Tuesday, December 4, 2007

baby steps

Dave and I have quietly started talking about home birth. So far, we've told my brother and my dad and step-mom, along with a few friends. The next frontier is my in-laws, and my mother and sister will be the final challenge. So far, I've been surprised. Friends have been mostly supportive, and family is trying to understand before they disapprove. The most important thing has been to reassure everyone that Dave and I would never, not ever, not under any circumstance, put either me or the baby in any risk. Once they hear that, everyone breathes a big sigh of relief as if there were every any question. I believe and research has shown that the risks are the same for home or hospital birth. About 10% of our midwives' patients transfer to the hospital, and most often the reason is dehydration and exhaustion of the mother, not because the baby is any danger.

People try to trip me up, throwing what-if's out there. What if you go past 42 weeks? What if the baby is breech? What if the baby is in distress? Well then for heavens sake people, we'd go to the hospital. Though I haven't driven it with a stop watch in hand, we live about 10 minutes from our chosen hospital. The midwives that we hired have the same level of training as the clinic midwife that we see, and a heck of a lot of experience under their belts. There are many things we can do to prevent problems - eating a protein rich diet has been shown to reduce the occurrence of preeclampsia. Being prepared for the birth, keeping up fluids and eating during the labor should ward off exhaustion (depending on how long the labor goes). I do exercises daily that will help get the baby into an ideal position. Beyond that, I have to leave it up to fate. Somethings remain unknown, and I know that I'm doing the best I can to have the best birth I can.

I think some folks find it a little strange that I began actively preparing mind and body for the birth 3 months ago - but it's the most important part! The whole pregnancy is leading up to this monumental occasion where we get to meet our child, so of course I want to be prepared for it. If I can help it, I'd like to avoid going to a hospital, just as I would want to avoid having a cesarean. If it's necessary, however, I wouldn't hesitate to put myself in that situation, especially if the baby is in any danger. I want to avoid a medical induction, but if I have high blood pressure and there is a medical reason to induce, then of course I would go for it. Planning a home birth isn't as wacky as it sounds, and the more information one has, the more reasonable it seems. It's been fun to share all of the knowledge that we have about this with others. I can't control how the labor and birth go, but I can do everything in my power to prepare for it. I think it's going to be pretty exciting. The most important thing, of course, is that we end up with a health baby and momma at the end. The rest is incidental.

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