Goldie was born peacefully at home and the thought of going to the hospital seemed more of a hassle than anything. But, our midwife, Maria, of Gold Coast Midwifery Practice, recommended that we take her there for a hearing screening. I know that Goldie can hear, she startles at loud noises and looks in the direction of my voice, but the school teacher in me knows that even a slight hearing deficiency is important to catch early, if you can. So, we rang the maternity ward at the hospital where I had booked in and asked them if we could make an appointment for our homebirth baby to have the hearing test. (You still book into a hospital when you have a homebirth, just in case you have to go).
Tweed Heads Hospital is less than a five minute drive from our house. It’s a nice enough public hospital. In fact, whenever we have an emergency, Art and I always compare it to hospitals in America, and we know that it’s actually really good. In Australia, we have public hospitals, based on a socialized health care system, and private hospitals, where people go who pay for private insurance.
We walk down the quiet corridor to the maternity ward… Something about a hospital corridor… the familiar smell of hospital mashed potatoes, this strange comforting feeling, you know what I mean? Like, ok, I’m at a hospital, I’m safe now. I remember clearly feeling this when I arrived at the maternity ward in the hospital where I had Margo. But, when we entered the maternity ward, it was anything but familiar and comforting. The second Margo, Art and I entered the ward, a midwife barked at a lady walking behind me, ‘No visitors now!’. Then, we got to the desk and there was so much commotion and clutter and noise and people and machines and medical equipment! It was so busy! Nothing against the hospital and their staff, they were all doing a good job, it was just all a bit too much for a newborn baby, I thought!
So, the midwife who was to do the hearing test took us into one of the birthing room suites. Ewww… I thought… this is where woman have their babies. I don’t know why I thought that, I don’t think that every time I sit down at my dining room table. Ewww… I’m eating soup in the same spot where I had my baby… no, it was different. It was a typical smallish hospital room, with a few random old looking chairs, a big hospital bed and a bathroom, and LOTS of medical equipment. I remember being in the birthing suite where we had Margo. We had Margo at a private hospital, the room was huge and with a massive birthing pool, but it was still ringing very familiar to the birthing room we were in. Hard concrete floors, fluorescent lights, scary looking equipment and not a single decoration. It had a very familiar uncomfortable feeling. Hardly the place I would have liked to be in labor. At home, I was free to find any comfy place I wanted. The corner of my daughter’s toddler bed was where I did most of my labor, in our own comfy bedroom!
The midwife smelled like cigarette smoke… She put the wires and stuff on Goldie’s head and Goldie was half awake, very calm, and the midwife kept saying how she was being ‘a good girl’. OMG, why are you telling a newborn that you’re being a good girl? They don’t need to to be ‘good girls!’ and what if she was crying? Would she be not so good? Then, Goldie looked like she was about to do a poo. Doing EC, (elimination communication) I almost always know when she’s going to do a poo, or at least is about to do a big fart. So, Goldie farted, and the midwife thought she pooed and she says to Margo, ‘ewww, yucky, baby did a poo.’. I’m thinking, OMG, shut up lady! I don’t tell my toddler that poo is yucky! In fact, most of the time, we cheer on poos because they land in a bucket! Everyone poos, what’s wrong with a poo!?! Anyway, little lady Goldie did NOT do a poo, just a little fart. She saved the big one for the red bucket at home, like a proper lady.
Goldie passed her hearing test. Everything was fine. On the way out, we were talking to a women who was 30 weeks pregnant and wanted to have a VBAC, she also did EC with her first child! How cool! We were talking about it and some of the other midwives around had never heard of EC were politely asking a few EC questions, with a little bit of, ‘Oh man, why would you bother’ attitude. It was pretty interesting going to the maternity ward after having a homebirth. It made me cherish the relative peacefullness of our homebirth. Even though, at times, it may have been a bit chaotic with Art frantically filling up the pool and Margo not liking so much that Mommy was yelling at the top of her lungs when she had to push the baby out. And, that it was a bit of a mess to clean up. Still, it was OUR home. Comfortable and peaceful. A place where WE create the vibe. A place where nobody who smells like cigarette smoke can touch my baby. A place where a baby can come into the world into loving arms and nobody is going to put a wristband on them so that they don’t get confused with the other babies! I loved our homebirth and going to the maternity ward three weeks after Goldie was born reminded me of what a special experience we had!