My first three babies were born -- quite uneventfully -- in the hospital. But by the time we had our third son, I’d grown older and wiser and found the hospital setting confining and agitating. Within minutes of his unmedicated birth (it happened so fast that the doctor didn’t even make it in time) a nurse jabbed a shot of Pitocin in my thigh to speed up delivery of the placenta. I had preferred to birth my placenta on my own to avoid having medication in my body, as well as the awful after-birth pains that come as a side effect to Pitocin. I imagined it would naturally appear sometime within that first hour while I was nursing my newborn, but the nurses had a schedule to keep and they weren’t going to wait on my placenta. Writing up our birth plan for our last baby, the list grew longer, full of the many things we didn’t want done during labor and after the baby was born. My husband and I just looked at each other and asked, “Why are we doing this in a hospital?”
No bow glue
We were expecting our first girl and had heard that the hospital often glues a bow to the baby’s head if she’s a girl. I appreciated the nice gesture but immediately added to the birth plan document: “No bow glue.” No bow glue? Really? I have to put this in my birth plan? It seems so incredibly silly these years later, but it meant everything to me at the time. I wanted to have my baby in as close to a home-like setting as possible, with no unnecessary interventions. And certainly no bow glue.
Breaking up is hard to do
The day my doctor refused to go along with my wishes to cut the umbilical cord after it had stopped pulsing is the last day I was his patient. All I wanted was to delay cord clamping, which would be around the time my placenta delivered if they let it all happen on its own. But he thought my desires were invalid, so I broke up with him. I scheduled an appointment to meet in his office and told him that I would no longer need his services. I was going to have my baby at home. It was important to me to tell him in person and not just suddenly stop coming to my appointments. I wanted him to know, and he responded with, “We shall agree to disagree.” I floated out of his office and never looked back.
There’s no place like home
Choosing to have a home birth is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. For us, it absolutely made the most sense, and by God I got to birth my own placenta! It happened just as I thought it would: A few minutes after my baby girl was born and already at my breast. I didn’t feel a thing, but my midwife gently mentioned I should give a little push. In the dimness of our candle-lit bedroom, I had my baby and placenta, no big fanfare, no interventions -- and it was perfect.