We've had one hospital birth with a lot of interventions, one hospital birth go so fast that the delivery happened unassisted, and then our third birth which we planned at home with a midwife.
The homebirth was the best birth, for many reasons. I love homebirth, and I don't love hospital birth, so it would seem natural that the decision of where to deliver our baby in December would be an easy one.
But it's not.
The simple reason for this is fear.
As safe as birth is, as capable as our bodies are, there is still so much fear involved. You cannot predict or plan birth. You can prepare and anticipate, and if you've had more than one birth already, know within reason how your body will respond to the demands, but largely, each birth feels like entering into the unknown.
When we were planning Michael's homebirth, I read every book I could find on the subject, and was convinced at what homebirths advocated--that for those mothers who were good candidates, homebirth was comparatively a very safe option.
So, why all the doubt all of a sudden?
It's not me, really, it's mostly Mark. He was/is nervous. There's a chance the midwife won't make it, and a chance that something could go wrong. Those are very valid concerns, and something that no amount of planning can predict. We've known people who have delivered unassisted (this is not okay with me, neither Mark or I are medically trained) and people who despite standard prenatal care have delivered babies that necessitated a medical emergency. These complications can be so random, and it is hard not to think that we might be leaving the health of our child to chance.
On the flip side, hospital delivery for me hasn't been a walk in the park. It takes multiple (3-6) attempts to start an IV, I have trouble communicating my needs and advocating for myself, and the thought of not being able to hold my newborn immediately following birth without him being taken away from me to be washed, given antibiotics and a Vitamin K shot is agonizing to me, especially after having been able to have the beautiful opportunity to hold Michael, and bond with him in his first moments. That experience was priceless, and in the same way I fear birth complications, I fear policy preventing such an important moment in the life of a mother and child.
There are so many things we're weighing these days--being able to stay at home and not rushing to the hospital (my last two deliveries have been fast), but, it is nice to have nurses take care of the dirty linens, drinks and meals. I worry about coping with labor in a hospital, when I know I am able to tolerate it when I am comfortable in my own home.
Really, now that I am noticeably, unmistakably pregnant, this issue is all-consuming to my thoughts. We are simply undecided. I'm thankful we have safe options available to us, and my healthy pregnancies have afforded this conversation in the first place. I want to do the right thing for us in this situation. I was confident that our last delivery was the right thing to do, and I am waiting in prayer as we try to maneuver another chapter.