Thursday, June 19, 2008

No Place Like Home

There I was, a day after giving birth to my daughter, wearing the highly fashionable hospital robe with my boobs hanging out. I had just, finally, finally, attached said baby to aforementioned boobs - when in walks a man I did not know, telling me it was time to take blood from Sage's foot.

I did not tell him where he could stick his needle. Instead, I told him it wasn't going to happen and he'd have to come back. On the 12th of Never.

It reinforced to me that hospital births are incredibly invasive. There are people in and out of your room all the time. Sometimes, they come bearing the good stuff like pain meds. Most of the time, they're just a pain.

Which is why I read with interest the backlash against Ricki Lake and her documentary, the Business of Being Born. I have not seen the movie yet (but I've wanted to for a while!). The film shows the water birth of her second son in her Manhattan apartment.

Apparently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is pissed. They released a statement that says the home is not the safest setting for having a baby. And, along with the American Medical Association, resolve to support state legislation "that helps ensure safe deliveries and healthy babies by acknowledging that the safest setting" is a hospital, connected birthing center or other approved facility.

Really? Not safe to have home births?

Some of you may remember that Sage was actually born at home. I was in labor denial and ended up with an unplanned home birth right on my living room couch.

The experience was the most amazing of my life. I'd had a very difficult delivery with Sawyer, including an epidural that entirely cut off feeling from the waist down. I had the Nurse from Hell who thought shouting at me was helpful. I had an episiotomy.

But with Sage... Amazing. Even though she was sunny-side up, the delivery was so, well natural. I have a feeling that, had I been in the hospital and not allowed to labor the way I wanted, they would've tried to give me a C-Section (I did go to the hospital after the birth).

Now, had I been high-risk, or attempting a VBAC, or if I knew something was wrong with the baby, it'd be an entirely different story. But a healthy woman with a normal pregnancy?

Obviously we are not capable of doing the most natural thing on the planet without a bright light illuminating our crotch like the Vegas strip and a nurse telling us to HOLD OUR BREATH to help push out a (gasp) baby - that, in most cases, would happily come out on its own.

Ricki Lake's repsonse was simply that she's about choice, not about shoving her agenda down anyone's throat (or birth canal, as the case may be). She just wants women to have information to make an informed one.

The only good thing about my first delivery was I ended up with my beautiful boy. The rest was so traumatic I didn't speak to my OB/GYN about it (she wasn't there for the delivery) until the following year - when I was pregnant with Sage.

I vowed it would be different with her. I hired a doula who taught HypnoBabies, a deep relaxation technique to give you a pain-free, drug-free birth.

I jumped on the soapbox for the virtue of natural childbirth (although, to me, the only unnatural childbirth is if the baby arrives via your butt). This was a dramatic change for me, since with Sawyer, I wanted the epidural before I arrived at the hospital.

When I was briefly pregnant this past winter, I started looking around for a birth center. The one hospital that allowed midwives to deliver closed. I knew I did not want a hospital birth and was considering either a birth center or a home birth.

I just think that women are programmed in this country as to how childbirth should be. It should occur in a hospital and with an epidural as soon as possible. We are sometimes induced even though the baby is doing just fine, its only crime was it didn't agree with the due date.

Nurses want you quiet. We aren't told that lying down is the worst possible position to give birth, as it closes the part of the pelvis that needs to open to let the baby come on down.

We are told that it is horribly painful, and yes, it can be, but it doesn't have to be. We learn that taking those "hee hee hee" breaths will somehow relax us (they don't).

But it is sometimes easier to do what everyone else is doing, isn't it? It's familiar. Hey, we've all seen Baby Story on TLC.

Don't be afraid to step outside the box. And certainly don't villify a woman like Ricki Lake for showing us that there can be another way. See what she has to say. Then make your own decision.

Us girls? We're pretty smart. We've been having babies since the beginning of time.

4 comments:

PinkDawn said...

Yes. My oldest daughter's hospital birth was invaded by my horrid inlaws. If I had done the home birth thing, I would have simply locked the deadbolts and set the burglar alarm. No more pesky pushy inlaws! That alone is enough to sell me on on the home birth thing.

Cheryl said...

HA! I didn't know they were there for that! Yegads!

Just J said...

I really want to see that movie. Have you seen it?

Cheryl said...

JJ - I haven't seen it, but I so want to!

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