Friday, May 29, 2009

Risk

I found this quote on my desk, written down during the conference I attended last week. Our friend Ina Ma.y was discussing her "discovery" of homebirth, and she describes it as such:

"People discovered that you could have a labor and delivery nurse help you at home, and if anything went wrong you could get in the car and go to the hospital and they would take care of things, they would give you a cesarean and everything would be okay."

Ummm....... sadly, I beg to differ.
Because every minute counts, and sometimes, everything is not okay.

I just can't imagine, knowing what I know, taking that risk. And this comes from a woman who considered having a homebirth with Charlotte, and who declared that she might birth others at home if that first hospital birth went "smoothly". As if one birth can predict the outcome of the next. But in the beginning, I didn't want to take that risk...
Because when it all boils down, it is just that: a risk. And we take lots of risks in our lives, but how many of us don't buckle our babies into their car seats because they are more comfortable outside of them? (of course, as I'm writing this I am thinking of the horror I experienced when several friends took crying babies out to nurse while the car was moving, but you get my point). So while a home birth is more comfortable, is it really WORTH that risk?

The truth is, and I stretch myself out on a very precarious limb in saying this, that the risk doesn't exist to most people who choose this option, or else they wouldn't choose it. Because let me tell you, if you knew what a broken heart really feels like, you might be lovin' that hospital birth.

9 comments:

Gretchen said...

Amen. If they understood what it is to hold your child's lifeless body and be forced to come to terms daily with his/her permanent absense, they might reconsider their ideal.

Birdies Mama said...

Amen sister. You know where I "stand" on this one...

Hope's Mama said...

That quote made me shudder. I did chose hospital birth. I did get to hospital. But it was most certainly not all ok. If only I could have just had that magical c-section so everything could be ok. Poor Birdie's Mum got the c-section, and all was not ok for her. You're right, some people just don't even see the risk. They just have no idea. I wish I could make more people understand this.

Heather said...

A good friend of mine from high school has her "birthing room" all prepared, choosing to have a home birth with her second child, due any day.

It makes me nauseous every time I think about it. But to her, it's the ideal. Her perspective is so different.

Inanna said...

You know... I've lost a baby at full term to stillbirth. And I had two before him, at home. And I would do homebirth again. But I knew the risks before, and I know the risks now. The fact is... the risks are everywhere. You can be in the hospital, five minutes from the OR, and the baby can still not make it. I accept the risks I took. That's all you can do. Make an informed choice, and accept the risks you're willing to take.

Cara said...

I guess it is about minimizing risk, especially when you know what a heart torn to shreds feels like.

And, letting go - to the degree that you can...knowing that your ability to control only goes so far.

Charlotte's Mama said...

Inanna has a good point about accepting risk. I guess the point I would like to make is that I am not willing to accept that risk. I am simply not willing to risk my child's life, even though that sounds stupid under these circumstances, because 99.9% of the time a homebirth is not risking your child's life. But when it is? I won't risk my child's life, not under any circumstances. At least I'd like to think I couldn't have possibly made any further efforts to minimize the risk, even if the 5 minutes to get to the OR did cost the child his/her life.
This is my take, and I accept it as the choice I make, and I almost quiver at the bravery of those who make the (informed) choice to take risks they know could potentially result in an un-mendable broken heart, yet choose to accept those risks. (here I speak of people who have already lost a baby and still choose to take the risk)

HanamiMama said...

If only they knew... I have been saying that since Nicolas died, and he died in the hospital under care of midwives and OB/GYNs. He would have survived, but only with MORE medical intervention, not less. It makes me ill when women reject modern medicine in favor of "natural," home birth with little to no medical assistance. I guess they have forgotten how intrinsically dangerous pregnancy, labor and childbirth truly are -- it wasn't too long ago that women and babies commonly died as a result. I especially hate the nose snubbing I get from women who have chosen "natural" birth as they judge me for choosing hosptial birth. If only they knew...

Birdies Mama said...

"You can be in the hospital, five minutes from the OR, and the baby can still not make it. I accept the risks I took."

You know what...I knew the risks too. I understood the risk in hospital birth, and I knew there was risk in homebirth. Yes, I understood the risks, but you know what? The outcome of my attempted homebirth was death, the death of an innocent little baby girl.

I was blindsided by my own best interest, and in a way put the best interest and safety of my baby to the test when I chose to try to give birth at home.

If only I would have been in the hospital, 5 minutes (or less) from the OR, perhaps she would have been saved. Because I was at home, and she had been distressed perhaps on and off for part of my labor (and we missed it), once her heart rate fell into the 80 bpm range, it was terribly dangerous and she had no chance because we then had to go to the hospital...if only we had been there already, if only.

I can't understand why any mama with a homebirth loss would even entertain the thought of having another homebirth.