I never intended to be a homebirthing dad. Our first child was born in the “normal” American way – in a hospital. Physically, mom and baby came out fine. But the scars from that experience still throb in our hearts many years later.
The impersonal way hospital staff treated us; the overactive use of clinical equipment, terms, and technology; the fact that I had to keep briefing incoming personnel on our birth plan (since apparently they didn’t take the time to actually talk to read the copies I had provided, or talk to one another); the fact that they ordered my wife to lay on her back, which made the process excruciatingly slow and painful; the fact that the first thing my baby saw was a doctor dressed in a haz-mat suit; the way they whisked the baby away from mom as if the child were public property; the way they treated me like a useless observer and not the head, protector, and provider of my family; the forced hospital stay in a shared room, an uncomfortable bed, and with nothing to eat but sub-par food…the whole experience definitely convinced us that there had to be a better way to do this.
Unfortunately, our second birth did not allow for that. Due to medical complications in the pregnancy, my wife had to get a non-emergency C-section. It wasn’t that bad. Our second hospital experience was better than the first — but only by degrees. Still present were the lack of communication by hospital staff, the impersonal way my wife, our baby, and I were treated by that staff, the way I was shoved aside, the way my wife was given orders, and so on. Not to mention the price tag. If it hadn’t been for our excellent health coverage at the time I’d still be paying for that birth years later. Also notable was how after each hospital birth some designated staff member would come talk to us about how to use contraception to prevent another pregnancy — as if pregnancy were an undesirable medical condition. The hospitals sure make a lot of money off of parents’ love for their babies, but they do treat all of the parties as ignorant, blundering, or unwelcome troublemakers.
When we found out the happy news that we were expecting our third, we once again wanted to do things differently. We really didn’t want to go the hospital route because every time we dealt with an OB/GYN she treated my wife like a semi-idiot and treated me worse — or simply ignored me. We hoped that this time we wouldn’t be shoved around and have to make more unpleasant memories.