They say labor gets shorter with each pregnancy, and that definitely held true for me. In fact, my third child was so eager to get here she came dangerously close to being born at home - and in the car on the way to the hospital - and then again on a tufted leather bench in the hospital lobby - and in the elevator on the way up to Labor and Delivery.
I've heard plenty of heartwarming tales about 911 operators walking fathers-to-be through the process of delivering their own babies in incredible and inconvenient places, but I really wasn't interested in starring in one of those stories.
In fact, my near-non-hospital-room birth experience gave me even more respect for women who choose, on purpose, to give birth at home. I understand the inclination, and I know many people could list a million reasons why it's a great choice.
But personally, I could never have a home birth - and here are just a few of the reasons on my list.
1. I'd have to clean the house. Probably before and after. No thanks.
2. Hospital gowns aren't my favorite outfit, but when you're looking for something to wear while giving birth, a sterile muumuu with nursing flaps and snap closures that you don't have to wash afterward is a nice option.
3. Don't want to miss out on those free hospital diapers!
4. My home is my Happy Place. If I'm going to sully my Happy Place by screaming, I'll save it until the kid's a toddler.
5. Speaking of screaming, my house doesn't have soundproof walls.
6. My house does have nosy neighbors.
7. I doubt "because I need something to wrap the placenta in" is considered a valid reason to subscribe to the local newspaper.
8. If the cable guy is scheduled to come, you know he'll show up right in the middle of the third push, even though he was supposed to get there between 10:00 and 3:00 on Thursday two months ago.
9. I'm not entirely sure a plastic kiddie pool would fit in my living room.
10. I refuse to discuss the circumference of my cervix while a Sears portrait of my in-laws leers down at me from the wall.
11. If I'm at home, there's a 70% chance one of the older kids will wander in and ask for a snack or help with their homework and I'll have to say, "SORRY, MAYBE AFTER I EXPEL YOUR INFANT SIBLING FROM MY UTERUS, OK?"
12. It's probably really expensive to have stirrups installed on my couch.
13. If I want drugs to help me get through delivery, the expired cough drops in my medicine cabinet probably aren't going to do the trick.
14. You're not supposed to eat during labor, but if I can see my fridge, snacks will happen...
15. ...though my fridge lacks the most important thing I'd need: UNLIMITED ICE CHIPS.
16. It doesn't matter which button I press on my remote at home, none of them adjust my bed to the perfect angle or summon a nice nurse who'll bring pudding and offer to change the baby.
17. I really don't want to risk getting amniotic fluid on my... well, anything, really.