(current pregnancy with baby girl)
I've been wanting to share my personal experience with Home Birth vs Hospital Birth for quite awhile, and now is the perfect time! I am getting ready to give birth for the 2nd time and I have a lot people wondering what I'm going to do this time around. With my first pregnancy I actually experienced both..home birth AND hospital birth. Might not make sense at first but you can read my full birth story in a previous post under the "BLOG" archive. I go into detail about my experience birthing my son Harley. First time around I saw a Midwife for all prenatal care and had planned for a home birth. Long story short, I labored at home for about 50 hours and the boy would NOT come out! I transferred to the hospital and finally birthed him after another 12 hours of labor. It was an extreme 4 days!!! So what will I choose to do this time? You may be surprised by what I have planned. After I share the pros and the cons of each birthing environment I will tell you the route we are planning for this time. I'm not here to bash one way and I'm also not here to praise the other. I so truly believe one is best for some people and the other is best for other people..I also truly believe every person is different and EVERY birth is SO different. You have to be true to your motherly intuition when planning your birth and still be listening to your motherly intuition while actually birthing because things may change in the process.
Let me start by saying how much I just freaking LOVED midwifery. Experiencing prenatal care from a midwife was so beyond just medical care. A midwife not only becomes your doctor but your friend and your family. My prenatal visits with a midwife were 1 hour long vs a 10 minute appointment with a Medical Doctor. She takes the time to get to know you, and I mean really get to know YOU. NOT just your chart or your record. She knows your family, what's going on in your life, how you are feeling not just physically, but mentally. Her sessions are to check on you and the baby but also to tune into what is going on mentally and emotionally. She guides you through that aspect of pregnancy AND birth. Each visit for me was like a good therapy session..we could talk about anything. My favorite thing we spent a lot of time talking about was..birth..you know doctors don't actually talk to you about birth much at all, they expect you to learn all that elsewhere. They are strictly there to check on you and the baby for just that months or weeks visit. My midwife completely prepared me for birth. We talked birth plan, birth ideas, birth stratagies, and even her personal birth experiences. Deep down I always feared birth, it wasn't until I was introduced to the non-hospital view of birth that I became comfortable with it, and I am so thankful my midwife lead me the way she did. One last thing that is so precious about midwifery care is how they treat your baby. They talk to her, and feel her at each visit. And the baby will actually begin to recognize her voice. I believe this could be comforting for her to recognize when she comes into this world for the very first time. Midwifery also covers postpartum care in the most amazing way that beats medical doctors by a long shot. Your Midwife will come out to YOUR house and visit YOU. After you give birth you need plenty of time to heal, rest, and honestly just sit down! Running to the doctors office a few days later or even a few weeks later is difficult and not at all nessasary. Your Midwife will visit you in your home a couple days after birth and check on you AND on your baby, no need for a Pediatrician visit after a couple days. She will also return to check on you for the next couple weeks or months (if you ask) for all postpartum checks and newborn checks. This is SO AMAZING after giving birth and caring for a newborn through the first few weeks.
(Prenatal Visit with my Midwife saying hi to baby..dad is also there and dad gets to listen in)
General OB care..okay okay I really don't want to sound as though I'm bashing medical doctors, I am not. Not at all actually! But it is obvious that I did prefer prenatal care from a Midwife over the OB I saw. With my OB doctor the visits are rushed and almost feel..kinda pointless. You come in, they ask how you are, listen to babies heartbeat, and thats it. It's about a 10 minute appointment and then, see you next month..they feel very rushed like the doctor needs to move on to the next appointment as soon as she can. Which I get it, she does have to. Doctors have many patients all day long so each patient only gets a quick visit. They don't truly get to know you or anything really personal at all but are reminded of things from your chart. And this is the person who will deliver your precious baby into this world..for the very first time..and guide you through the longest, hardest marathon of your life. They also aren't "allowed" to tell you A LOT of things. They have strict protocols that even if its something they want to tell you..they cant. Examples; things about their own personal life, like their birth stories, their personal opinions on a lot of questions you have/advice, or ANY natural alternatives or remedies that could be helping you!! I say these visits are almost pointless because I don't feel they prepare you for the biggest event of your life at all. Birth is not really discussed other than a birth plan you are allowed to write down and turn in and they staple it to your chart. They're also just isn't much bonding going on with the person who again, is going to BIRTH YOUR FREAKING BABY. And to be totally honest you don't even meet with the actual doctor that many times, most appointments are done with the nurse or nurse practitioner who will not even be attending your birth. Notice I did say "almost" because of course they do have amazing medical skills and could easily find something wrong or something to be alarmed about even in a quickie appointment like that. They are truly checking up on you to make sure everything and everyone is healthy and on the right track and are very good at doing that which we all appreciate. I just loved the personal aspects of Midwifery and feeling close to the person who will be with me during labor and birth. With general medical care you will also be asked to return to the doctors office just 3 days after giving birth..JUST 3 DAYS!!!! Most mamas will not at all feel like doing this! Three days is going to feel like a flash of three seconds and you will most likely still be tired and maybe even still have some pain.
