Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NYT article on home births

I love the parts in this article, Baby, You're Home, about cleaning up "the mess," finding enough space in small NYC apartments, and dealing with neighbors in not-so-soundproofed apartments.

Picture from the NYT article

I have never found home births to be particularly messy, especially if you give birth in a tub. You just drain the pool, throw disposables in the garbage and washables in the washing machine and that's it! If you want a really easy clean up, buy sheets and towels at a thrift store and throw them away when you're done. My birth was probably the messiest of any I've been to, and it wasn't all that bad. There was copious bloody mucous as I was pushing--not enough to run down my leg, but present whenever I felt her head--and a good sized splat of blood when she came out (perhaps from when I tore?). I was kneeling on a few old towels, so we just threw them in the wash. I used Chux pads underneath me on the bed for a few hours after the birth. Once the placenta was out and my tear stitched up, I switched over to pads.

Make sure you see the slide show, too. Great pictures of women laboring and snuggling with their new babies, as well as text explaining each picture.


  1. the slide show had me in tears. its a sad thought knowing my no. 3is my last. looking at the pictures of women in that post birth euphoria, which looks very serene, takes me back and i miss it. that first week after a home birth is bliss on earth.

  2. I liked the article very much, until the part "Home birth gone wrong" - with a tale about some unknown woman being transfered to unknown hospital, after suffering some horror story trauma. Sounds urban myth'ish to me :P

  3. Oh wow, I haven't even clicked the link, but the title already has my eyes teary, "Baby, you're home" LOL I'm such a sucker.

    Now, to the article: it sent me right down memory lane -- aah, Park Slope... What a great place to have babies! We moved away from NY before starting our family, but that's where we were living when I had my great epiphany that I'd be birthing my future children at home :) But at the time, my idea of the typical home birthers was long-haired, vegan, counterculture types fashioned after Ina May's mothers on the Farm in Tennessee! It was, like, exotic: definitely not compatible with our urban lifestyle. (Hey, we actually even ended up having that first home born kid in Iowa.) I find it pretty wild that home birth is getting fashionable among NYC professionals now. Are we approaching a tipping point I wonder?

  4. Everyone always asks about the clean up! McKay did the cleaning up, so I can't say much about it, but it was quick and the next day you couldn't even tell I had the baby here- except for a wet spot on the carpet where water had spilled out of the tub when I was leaning over it- and even then it was just water, not blood and such.

  5. I find it odd they spent so much typespace going on and on about how much room you supposedly need to have a homebirth. If women can birth in one-room huts onto dirt floors, they can certainly birth in an 800-sq. foot apartment. And I wish they'd done more expounding on the proven safety of homebirth, especially with ACOG's broken-record party line thrown in there, but other than that, good article. And the photos are AWESOME!

    -Jill (nsi)

  6. Also, I admit before I really knew much about homebirth but was still interested in the idea, I was very "omg, omg, the mess, the mess! how will I clean up the mess?" 1) The midwives clean up the mess! and 2) there really isn't THAT much mess!

    I bled, puked, pooped, dribbled/gushed amniotic fluid, peed, and probably drooled, too, all over the room I birthed in, and the midwives did such a good job cleaning as we went and catching things with prefolds and towels that it wasn't a big deal. The pool contained the majority of the mess since that's where baby was eventually born. I'm sure it would have been quite a mess had he been on land, what with the meconium he squeezed out when he was born, and the several big gushes of blood and fluid that came out of me after he did. But all that drained through the hose and out the window!

    -Jill (still nsi)

  7. On the other hand, for many of us in NYC "throwing something in the wash" involves a trek down a few flights of stairs, then three to four blocks to the nearest laundromat. I think that's when I'd just put it in the tub or trash, despite all my reusing leanings. :)

  8. So true chou....those of us with in-house or in-apartment washers & dryers are spoiled!


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