Posts tagged ‘unassisted birth’

August 30, 2011

Is It Really All About ‘Perspective?’

Perspective is something I think about often, not only with birth, but in everyday life. I have four children and two who think they rule the world at the ripe, old age of 9. I often find myself perplexed by some of the things that come out of their mouths and I often find myself repeating over and over in my head, “perspective, perspective, perspective.” What would it be like to be in their shoes?

For me to see a difference in birth it really was all about perspective. I wrote in my first entry Why about how the birth of my 4th baby was almost exactly how I’d imagined. And it was and it was beautiful, but “almost” is the keyword here in relation to perspective.

For my 4th child, Doodle, I did not set out to have him unassisted. I really didn’t. Del likes to say I did, but I honestly didn’t. And when the idea popped into my head almost as soon as I saw those two pink lines, I immediately thought, “Unassisted!?? That’s nuts!” And to me it was. At that point in my journey, I had decided that birth was good, home birth was great, but people who did it without assistance were “crazy and risking their babies lives!”

It wasn’t until a nagging feeling inside of me encouraged me to look into it deeper that I started to change my mind and open my eyes to a whole other world of birth. Free birth. Unassisted birth. Birth on my own. What a scary, extraordinary thought!

With the twins, I’d once brought up the idea of a water birth at home to my stepmom after I’d seen it on TV – not even about ME, just the idea of it – and she replied something to the effect of, “People who birth at home are crazy and risking their babies lives!” When I was pregnant with The Monkey, I brought up homebirth to Del who got a wide-eyed look that pleaded, “Please don’t tell me that’s something you want! This whole ‘natural childbirth’ thing is hard enough!” So I reneged and said maybe next time.

‘Next time’ arrived and I knew we were doing it at home. Of course I was going to do it the “right” way, midwife and all. I researched and learned as much as I could over those months. I read about as many possible “what-if’s” to be fully prepared, just in case. I knew my births weren’t extremely fast so I most likely would not be one of those stories on the 10 o’clock news about how the woman just didn’t make it to the hospital in time or the midwife didn’t arrive in time and the 3 year old had to catch the baby, but I still wanted to be as prepared as possible, just in case.

As luck would have it (probably fate), the midwife thing didn’t work out. We were under special circumstances in that we had insurance (unlike when I was pregnant with The Monkey) and yet I could not get the birth I wanted because our insurance would not cover a homebirth. The midwife we met and spoke with several times was willing to take payments as long as we paid before delivery. We were sure we could swing that since Del had just re-enlisted with the military and we were expecting a fairly good chunk of change just before Doodle’s birth.

Do you know that saying, “while we’re busy making plans, God laughs?” Yeah well that happened and the payment was delayed .. by 6 weeks! We received the money on my due date and we’d already told the midwife we had no idea when the money was coming in and broken ties with her. We were on our own and because my husband’s perspective of birth was seriously skewed by his genuine medical background (as opposed to my fake one) and he had about as much faith in birth as I did in a hospital’s ability to give me the birth that I needed, I agreed to laboring at home as long as possible and then heading to the hospital (ugh) to push. That was as much as I would compromise and it still felt like too much.

A homebirth with a midwife had been a stretch for Del and although I truly felt comfortable going it alone, even wished for it several times, I knew he wasn’t comfortable. So we agreed to go to the hospital when I began to feel pushy. With The Monkey I had felt pushy for about an hour before actually being ready to push. This all seemed like a good plan because we were only 10-15 minutes from our closest hospital and I had decided I didn’t want to be there a second longer than I had to.

When I finally did go into labor, 9 days after my due date it was very slow building. It continued for 2 days. And when things finally got serious, it was too late to go anywhere. It wasn’t planned exactly, but I was prepared and things went well. Nearly perfect. Except for Del running around like he’d lost a limb. He kept looking around, searching for something, nothing, maybe he was hoping the midwife would materialize if he just looked hard enough. Either way, I was kind of busy and didn’t have time to worry about him.

When it was all over, I was happy. Ecstatic. Over the moon! I had given birth exactly as I’d felt called to and survived. Better than survived. I gave birth to a beautiful 8lb 14oz baby in my bath tub essentially on my own (daddy caught and quickly passed to me) and lived to tell the tale. I had confounded everyone, even myself to some extent with what I’d just done and it was amazing. It was the best I have ever felt about myself in my entire life. Truly.

Del, on the other hand, had just experienced a nightmare..