Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This too shall pass ... (not an MBA post)

Honestly, it's been a very hard 2 weeks, which is to be expected. But hard for reasons I had not expected. Not to get too personal, but breastfeeding has been excrutiating. It's made childbirth seem painless in comparison. And 2 weeks of 24/7 pain takes a toll on a woman, especially when it comes on the heels of giving birth and hauling around a small human being in one's abdomen for 9 months. But if there's anything I am, it's very very stubborn, so I'm not giving up. And Baby Y is so lovely and fascinating that it helps make up for the pain. But there have been many tears on my part. And I've just had to comfort myself with the idea that someday it will be easier and someday this current challenge will be but a faint memory. And I do think things are getting easier already. I had a relatively pain-free day yesterday which really lifted my spirits.

I also wanted to post a few thoughts on doing a home birth. Most people think we are crazy or incredibly brave to do such a thing. But a home birth is neither crazy nor brave. First, I believe you can only do a home birth if you are a low-risk pregnancy. (Or I should say, a certified nurse midwife is only allowed to assist your birth if you are low-risk and stay within certain health parameters during labor. Technically, anyone could give birth anywhere.) If you've got existing issues or issues develop during labor, to the hospital with you. (Can't even do a birth center.) Second, the only thing we were missing at home was the possibility of a caesarean or an epidural. A home birth, if properly assisted, is not about crouching in the bathroom with a basin. I had two midwives with master's degrees in nursing (always go with a CNM) who brought a full medical arsenal with them and were monitoring the baby's heartbeat constantly through out labor. They had all the equipment that you would find at a birth center. So if you don't think having a baby at a birth center is crazy, well same goes for a home birth.

But the bottom line is that you should have your baby where you feel most comfortable, physically and psychologically. For many women, this is a hospital. For me, and others, this is at home. I didn't want to bother to figure out when to go to the hospital or sit in traffic while enduring contractions. I didn't want people I didn't know in the room where I was delivering. I didn't want the option of pain-relief to be too easily had. I wanted to look out at the mountains and water from my living room or wander into my kitchen for a glass of water if I needed. I didn't want to pack anything. (I hate packing!) I wanted to lay in my own bed when I was tired. (Those hospital beds are tiny.) And I don't regret my decision for a minute and would definitely have my next baby at home too. It was a wonderful time spent with 2 amazing women midwives and my closest friends and family. For me, welcoming a baby into the world is such a deeply intimate moment, I couldn't imagine doing that somewhere strange and unfamiliar. I wanted to be somewhere familiar, surrounded by familiar faces. The birth was really hard (stuck at 9.5 cm for 9 hours, unable to keep any food or liquid down for the final 13 hours) and, although it may sound surprising, I don't know that I could have gotten through it as well in a hospital. To keep my strength, I needed to be somewhere that felt safe and known and to remind me of my life and self not in labor. And for me that was at home.

I know this puts me a bit on the fringe, I'm used to that, but hopefully it might actually be useful to someone who might like to do a home birth but didn't know it was a sane option. My home birth plan also is related to my concerns about medical care and health insurance coverage in this country (lots of money spent on a few people), but I should probably save that rant for later. Basically, I think we overmedicalize in this country. If more women could deliver at home, that's more hospital beds for the truly needy and fewer unnecessary caseareans. (Really, 33%? That seems way too high.)

How's that for a non-MBA post?!


Iday said...

Hope u have more pain free days in the days to come. Take care :)

and yeah, a big HI to baby Y :D

Gabriel said...

Wow, an impressive post. Thanks for sharing all those thoughts and feelings :)

Anonymous said...

Are your initials:

JS ?