Not the kind where you go to the corner, but the kind where I stop everything and tell you something important.
Since the cat's outta the bag (in other words, I'm pregnant) I thought I'd take a minute to put something out there that might be a little controversial. I really hope I can explain myself thoroughly, because it's something I feel strongly about.
After much thought and prayer on the subject, Turner and I have decided to have this baby with a midwife, at home.
Now, before you jump all over me and laugh, or say "That's so dangerous," or "That's crazy," or "WHAT?!?!?" Please know that we are not alone in wanting to do this. I realize it's not the norm, but I promise you, there are a LOT of people having babies in the comfort of their own homes, many of whom we've spoken to, and many of whom YOU know! They could be people you interact with on a daily or weekly basis, and they're perfectly normal and healthy. Trust me, we know what we're getting into.
Below, I'll tell you the entire story of Monkey's birth. But for those of you who'd rather not read it, I'll just say this: I thought I was educated. I thought I knew what I was doing for the most part. After two years of reading and talking to people and gathering information, I realize that I was vastly uneducated about birth. I realize that I, like far too many women, was told things by my doctors, and I believed them outright - they're doctors! They should know everything, right?
Well, now I understand that doctors are given a very specific, rather limited, education on birth and the female body. Most doctors (obstetricians) have probably never witnessed a totally unmedicated labor and birth. Because they are rarely with a woman throughout the duration of her labor, they fail to see the subtle intricacies and great strength that a woman's body naturally has. They set limits on women that are too often made out of fear of a lawsuit rather than the safety of the woman herself.
Now, I realize that there are circumstances in which obstetrical science is a life saver. Doctors and modern medicine are here on earth for a reason - I am not disputing that. If I need it, I'm glad they're there.
However, I've come to understand that pregnancy, labor and birth are natural processes of life - not diseases. I'm going to treat my body as though nothing has changed. The only reason I should set foot in a hospital is if my life or my baby's life is in danger - and I'll have the help of a trained midwife and a doula to know if that's the case.
I know I have choices. And I choose to have my baby in a quiet, comfortable, relaxed familiar atmosphere.
- Darci - The Page Traveler -
P.S. one of the most awesome places I've found for reading amazing birth stories is Mama Birth.The author has had home births and is a huge advocate for them, but not only that, she also provides research and information on various topics that people don't often hear about. If you've been told you NEED a c-section, read this. If you've been told that home birth is dangerous, read this. If you've been told your baby won't fit through you, read this.There are many more here if you're interested, plus a TON of amazing birth stories (both hospital and home) listed here.
Monkey's Birth Story
With Monkey's birth, we went with a local ObGyn who came very highly recommended. We were actually very happy with her for the most part. Toward the end of my pregnancy however, I started to feel uncomfortable with her. I felt like she wasn't giving me the support I needed both in answering my questions (I was a first time mom, I had a LOT of questions) and in helping me to be prepared for labor and birth. This was just the beginning.
Now, in retrospect, of course she couldn't dedicate that time to me - she's a doctor! She has a huge practice with tons of women who expect her services. I seriously considered switching providers at this point, but I was too afraid to, so didn't.
When I went into labor at one in the morning on Dec. 13, 2009, I stayed at home for as long as we thought was appropriate. I was able to use our birthing ball, move around, relax, and eat and drink if I felt the need. When my contractions were consistently five minutes apart for about two hours (about 6am) Turner and our Doula and I headed to the hospital. Here's what happened:
I sat in an uncomfortable chair in a cold bright room to sign papers for twenty minutes.
At 7am, I was laid in a cold uncomfortable bed in triage (checked and told I was "a loose 3 cm") and had monitors strapped to me (when I specifically asked them to monitor intermittently) for about THREE HOURS. During this time I started shaking, getting hot and cold flashes, and throwing up.
At 10am, a doctor (who was NOT my doctor) came in looking stressed and haggard, and checked me roughly saying that I was "a tight 3" and that since I wasn't progressing I would either have to have a c-section or an epidural or go home.
**I am a PRIME example that women can actually dilate backwards when they feel threatened. I totally felt like that doctor did not care one whit about me, and so whatever progress I may have made up to that point (which I still doubt was very much, since I was so uncomfortable) was completely undone by his abrupt and harsh manner.**
We tried to tell the doctor that the reason I wasn't dilating was because I was uncomfortable, and could I please be admitted so I could use their labor tub, or the showers, or even a more comfortable bed?
When the doctor left, Turner and I decided (against our plan) to go with an epidural. I had been awake for over 24 hours at that point and between labor and no food or sleep, I was exhausted. They wheeled me into a L/D room, and got the epidural in me. It wasn't long before I could feel nothing below my waist.
I sat, unable to move or eat or drink, in that bed from 10:30ish am, until late that night (long after Monkey was born). Luckily, I was able to get some sleep... not that it helped much. I felt my water break at one point... kind of a "pop" in my belly. By about 6pm I was fully dilated and ready to push. I did push for about an hour. I couldn't feel a thing. It was bizzare to have to be watching a monitor to know what my body was doing, and when I should work with it - which I couldn't do. When Monkey started crowning, they told me to stop. Since I couldn't feel anything, it was easy. Then the doctor arrived (same one... blegh) and I was "allowed" to push Monkey out. I tore from pushing too fast, requiring stitches. I also got hemorrhoids from pushing incorrectly... those suck.
On a happy note, I will always remember how it felt when they put Monkey on my chest for the first time. I remember looking into Turner's eyes, and both of us were crying in awe at the new little life we'd brought into the world together. It was such a spiritually intense moment, and I'm grateful we had it.
I still couldn't move, so Turner watched as they washed, shot, and dressed Monkey. We had him stay the night with us in the room they moved us to next (recovery or something?). Those first few days were great. We were so excited to have him here, nothing else mattered.
After the "high" died down however, I was a wreck. One morning, my body went into shock from exhaustion. My mom came over (since Turner was working) and had to formula feed Monkey because I just couldn't move. I was shaking and sweating and throwing up and could not understand what was happening. Now, after reading more about it, I realize I was suffering from a mild form of postpartum depression. Luckily, I got past it with the help of my mom and husband and some good friends.
Even now, I know that I did what I thought was best for my baby. But I know so much more now than I did then. As educated as I thought I was, I now realize that I was still just as uninformed as the majority of women are who go through hospital-assembly-line-maternity.
My hope with our next birth is that I'll be able to listen to my body and have the freedom to do what it tells me to do. I want to feel the birth of my child happening... not just be a bystander.
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