Monday, January 16, 2012

The Pinch Hitting Husband - Hospital to Homebirth

For some men, the thought of a homebirth is frightening and a little weird.  I know that it was for me.

I didn't want a homebirth. I thought my wife and baby would be safer in a hospital. What if something were to happen?  I've always believed in Murphy's law -- anything that can go wrong will go wrong. (It happened to my Texas Rangers last year in the World Series!)

Besides, everyone goes to a hospital to have a baby, right? You have to be some kind of a new-age nut or hippie-wannabe to birth a baby at home.  Not to mention the mess.  I faint at the sight of blood. Does having a baby at home mean that I'm going to have to mop up after the placenta?

So how did Donna convince me that homebirth was the right choice for us?

We were all set to have our third baby in a hospital in Albuquerque. We had a good group of midwives, and everything was going as planned. Until Donna asked them about videotaping the birth. (We used videotapes in our camcorders back in those days.) The hospital had a no-videotaping policy. This pushed Donna over the edge. She called me at work in tears, yadda, yadda, yadda, we decided to have a homebirth.

My first concern of course was Murphy's law. How could I ever face my in-laws if something were to happen to Donna or the baby?

Our first homebirth midwife was an EMT and had worked as a park ranger at a national park. Her gear bag was reassuring.  It was a cornucopia of medical devices, oxygen, needles, vials, chuck pads, etc. She appeared capable of taking care of any emergency. At the time that was very reassuring.

And that surprised/reassured me why? Because I was ignorant that's why! I had a preconceived notion that a medical doctor was more qualified to deliver a baby. What did I expect a midwife to be?  Some daffy old fruitcake chanting and burning incense -- hoping that the baby makes it out OK somehow?

The truth is that most doctors are great at handling medical issues and not so great at delivering babies naturally. That's what they are trained for, right? As with any profession, you do what you are trained to do.  Natural birth is right in the wheelhouse of the homebirth midwife -- that's what they train and prepare for.

Looking back, having a baby at home was the best experience possible. We didn't have to worry about the drive to the hospital. We didn't have to deal with any cranky hospital personnel poking and prodding all hours of the day and night. We didn't have to deal with hospital regulations, the nursery, and the list goes on. And I never had to deal with any bloody mess whatsoever!

Our fourth and last baby, Darcy was born in our bed. I'll never forget lying down before Donna's labor started.  I could feel Darcy moving around. Donna's labor started shortly after.  The midwife made it to our house right as it was time to push. It was a beautiful birth. After everyone was gone, it was just me, Donna, and Darcy -- this time on the outside. I'll never forget looking at little new born Darcy, eyes wide open, snuggled up next to her momma nursing.

So, my fellow fathers and fathers-to-be, if you have the option to have a homebirth, make like Nike and just do it! You will never regret it. Plus it's a really fun conversation starter at office parties and so forth.


Andrea said...

Love it! Thanks for writing about this. I always wanted to read amans perspective of a homebirth. And so wonderfully written. I'm reading it to my husband. If we ever have another baby it'll definitely be a homebirth. And I am sure it'll be a relief to know he won't have to clean up a 'bloody' mess. :)

Jolee Burger said...

Love having the man's perspective!! Thanks, David, for doing this! I may pass it onto my Dads to change a few minds.

Mellanie said...

Loved hearing your perspective David! You need to highjack Donna's blog more often!

Bill D said...

Baby Bargains

Alvano Richie said...

its always nice to have such family gatherings like baby shower. but all we need to be creative.