Sunday, November 18, 2007

Drive-Through Baby

I think it was Rhea who first used the term "drive-through baby" to me. Rhea and I have known each other more than 25 years, and she's like another sister to me. Unfortunately for me, she lives on the other side of the country, so I don't get to see her as much as I'd like. In addition to sharing a huge part of our past, Rhea has become a midwife, and so we share a passion for midwifery care, the sacred rituals of birth, and the incomparable beauty of mothers and babies. She is a wonderful friend and an irreplacable resource, as she is incredibly generous with her wealth of knowledge and experience surrounding pregnancy, labour, and birth.

Last week, I decided that the drive-through delivery was the right one for us.

Features of a drive-through delivery:
- You will labour at home (with your midwife in attendance) for as long as possible
- Late in labour, you will arrive at the hospital, check in, and deliver the baby there
- If all goes well and both you and baby are in good health, your midwife can discharge you as early as three hours after the birth

It differs from a typical hospital birth in that it is known that the family wants to go home as quickly as possible, so unless there is a medical reason for mother or baby to stay under observation, home they will go. Obviously, a drive-through birth is only possible under a midwife's care, not a doctor's, and one of the reasons midwives can accomplish it is that they will be coming to your home to check on you and the baby in the next 24-48 hours, and will visit every few days after that. Doctors don't do that, and so they insist that you stay in the hospital for a few days to be observed.

I'm really pleased with this decision, because we can still claim to the Pushy Grandparents that we are giving birth in a hospital, but meanwhile will spend as much time as possible both before and after birth at our home. I feel it's an acceptable compromise. Of course, as mentioned earlier we are not going to tell the Grandparents our decision until after we tour the hospital, so we can pretend it was the luxurious rooms and private baths that convinced us, instead of giving any indication that we are doing this simply to shut them up.

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