The sheer volume of decisions that you have to make before you have a baby is on par with planning a wedding. Wedding planning is simply making decision after decision, day after day, until suddenly you're naked in a hotel room wondering what you've gotten yourself into.
Right now I'm baby planning. Thankfully I have nine months instead of the five short months of my engagement, but the decisions feel a little more weighty. I could probably list 65 decisions that I've made in the last five weeks, some of them without a second thought, but many of them in consultation with my mother, a friend, and at least three reference books.
One of the decisions that I'll have to make soon is whether I want to give birth in a hospital or at home. I met with both the home birth and the hospital-based midwife last week; I liked both of them, and I don't feel any closer to making the decision. It feels like it should be obvious, but I don't think I've been quiet for long enough to know what I really want.
My mom had two babies in the hospital and three at home, and I attended the final two. I remember them feeling so natural and comfortable. With the last one, my mom made blueberry pie ahead of time, which she set it out with whip cream after the contractions started. I remember checking in on my mom, eating some pie with my dad in the kitchen, reading my novel in the living room, watching Isaiah emerge into the world, and then eating some more pie. The midwives were there the whole time, but everything seemed to go according to my mom's timetable. No one told her what to do or when to do it; she just disappeared into another world inside herself and had a baby.
I liked the whole experience, but I always assumed that I would have my babies in hospitals. I admired my mother's hippie, granola ways, but back then I also found them odd. Well, I still think she's a tad odd. Not only did my mom have her babies at home... she wants us to host her wake at home. "Everyone goes other places to do everything," she lamented to me once. "They go someplace else to eat dinner, they go someplace else to worship, they go someplace else to have babies, they go someplace else to be dead in a room. When I die, just put my casket on the kitchen table and invite people over." My mom is by no means a hermit--she just thinks your home should be where you live, not a place for you crash after you do your living somewhere else.
So that's my mom, and maybe it's me too, minus the notion of my casket on the kitchen table. I think I've come to terms with all of the really important things to consider with home births and hospital births, and as I quiet myself to figure out what I really want, I'm left to consider these items on each pro list:
- If I have the baby at the hospital, I'll get to press a little button when I need something.
- If I have the baby at home, there will be pie.