When Zoé got to known that she was pregnant, from beginning on she wanted to give birth at home. She imagined it beautiful to be on a place where she feels comfortable, in harmony and can trust the people around her. Another idea she liked very much was to give birth in water. We started to inform ourselves how Zoé's dream could become possible and in which way.
We have been talking with plenty of experts, reading a lot of articles, had fights with the family and were confronted with contradictionary oppinions. Actually we found out that homebirth might be one of the topics that is the most emotional discussed. Although it seems to be for many people so important, most of them are in a shocking way misinformed.
Back in Hungary we were confronted with a difficult situation. From law it is allowed to give homebirth, but only under certain conditions:
You have to have the help of two professional midwifes.
You have to be over 18 and under 40 years old.
You have to have a low risk pregnancy and a predicted uncomplicated birth.
Your place has to be close enough to a hospital, that in an emergency situation the mother and the baby can be brought to hospital within 20 minutes.
In our case the problem was, that our new home is too far away from the next hospital. In an emergency case it would be impossible, that an ambulance car could come and bring Zoé to the hospital within 20 minutes.
That means homebirth was not possible. Facing this reality, we started to inform ourselves more about hospital birth. Even though the leading gynecologist and obstetrician in the local hospital was very supporting, super nice and tried to inform and help us in the best way, very fast we realized that hospital would be not an option for Zoé.
First of all, waterbirth is only in some hospitals possible, but if you are unlucky and the birthpool is occupied when your baby is coming, you have to give birth in a classical surgery room.
In other hospitals only the labour is possible in water, but the actual birth you have to give on a bed.
And in most of the hospitals it is only possible to give birth in lying position, because they do not have the equipment to support the baby in other positions.
Zoé likes the idea of waterbirth very much for many reasons. For the natural relaxing effect you have much less pain during the labour and the birth. In water it is much more easy to change positions and there is much less load on the joints and muscles, because you are more light. Also it is a more soft transition for the baby to arrive in water.
Beside the waterbirth, the possibility to change positions and move freely during the labour is very important for Zoé, because first of all she does not like to be forced to stay on a bed. Changing positions during the birth is helping the baby to come by it's own rythm, helps to find a way that is most comfortable and less painful for the mother and makes it possible to use the help of gravitation.
Another reason against hospital is, that in very less hospital you can find alternative birthrooms and for that normally you have to give birth in a surgery room. Well, surgery rooms are very practible for surgeries, but for seeing this beautiful world the first time they might not give the best impression. You have very bright light, are surrounded by people in uniforms wearing masks and all around you it smells like fertilizers.
Beside all of these, in most of the hospitals they do rutine medical interventions. It starts with injecting oxytocin hormon in the mother to fasten the process of birth. This is the first step on a long way down. It results in that the mother and the baby have much more pain. For that they need a lot of pain killer. That can lead to the point that the mother cannot control anymore the pushing movements or the baby's heart rate is falling. And like this many times it comes to a C-section.
Next to it in many hospitals episiotomy, the cut of the perineum, is a standard procedure to prevent the rupture of it. Although in most of the cases it is unnecessary and even leads to longer recovery time and further complications.
With this we come to another argument against hospital. The stay in the hospital. Already by the labour and normally at least 3 days after the birth, the mother and the baby have to stay in hospital. In this time you have to deal with the issue of the hospital food, sick people and a lot of stress around you and more medical examinations.
Apart from this in hospital you are in the hands of the doctors and many decisions are made without your consent, like washing the baby, giving antibiotic eyedrops and whatever they might find out.
We have to say that in our life and specially in this research we encountered some nice but also many doctors, that were on a horrible consciousness level. They were specifistic, narcistic, misinformed, narrow minded and by themselves absolutly unhealthy. To be in the hands of these people seemed for us not a good idea.
Another point is that in Hungary the majority of obstetricians are male and for that have no own experience about birth.
For that we started to look for other options. We already considered to move to another place more close to a hospital to fullfil the conditions for homebirth, when the story made an unexpected turn. Zoé was calling a midwife to inform herself more and she was recommending the birth home of one of her collegues.
What is a birth home? A birth home is a place of a professional midwife, where you have the possibility to give birth outside of the hospital in a safe surrounding. Without hesitating Zoé was calling this midwife. Already on the phone she liked her, and we decided to visit her birth home to have a look. A few days later we drove 120 kms to the south of Hungary.
Even though the place was not exactly how we imagined, the midwife convinced us with her character, with her knowledge and competence and with the possibilities that her birth home gives.
You can give birth in any position, even in water.
