This week, I have an appointment with my midwife. At this appointment, she is expecting me to let her know what Daryl and I have chosen. It was a difficult choice, and one that I'm still not so sure that we've made.
The choice of where we will be giving birth to Evie, barring any complications that send us to the hospital. In a way, the choice is so difficult to make because our options are so incredibly similar. If we give birth at home or at the birthing center, we are the same distance away from the hospital, we need the same supplies, and I feel just as "at home" there as I do here (remember that we are not living in our own house, but in the downstairs area of Daryl's family's house.)
The biggest differences are traveling while in labor and then again with an infant who is just hours old, and the people who would be present. If we give birth at the birth center, then I would labor at home as long as I and the midwife felt comfortable. Then when we feel it is time, we would get into the car and make that nervous trip, driving for a half hour, mostly on country farm roads full of bumps and potholes. Then I would continue labor at the birth center with only Daryl, my midwife, and her assistant whom I happen to be good friends with. If there are no complications in the birth, we would rest and bond for a couple hours after Evie makes her grand entrance, then load her up into her carseat to continue the bonding at home. The trip home actually has me more nervous than thinking about making the drive during labor. Being only a couple of hours old, I already feel remorse for taking her out of the warm comfort of our arms and putting her into the cold mechanical straps of a carseat. I want to be with her, I want to hold her and bond with her and snuggle with her.
So one might ask why, if I feel this way, would I consider going to the birth center when my midwife is perfectly willing to come to us. She will bring with her all of the same supplies and equipment. It would be exactly the same, except instead of there, it will be here. Here is where our bed is. We would go into labor, call the midwife, and I would continue to labor until either I or my midwife felt that it is time for her to be here now. She would come to the house with her assistant. But, here is why I would consider going to the birth center. She would come with her assistant, and little Evie would be welcomed into the world by me, Daryl, my midwife, her assistant, my mother in law, my father in law, my brother in law, and Jonah.
I have nothing against my in-laws. They are wonderful, generous, kind hearted people. I am lucky to have the in-laws that I do. But, to me birth is something private and intimate. It should be as intimate as the day the baby was created, as much as reasonable safety measures allow. I don't want to be distracted by so many people bustling around the house. When Jonah was born, there were so many medical personnel in the room, that it distracted me from pushing properly. Every time I would get a good push in, they would cheer "HERE HE IS! I CAN SEE HIM!" and I'd get distracted and look up at them, and say "What?" They were cheering me on, but I just couldn't push with them all around me like that. The doctor told me later that they were cheering because they were in awe- they don't see natural births often, and they were pulling for me. That's all nice and everything, but I couldn't push!
Thinking of all the family that would be here at the house kind of gives me the same feeling. Giving birth is very phsyical and emotional (hello captain obvious!) I really need to be able to reach inside of myself mentally, and do what I need to do without being self conscious. If I need to yell, or groan, or sing, or hum, or walk around the house naked, then that is what I need to do to get through the pain of labor. Can I really yell or groan or sing or walk around the house naked knowing that my father in law or brother in law can hear me or see me?
But, no traveling. Plus, I am more familiar with where things are and how things work in this house. At the birth center, I feel like a guest. There is a kitchen stocked with food, but I would have to ask where anything is at etc. At home, I can keep whatever I want to eat during labor. I would feel more in control of my environment, and therefor my body at home.
I would feel more in control, that is, if I were guaranteed my privacy. So this is my dilemma. The answer that I am going to give my midwife is this: We will prepare for the homebirth. We will plan on that first. I'll bring the tub home, and we'll do a run through to make sure we know how to fill it, and what length of hose we need etc. But, if when I go into labor, I don't feel comfortable with all of the people who are home, then it will be our plan B to go to the center. It is not a very decisive answer, but it is one that we have thought through, and probably is our best option right now. It would be harder to stay home if we chose now to go to the center when labor comes, and then I decide that I don't want to move anywhere. My midwife says that this is actually very common, for a woman to suddenly want to stay put when labor progresses.
So even though it isn't a set in stone answer, or a definitive plan of location for the birth, I am very pleased that we have the option to go that route. Now we just need to decide what birth pool to get (we have a choice of two) and where we would set it up!