you when you’re about to hit one), where one of the major forum posters says constantly that physiologically, birth isn’t much different than a bowel movement. It’s a natural process that women do every day all over the world, and for the majority of history, they’ve done it at home. So if we can go that long (regardless of what you believe about creation or evolution, it’s still a long time) having babies at home, and the human race still survives, who are doctors to say that you have to have your baby in a hospital?

14. Sure, you occasionally hear about a tragedy in a home birth, but honestly, I’ve heard many more from hospitals. Unnecessary caesareans, coercion/manipulation of the mother (who’s made to feel like she’s just a baby making machine to them) with the whole “your baby will die if you don’t do this,” and more things that just make me too angry to talk about. Not to mention all the “super bugs” that pop up in hospitals. Why do I want to risk that?

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