“What hospital are you going to?”
People ask me this question almost immediately after they see I am pregnant. (8 1/2 months pregnant!) I usually respond with a lie, stating that I will be going to my “back up hospital,” which is one of two excellent hospitals in my area. I don’t want to deal with peoples’ thoughts or opinions about my choices.
I think I will be more vocal once I have my labor and birth, but since before I was pregnant, I have been very deliberate about my choices for my pregnancy. I know that, in the United States, home births are “controversial.” But all of my research (studying both sides of the aisle) have pointed me towards letting my body take control rather than giving my birth over to nurses and doctors.
Here are some basic reasons why I will have a home birth:
1. Birth is not an emergency. If I need to be transferred (my midwives have a 10% transfer rate and a 3% cesarean rate) because there are extra-ordinary circumstances, then I would welcome going to one of the best hospitals in the nation, just 20 minutes away. But the majority of births don’t need hospitals and medical equipment; birth is a natural and normal process.
2. The US ranks 28th among industrialized nations for healthy births, at 7.0 infant deaths per 1000 births. Home births are associated with lower rates of electronicfetal monitoring (9.6% versus 84.3%), episiotomy (2.1% versus33.0%), cesarean section (3.7% versus 31.8% in 2007), and vacuum extraction(0.6% versus 5.5%).
3. I want to be able to move around, eat and drink as I please, and be in different positions that support gravity during my labor and not be tied to a bed because of a glucose IV (unnecessary) and an Electronic Fetal Monitor (also unnecessary for most low-risk pregnancies).
4. Progression will be on my time and no one else’s. I want my body to be comfortable, aka, let the spincter reflex take its course.
5. I do not want my baby’s first breaths to be filled with chaos — washing, stamping, weighing, sticking with needles full of antibiotics and Hepatitis B vaccine — I prefer to hold my baby close to my chest, help h/h become warm and begin those first precious moments with gazes and breastfeeding.
6. I do not want my baby to catch any unnecessary bacterias or viruses in a dirty hospital. Newborns can catch Staph infections and MRSA from hospitals.