Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm Having This Baby in a Hospital

(anxietus habitatus)

Yes. Yes, I am. Unless I have the baby in the car on the way to the hospital, in which case I will be a widow because my husband will have passed out and crashed the car from the horror of It All.

It feels like more and more people are having their babies at home these days, or at least entertaining the possibility. Know what? I think that’s awesome!

I think you should have your baby at home if that’s what you want. From what I understand, it's as safe as a hospital (all things considered.) It's the way birth has been done since, oh, well, practically forever. Surrounded in your own controlled environment, with people you love, no machines, no beeping, no strangers poking into places heretofore reserved for the cherished few, I get it! I just don’t want it.

In talking with friends and acquaintances, it’s pretty clear that a lot of hospitals are rotten places to have a baby. I don’t know if rotten covers it, they’re horrid. If the choice was to deliver at one of those pits, I’d give a second thought to my notions.

However, I have a perfectly lovely hospital where my midwives have privileges. I delivered my last baby there and had a wonderful time in my private room with beautiful mountain views. No fear of a nurse giving my baby formula when I’m not looking, no undo pressure to take, or monitor, things I don’t want taken, or monitored. Lots of support for the kind of birth I want. People bring me food that I did not have to prepare or cook; it’s not terrible food and I can have food any time I like. I don’t have other people crawling all over me. I don’t have to referee any fights. I get to be alone, just me and the baby.

My house. It’s a nice house, but it gives me anxiety. Does anyone else suffer from House Anxiety? It’s crippling, I tell you. No matter where you are, or specifically are not, in the housework cycle, there’s always more that can be done: another surface to fill and clear, another pile of junk, a wall that must be scrubbed. The table is perpetually sticky with a proprietary blend of jelly, peanut butter, and unidentifiable goo. The floor does a mean Cap’n Crunch impression. You always think you might want a place with four bathrooms, but as it turns out, that’s four bathrooms that have to be cleaned. Four bathrooms that men use. You may draw your own conclusions (they’ve certainly drawn their own...)

When I am at home the House Anxiety weighs on me: there is more to clean, more to organize, and more to tidy than I can ever possibly accomplish. I cannot have a baby here. I just can’t. I do not want to be in the throes of labor and look over at the un-dusted windowsill and feel House Anxiety. I want someone else to cook for me. They bring you food! Maybe even cookies! Do you know how many kinds of juices they have? That’s practically cocktail service! Jetted tubs! It’s quiet! Private room where you can refuse visitors! I do not want to have to worry about anything. If the hospital would let me stay a week, I would.


On further reflection, maybe, just perhaps, what I want more than a birth in a hospital and not in my home,

is a vacation.


amelia said...

Ahhh, loved this. I have the same sentiments. How could I deliver a baby in my house when the thought "Wow, my dresser really needs to be dusted" will inevitable cross my mind during labor? Or "Great, someone's going to have to clean these sheets...and that someone is me." That's just awful.

I loved the hospital. I'm not ashamed to admit that sometimes, when things get overwhelming, I fantasize about going there again.

Natasha said...

Perfectly reasonable reasoning. ;-) Well written, love that you capitalised "It All", and you have very nice lips.

The redhead said...

Both of the hospitals I've delivered in have been very hospitable. Hahaha. So I have to agree with you.

Those two days alone with just me and the baby give me space and time to breath, and a great excuse to just lay there recovering. That just isn't likely to happen to the same degree at home, amongst my Kix covered floors.

More Caffiene, Please said...

Here here!

And thank you for defining my ever-present feeling as "House Anxiety."

I thought I was the only one on earth who actually enjoys my post-baby hospital stays. Thoroughly!

soybeanlover said...

I totally agree with the cooking thing. I was in there six days, because that's the way Japan rolls, and it was great. Awesome food on a regular schedule, not cooked by me. The whole not cleaning up thing was pretty sweet too. Live it up in the hospital!

Kate said...

