"Giving birth is an ecstatic jubilant adventure not available to males.

It is a woman's crowning creative experience of a lifetime." ~ Dr. John Stevenson

"The Road Less Traveled..." of Parenthood

Following your instincts instead of the crowd

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Journey to my first homebirth

Joshua’s Pregnancy--Nov 2002-Aug 2003

When I became pregnant 6 years after my last baby, I had learned a great deal about natural alternatives to modern medicine. I was healthy, at a great weight for me, and this time I had hardly any morning sickness at all (unusual for me.) This time I knew I wanted a nurse midwife rather than an O.B. At the beginning I wasn't even considering a homebirth. The idea terrified me. It frightened my husband even more. So I chose a certified nurse midwife who only delivered in hospitals. She assured me that having had a previous c-section was no problem to my being able to deliver vaginally. However, she did warn me that the pendulum was swinging back the other way towards less VBAC's being done. She told me that if I wanted an unmedicated delivery I absolutely had to take a class in pain management. I was okay with thatBI knew from prior experience that I needed help to not cave when the pain became intense. She gave me three brochuresBLamaze, the Bradley Method, and Hypnobirthing.
This is where my journey toward homebirth really began. Intrigued by the hypnobirthing brochure, I went to the website it listed and absolutely loved what I read. At first I still wanted to deliver in a hospital but use hypnobirthing to deal with the pain. I read birth story after birth story on the internet. I couldn't get enough of them. Gradually I began to consider homebirth. I felt so much peace whenever I would think about it. As I read the stories about homebirth the babe inside me would invariably become active. Was he trying to tell me something? I wasn’t sure, but I was intrigued by the observation. My husband, however, was still terrified of the idea of homebirth and I didn't think we could afford it since our insurance wouldn't cover a homebirth. I went to the library and read every book I could on natural childbirth, waterbirth, and homebirth. My fears were gradually eliminated, and as I shared what I learned with my husband, his fears disappeared as well.

The final clincher happened when I was about 6 months along. At my prenatal appointment with my nurse-midwife, I told her how I didn't want an IV or even a heplock, and that I didn't want to be strapped to a fetal monitor. She told me I didn't have a choice and that my chances of delivering vaginally were about 75 %. (Never mind the fact that my c-section had been due to fetal distress--not CPD or failure to progress, nor the fact that I had already had one VBAC!) I knew too much at this point to be able to accept her terms and expectations. At the time I was just kind of stunned and so I didn't say anything. After I left her office I knew I wasn't going back. After everything I had learned, her terms had become unacceptable to me. Through her office I had found a doula named Laura, and she gave some referrals for homebirth midwives. However, the midwife I eventually chose was through the friend of a friend. I had been praying about who to use when this person's name came to mind. I didn't even know her and had only heard her name once or twice several months ago. When my husband and I went to see Pam I knew we had found the midwife I wanted assisting me as I gave birth.

I began my appointments with her and they were wonderful. I went every week since we only had 2 months left and a lot to catch up on. My appointments lasted at least an hour and I had plenty of time to talk. She was so good to listen to me! She cared about all of meBnot just how my body was physically handling the pregnancy. I was a whole person with feelings that mattered a great deal to my ability to have a safe and healthy birth. She also helped me deal with my feelings about my previous births.

In my 7th month my husband and I began our hypnobirthing class. (Marie Mongan's method) I loved it! The instructor's philosophy closely matched my own. I also learned a lot about how much the unborn child can feel and know in the womb. It was incredible. I really connected to my baby and felt like I already knew him. The best part was when we realized just how much he loved his dad. He really responded to Scott's voice. We learned the relaxation scripts and I was so excited for the experience. I also felt so much at peace with what I was doing.

About 6 weeks after my last appointment with my former nurse-midwife they finally noticed I hadn't come back. They called and asked if I had transferred my care. They also wanted to know who I was using. When they figured out I was using a homebirth midwife they tried to scare me that I would have a uterine rupture and would die if I gave birth at home. I knew from my research that my chances of uterine rupture were very small, especially if I had no medical interventions (pitocin, cytotec, prostaglandin gel, etc.) I confidently told her this and thanked her for her concern, but I felt I was doing the right thing for me.

By this time I also knew I wanted to have a waterbirth. I bought a swimming pool at Toys R Us that was the perfect size and my husband and I figured out how to use our old waterbed heater (well insulated) to keep the water at the right temperature. My doula was a big help throughout the whole pregnancy. We mostly communicated through email. She supported my homebirth decision without being pushy. She encouraged me that I could have a wonderful nonmedicated birth at home. And I believed her because I knew she had done it herself. She also lent me some Hypnobabies tapes. They greatly helped me let go of the negative feelings I had from my son's c-section and also some negative feelings I had from a particularly difficult trial our family had gone through right before getting pregnant.
All in all, Joshua’s pregnancy was a transforming, joyful experience and I almost didn’t want it to end. However, I was also excited to experience the joyful, natural birth I had prepared so carefully for. And with the guiding help of a kind and loving Father in Heaven, I did end up having the home waterbirth of my dreams.

To be continued…in “Joshua’s Home Waterbirth”

1 comment:

Katharine Graves said...

That is an absolutely fabulous account of how you came to a homebirth. I teach HypnoBirthing in London, and I find many of the parents I teach make your journey. I wish more did.

Best wishes

Katharine Graves is a HypnoBirthing teacher in London