Having just gone through a terrifying birthing experience (but everyone is fine now, thank you), my opinion about home birthing has taken a decided turn toward the grouchy.
Yes, I’m sure it’s wonderful to have your child at home, in your own bed, just surrounded by your loved ones and a midwife. I’m sure it’s wonderful to be away from doctors and their computers and IV bags. But if my son Thomas had been born at home, he would be dead right now.
As it was, an obstetrician watching the baby monitor realized the situation had turned life-threatening, so she used appropriate equipment to bring him out ahead of schedule. The moment he was out, he was pounced on by an anesthesiologist and a handful of registered nurses, who resuscitated him after about a minute and a half. He still wasn’t able to breathe on his own, so they intubated him. This was all within about the first 10 minutes of his life. By the end of the morning, he was on his way in a special ambulance to a neonatal intensive care unit, where he underwent a revolutionary new hypothermia therapy, which protected him from hypoxemic brain damage. Today, he’s home, acting like a typical newborn, and he has an excellent chance of growing up without any long-term damage whatsover.
Sure, midwives are highly trained in what they do. They join professional organizations of midwives, and they undergo training. They’re practiced in things like CPR, and they’re unafraid to call an ambulance when things get scary. But is the feel-good benefit of having your baby at home worth risking your and your child’s life? I’m convinced that if Thomas hadn’t been born in an advanced medical facility, I would be writing a very unhappy blog post this morning.