Once upon a time, I thought home birth was just for hippies. In my mind's eye, home birth was for crunchy, granola mamas who sported dreads and flowy skirts; women who enjoyed nude sunbathing and the Grateful Dead and who were in touch with their chakras. This vision was absolutely and unequivocally not me. I like clothes—and not being nude—and I still don't even know what the hell a chakra is.
But then it happened. Through a series of events, I ended up having my second child in a tub of water in my bedroom. Truth be told, I was just as surprised as anyone else that I did it. Aside from not fitting the home-birth stereotype I had conjured up in my head, I am also a HUGE pain wuss. I'm not even kidding. Sometimes even now, I'll stub my toe or something and be whining like a 2-year-old about it and my husband will say, "I honestly have no idea how you ever gave birth with no drugs." Yeah. Me neither.
But, here are some reasons why home birth was a good fit for my non-hippie-self:
1. I loathe hospitals
I hate (seriously loathe) hospitals. Everything about them feels so impersonal and sterile and it stresses me out. I spent the first 18 weeks of my first pregnancy receiving care at a hospital because we were on an HMO plan that didn't allow us to choose where I gave birth and it was miserable. They buzzed me into my appointments with a pager like the ones you get at the Olive Garden and always rushed through my questions, because duh, I'm not the first person on the planet to ever get pregnant. I know not every hospital experience is like this, but this was my only other option and it made me feel like cattle being shuffled through.
Being able to choose the people who would be with me during labor was incredibly important for me. At the hospital, the person you get is usually a crap shoot. It basically just comes down to which doctor or midwife is on-call when you go into labor. It could've been someone awesome, but it also could've been someone I wanted to choke out — not a best-case scenario. I wanted to be able to choose people that I knew and trusted. So I did. And it was wonderful. I felt comfortable, safe and respected throughout my entire pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum.
3. I hate needles
I know there are a lot of women who "want the drugs right now!" but apparently I'm an anomaly. As nervous as I was for natural birth, I was way more nervous about having a doctor poke me with a gigantic needle. #Priorities.
When giving birth, I truly believe that the most important thing you can do to help things go smoothly is to be in a comfortable environment.
4. I didn't have to get in the car
I learned with my first child, that being in the car during labor is pretty much torture. Every bump and red light made me want to cuss at baby kittens and punch my chauffeur husband in the face. Home birth = not having to get in the car = awesome.
5. No one bugged me when I was trying to sleep
Though I've never actually given birth in a traditional hospital setting (my first birth was at a birthing center), I've heard from many a friend who has that doctors and nurses basically come and go in and out of your room as they please. There are a lot of other mamas and babies who need care at a hospital, so the staff has to come in to take tests when they can. Not so at home. That first night of sleep with a newborn is so blissful. You are both exhausted from all the hard work you just did, and at home there was no one to bug us or wake us up from such lovely sleep.
6. I got to eat whatever I damn well pleased
While I have heard that some hospitals do have pretty decent cuisine, I know it's not usually the case, and for the most part doctors will discourage eating in the event that a C-section becomes necessary. I get it. Better safe than sorry. But I loved not having to worry about it at home and being able to eat whatever I felt like having.
7. I didn't have to wear a gown someone else died in
I mean, clearly this wasn't a top reason for choosing a home birth but, come on, you can't tell me the thought never crossed your mind.
When giving birth, I truly believe that the most important thing you can do to help things go smoothly is to be in a comfortable environment. And as it turns out, home is my favorite place to be. I got to labor in my own comfortable environment, with my own bed, my own food, and my own people. There was no one else screaming obscenities while in labor down the hall and no one coming to put their hands in my vajay every five seconds to "check my progress." Just peace and quiet in my own space ... and all of my lipstick options available for touch-ups, because a non-hippie still wants to feel pretty during labor. Also, all of my postnatal appointments took place in my living room. No hobbling to the doctor's office for a 3-days-post-birth appointment with my lady bits still swollen to high heaven. Praise the Lord and hallelujah!