After watching the Business of Being Born I was totally sold on home births. And I still am. But… after reading a few birth stories including a recent one from my college RA and this one, I just could not shake the thought of: what if something goes horribly wrong and minutes become the difference between life and death? Will I ever forgive myself for not just being a little extra paranoid?
We'd been wafting between a home birth and hospital birth for awhile. I'd gone to visit the home birth office and met a midwife there and boy did I wanna do that. I just love the idea of being trusted as a woman in labor that whatever you wanna do to to be comfortable you can do just that. I also loved the idea of being in the comfort of my own home throughout the whole ordeal and having my baby and I bond right away and never part sounded terrific. Hospitals don't bother me like they bother my husband. I've always found them to be magical places of healing that regardless of how long you wait and wait there, it's a good place to be. I've been at hospitals always for other people, never myself and never overnight. Visiting sick relatives, a few ER visits for Matt (food poisoning), babies, and I watch a lot of Scrubs so I don't have this horrible connotation of hospitals being bad.
ANESTHESIOLOGISTS on the other hand…
When Liz was having Lyla in a hospital she got the most asshole doctor I've ever met. I thought she was gonna jump off the bed and beat him senseless, and rightfully so. I just don't like how doctors and nurses have a crowd control mentality and sometimes talk to you like you're a dummy. I understand it, they're dealing with a sometimes ignorant population and they have to explain things they're not gonna like to people like my mother. My mom is the worst patient of all time and does not like to listen to policy and has crappy concepts of customer service. Dining at restaurants with her that have waiters, ugh. So that's who I think of these poor nurses having to deal with daily. How would I feel dealing with rooms and rooms of: MY MOM? Ugh, nightmares.
Anyway, since the experience at Liz's birth with the know it-all nurse and the dick doctor, you can imagine my hesitation when it comes to "the staff". 'Cause that's who I will be dealing with. Not the lovely doctor I've seen every four weeks, she only catches, nope, the nurses, and you just don't know who you're gonna get. So I hope to walk in there armed with the greatest tool of all: knowledge. Knowledge of the stages of birth, techniques for pain management, the hospital policies, and baby health + care. Nothing I want is unreasonable. I want to be able to move around and not be tied to machines constantly, I want to not be pushed to take drugs, I don't want to be cut, I don't want to be talked down to like I'm MY MOM, I want my baby to be born and be immediately placed on me, I want for her to remain with us at all times, and I wanna get the hell out of there as soon as possible. Knowledge is power when it comes to dealing with authority. But more than authority, I live my life on customer service principles. My job requires that I be the intermediate between 70 people all thinking they're my most important priority. I am so good on the phone with vendors and crew members. I can usually get what I want through my negotiation techniques and my sense of humor. Cracking wise is my shtick and that's my weapon against bossy nurses. I resent that I have to worry about such things on such a day where my mind will be a little preoccupied but that's what you gotta do. And that's what I'm gonna do: walk into that room prepared and determined to go my way. 'Cause I'm the momma.
The other tool I wish to bring in with me is: a bossy female. Yes, I am a bossy female but I'm kinda gonna be busy dealing with something else (ends in abor) and I need some awesome bitch that will not have to be a bitch and just very firmly tell some authority figure "no thanks, no pitocin for us". My sister Mari and sister in-law Gaudy are my top picks for the job since they're both tough nuggets and are great photographers. They're also good in a crisis and level headed. Unlike my mother...
We went on a tour of the hospital three weeks ago and were very pleased with the majority of what we learned. It was really important to me to know where we'd be parking and where we'd be going once I was in labor was part of the whole "knowledge is power". First off they gave us a hilarious maternity fast pass which is in my wallet now and when I go into labor, lets admitting know that I'm pre-registered and to whisk me to labor & delivery when the time comes. I was glad to learn of the steps in the process. First, depending on what time it is when we arrive I'll either report to admitting or labor and delivery. Admitting is a quick stop and then L&D is where the fun stuff happens. They put you into triage where they check if you're really in labor and if you are then you're "admitted" and they put you in the gown thing and put some monitors on you. This is the shitty part. They want you tied up to a fetal monitor the whole time and there's a 6' range on the dang thing. None of that magical moving around that Ina May recommends to help labor move along. The head nurse said if things are fine with the kid and they feel okay, they'll take you off it for minutes at a time and yeah, I get it's important to make sure the baby is fine but tied up the whole time? Does not sound fun nor productive, sounds more like crowd control. Look here mom, just lay down and shut up. Anyway, then you labor and you have the baby and they take you up to the 4th floor to recover.
Of the concerns I had they answered them right away in the introduction. It is hospital policy that they give you the baby right away, skin to skin, so you heat it up with your body which was the most important thing to me. After carrying her around for months and watching her move my body into strange shapes and occupying my brain since hearing she was coming, you best believe I want to hold her as soon as I meet her. They also have a policy that the baby is never away from the mom so any weighing or testing happens in the room. I'm allowed a total of three people in the room with me at any time during the labor and then a max of two at a time when I'm in the recovery room. It'll be Matt, my sister Mari, and Gaudy with me during labor which luckily I learned my mother had zero interest in participating in. She wants to come see me during sure but not at the pushing part. I kinda had a feeling that she didn't from the fact that she didn't seem keen on that with my other sisters and told me that she just doesn't want to see us in pain like that, it would be too hard and it's a sentiment she shared with my late grandma. Anyway, during the labor part the girls will probably switch off with my mom, dad, and in-laws but when push comes to uh, push, it'll be my trio team. I wanna get out of the hospital as soon as possible which has to be a minimum of 24 hours and don't wanna have too many visitors there, just close friends and my immediate family. Everyone else would be better left to visit us when we're home. Plus that recovery room is so tiny, it's genius they engineered it that way, less appealing for crowds. Oh, the labor room is private with it's own bathroom as is the recovery room and as I expected from the video, there is a giant Mr. Stork greeting you as you arrive at L&D and Dumbo artwork lines the walls of the corridor. The hospital is not only across the street from the Walt Disney Company but has been and continues to be sponsored by Walt Disney and his family.
I feel pretty good about the decision. I know that most likely nothing will go wrong and it will be a normal birth but for those off chances when something like a placental abruption and you already being in a hospital and easily rushed to the OR to save the life of you and your baby or your baby inhaling miconium and rushed to the NICU to save its life, well, that was enough to make me decide one way or the other. I'm gonna do what I can to do it the way women have been doing it for millennia without drugs or modern interferences and reading Ina May's book is so empowering and such a good reminder that we women are made for this. My plan is to labor at home as long as possible before we go to the hospital so I can move things along naturally before the big finish.
Because of my scare with this girl coming early the bag is packed and ready to go. Maybe the next baby will be born at home but this girl and I are meeting for the first time in a hospital.