Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Journey to Choosing Home Birth

One evening, I was home alone, so I decided to watch the movie I had rented from the library, The Business of Being Born (you can also see the whole documentary here on youtube). I was 10 weeks pregnant at this time and about to go see my doctor for my first prenatal visit. Some things in the video that grabbed me were women telling their stories. There were live births that were shown in homes, in water tubs, in hospitals. I understood the hospital births, but I had never pictured myself giving birth at home. I have one friend who has given birth at home…three times. I have always thought she was crazy and said I would NEVER do that!

Halfway through the movie, I stopped it, got on the computer and e-mailed my home birth friend asking her a lot of questions. Then I started looking up midwives in the area and e-mailing them. What was I doing? I hadn’t even talked to my husband about this! I just knew, based on statistics and stories in the video that I did not want to deliver this third baby in the hospital with my OB. The OB I found while searching for a Pro-Life OB/GYN in our area. The OB who had delivered our 2 previous boys. The OB I told I missed seeing when in for an appointment before I found out I was pregnant with Baby 3. The hospital I had just driven by with my mom and said, “I love that hospital.” The hospital that claims to be “Baby Friendly.”

With my first baby, I had wanted to go natural, to birth in a tub, but the tub was “taken” when we arrived at the hospital in full labor one week before my due date. I labored for hours being monitored, walking around the halls with strangers staring at me, lying in the bed, being poked and prodded. Since I wasn’t “progressing fast enough” I was told I would have Pitocin and I knew I didn’t want that without an epidural. A few hours later, a few pushes later, he arrived!

With my second baby, I was done, so my doctor scheduled an induction with Cervidel one day after my due date. I labored all night long while my husband slept on the fold out couch next to me. In the morning, they offered me the epidural as the anesthesiologist was making his rounds and passing them out. Without a second thought, I took one. A few hours later, a few pushes later (after being told I had almost gotten an emergency C-section because his heart rate was dropping too low), he arrived!

You see, I’ve always wanted to experience giving birth and I know the epidural, the hospital, the OB have kept me from doing that. I wanted things to be different this time and I had learned a few things through my research. I know that the pain of labor goes away as soon as the baby is born. The pain is not an injury pain, it is accomplishing something…moving the baby down and delivering the baby! There are pauses in between the contractions which allow for some rest, so it is not hours of constant pain. Millions of women before me have given birth naturally and safely. One in THREE births in hospitals result in a C-section.

I set out to educate myself more and picked up a copy of Ricki Lake’s Your Best Birth. It was obviously slanted in a midwife/home birth way, but I loved all of the information. It made sense. I knew this was for me and my husband agreed. Besides my friend, I had no one else who had given birth at home, although my father-in-law was born at home many years ago!

I talked to my parents about this and assured them that I was looking into this with an open mind and was NOT planning a home birth, but instead a birthing center birth. I made two appointments with midwives and asked lots of questions on local forums. Come to find out, there are lots of people out there who have given birth at home or a birthing center!

I met the first midwife and liked her (a former LDR nurse). She had a birthing center in her office and also would do a home birth. She worked alone and I would have all of my appointments with her. The second was a group of three midwives. They would use the birthing center or I could be one of the two that they would allow each month to birth at home if I signed up early enough for their services. Then it would be the luck of the draw of who I would end up with at the birth. They have a beautiful birthing center, but there was nothing there that we didn’t have at home—including a claw foot tub! I told my husband that felt like going to a hotel to give birth…and they kick you and the new baby out within 3-5 hours after giving birth as long as everything is okay.

At this point, we decided that a home birth would best suite us and we chose the first midwife. My parents are, at this point, thinking that I’m going nuts! I am reading books, forums, blogs and anything else I can get my hands on about birthing at home. My favorites so far have been Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Your Best Birth. I have bought quite a few others to read too.

So basically, I have a few main reasons that I want to deliver this baby at home. I want to experience labor and delivery without drugs (who knows if the rise in ADHD in children is also due to a rise in epidurals, Pitocin, etc.). I want to be comfortable to labor and deliver as I want, wearing what I want, being in whatever location I want surrounded only by those who love and support me, not strangers. I want to trust my body, God, my midwife and my husband to help me get through this process safely. If something happens and I need to be transported to the hospital (or my baby does), I know this can be done safely and quickly. I am much less likely to have a C-section.

When I first started thinking about this, it made me sick to my stomach every time. Now, I look forward to it with eager anticipation. We are not finding out the gender of our baby (once again) and are excited to see what God decides to add to our family. I can’t wait to welcome this baby into our arms, family and home! This is our current plan, but we always remember what Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.”

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