So I didn’t anticipate having to weigh my birthing options the third time around, particularly with how much I absolutely loved the home birth experience that I had last time. I figured that wouldn’t even be something I’d have to think about. Hospital, bad, home birth, awesome, end of discussion.
But of course, I was wrong.
Maybe it was the terrible first trimester combined with husband teaching 25 college credits on something like 7 or 8 different campuses combined with feeling like all but a few people dropped out of my life. Between the constant nausea and exhaustion and depression I seriously feel like I lost three months of my life. Three months that are now a hazy blur, leaving me wondering if it could really have been that bad. (This is why procreation continues – we start feeling better and develop a fuzzy amnesia state that keeps us from remember how hellish pregnancy and birth can be. Amnesia lifts as soon as we get pregnant again.)
It was bad enough that I came out of that time with a strong feeling that I never wanted to trust anyone ever again because (most) people are never there when you need them to be unless you pay them. So yes, the first trimester felt a little traumatic and I am a bit jaded. Just slightly.
Enter the fall semester, during which Husband will be teaching 28 credits, with a lot of night and weekend classes during months eight and nine of pregnancy. I thought about my home birth with Jonathan, how within hours of giving birth I was hanging out on the couch eating Subway and feeling like I couldn’t possibly have just been in labor. How quickly life returned to normal and how quickly I was doing things around the house.
This time around I think through scenarios that involve giving birth and then the next day Husband heading out to teach all day and maybe in the evening as well while I tend to 3 children and laundry and diapers and nursing and putting the baby down and more nursing and more diapers and think NO. That’s a capitalized, italicized “no” and can be dressed up with expletives if you like – that’s how strongly I feel about it. I will not be stuck at home exhausted and trying to take care of everything and everyone after having this baby. I will be somewhere where people work to take care of me; where I can push a button if necessary, nurse my baby without interruption, and food appears at scheduled times. And since this is baby number 3, maybe I can actually read a book while I’m there as well.
In my ideal world I have this baby in a birthing pool at home with a midwife and then toddle off to the hospital, baby in tow, to check in for a two day vacation. But I don’t think that’s exactly how they work. Plus, because of the after care last time with my home birth I wouldn’t use the same midwife and would have to find a new one plus the expense would come out of pocket. I am back to where I was with Isaac. If I can give birth for free I don’t really want to shell out $2000.
So then there is our local hospital. Now I know that my hospital experience with Isaac was bad, but I am grown up enough to know that it was a first pregnancy experience, in a different state, and that it is not necessarily representative of every hospital in the world. I take a tour there tomorrow, just to explore that option, but most of my concerns center around the actual giving birth experience. They have birthing pools to labor in but you have to get out before you start pushing, which is the worst part of labor to move around in. I sort of feel like, for someone laboring in a tub it would be like giving a woman an epidural and then removing it when she hits 9 em. I don’t want to be sopping wet and cold and having pushing contractions as they try to get me to sit on the edge of a bed and have a baby. It feels like I could either lie, and wait until the very end and pretend that I’m not pushing or try to time the birth so that we skid into the hospital as I’m about to have the baby. Neither option sounds particularly… comfortable.
Another option is a unit that is part of U of M that still does water birth under the care of their Nurse Midwives. I wasn’t able to get a tour there until the end of the month and I don’t even know if they will have room for me. If they did, it would be about an hour’s drive, but at least I would feel like I could get there early and just hang out in Ann Arbor if necessary before checking into the hospital. From what it sounds like, I think I could probably labor more on my terms and with less stress than I could closer to home.
I did not expect to have these decisions to make! I suppose this is a good reminder for me that every birth, just like every child, is completely different. And I still have 16 weeks to figure it all out, right?