Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Home or Hospital

That was a question we pondered throughout my pregnancy. I had a great desire for a home birth, but had written it off because I knew Mike was not comfortable with it. I was surprised when he said that he was willing to consider it and talk with a mid-wife. I talked with several mid-wives, and in the end decided that my husband's comfort level was most important and he was not physically nor financially comfortable with the home birth situation even though he was willing to support my wishes. His biggest concern was the 1/2 hour drive to the hospital should anything go wrong.

I was accepting of a hospital birth for several reasons. First, my chiropractor assured me that my doctor was wonderfully supportive of natural labor and health care. He and his wife have had three great birth experiences with her. Second, my doctor is a dear friend and she has been a part of this long journey through infertility, adoption and this surprise blessing. Mike really likes her too. She gave him a big hug when we came in for the first time to find out when this baby was due. He wasn't expecting that. She is also a fellow home schooling mom. Third, my friend, Darla, lives close to the hospital and would be able to get there quickly. Fourth, my house and tub are very small. There are a lot of people here and we often run out of hot water by the end of the day.

So, I wrote up a birth plan that would help me have a home birth experience at the hospital. My doctor looked it over and was supportive of my wishes. Here's what I gave to my doctor, my doula and the nurse when I got to the hospital.

Birth Plan
I would like...
To have my husband, Mike and friend Darla in the delivery room with me.
To have intermittent fetal monitoring with a hand-held Doppler.
To have the lights dim and room quiet.
To use the tub for pain management.
To have vaginal checks only upon request.
To have the option to deliver squatting.
To have the option to lift the baby onto my chest myself.
To have cord blood taken in order to test the baby’s blood type.
To be the one to cut the cord after it has finished pulsing.
To be covered with a warm blanket and allow the baby time to nurse.
To be the one to clean up, dress and swaddle the baby.
To allow the placenta to deliver naturally.
To go home as soon as possible after delivery.

I don’t want...
To be strapped to any machines.
To have a routine I.V.
To have routine blood work.
To be offered any drugs or epidurals.
To have the baby receive a Vit. K shot, eye drops, Hep. B injection or have a heal stick for PKU or blood type.

They were so great about honoring the requests. They would say,"I know you plan to refuse but we need to go over this for liability purposes."

The final thing on the list of things I wanted was to go home as soon after delivery as possible. I wanted to recover in the comfort of my own home and I was concerned about being separated from Christiana. I believe adoption is a trauma for a child of any age and was concerned about another trauma of being separated from the only caregiver she has had since being separated from her first mother. Mike cared for her quite a bit in the beginning when I was still so sick and she was so needy, but lately he has been responsible for the other three and the household when he's home and I have cared for myself and Christiana.

Thankfully, Talitha was "late" which gave us more time to get Christiana used to other caregivers and to just grow up a bit more. She changed so much in the last few weeks of this pregnancy that I was more comfortable with having to be away.

So, back to the question, "Home or hospital?" My doctor signed my discharge papers before she left on Wednesday afternoon. She said they were all prepared whenever I felt I was ready to leave. As the hour of Mike's arrival back at the hospital to bring me home approached, I lay there snuggled up with my baby in my beautiful, quiet, swanky hotel, I mean, hospital room with the beautiful spa tub and separate shower room, and pondered, "Home or hospital?"

I called Mike. He was already driving to come get me but had only gone part way. I asked him to go home, stay to put Amanda to bed, bring the boys to youth group and then come visit me because I was pretty sure I wanted to stay the night.

I really wanted to be like those rice paddy woman who give birth in the field, hand their baby off to caregivers and get right back to work, but I'm not. Eight months of nausea and various pregnancy issues that kept me off my feet had left me very weak and out of shape. I felt pretty horrible and not ready to get out of bed much less get myself home. Walking eight to ten laps around the hospital and the whole work of giving birth had really wiped me out.

Of course, all of my caregivers and helpers were very thankful I made the decision to stay the night and they assured me the girls were very happy and doing just fine at home. Thursday was a regular office day for my doctor and so she came to see me in the morning before beginning at the clinic. She was glad I stayed and it was nice to recap with her. I wasn't real talkative when she left the afternoon before.

All in all, it was a great experience and I'm glad we chose, "Hospital."


Tina Fisher said...

I am glad you had a nice experience. :)

Hoping for some sleep for you! :)

Mama M. said...

I am so glad to hear you had such a wonderful hospital experience! I have long maintained that you can have a very natural, soothing hosptial birth with the right advocates!

(Did you deliver in Staples?) are totally right! At the hospital, you get to have people care for YOU...not vice versa!! Glad you chose to get yourself some rest and relaxation before going home!!

Congrats on your new babe!

Nancy said...

What a great experience. I wonder if other women know that if they just communicate their wishes to their care givers, most of the time they can get the birthing experience they want.

chiromommy said...

I am so glad that you had a good hospital experience. Not all hospital experiences are good when a woman wishes for a natural birth. It was amazing that you had good support from a more natural minded doctor. When I had my last son, my doctor was supportive verbally but would not sign my birth plan. It was actually very similar to yours. I knew then something was not quite right. His partner, who was his brother said that he did not feel comfortable with me up walking after my water was broke for fear of a prolapsed cord. Yes these can happen, but they are extremely rare. Rare enough that I seen a second stage cord prolapse on my first doula experience though on one of my best friends! They are rare though, they could happen anytime. In fact, my midwife has commented that she has seen several in the hospital with the woman laying on her back while getting her water broken. Anyways, I achieved a non-medicated birth in the hospital but it was like pulling my teeth out trying to do so. My doctor actually told my husband that he WANTED me to have an epidural. I was not screaming, was doing just fine rocking back and forth on my hands and knees through contractions and going off into my own "little world." Also I specifically had on my birth plan that I did not want any pitocin after delivery. I had to have a little during birth as a "compromise" but I made them turn it off. To my amazement it was turned back on without my consent after I delivered. They wisked my baby away for hours and I actually got up and went looking for him. He was laying in a bed all by himself, and I think if I remember correctly he was crying (?). This is after I asked to be roomed in at all times. All in all, I can say I got my "natural nonmedicated birth" but my experience was nowhere near as peaceful as yours. The nurses continued to push on my hard uterus during contractions which made it feel like it was going to explode and I wanted to scream and punch them (and I am not violent).
However as a doula I have seen wonderful natural births in the hospital! The last one I attended was amazing. The OB was similar to yours! The OB actually teaches at our Chiropractic school and she respects birth plans as long as all is going well. I am using her as my "OB" but I am also seeing a midwife and I am planning on a homebirth. However, I only live 5 minutes from the hospital. Not sure if I would do it having a bit of a drive like you do.
Good job and congrats on such a beautiful little girl! You did wonderful!! :)

e&e said...

I often think that we were crazy to do a homebirth when we were 45 minutes to the nearest hospital, but then I remember that's not entirely true. We were 45 mins from the nearest hospital with a maternity ward, but our local hospital could have handled an emergency (they have before, I was told, several times).

I'm SO thrilled that you had a great experience. That REALLY makes a difference for recovery, I think, both physically and emotionally. I wish the world had more docs like yours! And I wish more hospitals had more tubs like yours too.

Anonymous said...

Katie, I put a box in the mail for your girls today...Christiana's towel popped out of the hoop so her name is way lopsided. I just couldn't toss it...too frugal for that, so I went ahead and used it in a bath mitt. That will make sense when you get the box next week. Rene' and I send our love and enjoy reading each and every post you make. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. How are the boys taking to this girl world? Give all a hug and kiss from Texas. Love, Mary Sue