Thursday, March 17, 2011

Home Birth vs. Hospital Birth

As it gets closer and closer to my due date we are starting to get things in order.  At some point I have to pull out the infant clothes and wash the tiny diapers. It might be a good idea to order some more snappis, too.  I’ve paid the deposit to our doula. At my next appointment my doctor wants to check my cervix for changes. Baby has dropped. Significantly. 

As we are looking how quickly this is all approaching we are at a point where the “where” of the whole thing is looming before us. And honestly I’m torn. The midwife we’ve chosen is wonderful. But she lives an hour and a half away. North of Seattle, without traffic. Which is fine if I have the good sense to go into labor around midnight.  But truthfully it’s not a big deal when it’s someone I trust and have faith in their experience. Not like I have a plethora of options either. I’ve talked to other midwives and while I’m sure that they’re fine, I haven’t quite gotten that “feeling” with them that I have with her. So I’m willing to accept the travel time and even the possibility of an accidental “unassisted” birth. My doula has been with laboring women almost as long as I’ve been alive so I don’t feel like I would be alone.

I have been adamant that I wanted to have this baby at home. I want to crawl into my bed and pull the covers up and snuggle my husband and our new baby and all my girls all at the same time. I want the sights/sounds/smells of my own home and relax in the familiarity of it all. I want my house and my family all together.

Or do I?

I reluctantly took the hospital tour.  St. Elizabeth’s is a wonderful, brand spanking new, hospital. I’m pretty sure they’re still walking around taking that plastic film-y stuff off of the electronics. They are supportive of natural birth and have never had a ban on VBAC. My doctor lives in town. All things considered it’s really rather nice.  When I was there the nurses were very sweet.  I asked what the average stay was and she said “24-48 hours, depending on your doctor. I know if I had four other kids at home I’d enjoy the quiet time!”. It was cute and jovial and with no malice in it.  I kind of laughed her off and thought of this blissful picture I had of us all puppy piled in my bed while my birth team puttered around the house. 

But the last couple weeks have been rough. I keep hearing that nurse in my head. How nice would it be? Just a day. Maybe two. Just me and Georgiana and Doug. Other people to bring me stuff.  Not feeling like I had to get up and do anything. Time to sleep and nurse and just love on my newest daughter.  Let’s face it, this house and this family are my whole world. This is my stress and my joy. My accomplishments and my failures.  I feel guilty for thinking that at some point my husband might have to leave his wife and daughter and come home to sleep in an empty bed. Is it fair for me to think of this as time for myself.  I’m having a baby, not going to a spa. It’s a hospital not a resort.

On one hand I have my belief that I am having a baby, not sick, so I have no need to go to the hospital.  I have had four children already and two VBACs I can look back and be proud of.  I don’t need to go to the hospital. But am I standing on principle only in this decision? I trust my doctor to be understanding of my desires and to follow my birth plan. I don’t anticipate a fight against interventions. I trust my body to do what it is designed to do. It doesn’t matter if I am at home, in a hospital or on the moon – I am having this baby. Am I looking for a home birth to simply be able to say that I have fought the system and have done it? Malpractice and insurance policies and social conformity be damned? I just don’t know. At this point I think I’m just a crazy person and should probably be committed. (Preferably somewhere sunny, sandy and with a pretty Jose to bring me umbrella drinks.) I don’t have the traumatic c-section stories that I hear. I don’t have a panic-inducing distrust of hospitals as a whole. My c-section was 100% necessary and life saving for Allie. I don’t need to heal from that experience, like so many women I have come in contact with.  My VBAC with Jane was handled horribly and dangerously but we both came out just fine.  I can even put a funny spin on it when necessary.  My VBAC with Fiona was awesome and empowering and while there are a couple things that weren’t “perfect” they aren’t things that I hold any real animosity because of. Could it have been easier? Absolutely. Am I scared or afraid because of what happened? No. I pushed that 9lb 7oz baby out of my vagina without drugs and with limited interventions. I did it and I have that to hold dear.  I don’t live in an area where I will have to fight for every natural, intervention-free moment.  I have support and love that will surround me.

Financially we will come out about the same. It’s either in cash up front to the midwife or in payments to the hospital because of our deductible. Either way the money is spent. It’s just a matter of who I write the check to.

Honestly as I write this I feel like I’m leaning more towards the hospital. That day or so break sounds good. I know what I am like and the responsibility of the house and the family weighs on me.   My mom will be here to visit with the girls and help.  I just don’t know. I guess we’ll wait and see. 

Does anyone have any thoughts?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Maternity Pictures

I am just stunned by how beautiful these came out.  Thank you Feather for all the hard work you've put into these.  You've captured everything just beautifully!
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Surprising Affirmation

Doug and I went to dinner on Saturday with a friend to meet his new girlfriend.  I was a little apprehensive to say the least. Here I am, 34 weeks pregnant, big as a house, and not feeling my best.  All I know about this woman is basically how gorgeous she is.  I know Jason’s standards, and let’s just say, Jason and I would never date. He’s a great guy, but I know I wouldn’t make the cut. Hell, I don’t know anyone that would. Knowing this is a little daunting.  So I did my makeup as good as I could manage. I bought a new outfit. I had to ice my ankles to get my sausage feet into my shoes. I heaved myself into the car, took a deep breath and braced myself.

I was right about one thing. Beautiful is probably how she wakes up and then we go from there. Tall, skinny and gorgeous (even Doug noticed – and for me to see him notice means he really noticed. He did have the good sense to down-play it though).  In shoes I would love if my swollen ankles could support me in them. The real kicker was how absolutely nice she was. I mean really nice. Genuinely make-your-teeth-hurt nice! We actually have the same home town and know a lot of the same places so that helped. The whole night was easy and fun.  It’s been a long time since I’ve met someone who knew and understood the awesomeness that is dry cleaned jeans. (If you’ve never worn dry cleaned jeans, you’re totally missing out)

Here’s the surprising part. When talking about the girls and being home I wasn’t really self conscious about it. While being home with the girls was an easy decision it’s one that I frequently feel the need to defend. I don’t have a career. I’ve never had a career.  I’ve been a wife and a mother before I graduated from high school. I’ve been married for 15 years (cumulative).  While I have worked form time to time it’s not something I’ve dedicated a lot of time to.  I see the detriment to it sometimes. When I know that it wouldn’t be worth it financially for me to go back to work. I watch my friends get degrees and promotions that I may never see. It can be hard. Sometimes it feels like the working world is passing me by. But I look at what I do and am proud of my children. I am proud of my family and my husband. I am proud of the part I play in helping it all run as smoothly as possible. I’m not always good at it but I do try.  Lately most days are harder than I like, but I’m secure in my choice.  I don’t know what it was about Saturday that clicked. I wish I could figure it out and hold onto it. Because truthfully I’m not feeling as secure today as I did then. But it was a good feeling. It was good to not feel as if I was some frumpy housewife. It was good to feel like I was actually contributing something to someone. 

It’s good to have those days. And I’m glad to have had that time. To eat a good meal, to have great conversation and camaraderie and to feel like a grown up (and not just a mom) for a brief amount of time was what I needed.