Whew, I really ticked off a few people with my blog last week about breastfeeding modestly. Most readers appreciated the concept of “middle ground,” neither hiding under a tent nor full-on exposure, there were a few readers who found my attitude shameful. It seems pulling the boys’ perspective into this was a bad plan. What can I say?
As a labor and delivery nurse in Illinois, Courtney Gustin, 30, has helped bring many babies into the world. But during her pregnancy with her third child last year, she decided to give birth at home. “Working in the hospital, I saw so many things that were harmful to women and babies, including unnecessary labor inductions and Cesarean sections, as well as a lack of regard for women’s desire not to be separated from their babies after they are born,” Gustin says.
Let me ask you a question. Is there any purpose to labor pain or is it just the “curse of Eve?” Could it be that one of the reasons why most women find labor so dang painful is because it forces us to trust others to help us?
Last week, my niece was born. She was born at home, in a birthing tub, surrounded by midwives, doulas and family. When we heard she was here we were quiet more than jubilant. Somehow, knowing our niece had been born, and knowing--as we now know--what childbirth and childrearing entail, we weren’t in cigar-smoking, champagne-popping mode. Happy, yes. Delighted to have a new niece, relieved and happy and proud to know the home birth had gone well. And….pensive.
Eager to avoid medical interventions such as an induction or a Cesarean section, more women are choosing to give birth at home, often with the help of a midwife. Champions of the practice—including actress Ricki Lake, who documented her own home birth in the 2008 film The Business of Being Born—argue that for many healthy women at low risk for delivery complications, it’s a smart choice.
Former TV host Ricki Lake’s older son, Milo, was born 12 years ago in a New York City hospital. “After so many months of preparation . . . I was never in control. I had wanted to feel everything, but all I remembered of labor was fear and panic,” she writes in the preface to Your Best Birth. Shortly thereafter, Lake became a self-described birth junkie; and five years later her second son, Owen, was delivered at home, in water, by a midwife. “I chose to go against much of the advice given to me and did what I wanted, and it turned out even better than I expected,” she writes.
I recently watched clips from a show called “The Doctors” where four physicians discuss health-related current events. Ricki Lake, talk show host and co-author of Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience, was a guest panelist. The topic was home birth. The show’s OB/GYN, Dr. Lisa Masterson, MD, works at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and trained at USC Medical Center. Hey, that’s where I went to nursing school. She says she’s seen thousands of births. Me, too! Dr.
There are a few issues I'd like to address here. First off, any doctor who laughs at you should be fired. Period. Now for the next issue: Yes, home birth can be a safe experience as long as you meet certain criteria: You must be in good health and carrying only one baby, with that baby in the vertex (head-down) position; you must have had no previous uterine surgery, such as a Cesarean section; and you must be ready to be an active partner in your labor experience.
A majority of people in the U.S. think "hospital" when talking about giving birth to a baby. However, home births are gaining in popularity, even in cramped Manhattan, The New York Times reports. A growing number of moms-to-be without medical problems have been choosing to stay in their familiar surroundings of home with the goal of giving birth without any medical interventions (but with a certified nurse midwife on hand for assistance, of course).
"I was happy to be in my own bed. But let's face it: Birth without drugs sucks." —Mardi Douglass, Seattle