On the first of October, at 1:13 pm, Baby E entered the world. He did so at home, on the bed that his father and I share. The birth was attended and assisted by a very proud Daddy, our midwife R, and our birth attendant H. He was 8.75 lb, and 20.75 inches long.
I am struck by the contrasts of a hospital birth and a home birth. H2 was born in a hospital, with much of the accompanying intervention typical for the area. Most of these were unwanted, forced on us by mediocre hospital staff who cared only about what was easiest for them. Ridiculous things, like an episiotomy to birth a less than 7 pound baby because that is just how it is done. I wonder how much is also the hospital wanting to make money. I did not hold H2 for at least an hour, the doctor needed to repair the damage and his time was far more important than us. Recovering even partially from that birth took weeks, and complete physical and emotional recovery took months. Our joy rested solely with the amazing little girl our love and God's grace had granted us.
This time, love and caring surrounded the labor and birth. I drank, ate, showered, bathed, sat, stood, walked, cried, yelled, laughed. I was constantly reassured that everything was okay, that the baby and I were doing just fine. And when E joined us, he came out gently, causing barely a scratch. He laid on my chest until, a good long time later, I felt the desire to get a shower. Daddy got him then, and only after everyone was clean, well fed, and comfy did the weighing and measuring start. This happened right on the bed too. Big sister came home from the neighbor's house and crawled into bed, to cuddle us and meet her little brother. In fact, E did not leave our bed until I felt like coming downstairs the next day. Our joy was spread throughout the experience, extended to our whole family and the dear people who assisted us.
If only our country could come to its collective senses and make sure that this type of birth was available for any woman who wants it...