The birth is happening in its natural course without fastening it or any other unnecessary interventions.
The midwife is supporting and helping the mother, but not leading the birth. Our midwife has seven children by herself and with this a lot first hand experience about birth.
All together the impact on the mother seems much more little and normally you can go home 3 hours after the birth.
For us it was always important that by birth the mother feels good and it is the best for the baby. We think it is a wonderful happening and there is no need of unnecessary medicalization of it. Many arguments that we heard against homebirth were based on fear, but we think you always should decide with love.
We had three kids all were supposed to be with midwives. First came unexpectedly while my wife was out hiking and I was at a conference. I took my wife to the local hospital where she had a natural, but in the hospital birth, took about 3 hours. At least one of the nurses had been a midwife, it was OK. Second we made it to our local hospital where the midwives were in charge though we had a hospital room. It took a little longer, maybe 6 hours, and when the baby was born it had complications, basically it was strangled in the cord, but it did not seem something the midwives were able to deal with, a mild sense of panic filled the room, and the doctor came and restored the child. But it was for a moment quite scary. That kid is currently leading her school and will go to university next year. The third child came ten years later. Wife said she wanted to lie down for a moment after doing the dishes. Then she said things seemed to be happening. So I called our midwife. While I was on the phone there was a yelp from the bedroom. I dropped the phone which landed in the garbage and I went to investigate. Delivered the baby 10 minutes later.
I think you can overthink all this stuff. It's fun to look back, but if it is as natural as all that then maybe some the seminarian, and talking, etc... is a little overwrought. At it's best the pain and the effort are exaggerated. When it goes wrong, visions of the perfect birthing moment, quickly resolve to a call for a doctor.
Also, while all three births, for different reasons where memorable adventures, those circumstances aside, you get the baby. The baby is what counts, all the other stuff is meaningless.
Speaking of 3 hours, at the Hospital we had the second at, the correct and planed program. They kick you out 2.5 hours after the birth. It was weird, she gave birth in a hospital in both the first and second instance. We had the less expensive to the system midwife birth, but they kicked us out. In the end it didn't mater. It's no biggie when it goes well. The second birth execution wise went well, just the condition the child emerged in was frightful. The delivery was such my wife could walk away easily in two hours.
I'm not big on the whole blah blah around chidlbirth. I wasn't planning to attend. But as it turned out, I ended up drafted by circumstances the first and third time. The second was boring and I went home for a while, and arrived back in time for the drama. But the midwives made sure I didn't have a purpose, which was OK by me.
The doctor who saved daughter II life was male, and the fact he hadn't carried or delivered a child himself didn't seem to be the missing critical skillset when he bailed out the midwives and saved Gwyneth's life. In Canada there are plenty of women doctors, he just happened to be a man, but none of that seemed to be the point at the time. If a child dies because one makes a decision about appropriate procedures based on some superfluity like that... Well the good news is the person making the decisions won't pay for it. It would be an ironic circumstance if the decision to avoid the key help was based on the fact that the doctor hadn't been involved in the task at hand, when the person making the decision has even a lot less experience than a doctor. It is too bad there remains this tension. It seemed perfectly functional that the people who know birthing assisted my wife, and that a doctor is only called when there is a need. During the first birth the doctor left for at least an hour because he was closing on a new house. They don't really need to be there most of the time.
I agree. Not in all hospitals and in every country they are doing too many interventions. Second you can always tell what you want and what you agree on and what not.
There are hospitals were you choose one midwife and she stays with you that is really the best. HOmebirths are good but you need an experienced midwife and the rule that
you have to be close to a hospital makes perfectly sense. It makes sense too that they kick you out of the hospital later, the baby needs a quiet environment.
I'm happy you found a birth center, if you can't do it at home, it's a much safer alternative.
If you find yourself in a hospital, remember this question to ask any doctor that is trying to force and intervention on you."Is my wife or the baby in any immediate danger." If the answer is No, then you can insist to wait before using an intervention. Often this means they won't ever get to the intervention. Another thing to do is be certain labor is really active before going to the hospital. In the US many hospitals expect the birth to be done in 12 hours. If you come in early and the labor is only getting started there is a good chance the travel to the hospital will slow things down. Some hospitals will send you home to come back when labor is in full swing, but many US hospitals will just start right there with the interventions, and frequently it will end in a C-section.
I had a home birth with my daughter. I wouldn't want to do it any other way. The cats were even in attendance and my senior cat decided to help lick my daughter clean. I didn't do a water birth, because my 96 year old home didn't have a floor I'd trust with a birthing tub.