Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rule #136: Some thoughts just need to be said

There seems to be a rise in home births lately, and it's been on my mind a lot. I have a lot of dear friends and family that have chosen this option. I won't lie, it stresses me out every time. Most of them know I am concerned about the risks, and I usually choose to express myself once, consider them informed and then hope and pray that things go well.

I came across a blog the other day that I haven't been able to stop thinking about. She had a home birth, things did not go perfectly, her baby did not die or have brain damage (which is what I usually see at my work) but her health was in danger after the birth. On her blog she talked about not wanting to be the poster girl for NOT having a home birth. That because of bad luck and some bad choices on the midwives part, her home birth did not go well.

That's it right there.

That is why those of us who are concerned about home births are, well, concerned about home births. You can have a low risk pregnancy and because of bad luck or bad choices from well intentioned midwives, things can go badly. Her life was in danger. I'm glad her child's life wasn't also.

What has stuck with me the most was a statement I've been hearing a lot lately. They are trusting that a woman's body is designed to give birth and that they have faith in that design. Well so do I. It is miraculous what God designed a woman's body to do. To create and grow life, and then to deliver it into the world. That's remarkable. A woman is given so much power to fulfill this destiny. What I disagree with is that you can't be that powerful in a hospital. You can trust in God's plan and have faith that your body was MEANT to do this wonderful thing, in a setting with knowledge, and more importantly, with equipment able to help if heaven help us, things go wrong. The building does not take away your God given power to deliver a child.

Hospitals have come along way to allow women to be in control of their labor experience. You can have your midwife or your doula, your water birth, hypnobirth or birthing ball, you can squat on the floor if that's what gets you through. But they are there. For the unfortunate bad luck moments.

I'm tired of medicine being the bad guy. We should all be grateful. The death rate has gone down for a reason. I firmly believe that God led man to discover modern medicine. That being said, I think people also need to allow their bodies to do what they do more often than trying to control their bodies. Ie: elective inductions for convenience. Inductions for health reasons do not apply, but inducing at 38 weeks is just unnecessary. The chance of having a c-section after elective induction is higher than after spontaneous labor.

I hesitate to post this. I don't want to appear judgemental or create a forum for hateful comments that so often follow such an emotionally charged topic. But it's been on my mind. A lot. The topic of home births is everywhere I look. Because I work so closely with the bad luck/bad choice moments, I felt compelled to say my piece.

I strongly support natural labors of all forms in a hospital. (or epidurals if that's your cup of is mine) :) While I would prefer all women deliver in a hospital if it is available to them, I understand that is unrealistic. So I would caution this: PLEASE research your midwife. Please make sure she is certified. While she might not have the equipment I would desire, she will have more knowledge, to recognize when the labor is no longer safe for home.

I wish that all babies were born healthy, without incident, in the miraculous way they were designed to be brought into this world. I wish that no one had to experience bad luck when it comes to their child. But most of all, for those that choose to deliver at home, I really really hope that you DON'T get unlucky. My heart breaks at the thought of it.