(NOTE: I do not actually want another preemie. This is just a random brain dump. I am not a monster.)
At my most recent prenatal appointment, I had the weirdest realization. It was kind of awful, actually. I don't just expect that this baby might come early like its older sister. I'm actually kind of... well... hoping it will. Not truly hoping, though. It's kind of hard to explain. I don't actually want to subject this baby (and us) to a stretch in the NICU. Prematurity is no picnic! But the trappings of prematurity are the only reference I have for the post-childbirth period.
Once upon a time - as in when I was heavily pregnant with the P. - the BabbyDaddy and I discussed the possibility of homebirths and talked about hightailing it out of the birth center as soon as possible after the cord was cut. Then P. actually arrived, prematurely, and we adjusted to the beeps and boops of the local neonatal intensive care unit. Now, provided you have the prematurity experience we had, which didn't involve anything more dire than a few brady spells and brachy spells and weight gain challenges, the NICU can be a pretty reassuring place.
Monitors tell you definitively that, yes, your newborn or infant is alive and properly saturated with oxygen. You have questions? There is always someone nearby with answers. Breastfeeding issues can be addressed immediately by a pro. Supplies are always at the ready. And best of all, they will not let you leave with a baby unless they feel that you're capable of doing what is necessary to keep it alive.
That's not to say I'm not confident about my mothering abilities. When it comes right down to it, I'm pretty laid back where parenting is concerned - in direct opposition to my approach to just about everything else in life. For this, I thank my dad, who raised (and in some cases is still raising) seven children without a rich man's resources or a lot of hippy dippy parenting manuals. I figure I'm doing pretty well raising the one I have, and I managed to keep her alive during the floppy-neck-fontanel phase of life.
But still. Give birth at home? Give birth at the birth center and then head home? Nope nope nope. Frankly, even the realization that the medical establishment might just wave me away with a baby that's a day and a half old is kind of terrifying.