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Ode to the Toad McBirth Stay on Your Feet Hospital Birth

From Chapter 10: The Birth Day Party
The Modern McBirth

Hospitals are often said to be good places to give birth because of their facilities. They are well equipped and have everything a birthing couple
might need readily available.

But so what?

In the restaurant business, particularly the fast-food business, kitchens are designed specifically for efficient food production in order to serve the most customers with the least effort in the least amount of time. But this doesn't mean we need the same equipment to prepare meals at home! Admittedly, many of us enjoy the familiar and when we go to these restaurants we know ahead of time exactly what we will get. We also know what we will get in the hospital, since it's pretty much standard fare in all franchises. There is some variety to the menu, but you're in trouble if you find
yourself in a burger place when you have your heart set on a stir-fry.

Birth shouldn't have to be like a drive-thru window. "Let's see, you ordered the birthing room with a Jacuzzi, and you'll need an enema to go. You want Demerol with that?"

When you go in for your McBirth at the local franchise, you know what to expect. Nurses and doctors are there to serve you, but special orders may upset them. After all, this is THEIR territory, and THEY are in charge. Because you are in their territory, you have few rights and little to do but pace the halls or lie on the assigned bed. You might be allowed to shower, but any staff member is free to walk in on you at any time.

By contrast, homebirth can be like a take-out pizza. You can sit around in your underwear or stark naked, lie down, sit, squat, dance, sing off key, or pass gas with gusto. Some couples prefer the quiet candlelight-and-wine atmosphere, listening to soft music while they wait until the bun is ready to come out of the oven.

Other home-birthing couples have a Birth Day Party. Just like any family celebration, there are balloons, gift-wrapped surprises for everyone, cake, and champagne! The cake is prepared ahead of time, decorated and put in the freezer. The presents are bought and wrapped and waiting for the Birth Day before they can be opened, the same as we anticipate Christmas Day.

Many women find they enjoy getting ready for the baby and the celebration party afterwards to help pass the time during labour. The nice thing is, it all depends on what YOU want. You can call someone over to be with you to help out, or be alone; it's up to you. It's your house, and you don't have to ask permission or argue policy with anyone!

Depending on how you feel you can spend the hours of your labour making sure the laundry is all caught up, the house is tidy, and the next meal is planned. If you don't feel up to it, of course, you don't have to do anything. But it is somehow emotionally satisfying to complete these "nesting behaviours" yourself, such as putting clean sheets on the bed, setting out the new baby's clothes, and boiling scissors to sterilize them for cutting the cord. It's exciting to get the baby's tiny clothes and diapers laid out, reminding you with each contraction that you will soon have a real, live baby
wearing them!

When you birth at home, you don't have that concern hanging over your head about when to go to the hospital. Go too soon, and you'll have a long time to labour in that institution, wait for full dilation, waiting for permission to push. And without a doubt, the longer you are there, the more likely you are to have some interventions to "speed things up". Go too late and you'll have to deal with those horrendous contractions in the car, every little bump in the road is magnified so that a smooth ride seems like torture. Then you'll be asked to cooperate with admission procedures, signing papers,
undressing, being examined and settled into a room when your contractions are demanding all your attention.

Believe it or not, the reason women have less need for pain relief at home birth is because of the ideas mentioned above. The birth attendants are the ones in an unfamiliar territory! In her own home the woman feels in control of her environment and her situation. Giving birth is perceived to be something she "does," not something that happens to her. That perception of personal power can be enough to help her handle the amazing power of contractions. Drugs? Who needs them!

Your house may not have the same set-up as the McBirth franchise, but it doesn't matter. The home made quality and the ambiance are unsurpassed.

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