Some thoughts on home birth

I was actually very interested in home birth. I devoured Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth. I felt and still feel to a degree that home birth is a great option for many and that birth IS over-medicalised for the majority. While many studies find that it’s safe, after my personal experience, I have to reconsider my viewpoint.

There is no doubt, if I’d given birth at home, my son probably would have died. It’s horrific to think about, but it’s true. He wasn’t breathing properly within 45 mins of birth, and without having access to the special care nursery, he probably wouldn’t have made it, waiting for an ambulance to get to the hospital.

My experience of birth and the first few days of motherhood was nothing like I imagined. I expected it to be tough, for there to be pain and while I wanted to avoid intervention and pain-relieving drugs, it didn’t work out that way. Far beyond being unhappy about it, I’m actually really grateful. I know in my case, the intervention saved my son’s life and meant he’s here, sleeping on my chest in the carrier while I type this.

As a healthy, 31 year old woman, I really didn’t expect to have problems in pregnancy. Neither did my obstetrician. She called me a few days after the birth when we were onto our third hospital, the Royal Children’s hospital in Melbourne, and she was astonished by how things had played out. No one could understand why this had happened, and to be honest, we still don’t really know why. It’s difficult to accept that it may just be the luck of the draw.

Now with a four month old, I’m thinking ahead to the future, of more children. I’d previously said if my first birth went well, I might consider a home birth or birth centre (though they are few and far between). However, I recognise that one of my most important roles now is to look after my children and protect them from harm.  So I know it will never be an option for me. I feel a little jealous of other women who have had easier experiences, where nothing has gone wrong. And sad that I can’t give birth the way I’d like to.

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