Labor should be as comfortable as possible. I don’t mean painless, although I do have a friend who claims she didn’t experience pain during her quick 4 hour labor. I mean as stress-free, emotionally calm, and positive as possible.
Home is where I’m most comfortable. At home, I can control the level of stimulation, the music, lighting, temperature, who is present, what I wear, when to push, what position to labor in. HSPs like control because we are so easily overstimulated and have to protect ourselves. Home birth gave me a chance to control the aspects of labor that are controllable, which gave me more confidence to face all the scary unknowns.
I personally don’t like the hospital vibe. I don’t like bright lights, beeping machines, sudden announcements, bleachy smells, and squeaking sneakers. I know, I sound like such a princess right now. I really try not to be high maintenance or make a fuss, but if I can avoid things that rub me the wrong way, I do.
I am also super intimidated by doctors (“white coat syndrome”) and tend to do whatever doctors say (or at least pretend to obey) whether they make sense or not. I feared not having the guts to stand firm if doctors recommended an intervention I wasn’t comfortable with.
For all these reasons, I decided to pursue a home birth. Working with a midwife was so intimate and comforting. I never felt rushed or pressured or wrong. They are trained to watch and wait, to let labor follow it’s natural course and pace. They tend to not see every tiny hiccup as an emergency. HSPs do not like to be rushed or pressured to “perform”, and I loved that I could just relax and let my labor instincts kind of take over.
Now, there’s the issue of emergencies. HSPs tend to think and plan and worry about the future. I did my research, and knew my midwives’ stats were far better than the surrounding hospitals. Much lower C-Section rates, lower episiotomy rates, etc. My chances of successfully birthing at home with no interventions was 90%, much better odds than in any of the local hospitals (the nearest hospital has a 60% c-section rate!)
HSPs supposedly feel pain more intensely, so why would I put myself through an unmedicated birth? Because the thought of laboring in a hospital, hearing the screams of laboring women, dealing with the possibility of bratty nurses or curt doctors scared me more than the pain.
I can imagine some HSPs would prefer to labor in a hospital because they feel safer there and there is more backup in case of emergencies. Maybe the hospital procedures are a comfort. More power to you! Like I said, birth should take place where you’re comfortable- at home, at the hospital, at a birth center, in a taxi (jk.) Do your research, do some soul-searching, and honor your own decision.
Did your HSP qualities affect your birth plan or labor? How so? Please share by leaving a comment!