She asks, in earnest and without rancor:
By the time I got over there, the topic had been well-covered, safety issues addressed, specifics taken care of. So I just added my $0.02. It occurred to me that although I posted some longwinded spiels, I hadn't ever posted a simple nutshell version on my own darn blog, so here you go.
I've never understood why anyone would choose to give birth at home, rather than in a birthing center attached to a hospital. a) Why not go somewhere where you don't have to wash the sheets? b) If there's even a remote chance that you need emergency surgery, why not arrange to be seconds away from an operating room rather than minutes, or longer?I know that childbirth isn't a disease. On the other hand, if I had a non-disease where there was a small chance that I'd need emergency surgery within the next 72 hours, I'd prefer to park myself as close to an OR as possible.
I understand that every woman has the absolute right to make her own decisions about where and how to give birth. I'm not trying to influence anyone else.
Why, because Ricki Lake did it, of course!
BUT SERIOUSLY, folks. Everyone else's answers [check out the original post and comments] completely cover my own rationale: the safety of home birth versus fighting the cascade of interventions at the hospitals. The risks of the latter put me over the edge. I won't rehash what others have covered so eloquently. Essentially, for me as an individual:
1. While it is technically possible to battle your way through the hospital for a natural birth, refusing intervention after intervention, protocol after protocol, arguing policy, fending off negative attitudes by way of the crapshoot re: which L&D nurses you get (some are great, some are not, almost all are overworked), I decided that I would rather not spend my whole labor - the birth of my child - fighting with strangers.
Your mileage may vary, and not ALL hospitals are like this. But it's fair to say that in this current state of maternity care, the odds make me wary indeed, even if you choose the perfect open-minded, supportive care provider (who may not even be the one who ends up attending you, due to the nature of group practice).
2. By the time I got pregnant, I had both read and heard firsthand SO MANY crappy hospital experiences for a first birth followed by a wonderful, healing, life-affirming experience with their second birth at home, that I just decided, "Well . . . why don't I just skip the crappy hospital experience?"
And so I did.
Final note on the matter of cleanup - as others have said, it's really nothing. So you stain some secondhand sheets and toss them, and chux pads take care of the rest, if any. It's a cinch. OR - buy/rent a birth pool and have a waterbirth! Issue = moot.