On the heels of a 21 hour birth with a client, my longest yet (and also finally a birth that counts as my last birth for certification! yay!), I am going to share some thoughts.
Here are a few things about Hospitals Births that solidify my desire to have a Home Birth:
1. I HATE directed pushing. Hate it. You do not need to be told when and how long and how strong to push in order for your baby to come. You also do not need to "know" that you are 10 cm and then be "allowed" to push. You will know when it is time to push. You will feel the urge!
I think women push much more effectively when they follow their bodies. They breathe more than they do with directed pushing, which gets more oxygen to the baby and themselves. They do not push so hard that they are not letting their perineum tissue stretch, and so they tear less. They tend to push in more effective positions, especially if they are not in a hospital confined to the bed (which is more convenient for the doctor).
I told my client recently who was experiencing a nurse who was telling her not to push during a strong pushing contraction because she had to "give the baby a rest, she's having her head compressed a lot," that this was HER show. She needs to push and breathe when she feels it is right.
2. Monitors. Constantly attached and tethered, constantly beeping and squeezing, constantly readjusted. I think they are so freaking obnoxious. They also haven't been shown to identify and prevent what they are "supposed" to (see my post Where's the Evidence Based Medicine?) How can I labor effectively if I am so profoundly irritated?
I don't think the blood pressure cuff, thermometers, contraction monitors, heart rate monitors, etc etc really help my baby have a safer labor and delivery. I think they hinder that which creates a healthy birth, namely, a mother who is at peace and as comfortable as possible, a mother who can get up and more around and be in any position she likes, a mother who doesn't feel encumbered or worried.
3. Not being able to eat or drink whatever I want. Again, there is no evidence that eating and drinking during labor is bad, but its certainly true that not being able to eat or drink lowers your energy level and also makes your labor unpleasant. I'd much rather eat and drink what I want for energy than be attached to a painful IV.
I also think its ridiculous that we withhold such a thing from a laboring woman. Its like its some power trip to be able to control their eating (and their peeing, too, if mom has to have a urinary catheter). All part of the Rite of Passage (see: Robbie Davis-Floyd).
4. People telling me where and how and in what position I can labor/birth. Uh uh, no. I am going to labor how I damn well please. I am not going to stay still in that bed just so YOU and the hospital record room can have a "nice strip on the monitor." I am not going to lay here and suffer pain that would be alleviated by moving or a hot shower just so you can fill in your charts with my blood pressure. That's bullshit.
I'm also going to push in whatever position feels the most comfortable for me. I don't care if its hard for you to catch the baby that way - I don't actually need you! I can catch my own baby! Or my husband can do it! One does not need a medical degree to catch a baby. That baby is coming whether we like it or not, and its coming in whatever position I choose at that moment.
5. The hospital atmosphere. Strange smells, weird sounds, the fact that hospitals are full of illnesses and germs, and being in someone else's territory. I've never liked the sterilization smells of doctors offices and hospitals. They just remind me of being sick and uncomfortable. I don't think I could fully relax in an atmosphere where people can come and go as they please, touch me and tell me what to do whenever they please, and me and my family have to "ask" to be able to do things or go places. I also don't want to feel embarrassed during my labor, and I don't want people there that I don't know. That atmosphere can stall a labor, and I've seen it happen.
I should emphasize, also, that all of these things also solidify my decision to have a home birth because I want a natural birth. If you want a natural birth, STAY OUT OF THE HOSPITAL.
What about you, what do you think? Other than the "safety" or "fear" aspect of the hospital vs. home birth debate, tell me what prompted you to make the decision you did!