Now that I have experienced both a hospital birth and a home birth I have done a lot of comparing and contrasting the two births.
I don't begrudge the way Sophia was brought into this world at all. It was what we felt was right for us at the time. We lucked out with our OB and she understood that I desired a natural birth and helped maintain that as much as possible.
There are a few main things that made the home birth such an amazing experience.
First of all just being in the comfort of my own home, in my pajamas, on my bed, with my family around helped to maintain a calm and loving atmosphere. I loved not having to put on that dumb hospital gown!
Secondly, I was able to eat and drink as I saw fit. I had coffee and a bagel the morning I went into labor. Not knowing if it was real labor at first and not knowing how long it was going to last it was nice to be able to eat and drink. I also had a Popsicle mid way through the labor. Yum!
Thirdly, after delivering I felt great. If you look back at the photo of me in the tub moments after delivery you will see how alert and awake I am. Not only do I think the water birth contributed to that but also the low stress of being at home helped to keep my energy level up. This also has to do with the very quick labor I had with Emma compared to the full 22 hours with Sophia.
Fourth, I didn't tear hardly at all. Peggy and Kim confirmed that I had a small nick that did not need to be mended. With Sophie, I tore, a lot. It hurt! I attribute the lack of tearing to being able to deliver in the water, control my pushing much better, and being able to adjust my body accordingly to a position that maximized the ease of the delivery rather than convenience of a doctor being able to see what was going on. The lack of tearing has kept me much more comfortable in regards to sitting, walking, getting in and out of bed, hemorrhaging, etc. Because I didn't have complications there I have more energy and want to be up and out of bed more.
With Sophia I wanted to stay in bed and my pajamas for a long time! With Emma I have had the energy to be up and a bit more active. We even took a trip to the grocery store yesterday!
All in all I just feel great. I feel more confident but I'm sure that has a lot to do with this being our second go around at being new parents. Emma is for the most part a very calm baby. She was very alert upon birth and has been very mellow and relaxed since then.
My biggest hope for anyone reading this is to just educate themselves and realize there are more options out there than we initially think. Having a baby is a NATURAL process but we allow ourselves to get trapped and blindsided by the medical community thinking they know best. A hospital birth can be a wonderful, rewarding experience. But there are other options. Regardless of which option a woman chooses I just wish more would look at the possibilities of home birth, water birth, using a birth center, VBAC, etc. My only regret with Sophia's birth is that I didn't follow my gut and use a midwife and do a home birth for her too.
For more information about midwifery and home birth check out my midwives' website.