When "labor day" finally comes you ask yourself if you want to be in the comfort of your own home or the security of a hospital? Whichever way you choose, you do get to labor at home for most of the time. Laboring at home gives you the freedom to do whatever you want..go outside, go for a walk, EAT, choose the people around you, bathe, or simple be left alone. If you choose a home birth you will experience this the whole time. Now in a hospital not all of these things are "allowed". You will most certainly not be allowed to eat (they plan for everyone to need a c-section), you can not leave your assigned room, and you can only choose 2 people to bring with you, and children are definitely not allowed. Some hospitals have tubs and showers but some don't, you'll have to ask for one. If you choose a hospital birth it is possible to keep most of these opportunities open, but you must SPEAK UP!! You have to be comfortable telling the nurses and doctors exactly what you want and what you don't want. If you aren't comfortable speaking up for what you want or comfortable saying NO to a doctor, you might get stuck with a birth you didn't plan, or an intervention you didn't want and probably didn't need. My advice is to make absolute sure your partner knows what you want!!!! Prepare them to be your voice during labor. I also suggest having your birth plan and EVERY SINGLE THING you WANT or DONT WANT written down!! Make sure the nurse that checks you in gets this right away. If you stay grounded in what you want and speak up for yourself you can definitely have a pleasant hospital birth. Doctors don't want to go against your wishes and they definitely DO want you to have a positive, beautiful birth, but if you don't express yourself they will most like/y stick to protocols and most likely try to "speed up" your labor and birth. Doctors like to "get things done". In my experience at the hospital things were great!! Did you expect me to say that? Probably not but, they were! My doctor was someone who I already knew was supportive of and comfortable with natural birth, was educated on the vegan diet and way of life, and truly listened to me. I did my research and always expressed what I wanted and I got exactly that.
After baby is born is going to be very different as well. If you read my birth story you will know that I didn't get to experience having my baby be born at home. I wanted to so badly but it wasn't meant to be. If you have your baby at home, she can come into the world with the lights dimmed, soft music playing, with only few people around that she probably will recognize by their voices. You can climb right into your own bed and sleep into the night while holding her. You can have a home cooked meal in your belly minutes after birth, you can have your other children experience this love with you right away. You wont have to sign any papers, fill out any forms, change rooms, change beds, be blasted by floresent lights, have baby weighed, tested and in someone els's arms, talk to 20 nurses who you've never met before, or wait until the next meal time to get something to eat, or be woken every 2 hours throughout the night to get your blood pressure checked. I wish I could have experienced the home birth way so so much. There isn't much way around the post birth stuff. But let me share the things I did like about being in the hospital after birth before I make it sound soo horrible. I was really happy that someone was there to check on my newborn baby all throughout the first night. I did not enjoy them checking on ME but knowing that this tiny little new to the world being was being checked on by a professional for 24 hours was nice. He was my first baby and every little move he made, or sound he made I would think, "is he breathing?!?!" "Is he okay??" "Wait he's still breathing, right???" The nurses will also change all the babies diapers for you during your stay as well!! This is really helpful when it's hard for Mom to get up or out of bed after birth. Also just simply knowing your baby is seconds away from professional care is just reassuring. Again I believe mostly for first time moms with their first babies. That first night with this teeny tiny fresh being is scary, and I don't know if I would have been totally comfortable at home with no one else around for that "just in case" moment. I was exhausted and beat and had no idea what I was doing. Another thing that is nice, but only for non-vegans, they will provide you with a hot meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout your stay. If you are vegan cross that one out. They will not have vegan food for you so be prepared to bring your own. This was a bummer for us but I'll share a separate post on this with tips! And one last awesome thing about the hospital was, they sent us home with tons of baby stuff!! We got tonsss of diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets, and stuff for Mom like, pads, underwear, and washing materials (if you know-you know). In all honesty there were tons of things I did NOT like about the hospital after birth BUT in all honesty I felt secure there. I don't know if I would have felt that way at home after my first baby. Second time around would be different for sure, but your first baby is crazy, you don't what to expect at all. So in the end I was happy to be there, and of course all that mattered was that my baby made it into the world safe and sound.
So what have I chosen to do this time? After reading what I have said above you will be surprised to hear we chose to have a hospital birth this time around. I must say that I do prefer the care of a midwife and love the idea of birthing in my own home. I actually wish I could choose a home birth for my second baby, especially now that I know what to expect and have some experience. I also wish I could hire my previous Midwife as my pregnancy counselor haha!! Sadly I can't afford that and insurance won't cover both. I decided to go with a hospital birth because it will be the only way to truly allow myself to easily open and relax into each contraction throughout labor. If you have given birth before you know what I mean. You actually have to allow your body to open. If you hold back or are resistant, this can keep your baby from coming. There actually is ways to speed up labor and also ways to prolong labor. I feel as if I would have a thought in the back of mind like, "what if I have to transfer to the hospital again" "what if this time is the same as last time" "what if I cant". Not good to go into labor planning for those thoughts, but even better to avoid them all together. If I plan for a hospital birth I already know there will be no transfer, and even though things can still go wrong, it can't be the same as last time. Knowing this will help me, help my body open for baby to come out smoothly and hopefully quickly. Anything to ease the mind during labor is important as it requires complete surrender! I also was able to keep the same OB who delivered my first baby, Harley, who I already am comfortable with and already know she is completely cool with and understanding of my way of things. And how cool that she will deliver both my babies?!
There is so much more I could share about birth, home birth, natural birth, and having a natural birth in a hospital but i'll stop here for now. I would love to keep the conversation going with anyone who has questions or wants to chat. This is one of my favorite topics to talk about! Email me, message me, or leave a comment. I encourage it! I would also just love to hear that you read this post, and if you are surprised by my decision to birth in a hospital after talking up home birth so much. I'll just say you have to know yourself and know what you are comfortable with when making a decision like this. Can't wait to see what my 2nd birth has in store for me, I'm sure it will be a wild ride!
(moments after my son Harley was born, directly to my arms, at the hospital and completely happy)