Week 20: You Gotta Have Heart

Skipping way ahead to current day. I’m in week 20 and I just had the fetal echo cardiogram. Because my daughter was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, they wanted to check out Junior (oh, yeah, BTW–IT’S A BOY!).

All looks well and I’ve been cleared to proceed as “normal.”

Which begs the question for me, what is normal? I had a midwife last time in Texas, and I’ve found a good midwife practice here in New York. However, I didn’t have the most pleasant labor experience last time around. How much of that was exacerbated or alleviated by being in a hospital, it is hard to say.

Part of me is really starting to feel like hospitals are great–for sick people. But a normal pregnant woman with a normal baby isn’t sick. And it isn’t just the horror stories of healthy pregnant women catching rare awful things from other patients…I’m also just really thinking about why hospitals are necessary for birth.

I’m a fan of Hathor and Crunchy Domestic Goddess, and I’ve been listening and reflecting on what they have to say about home births and the importance of feeling comfortable in your birthing place.

The benefits (in my mind) of a home birth is that it feels more natural and normal to me and I’ll have privacy and can birth the way I wish. The barriers to a home birth include the limited number of nurse-midwives in my area who will attend, the comfort level of other essential participants, and inertia. After all, the path of least resistance is to just go to the hospital. Which is strange, isn’t it? You would think that the easiest thing to do would be to just stay put, but somehow decades of pop culture have made it seem far more normal to rush into a speeding car, climb into a wheel chair, and be propped up in an unfamiliar bed.

My husband missed the birth last time (he was in Iraq), and he is looking forward to it. But I think he would feel more confident having his first time (and yes, his opinion does count here) in a hospital. I can’t forget that although I have a previous experience, this is all fairly new to him.

So, if anyone is actually out there reading…I’d love to hear your experiences with home birth. And I would REALLY love some words of wisdom from your partners. How did they feel about the home birth, before, during and after? Did they need convincing? What made them go for it? How was it? Would they want to do it again?

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  1. Sorry Mama Saga – I’ve had them all in the hospital but for the last two I’m glad that I did since they each had their own little issues.

    It’s a boy! I’m so excited for you. I don’t find out until next week.

    Take Care!

  2. KentuckyGal says:

    I was born at home and would’ve loved to have done a home birth with any of my children, but I had complications each time. :/

  3. modmom says:

    i’d say meet half way. go to a birthing center. hospitals will try to get you to get epidurals + pitosin + even c-sections (it’s how they make more money + keep you “convenient” for them. i hope your midwive isnt just like a doctor without an md. there are those like that (boo) + then the good ones that will “be” with you + be there for you with natural birth knowledge coaching.

    i think another barrier to natural birth is the cost, since insurance companies will pay for the hospital

  4. Mama Luxe says:

    Thanks for the comments and congrats!

    I agree a birthing center would be great (and someone on Maya’s Mom suggested the same thing)…unfortunately the nearest one is too far away. And I think getting stuck on traffic on the L.I.E. might defeat the calming vibe ;)

  5. Awesome Mom says:

    I would have a hard time having a home birth especially after giving birth to a child with a heart defect. I would concentrate too much on what could go wrong in an instant to feel truly comfortable. Of course my eldest’s defect was not discovered ahead of time. I can’t help but think what if I had had him at home and had him crash away from the hospital.

  6. leaner says:

    I know its been awhile since you wrote this. But I have some things to say on this.
    My hubby missed the first birth because we weren’t together. Not because he didn’t want to be there- I didn’t want him there as I thought he would make me nervous. It was horrible not having him there.
    Second child, I had to talk him into the homebirth. I did a lot of research, showed him a ton of articles. He told me, ultimately it was my choice and he would support me. He felt hospital was safer, what if… what if… our first dd was born with a cleft palate, what if…?
    I chose the homebirth path, and it was nearly destroyed because of a breech baby. We finally had her turned and were able to proceed at home.
    For me, it was awesome. For him? He loved it, too. I try to imagine being in a hospital. Its miserable to me. After she was born, and the midwives cleaned up, and everyone was settled in. He and I lay in our bed, her snuggled between us and were able to truly fall in love. It was the most blissful experience. Still high on birth, and able to just sit, calmly. He’s never seen a hospital birth first hand. I don’t ever want him to have to, because that? Was perfect.
    I suppose IF you could get the hospital to allow you to go home the same day it might be ok. But to not have a nurse pop in every few hours, and not have my child taken away… I was able to give birth squatted on my bed, surrounded by those I love. My midwife and her assistant became good friends, and I can’t imagine having anyone else there. Oh, and daddy was the one to catch her, the first one to put his strong hands on her.
    I could go on and on. And also? My dh is in the Army. It has been difficult for him to let go of things, like this. Being home meant not being totally in control- to him- although that is what the hospital is to me, out of MY control and into someone whom I may or may not have ever met’s control.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It depends. In my case, the doctors knew the baby was going to be big. But I wanted to try natural birth anyhow. Unfortunately, he had a 14 3/4 inch head AND it was sunny side up so the widest part would have to pass. 12 hours after my water broke naturally, I hadn’t progressed or diliated at all despite having strong contractions about 1 minute apart since his head was too big to press on the cervix. So they had to do a C-section. If I’d done a home birth, I might have really freaked out when they told me I had to be moved to the hospital for the c-section. But I think you need to decide for yourself since I have to say that I hated being in the hopsital after I gave birth. I would have preferred being at home with him and a baby nurse.