Ugh, I personally would never want to have a home birth, mostly for all the reasons you've listed. Also, I live in a flat, I don't really want the neighbors to hear me in labor. We're just not that close.

However, hospitals here in England aren't anything to be envied. After you give birth, you're put in a room with three other women and their babies. You only have a small curtain separating all of you, they kick husbands out at 8pm and they can't come back until 9am. The midwives don't come unless you buzz for them and people are buzzing all night.

It was far more traumatic to me than actually giving birth. So next time, we're going to either pay through the nose for a private room or leave that same day, as early as possible (they prefer that anyway if everything is okay).

Sorry to ramble, I'm usually don't delurk. Obviously I feel passionate about this subject.

dalene said...

Seriously. Have your baby wherever you want (not you personally, but the collective ya'll).

As for me, I always wanted to give birth somewhere where I have ultimate control over the remote.

brinestone said...

You keep speaking so highly of your midwives, hospital experience, etc., that I really feel like I need to find out specifics of what you're doing. I haven't delivered a baby in this county yet and am really debating midwife vs. doctor, birth center vs. hospital, etc. I've heard horror stories from other moms about both doctors and midwives in the area. It's freaking me out a bit. If you're not weirded out by my asking, I'd appreciate if you could email me info about where you go, 'cause I may just go ahead and do the same. I'm 14 weeks, so I really need to figure out what I'm doing soon. My email addy is my username at hotmail.

eeeegads said...

I felt the exact same way with mine as well. I was in a fantastic hospital with amazing nurses and midwives. Wouldn't have changed a thing. I even asked for my previous nurse when I went in to have my 3rd baby! Unfortunately, she was on maternity leave herself! I am all for having your baby wherever you feel is best. For me, that was also the hospital:)

Lisa said...

As you know, I cry and cry and try to fake a temperature when the nurses try to discharge me from the hospital ("Who will bring me cranberry juice in foam cups with pebble ice and Lorna Doones!?" I scream, as they try to comfort me by throwing a couple extra suction bulbs in my diaper bag--yeah, like THAT'S going to help!)

Forget the birthing plan, what do you plan to eat after you deliver? For me, a grilled ham and cheese, fries, and chocolate malt always does the trick!

Marianne & Clayton said...

I've been saying that no-med and home births are becoming the new marathons for LDS women. There is nothing wrong with either of them and more power to you, but lets be honest, they are trending right now. And much like I ignored my friends four years ago who promised me that training for a marathon would change my life, I will also happily deliver in a nice sterile, bland room that has only four channels of cable. Hooked to a needle full of happy drugs. More power to me.

Melanie said...

AMEN! My house anxiety is threatening to send me to the hospital already, and I have 3 months to go! (Do you think they'd just let me hang out for that long?)

Fig said...

I was surprised by how much I loved the hospital. The food was good, the room was nice, and the nurses were wonderful.

But would I give all that up to forgo the IV (not optional at that hospital)? Yep.

However, I totally get you. And I'm glad you have such a great hospital.

FoxyJ said...

My mom had my older brother in a Navy hospital in 1976. First they gave her so much Demerol that she didn't really wake up until the next day. Then she had to share a room with a woman who smoked and would swear at the nurses when they tried to bring her her baby. Plus the bathroom was down the hall and the nurses would yell at her when she walked down the hall without slippers and make her go back to her room to get them. So she had her next baby (me) at home, along with my younger siblings (4 home births in total). She's always been a big advocate for home birth but has told me that if the hospitals were as nice as they are now she probably would have stuck with the hospital.

I thought about doing home birth, but my husband wasn't very supportive and we lived in Wymount, which feels more like a cave than a home. We went with some midwives and I ended up with a c-section anyways, but I really didn't mind being in the hospital at all. I especially like Orem Community--I had two of my kids there and both times it was a very nice experience (as much as having a c-section can be).

TheFeministBreeder said...

