Friday, April 02, 2010

On home births

Yesterday, I read a note from an online friend on how she was planning to have a home birth for her first baby. While I support my friend's decision, I felt a little edgy about the whole "home birth decision" thing. Especially since I recently fixed up an essay I wrote for my deaf parenting book, which shared the story of something frightening that happened on the night my son was born.

After Jesse's birth, I spent a long time just staring at him as he slept. You parents out there know this moment: How all you can do is stare at this new miracle that is yours. This wonderful, beautiful baby that has come into the world. How can you possibly take your eyes off of someone so special? That is what it was like for me. A moment to cherish this new life who will be my very own.

Then I noticed something wrong. His sleep was disturbed by him struggling with something in his mouth or lungs. It finally dawned on me that the way he was shaking and the look of struggle on his face indicated he was choking. Alarmed, I struggled to get out of my bed and get to him as I was yelling for a nurse for help. A nurse came into the room and helped him cough up what it was he had been choking on: Water. They ended up pumping A LOT of water out of his stomach that night. I was stunned I had come so close to losing him from choking on water, and grateful I had stayed awake and watched him long enough to see this happen.

Still, I was even more grateful that we were at a hospital when it happened. They had a qualified, trained nurse there to pump the water out of his stomach.

Had I chosen to have my baby at home, without a trained medical nurse available to assist for any emergencies, who knows what could have happened.

I don't read much about home births, and I understand why many women feel it is a better option for them. At the same time, if a woman insists on having a home birth, I think it would be wise to find a way for a nurse or a doctor to be present, just in case anything goes wrong. I don't know how home births go. Hopefully, these parents are indeed making sure a nurse is present for the birth.

As for me, I prefer to give birth to my children at a hospital. With such advanced technology available for medical emergencies and trained doctors and nurses ready and willing to help anyone in need, I feel more comfortable giving birth to a child there. Of course, life laughs while we make plans, and there's always the chance a baby can end up being born inside of a car or, as recently happened last Thanksgiving, right on the floor of a kitchen. Still, it's a good idea for a doctor or nurse to be available in case an emergency happens. You never know what can happen, so it's important to be ready in case something does.


Anonymous said...

Yeah i know its trendy to have babies at home right now, but I couldnt agree with you more. My kids were both born in hospitals, and I think I would always do that especially since both my babies had complications that ended in C sections. Not that I advocate C sections, not at all, but there was no choice on them coming out of there. With both my kids I had preeclampsia and my labor was too slow and they had to get OUT. If I had been home I may not have kids.
So I would have to say hospitals are for me. I know people want to have more natural births and all that, and so for those people I'd say find a way to have a dr present and a nurse if you want to be home, fine, but even on Little House on the Prairie Doc Baker attended the birth! Ha ha

Dawn Colclasure said...

Good point, Nancy. :) I know that some of the mothers-to-be who promote home births are convinced that Western medicine is EVIL and how there's some great big conspiracy to shove as much pharmaceutical drugs into our system as they can, but these women are most often not trained medical professionals. I think that denying their new babies adequate and competent medical care upon their arrival in this world is just negligent and disappointing.