Joanna is very excited because any minute her sister-in-law is going
to have a baby. She was waiting for the call so she can rush over
and be there for the birth, then she mentions they're having the
baby at home.
At home? "Yeah,
why?" she asked. "Because..." I paused. "Isn't
She made a face. So I had to explain. I
didn't mean dirty as in gross or erotic; I meant dirty as in dusty.
I thought for sure when I cleared that up it would make things
better. It didn't.
"That's the first thing you think of?"
she winced. "The apartment is dusty?"
Who wouldn't think that? They live in Brooklyn.
If you leave your window open for half a day, the sill looks like
it's been painted black. Plus, a woman who is nine months pregnant?
Vacuuming would be the last thing on her mind. It seemed like
a perfectly rational thought to be concerned that a New York apartment
isn't the most sanitary place to give birth.
Joanna was baffled, though, and I couldn't
understand why. She explained: "Here I am thinking about
the miracle of life and how joyful it will be to see a baby come
into the world, and all you can ask me is if it's dusty."
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with
it. But it doesn't seem right to give birth to a child in the
same room where you take off your socks. Also, let's say it's
a long labour and her brother goes to the kitchen to make a sandwich.
All of a sudden, the baby's coming. He runs to the bedroom to
help deliver, and guess what - next thing you know, sandwich on
Joanna interrupted me. "Sandwich on
the baby? What are you talking about?" Mustard. He gets mustard
on the newborn. And what about salmonella? Or E-coli?
"They wear gloves," she said.
So? He's making a sandwich in the same gloves he wears to deliver
his child? Doesn't seem right. And I think there's something sad
about giving birth to a child with a broom in the corner. That's
what the baby will see when it comes into the world? She told
me they didn't have a broom in the corner. But that's not the
point. It's hard enough to come into the world. The poor baby
has no idea what it's in for. At least give it something to look
forward to: going home. But if you're born at home, where do you
go from there? The hall?
If there's ever a reason to get out of the
house, having a baby would be it. That, or a fire. Which is another
thing to consider. What if you're having a baby at home and the
toaster explodes? Choose between the baby or the house burning
down? You don't have to worry about that if you're at the hospital.
Of course, the most important thing is that
the baby is healthy. I've been to a hospital recently and noticed
the antibacterial hand soap they use is a lot stronger than anything
you can buy at Tesco. And then hospitals have this other thing
that comes in handy in case something goes wrong. Doctors. Why
would someone pass that up?