Yeah man, I totally get the "House Anxiety" too (well, mine is tiny-ass apartment anxiety, with my downstairs neighbors who work for the AMA, and remember what the AMA says about homebirth! HA!) Me trying to labor over their heads should be VERY interesting.

But, I was never one of those women who saw the hospital as a vacation. OMG, I f-ing HATED it in there, and was crawling the walls to get out. To me, it felt more like confinement than a vacation. I even birthed in one of those fancy LDRP "suites" that's supposed to feel like a hotel. Yeah, if a hotel smelled like Lysol and death and I couldn't get comfortable, then maybe. :) Both times, I was fully dressed at 5 am on the morning they said we could leave, standing in the hall saying "WHERE IS THE PERSON THAT DISCHARGES US OHMYEFFING GOD!!!" So, I just figured I'd skip all that this time around.

But man, I'm telling you, if I could give birth someplace that was comfortable OUTSIDE my home? With nobody pulling any crazy overmedicalized nonsense on me? With nurses that let me sleep? Yeah, I'd totally do the hospital thing again too. Totally. Unfortunately, we don't have a hospital like yours around here. Our most famous hospital is referred to by area douls as "C & C Baby Factory and they've got a 98% epidural rate... so... yeah.

I'm sure yours will be awesome though, and you're making the most awesome choice for you, and that's awesome! :)

i i eee said...

I agree that home births are quite trendy right now, and it all looks so romantic. But I too, suffer from House Anxiety. And who gets to clean everything up after the birth?

I had brief romantic notions at the beginning of my pregnancy until my friend told me about her friend that had a home birth. This woman was 45 minutes away from the nearest hospital. Anyway, the baby came out fine and dandy and everything, but SO DID HER UTERUS. The midwife was like, "Uh... um, uh...." The new dad was left with the newborn, while the midwife accompanied the mother and her uterus to the hospital.

Uh, YEAH. Hospital for me. Also I learned that I'd rather make the experience much more pleasant with an epidural, AND when I was pushing out my little bug, his heart rate started to drop down and the doctor had to do a tiny little snip snip to get him out asap. Who knows what would have happened if we had done it at home.

Again, home births sound so romantic... until you end up birthing your entire uterus as well. Yes, women have been having babies for thousands of years without the aid of a hospital, but a lot of babies and mothers have also died in the process. I think it's great if that's part of someone's birth plan, and I'm happy when it works out perfectly for them. I'm just too much of a pragmatic when it comes to my own, I guess.

i i eee said...

Also, I will say that my hospital was awesome! (Minus the part about being sent home, only to return two hours later, when I could have stayed comfortable with an epidural.) The nurses always asked me what I wanted instead of just going ahead and doing things against my wishes, and they were so helpful with the breastfeeding.

And, I don't have that pebble ice at home.

dmarie said...

i am SOOOO with you on this one. i had my daughter in a beautiful hospital room with my midwife and labor nurse. turns out i DID get to stay five days because i had to have a c-section (she was all tangled up in there), so i was glad i was already there. it really was like heaven. tim got to stay in the room with me, we ate whatever, welcomed family and friends (or not), and enjoyed time with out baby while i healed all supervised-like. it was AWESOME! good luck!

AzĂșcar said...

Actually, the midwives and attendants you have at your home birth do all the set-up and the tidying up afterwards. You wouldn't be dragging the pool to the backyard and arranging the towels (unless you're doing unassisted entirely, in which case, more power to you, Goddess-mother.)

And for all the stories of terrible things happening at home births, there are even more that happen in hospitals (just on a sheer percentage basis.) Think of our ridiculous c-section rates. One New Jersey hospital has a c-section rate of 43%. I'd rather give birth in an alley than in that hospital.

(Preferably a really nice alley with some air conditioning and 500 thread count sheets.)

Laura said...

As long as we're living in apartments, I will not be having a home birth. Neighbors can thank me.

