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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Trimester 1 - Home or Hospital?

If you have your baby at home with a midwife, instead of in the hospital with an OB:
  • you are twice as likely to survive giving birth
  • your baby is three times more likely to survive his birth
  • your baby is six times more likely to survive his first year
Therefore, the rational woman, seeking to maximize her and her baby's chances of survival, will choose to give birth at home. 

Hospital births cost around $10,000 ($20,000 if you have a c-section). Home births cost around $3000. Yet only .65% of American women choose to give birth at home. Despite their high price tag, most insurance companies only cover hospital births. Home birth is illegal in 23 states. Someone doesn't want you having your baby at home. 

In addition to the above, anyone who watches television has been programmed to think hospitals are the only place one should have her baby and only freaks and hippies have their babies elsewhere.

So maybe it's not so much that people who have their babies at home don't need the establishment. It's not so much that they think for themselves that is the problem, no, it's Machiavelli 101--it's the babies. The establishment wants to parent our babies; they want to establish whose babies they are. A hospital birth serves to recruit your baby into the medical industry. Toss in an intensive regime of pediatric visits throughout the first year and your baby has been indoctrinated from birth into a lifelong dependence on medical intervention. Seeing the doctor is normal. Trusting your body is not. Doing what you are told is normal. Thinking for yourself is not.

A personal note on how my research changed my pregnancy (and my life):

The above was not what I was expecting to find out when I began my research. If you had talked to me when I was twelve weeks along, I would have said that I was "going with a midwife for now" and that I was still looking into where I wanted to have my baby--as in, I wanted to tour at least three different hospitals in the Los Angeles area and pick my favorite. I was absolutely against giving birth at home.

Then I did my always-over-the-top research and told my husband that we should probably have the baby at home. "Only .65% of Americans have their babies at home," I said. "We're rational," he said, "If less than one percent of Americans agree with us, that sounds about right."

So how did it all work out? I went into labor at 2am on a Thursday. My baby was born 3 hours later. Unmedicated birth was fine. Doing it at home was WONDERFUL! After the baby was born I took a shower and got into bed with my newborn and my husband. The midwives cleaned everything up.

I didn't have to travel anywhere while I was in labor. I got to wear what I wanted (or didn't want). I didn't have to have an IV in my arm. I wasn't attached to any monitors. I moved when I wanted to where I wanted. I ate and drank what and when I wanted. I had one vaginal exam by someone I knew well. I had as much privacy as I wanted. I got to push in the position I wanted. There was no pressure, no timeline.

If you read the books I recommended in my previous posts, you already know that the key to having a quick, easy labor is feeling safe. My lower, primal brain felt very safe in the comfort of my own home. It's not just the drugs at the hospital that prolong labor--it's the strangers, the noises, the lights, the fact that no matter how much your higher brain insists this is a safe place, your lower brain instinctually knows it's not.

If you only read two of the books I have recommended, read Baby Catcher and How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor.

*Update on this post: A huge backlash has come out against homebirths since I wrote this post. Fascinating that before homebirths started gaining popularity, the mortality rates I could find showed homebirths to be safer. Those same reports that I read have disappeared. Now all I can find is (A LOT OF) zealous reports about how dangerous homebirth is. I imagine if homeschooling gets too popular the same thing will happen there too. We've got to get the population incensed so we can regulate birth and force those crazy homebirth women to have their babies how we say! Go government propaganda machine go!

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