Why I wouldn’t risk a home birth

I’ve always loved the idea of a home birth, surrounded by comfort and familiarity and the support of family and friends. As a nervous first-time mom, however, I felt that the nice people in the white coats have done this a lot more times than I have and so I should probably just smile and do as I was told.
My pregnancy had been free of complications and – save a little tardiness on the part of the star of the show – we were good to go for a natural delivery. Still, I listened to my doctor and booked into the hospital “just in case”.

“In case of what?” you might ask, as did several people in the days before the big event. Well, have I got a story for you!

I was induced, and laboured without too much spitting and swearing under the care of a lovely nurse and her lovelier Entonox gas machine.

Wrong way!

After a few hours, the doctor hooked me up to a cardiotocograph (CTG) machine, which monitors the baby’s heart rate. She noticed that something wasn’t right, which caused her to look further. Turns out the poor kid was in foetal distress, stuck in a posterior presentation up the birth canal without a paddle.

With a little help from a vacuum extractor, baby Ariel popped out, purple and shivering. The fact that we were next door to a neonatal ICU unit was very useful, as they popped him in a fancy box with some wires which warmed him up in no time.

Bloody scary

Back on the delivery bed, I was unexpectedly haemorrhaging. Yup, many women throughout history have met their fate in this way (and over a third of my fellow African women according to the most recent statistics from the Department of Health), but through the quick intervention of a Pitacin drip to stop the bleeding, I was soon sorted out.

In years gone by, death during childbirth was common for both mothers and their babies. I am so grateful that – with advanced medical care available – this is no longer the case. In fact, a World Health Organization (WHO) study shows a 34% decline of maternal mortality since 1990

Better safe than sorry?

I still love the idea of a home birth. If I’m honest, I’m a little envious of the women who have them – without complications. Perhaps the stats of problems with home births are minimal. But my baby or I could have been part of that small statistic.

For me, it’s a comfort to know that there’s all that useful equipment on hand, and a functional operating theatre down the hall if necessary – “just in case”.

Lauren gave birth to her second child 100% naturally – in a hospital.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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