I feel like I kinda pulled a fast one on y’all since I usually share all my crazy plans and idea an weird hippy things I do and then I failed to let you know that I had a break up fight with my doctor and decided to go with a midwife and a home birth. Seems like something worth mentioning, no?
Here is the thing, we prayed like crazy over this decision. I researched it until both my eyes an my computer were exhausted. I read all the fairy tale stories and I read all the horror stories and then Russ and I agreed. Home birth was right for us, for this pregnancy, with this baby. But I had read enough to know that the backlash could be strong. Since I’m clearly not the most emotionally and mentally strong pregnant woman in the world I decided that for once I would keep my choice sorta private to keep myself sane.
So hear me out here: I’m not advocating this choice or saying its the right way or the only way. I just want to share some of OUR reasons in case you might be ready to fall so far off the alternative cliff that you can’t see the top any more ;).
First things first. In case you didn’t read it already, we loved the experience and it was truly awesome. So if your looking for unbiased, eh, you should head somewhere else.
Continuity of Care
This part of our choice actually hearkens back to Ava’s delivery. With both Lily and Ava the situations were very similar, I hit late labor/transition go into the hospital, send everyone into a frenzy and have a baby twenty minutes later. Strangely with such parallel paths of narration the experiences were vastly different, and that wide gap in experience can be almost totally summed up in personnel. With Lily I had amazing nurses who were listening to me and trying to accommodate, my doctor was there an took full charge of the situation. With Ava the nurses were very forceful, a little panicky, and I got stuck (by no fault of my doctor’s) with a pretty distasteful on call doctor.
The point is, it was eye opening to realize how much time and money we put into our care providers only to realize that who actually provides the care is luck of the draw. And what shocked me even more was that once you’re on that table, you could easily be placed in the hands of a nurse of doctor who calls all the shots and doesn’t even know your name.
Unpleasant. When we choose our midwife I could see right away she was going to work for us. Each visit often lasted an hour or even longer, this woman who was taking the time to get to know us was also the person that would be there when the baby came. That was really comforting for me to have someone that knew and respected my values and mine and my baby’s body through this process.
Listen I hate to sound like a diva, but lets face it there is nothing that says comfort about tile floors and fluorescent lights. The truth about our choice to home birth is that it wasn’t that much if a stretch from my natural hospital births because, especially with Lily, it is hard to drag me away from home if I’m uncomfortable. So basically I’ve pretty much never labored in a hospital. I’ve only given birth there.
Now having been through the experience both ways I know why it matters so much. Natural body responses are incredibly effective during labor and the place you are most likely to respond naturally is a place you are comfortable. Turns out my natural inclination from water break to baby cuddles never once included laying down, it almost never included sitting down.
I know. That word.
Because, really, how much control can anyone exert over a such a powerfully God driven experience like birth? Not much, that’s how much. However the memories of how completely out-of-my-hands Ava’s birth was even as she herself was trying to push out of my body and I was rolled over onto my side and instructed at all costs not to push combined with a current doctor that seemed dead set on mentally preparing me for a C-section starting at my first appointment made the inner feminist crave some empowerment.
The fact is I didn’t want to be in control as much as I didn’t want to be artificially controlled. I have seen the miracle of birth and I loved it, I only wanted enough empowerment to be able to leave the control in God’s hands. Turns out He is pretty good at this stuff.
Other Items of Note
A few other things that helped make this choice include:
-I am incredibly low risk. Not even so much as blip has ever crossed my maternity records. All that horrible Hyperemesis turns out to be a check in the right box when it comes to delivering healthy babies.
-I have a husband that’s into birth. Well only our births. After Lily’s he always thought it was really amazing and interesting and he has the stomach for dealing with all that. In home birth that matter because he played a much more major role than the stand by the bed sort of thing he had done previously.
-I had access to an exceptional midwife. Turns out just like doctors, hospitals, and nurses not all midwifed are created equal. Mine happens to have been doing this since before I was born. Not only is she a fount of knowledge and skill but she also has quiet confidence, friendliness, and a whole host of other valuable intangibles that can’t be quantified.
Sure it was a crazy decision, but perhaps not a quite as crazy as it all seemed at first. At the end of the day I wouldn’t trade my experience with Jane for anything!