So we're actually getting a bit militant in our birthing preference here at Camp Magyar. Not with friends and family, of course, because there's nothing more obnoxious than implying that someone else is doing it all wrong, and we're very careful to acknowledge that people should squeeze their babies in whatever way they find juiciest. But we have our preferences now, and they're growing by the day, and we took a hospital tour that made us feel like were just plain weird for having preferences at all, much less our particular ones.
Here's where we stand today, before I get much further: we want to have as natural a birth as possible, meaning no extraneous pain medication and no induction that isn't necessary to prevent death (mother or baby, or father, should the birthing process somehow become life threatening to me). We include epidurals and pitocin, as usually administered, on the list of things we don't want. Yes, we've had the looks and heard about the pain and how hard this is going to be. In my more snotty and defensive moments, I've considered starting a charity people may donate to called "Veronica's Future Pain and How Frightened We All Are About It." In my more charitable and understanding moments, I absorb the warnings in order to brace myself for the frankly messy reality of childbirth.
But anyway, we picked this path, and nothing about it has been more frightening than trying to see that path winding through a hospital. We went on a tour on Sunday, and the first feature the nurse showed us was the wheelchair a volunteer would use to push the mother out the door. Because, obviously, nobody leaves a hospital on their own two feet, and giving birth automatically renders a woman paraplegic.
This particular hospital, which doesn't need to be named because it's hardly Bedlam Lunatic Asylum and it's staffed by extremely nice and generous people, also requires a 24-hour post partum stay, which turned us off. I love hospitals. My mom spent her professional career in one. I had my life saved by a lengthy hospital stay. But there's no way I'm hanging around any longer than absolutely necessary with a brand new toy called a daughter. We've got bonding to do, and you don't bond in a hospital. At best, you awkwardly socialize amidst a sea of commisseration. When I asked the nurse if, assuming the birth happened naturally and without complication, we could leave once V felt comfortable walking, she said it would be Against Medical Advice. You know, like checking yourself out with your arm still broken, or refusing to have a bullet removed.
Also the level of baby security is frightening as hell. The nurse kept prefacing each precaution with, "We've never even had an attempted baby snatching, but," and then detailing how our firstborn child would be magnetized and catalogued and holo-stamped like an advanced copy of the new Windows OS getting ready for the shelves at Best Buy. I never thought the languages of medical precaution and loss prevention would intermingle, but they do, and the result is hideous.
What all this means is that we're going to make this baby happen either at home or a birthing center. Somehow, despite much less planned medical intervention, shorter facility use, and less medical resource drain in general, this decision will cost us way way more. Thanks, perverse incentives of the health insurance medical care paradigm! Anyway, we've been merrily interviewing midwives (which sounds like the 13th Day of Christmas, I know) and are just comparing numbers to see which provider/facility we can't afford the least, and we're gonna lock ourselves into a good old fashioned hippie birthing. Bring some nettles and a dream catcher!
It's not like we're primitive thinkers longing for a yurt-in-the-dirt delivery. We just feel, in our bones, that some kind of pendulum has swung too far in the direction of surgical birth in hospitals (35% C-section rates? No joke?) and we'd like to politely sidestep that whole scene. I'd sing a different tune if Veronica were engaged in more of a high-risk pregnancy, but right now the prospect of donning scrubs and doing the whole Baby Daddy dance I've seen in countless movies and TV shows seems absurd. It would be like negotiating a business deal in a police station. You know, just in case things go wrong.
By the way, we're totally getting a no-nonsense midwife who will drive our asses at full speed to a hospital if things do go wrong.
I promise this is the last of my natural birth justification posting. I have far more obnoxious pedantry to spend on the education topic (clearly) and besides, I also feel strongly that all of these decisions are -- in a long-term sense, no matter what several dozen specious "studies" say -- kind of meaningless. The birth experience itself is extremely important while it's happening, and I want to support and do whatever makes Veronica the most comfortable, but I'm living proof that a healthy and happy life requires no magical moments in the first minutes. Just good, loving parents and maybe a few well-timed pieces of chocolate.