Hospital proponents, in general, believe that if we just do enough, interfere enough, sacrifice our babies' health and our mental wellbeing, our breastfeeding relationships, our power and autonomy, we can have a guarantee
I don't think there are any guarantees in birth. I'm not saying that in any of my posts. I feel though that we should have a safety net that can only be provided in a hospital. Remember I'm not some pro intervention person, I was strongly HB activist, since i was 14 or so. I've been to several HB and they were beautiful births, handled well by midwives (who i believe should handle the vast majority of births).
I don't think being in a hospital reduces your risk to 0, nothing can.
I do agree that hospitals cause a lot of problems and that there are some bad bad ones that start talking about court orders and the like.
I do agree that inherently there are risks of infection, of not being listened to of emotional trauma etc in a hospital. We're on the same page about that, but it would also be dishonest of me to to stay quiet on this topic having changed my mind on the safety of homebirths. Just as I talked about how I felt home was the best place before I had the baby, now it's my responsibility to talk about how I no longer feel that. And I feel I'm betraying a sisterhood here. I really do.
I talk about an ideal place to give birth while knowing the reality in America and in many countries. Hospitals don't get paid more if the woman has a good - emotionally good - experience. They get paid per birth, the quicker the better as far as they are concerned.
Of course every woman should make her own choice, but in writing this post I simply wanted to tell my humble tale and as one of those who almost didn't make it, let you know that when you hear those sentences from a midwife about 'you can transfer, we can handle almost all emergencies (which is true)' focus on the word *most*. And ask yourself if you have an emergency that they can't handle, would you be happy with the outcome if you were at home. Would you be at peace for your family if you didn't make it. I know for me, the risk is too great and I will not birth at home this time. I very much like the suggestion of one poster who said she went to the hospital and walked around not telling anyone she was there. In fact that's probably what I'll do.. (: in the absence of my utopian set up that maybe, by the time our babies are grown, will exist.
Until then we muddle through. When you talk with old obs they will tell you that births have swung in our times to a very medicalized model and like a pendulum at some point all the interventions will be seen to have limited use. Already where I live episiotomies are not routine, stirrups and lithotomy position are largely obsolete, eating and drinking appears to be Ok (this from friends who birthed in the other major hospitals in our area. I was told not to eat and drink, but did anyway without making a big deal of it, saving my battles for things i cared about. AROM, EFM and other procedures are not proven to speed up labor in the case of the first and prevent deaths in the case of the second - according to major studies. So I suspect these may be on the way out. Scalp monitoring is fairly uncommon here, and routine IVs can be refused. These things will change over time.
Perhaps another approach would be for us who choose hospitals but want intervention free births to sign a waiver on admission, saying essentially we take responsibility for our choices and will not sue you. Then the hospital wouldn't feel they have to throw that 'protective net' (actually it isn't) of interventions at you.
I *REALLY* like the suggestion of going to the hosp, avoiding the maternity floor and just walking around until you are ready to push ..thanks to the person who suggested that. Walking feels right to me in labour and I did want to walk a lot last time once the pain had subsided. Now I need to talk my husband into it. (:
Many many people have bad things done to them in hospital, out of ignorance, out of fear, out of a feeling that 'this is right' when in fact it isn't. But I think the catastrophic events that a hospital has more chance of saving you from (more chance. NOT a guarantee) make it easy for me to feel at peace going there and massaging the system in my favor.
RE AFE- it's such a rare event, but mostly fatal. Some studies link it to induction (perhaps stronger contrax of pitocin have something to do with it). Some with mothers who have allergies or have male babies. Truth is we don't know. AFE has happened in women who had miscarriages, in women who had D&C, in women who had hospital births and in women who had homebirths. (I read about a sad case recently diagnosed after the woman died, collapsed seconds after giving birth to a healthy baby at home. Maybe she would have died in hospital too, maybe not.) It's one of those random events but with such sad outcomes most of the time that I feel it should make everyone pause and think.
I only gave 3 examples of complications, but there are others, not to mention complications with the baby that necessitate an immediate (within seconds - yup they can do one at the bedside if necessary) c section to save its life.
I agree we can't live our lives being afraid or we'd never do anything. But I wanted to write about this in case it helps and informs someone. If anything as an encouragement to prepare ourselves for birth mentally and physically as best we can, knowing ourselves, our bodies, what hospitals in our area would want to do, how we can go around the system, what is safe and unsafe. And I think HBers more than any group (maybe UC even more (: ) do that and are aware of those risks.
But sometimes on paper when you read or hear someone saying 'most routine emergencies can be handled at home' as yourself what about the non routine ones, the ones I can't predict, the ones I have a better chance of surviving if I am in a hospital. If that happens to ME, will I be comfortable (if i survive) with the consequences. And if I don't, will I be at peace that my family no longer has me. I can't tell you the flashbacks I have of slipping away. Well I can tell you. I can taste the sadness. I felt myself floating over the bed in the OR, seeing DH with his head in his hands. Struggling to get back 'down' and see DS who I had not seen yet because I was passing out.
None of us know what it's like to die. But this felt very close and it comes to me in dreams (and sometimes awake) all the time. (I'm dealing with PTSD obviously..)
The sadness I feel when I have these dreams, the sadness at seeing DH face as he contemplates a life without me and with an infant son is making me cry even now. I cannot responsibly choose to be without that safety net, even if it means I have to fight (a smallprice to pay) a little to have things my way in a hospital.
I don't want to be trite and say you can't understand unless you've been this close to death, and sadly I'm sure some of you have had experiences like this, but it's not something I can put in words very well so forgive me for not being very eloquent on this.
As to the other things that HBers favor, I'm all for that. No vit K injections, no circ, no eye ointment (if I know I don't have syphilis and other nasties.. why should I goop up the kids eyes with prophylactic ointment against it), pro breastfeeding, cloth diapers, cosleeping (we still do at almost 2), spaced out vaccinations (why overwhelm his immune system with lots of shots at once!) and only those that are necessary at that age. (Hep B (is it hep b..? it's one of the heps) you know is given immediately after birth. Hep B is sexually transmitted and it's given then because it was decide by the powers that be that everyone should get it rather than rely on the high risk people in 15 years to come in and get it.. which they prob won't. but that's a silly reason for me so we didn't do it. ) Anyway i digress..
Look if I were low risk and had a choice of ONLY a hospital that I knew would slap a court order on me for refusing interventions or a HB I'd probably take my chances with the HB. But I think most of us aren't in that situation. It's criminal that such things happen, like women in prison being shackled while giving birth.. what are they gonna do.. leap over a wall with a baby hanging out of them.. makes me angry.
I'm rambling a bit here.
I've tried to explain as coherently as possible why I feel as I do, and it's not been easy to read some things written. But please as you go about your lives bear in mind what I'm saying and I'll do the same with the things you all say. I can disagree with what you are saying but I still respect your right to say it and make your own choices. But I hope what I say gets thrown into the great mental blender as you do.