When I had my baby girl nine weeks ago I was surrounded by family.
My husband was there. And so were my mum and dad.
We all sat in comfort, with our choice of music playing, a television at the ready.
I enjoyed a coffee and a laugh between contractions as I moved from chair to bed to bouncy ball.
I had a beautiful midwife who made every attempt to ensure my labour was as relaxed and natural as possible.
Third time around, I was fortunate enough to have a smooth labour and healthy delivery, and that meant my birth experience was serene and beautiful (well, as much as it can be when one considers the pain of childbirth!), and exactly how I’d hoped it would be.
But I wasn’t at home.
Nor was I in a birthing centre.
I was in hospital.
Had I required an emergency cesarean, I could have had one immediately.
Had my baby become distressed, help would have been at hand.
If things got ugly or my capacity for pain simply wavered, an epidural wouldn’t have been far away.
Yet my birth didn’t feel clinical. Or sterile. I wasn’t being invaded or poked unnecessarily.
There was no evil doctor ramming epidurals or c-sections or episiotomies down my throat.
Because this time I didn’t need them. Had I needed one or more of those things (as I have in the past), I’d have had immediate access to them.
And the fact is, sometimes birthing mothers do need those things. Sometimes other intervention is needed. Sometimes that intervention can save lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to write a piece against home-birthing or birthing suites. I’m not in the business of publicly judging another woman’s choices.
What I do want to get across though, particularly to any expecting women out there, is that it is possible to have a beautiful, natural labour in a hospital.
And if things don’t go to plan or don’t end up being beautiful or natural, as is unfortunately often the case – well that’s life and they were never going to be – regardless of the location.