We’re having a bit of a kerfuffle in the comments right now, concerning the question of home birth v. hospital birth. And I have to tell you, it’s another time in my life when I realize how amazingly lucky I am to be married to Grrl, and not to any number of previous wives or girlfriends who lack her basic good sense.
When we were preparing to have our first child, there was no debate about a hospital birth. There was no agonizing about the joys and wonders of childbirth. Grrl–rightly in my mind–saw childbirth as a job she had to do, the focus of the job being a healthy, safe baby. Nothing else was particularly interesting to her.
In direct contrast to the picture being painted by the pro-home birth advocates on this site and others, the establishment actually tried to persuade her the other way. The dangers of an epidural were duly explained. The joys of a “natural” childbirth were extolled in our preparatory classes. To all of this, the Grrl simply raised her chin and stuck with her birth plan, as worked out between her and her OB.
The birthing room was quite nice, the bed extremely comfortable, the nurses very pleasant and affable. I had a wifi connection and a bench to sleep on, she was constantly monitored for any signs of danger, helped up if she needed or wanted to walk. We were never treated in any way that was not pleasant and accommodating and respectful.
In other words, the nightmare scenario that some home-birth advocates project, where women are–apparently–strapped down to beds and force fed drugs before being C-sectioned for no reason, is not an accurate portrayal of modern medicine at a decent hospital.
It helps that Grrl works in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). She knows the kinds of things that can go wrong in a birth. She knows what can happen to a baby during a trip to a hospital, how a baby that should be fine can end up on life support, fighting lung infections in it’s first week of life. She swims in that sea.
So there was never any question of where we would be having the baby. Home birth, birthing center… these options were simply ignored. She stayed a focused, dedicated, and fierce advocate for her children.
Grrl worries, now, whether she should have gone natural. She has occasionally admitted to a tinge of regret that she was so businesslike about the whole matter. But we only have the opportunity to have that conversation, and worry about that sort of trivial detail, because we have two beautiful, healthy children. It is a luxury to be able to worry our heads about “fulfillment” or whatever, because the job of bringing the babies into the world is done.
It’s not like we could possibly love them more than we already do!