Preparing for my home birth

It’s finally hitting me the past couple weeks:  I’m going to have another baby.  It only took 38 weeks to figure it out, but at least I didn’t wait until the day of.  I guess I’ve been so busy with Asher and our house that I’ve just put off preparing for the day of Silas’ birth.  No matter, I’m here now and busy mentally and physically preparing for laboring and delivering.  Since this is my second go around, I’ve really felt I don’t really need to prepare like I did with Asher and have to catch up on everything.

Asher and me after his birth less than two years ago...my how we've changed!

Asher and me after his birth less than two years ago…my how we’ve changed!

My husband and I took HypnoBirthing class while we lived in Alabama, which I attribute to my ease of labor and confidence going in.  My only regret with my first delivery was that I couldn’t have Asher at home with a midwife—something I could’ve done illegally, but we chose to use our insurance to pay for an OB-GYN (plus, I didn’t really know a lot about home birthing when we chose our doctor).  I believe the one complication I’m still dealing with from my first delivery would not have happened had I been with my current midwife.  Unfortunately, it’s illegal to have a home birth with a midwife in the state of Alabama (along with the sale of raw milk for human consumption—another topic altogether), but of course, you can do things such as buy and consume all the raw meat you can handle even though there’s a chance you could die from it.  But I digress…

I’m incredibly excited to have this opportunity to [make the decision to] deliver at home with a Certified Nurse Midwife, Brenda Abercrombie.  The difference between my care with my OB-GYN and her is total night and day.  I was essentially ushered around and treated like a pregnant cow.  There was some attempt at making things personal, but I didn’t realize how weak an attempt this was until I started seeing Brenda.  I saw a practice of midwives in Georgia for the first trimester while we were still living in Alabama with Silas, but these women were truly “OB-GYN-lite”.  I would have had a hospital birth (potentially a water birth) just as before except one of the midwives would have stayed with me without leaving my side during the entire labor and delivery.  Ugh, my nightmare!  I like to be left alone with I’m going through contractions or “surges” as HypnoBirthers refer to it.

HypnoBirthing taught me so much about our bodies’ abilities to give birth, the history of childbirth, and the unnecessary fear that plagues expectant mothers in the United States and other westernized countries.  It was truly liberating to learn about how perfectly our bodies are made to create and deliver healthy babies even though the medical community has essentially destroyed women’s confidence in doing so.  God created us yet somehow we’ve turned a natural process into something that necessitates medical intervention.  Of course, medical intervention can be necessary and life-saving, but most of the time it is not.  Women should be well-screened and the midwives they see should be certified as any doctor is.  There was an incident in our area where an uncertified and uncertified midwife caused the death of an infant.  Tragic incidents like this should never happen with an experienced and certified midwife and only fuel the fear out there.

I have read countless statistics out there on the safety of home birth versus hospital births.  The results vary depending on where the study took place and what group conducted it, so ultimately, any decision a woman makes should be done through her own research, experience and prayer.  I listed some links to some of the statistics I’ve read below this post.  I’m confident and comfortable with my decision and hope every woman has the opportunity to have the birth of her choice without doctors, midwives and others negatively influencing their decision.

Since I’m on the subject of empowering women, I think it’s imperative for those of us who have given birth to not discourage women who haven’t with negative birth stories.  I’ve been guilty of unwittingly doing this I’m sure because it is easy to share any life-changing event you’ve experienced without realizing it could be hurting a woman’s confidence.  I’m also incredibly passionate about empowering women’s birthing experiences, which has caused me to get a little “preachy” with women (sorry for those who’ve experienced this).  Unfortunately, childbirth is an unnecessarily delicate situation to talk about that has come about due to decades of women going through overly “medicalized” births as HypnoBirthing taught me…and of course, Hollywood tends to dramatize it a little as well. 😉  We really need to get back to encouraging women and sharing our experiences as necessary without dramatizing some of the less pleasurable portions of labor and delivery or getting “preachy”.

Scary!

Scary Hollywood dramatization!

The people I’ve found to be the least supportive were sadly nurses and assistants involved in first pregnancy.  Numerous nurses and assistants rolled their eyes at me when told them at various stages of my pregnancy that I did not plan on or want any “pain management” methods they offered such as epidurals or drugs of any kind.  This didn’t affect me too badly (and pretty much furthered my determination to have a “natural” birth), but I know every woman is different and this could be a total confidence killer.  I’m sure many women say they’re planning on doing it naturally and don’t, but have any of these women who roll their eyes consider they were one of the knocks on the armor of pregnant women they’re treating that prevented them from having the births they planned on by reacting this way?

As I’m preparing for my second labor and delivery, I’m not dealing with the mystery of it.  Women can’t affect my confidence because I know what to expect.  I’m “in the club” already. 😉  Granted, every pregnancy is different, but the mystery of it all is no longer there.  I had a wonderful birth with Asher, but there’s always a chance of something going wrong no matter where I deliver Silas.  My pride gets me in trouble way too much, and I’m worried it’ll do so in this situation.  Yes, I delivered a 9.5-pound baby in a short amount of time without the use of drugs or medical intervention, but it was by the grace of God.  I played no part in the creation of the heavens and earth.  I’m not special, I was blessed with confidence and determination.  I’m praying God continues to extend His grace in Silas’ birth and gives me an uncomplicated birth and most importantly a healthy baby boy.  I can’t wait to meet the [big] little guy I’ve grown to know and love while inside me!  Blessings to the women out there who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant!

Blessings,

Michelle

Home birth and hospital birth statistics sources:

http://pregnancy.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Home_Birth_Statistics

http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20100702/home-births-linked-higher-newborn-death-rate?page=2

http://www.uptodate.com/contents/planned-home-birth

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