Thursday 25 January 2007

she's a maniac, maniac

I've had a few odd looks and comments when I've told people that I'm going for a home birth - and attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian), no less. I am not going to spout out any statistics about birthing at home or refute arguments that my uterus will explode if I try to push out a baby vaginally, but I will talk about my feelings on my specific situation and why this is the best choice for me. Are you bored yet? Sorry.

Before I fell pregnant with Jack, I used to joke that I wanted to be numb from the eyeballs down whenever (and if ever) I gave birth. I was convinced that I had a low tolerance for pain and why on earth do some women go without an epidural? And have babies at home away from the doctors and fancy equipment? Mad hippies. So when I did give birth to Jack, I was numb from the chest down. And it sucked. Be careful what you wish for, is my advice. The surgery itself was actually very civilised and pleasant - and I admit that part of me was very relieved to not have to go through the pain of labour and delivery. What was difficult for me was the long stay in hospital and the recovery. But you all know about that.

Fast forward to last summer, when I fell pregnant again. The plan this time was a home birth, mostly because I absolutely loathed being in hospital. The thought of being away from drugs and people with surgical skills frightened me somewhat, but I knew that a hospital transfer was easily doable if necessary. I can't say I was entirely confident about this giving birth thing, particularly as I hadn't done it before. I had no concept of the pain and the lack of progress with Jack still haunted me. Then, after I miscarried at home, I had to spend the day in hospital. When we returned home, the flashbacks and panic came thundering back. And then I really, really understood why those women gave birth at home.

Now I know the pain of contractions (although obviously not to the same extent as a full term birth), and I know that I can handle them. In a sad and terrible way, I did go through a birth at home, but I am grateful for that. Being in a familiar place, having those comforts and a large furry dog by my side made a massive difference. Had it happened the way it was supposed to the following day in hospital, I think it would have been even more traumatic.

However it happens, I'm very much looking forward to this birth. I'm excited at the thought of experiencing it, and I can't wait to get to the home stretch. I have officially become a Mad Hippy. Well, except that I brush my hair and I look really awful in paisley.

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