Lately there have been a few publicized cases of home birth deaths, most recently the death of a mother in Australia after her home birth.
I have NO IDEA what happened in that instance, so I won't even guess. In fact, I think it is kind of inappropriate for people to take pot shots at a grieving family just because somebody died. That is truly rude and totally lacking in both class and compassion, no matter what we think of their life choices. (Yes, the same goes for hospital deaths or circumcision deaths. Don't bash people who have dead family members. It is rude, no matter whose side you are on.)
But every time one of these stories surfaces, not only do people attack the grieving family/woman, but then the commentators come out of the woodwork. Lots and lots of comments about how, "I don't take chances with my birth, that is why I had my baby in the hospital" or the like. (You can read some at the end of this little bit on home birth midwives.)
No, I don't want to say, "Home birth is safe" or, "Hospital birth sucks" or anything like that. But I do want to say this:
Home birth mothers love their babies!
In response to those who think home birth mamas are reckless, selfish, or uneducated, I would like to say this.
I love my babies. I do NOT value the birth experience over their safety.
I RECOGNIZE that home birth has risks. I am not blind to them.
I believe that the risk of home birth can be MINIMIZED by choosing a skilled home birth midwife.
I realize that not all home birth midwives are skilled. I choose mine carefully.
I also think that trying my best to stay healthy and low risk can make my home birth safer.
I DON'T think women are uneducated if they choose HOSPITAL BIRTH. In fact, I had a wonderful, natural hospital birth. It was a good choice for me at the time. I totally understand why women make that choice.
But I do not believe that birthing in the hospital eliminates all risk of giving birth. In fact, I believe that there is some inherent risk to birth, no matter where it is done.
I realize too- (and I don't think everybody realizes this) that hospital birth ALSO carries risk. Those risks, that I took into consideration included-
1) about a 30% C-section rateWhen I choose home birth it wasn't with stars in my eyes about orgasms and candlelight. It was a choice I made seriously, with care, and which I took responsibility for. I believe that EVERY woman should take responsibility for her birth, her health, and her care, no matter where she chooses to birth.
2) a very high induction rate (at some hospitals near my home when I had my first out of hospital birth, the induction rates were over 90%) Don't even get me STARTED on the risks of induction. Or c-section for that matter.
3) exposure to infection that does not exist in my home
I believe that the right to make birth choices is a woman's right. Since when did feminism stop when we got the right to legal abortion? In my utopia, female bodily autonomy also applies to my right to birth at home, and your right to VBAC. Oh yes, it does. Why don't other people think this? It boggles my mind.
For the record- babies with wrapped umbilical cords can be delivered safely at home, home birth midwives often carry lifesaving anti-hemorrhage drugs (but they don't need them as often as they are needed in the hospital, because mom isn't pumped full of Pitocin through her labor, nor is heavy traction applied to a still attached placenta immediately postpartum) and YES THEY CAN MONITOR THE BABY! For goodness sake, they don't show up with a stick for you to bite on and some beads to wave over your head in case something goes wrong.
Now, rant over.
It is too late. I should take my own advice and not get offended.
Oh, and I love my kids, and their safety is paramount to me, far more important to me than my feelings, my experience, or what Ricky Lake thinks of me.