Over the course of the last eight months or so, as my wife has progressed through her pregnancy as gracefully and stoically as any woman can, given the fact that she’s hauling around a bambino bowling ball everywhere she goes, 24/7, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the many differences between having a kid in a hospital versus welcoming one in the comfort of your own home.
The entire discussion is a controversial one, of course. As we have been quick to pick up on, the champions of either style of baby delivery are almost militant in their opinions as their willingness to express them.
Still, having made up our minds to experience a home birth long ago, lately, I have been spending most of my time pondering what it is exactly that I am so excited about when it comes to the whole baby-born-in-our bedroom thing.
As a dad awaiting his third child/second son, it has occurred to me that, beyond the naturalness of our choice, and beyond the research that helped us arrive at this point in our lives, there are also a lot of little things about choosing home birth that really excite and attract me. And my wife, too.
So, I thought it might be cool to share a few with you.
They are “sidebar things” really, not the first stuff you think of when you are considering birthing at home. But now that they have snuck up on me and I recognize them as options and possibilities, I have to say: I’m really, really looking forward to this impending delivery day in a lot of unexpctedly cool ways.
1. Anyway She Wants It: I love the fact that, after a long and arduous pregnancy, my wife, Monica, will be able to not only experience a natural labor unlike she experienced with the medically-induced births of our other two kids, but she’ll also be able to direct the show, so to speak.
The realization, for a pregnant woman, that you aren’t an underling at the beck-and-call and direction of a host of nurses and doctors who want you to do exactly what they tell you to do is a pretty liberating one, I suspect. This time around, my wife will be able to walk around if she feels like it. Or she can take a dip in a birthing pool if she wants. She can roll out to the kitchen and have something to eat, or she can sit on the couch and watch a movie, or she can even tell our midwife to get lost while we attempt to utilize the ancient method of “getting frisky” to encourage a baby to get the show on the road.
2. The Vibe: Obviously, most hospitals will allow you to keep the blinds shut in the room when you’re in there to have a baby. And if you want them raised wide open, well, they’re typically OK with that, too. But beyond those kinds of things, you don’t always have the liberty to control the vibe in a hospital delivery room.
That’s not the case in your own home.
Monica and I have been having animated discussions about the vibe she might want to create in the bedroom and our bathroom and even throughout the house when the big day arrives, and it has been something that has made us pretty excited at times.
Candles, music, dark intimate rooms… man, the way we are looking at our home birth is such a turn-on that we could very possibly end up having another baby precisely nine months to the day after this one arrives, if you know what I’m saying.
3. Less is More: The idea of experiencing childbirth in a hospital is the only way to imagine it for lots of first-time moms and dads, and I understand that. It’s been ingrained in us, socially, that it is the only way to do it safely and effectively.
But, after two birth experiences in hospitals, I believe I can honestly say that the circus-like atmosphere that occurs in a lot delivery rooms can be a real turn-off, and maybe even an impediment, for a woman in labor. There is nothing peaceful or tranquil about it, really. There are people coming in and out all of the time, and the notion of being alone with your thoughts and your energy and the one or two people you love and trust and want to share the birth with, all of that is blown to bits by the constant barrage of monitoring nurses and physicians and other assorted absolute strangers.
Look, some women feel safer or more secure that way and that’s totally fine. But after two births, I know that we are seriously anticipating a labor how the MOM wants it: just Monica, me, and our midwife and her assistant. No new faces popping in every six minutes to check a box on a chart or whatever. Just a cast of four, from Act 1 until the grand finale, when we will be joined by one additional tiny star who will be taking the stage for his big debut!
4. Connection: I’m sure it isn’t the first thing on anyone’s mind when they think about having a baby and all, but truth be told, the actual labor and arrival of a child into this world is a magnificent opportunity for the two people who created him or her to cash in on the kind of bonding that happens across the course of that special day, maybe even across just a few hours, but that perseveres and lasts for the rest of a lifetime.
Looking back on my life, I have had some pretty damn cool experiences with some insanely impressive people, but even so, nothing has even come close to matching the two days when my daughter and my son were born. I still feel like every single incidental glance that we exchanged during Monica’s labors, and every single time we held hands or laughed out loud or rubbed feet (OK, I never got my feet rubbed) or just lay there beside each other on the same bed, breathing quietly, knowing that we were in for something so magical and powerful that it was impossible to even get our heads around the child we were about to meet, I still feel like those were some of the greatest moments in my life, hands down. She became tattooed on my guts and my soul after we went through what we went through together.
And, in my mind, doing it all of this at home will only serve us even better in that light.
5. Wine: Before you hasten to judge me on this one, let me just say two things.
First off, the wine is for me, the dad, a guy who seriously loves his kids and his wife and is ultra-excited to welcome a baby into this world in the same old and ancient way that he likes to welcome all sorts of good things into his life: with a glass or two of Rioja or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Secondly, if, by chance,you are the type of person who kind of steps back in horror at the mere mention or idea of someone sipping an adult beverage while a baby is being born, let me just say this much.
Go to the hospital.
That’s the way they do things over there; no mood lighting, no serenity, no intimacy, and no wine.
Nothing wrong with that if that’s your thing, but it ain’t mine.
And, come to think of it, in a lot of ways, I guess that’s why she and I keep ending up making babies, huh?
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