I would like to give birth at a freestanding birth center (when I am actually pregnant; I'm not yet) or should I feel a hospital birth is necessary and I'm still in Utah County, AF Hospital it is! With my Timp midwives.

Dr. SWILUA said...

I am so with you on this one. My house makes me SUPER anxious. (Plus, it's always a mess. I don't wanna make it worse.)

Katy said...

Oh if only there was a hospital that left you alone to rest and enjoy your baby. That's why I opted for a birth center with my second. The comforts of home (and being left alone) and someone else cleans up! Only she decided she wanted to come out feet first, which isn't 'allowed'. So off to the hospital for a c-section I went.

As a VBAC mom a birth center is not an option for me, so my next one will either be born at home, or will require a 2 hour drive to another state.

I totally get the house anxiety, I hope I can get past that and have a relaxing and empowering homebirth the next time around.

Lucky you, having great options! Hope all goes wonderfully for you! :-)

Emily said...

Though I didn't do the midwife thing (and now it's too late to give it a try), I still enjoyed the hospital mainly because I look at it as a mini vacay. No kids, no responsibilities, someone else changing the diapers...

Rebecca said...

House Anxiety is the EXACT reason I don't understand why anyone could have their baby at home. Anyone who is like me and has House Anxiety, that is. Thank you for giving my issue a name. This was wonderful!

Caroline said...

For really now, the whole home birth thing SKEEVES ME OUT.

How I acquired 4 children? Unbeknowest to me.

Caroline said...

PLUS, I wanted to say that people that have the opportunity to have a home birth should NOT think that they are better than others of us. Because SOME of us don't get to have options about midwives and doulas and breastfeeding and such. Some of us have options like have your baby in a hospital or you can both die trying.

the end.

Kalli Ko said...

hear hear!

My last labor went, in hindsight, about as good as it could get and my nurse and ob were both incredible, would not have changed a thing. I will always birth at a hospital if I have a say in the matter.

Plus, that hospital had the effing best coke and pebble ice I've ever tasted. PLUS they mix you up this special drink which is really orange juice, cranberry and apple juice and bring it in this huge glass right after you birth out the kid and it tastes like manna from heaven.

AzĂșcar said...

Caroline, I know the story of your 4 children. I don't know how you had 4 children, either. It is a mystery of the universe.

Here's the start of Caroline's story, IF YOU CAN HANDLE IT.
Part II
Part III
Part IV


Morgan -Ing said...

Home birth is trendy right now? I had no idea. :)

I love me a good home birth. I REALLY do. You won't find me voluntarily pushing a baby out my yoni anywhere but my own house.

HOWEVER, I also fell into home birthing when we lived somewhere that the hospitals were truly terrifying. I'm a doula and attended births that made me literally ill. HORRID.

So, for ME that's where it's at. For anyone else? Birth where you want, you know? And in the case of actual medical reason, OF COURSE the hospital is the only place to be.

No one should feel bad about the choices they make in birthing or parenting. Do what YOU need to do for YOUR children. And don't let anyone make you feel like less. If they do, tell 'em to shove it. (Politely of course!)It's the only way to be at peace.

Anne-Marie said...


I wrote a post about my love of the hospital with this last pregnancy & many of my home birthing friends just didn't understand it. I look forward to my hospital stay-It's like the Ritz Carlton to me, except the beds suck. I get to beep a button for a pill and or food or drink?
I don't think about laundry or mail or sticky juice covered floors back home-Sign me up! I love the Hospital!

Caroline said...

Oh, you're so nice to leave me comment love like that! xoxo

jennie w. said...

Like I want to sit around and notice all the dust on my dresser. And listen to my kids quarrel constantly.

I love the hospital. I don't care what they stick me with or do to me. I love having people clean up my messes and feed me.

I also appreciate someone taking my baby away. The last time I gave birth I said, "I know he won't be hungry for real for a couple of days so if he cries give him a pacifier. I don't want to see him til I check out."

By the time you have six kids you aren't one of those rooming-in chumps anymore. It's all about pragmatism.

