I might have had a homebirth, in another life. When I lived in Vermont, many of the people I knew with children had their babies at home. Of course it seemed more natural and more right. I had always had in my mind that my body was made to give birth, and that this was something that seemed bizarre to do in a place for sick people. Then we moved to Massachusetts, and while the community that we now live in also has a relatively large population of homebirthers compared to national standards, I didn't really know any of them. I can remember when I was first pregnant with Charlotte, I got this book out that was a directory of all the birth services in our area. It just felt like the kind of thing I would do. But then, strangely, it never became what I did. As I became really pregnant, as being pregnant progressed from the little line on the stick to actually feeling sick and telling people, something began to pull at me. This is a direct quote from my brain, the same brain that once before had wanted to have a homebirth. "I want to have a baby at home, but if I have the baby at home and something happens, I could never forgive myself because I would always wonder if it would be different if I had the baby in the hospital."
A few thoughts about this quote. "Something happens". This is my favorite. What is something? I can remember thinking this in the car, on the way to the hospital, when Charlotte wasn't moving. "I hope something isn't wrong." What is something? What lies between everything's fine and the baby's dead? Sometimes it seems like the line is pretty fine. So when I say this, "Something happens," what I really mean is, the baby dies. Of course this is what ended up happening. So that's a little strange for me, this idea that I wondered if something might go terribly wrong. and how I would try to place blame on myself if that were possible. Of course even under the circumstances I did feel that it was my fault, somehow, of course. If anyone could have known her struggles, it would be her mother, no?
Meanwhile, there are people right now, and I mean right this minute, at a birthing group, all preparing for their homebirths. There is a part of me that wants to burst into their meeting, to push apart the doors and shout, "Your baby could die, you know. Maybe you should consider some kind of backup plan? A rental home next door to the hospital?" But I know that this is silly. Not even the hospital can always save a baby that might die. What I really feel is sadness for myself, sadness that I could never experience this beauty of a birth at home, envy that they will birth a live baby and keep him or her forever, because that's usually what happens. I feel defeated and defensive. I would have loved to have a baby at home. But what I love more? Having a baby present in my home. That is so much more important to me. I want my babies to be here. In full form, living, pulsing creatures for me to hold and love. My images of birth in my own bed will gladly be cast aside for the hope that someday my body can do it again, that it will push out another crying baby, and that I won't care one bit about whether it took monitoring, or drugs, or c-sections, or what it took to get that baby out alive. What could be more important?