CKW said...

My hospital had beautiful piano music piped into the hallways from the person playing it in the lobby. And they had beautiful private rooms where I never had to set foot out of it for two days. The nurses randomly brought cookies from the awesome cafeteria and when it was time to eat, I got to look at a menu and order anything from the menu and it was actually delicious. At night, the nurses whisked the baby away to a fully equipped, professionally staffed nursery that gave away adorable hand knitted hats. I started counting down to my hospital stay at around 5 months and we did not leave until the minute insurance wouldn't cover it anymore.!

Hilary said...

My friend, who is also an L&D nurse, planned a home delivery but ended-up delivering her baby in the shower, alone. IT is actually a BEAUTIFUL story, I get chills when I hear about it.
But then I think of every. little. thing. that could have gone wrong.
I also force myself to tolerate the hospital knowing that the days of boredom and things coming to me are numbered (48 hours to be exact).
Try to enjoy it, and hopefully you get fun nurses like me. :)

JMadd said...

I had such a horrible postpartum (4 hours straight if pushing will do funny things to your bladder), that I'm glad I was in a hospital. I know my husband wouldn't have cleaned up all of my pee that I kept leaking. Bless those nurses hearts.

Annette Lyon said...

Totally get it. With #3 and #4 especially, I looked forward to having 2 days where *I* was waited on, didn't have to get up to do a darn thing for anyone, was expected to sleep, and so on.

Bliss, I tell you!

Anonymous said...

House anxiety! Yes, I know what to call it! I totally agree. I had a birth center birth for that very reason. You really know how to verbalize what we're all thinking and feeling. Thank you!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Now you know what it's like to get old! I was the goingest person you ever saw until I turned 50. Now, every once in a while, my body just says "no". The trick is going just up until the minute before shutdown and then shutting down yourself before you end up on the floor passed out! lol...

Eliza said...

Hi, I haven't commented in a while but I check in on you now and then!

I have hospital anxiety the same way you have home anxiety. That might be because my hospital (in DC suburbs) has a 41% C-section rate. BAM! Its VBAC rate if you were wondering is less than 1 percent. C-sections are great for emergencies but no fun for a mom and baby to endure either way.

IDK where I'll have my next baby (due in June as well) but I'm sure I'll feel fine about it because my husband and I already decided we won't go anywhere we don't BOTH feel comfortable. Wish a birth center were an option for me (this will be my 2nd VBAC--knock on wood) and that I could find an OB- or midwife-hospital combo that I loved.

With my 1st VBAC I showed up at the hospital, pushed out my daughter within a couple of hours and then wanted to leave pretty soon afterward but I hadn't had enough time with the ABX (strep B positive) so I had to stay an entire day longer than I wanted. The food service was nice but the endless beeping, knocking, rude nurses, etc. was not. Luckily I (think I) am getting to a mental place where I can handle whatever I have to handle because babies are the best.

BTW for any who wondered: a certified nurse-midwife who delivers at home cleans everything up, brings a trained assistant, and can perform episiotomies, administer Pitocin (in case of hemorrhage) and bring oxygen for resuscitation. She can basically do anything except perform a C-section (which is why it's good to homebirth close to a hospital).

And second BTW: I hope homebirthers don't make the more "medicalized" birthing moms feel inferior. I personally have always looked up to them and thought they were making great choices for themselves and their babies, even though I (not by my own choice) had as medicalized a birth as a mom could have.

In my opinion: birth is not exclusively about moms and it's not exclusively about babies. It's about families, and the mom and dad decide what's best for the family!

Pam Baumeister said...

I considered birthing my last baby at home until my husband said, "What are we...pioneers?" That did it for me. I had my baby at the IHC hospital in Park City which was just like a vacation. There were hardly any babies born (in fact NONE on the day I was there) and the place is like a spa. Loved it.

I have house anxiety too. On so many levels. Mostly, the basement level. But, I digress.