Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Birthing My Way

I finished my article for the local paper about my homebirth. My Dear Readers get an advanced peek:

Birthing My Way

“Baby’s coming…” I found myself panting. Quick as a wink, I could feel the baby move downward and out. The midwife rushed to my side, the doula on the other. I was surprised to hear her say the head was already out. I kept pushing. In one long smooth push the baby fully emerged. I snatched my baby from the midwife’s arms, greedy to hold and see him. I had birthed in a standing position so she had to pass him between my legs. I turned around and sat down on the chux covered sofa. My husband sat beside me and in another minute our other children came rushing in to see the new baby, Lucy, the family dog, fast on their heels. It seemed appropriate that I had birthed in the ‘family room’ of our home. (I don’t care for birthing in bed, and didn’t want one in sight, so I selected a room with a sofa instead. It worked perfectly, I stood leaning on the birth ball during contractions, which lessened the discomfort greatly, and sat on the sofa to rest between them.) My baby finally in my arms, I couldn’t stop laughing. The video of my birth shows me clutching my newborn, surrounded by my family, and laughing my head off for several minutes. I had birthed my baby. my way, at home surrounded by those of my own choosing. Within the hour I was showered and tucked into my own bed, settling down to nurse my baby. I relished the delicious pancakes and glasses of ice cold milk my husband had prepared for us all.
Birthing my ninth baby at the age of 44 at home with a midwife was the healthiest and safest choice for me and my baby. I desired a birth free of unnecessary intervention (which carries its own risk) and to birth without distraction. I wanted a birth where I was the focus, and I had ultimate control over what went on. As a former labor and delivery nurse, I knew full well how I would be seen by the medical system. Doomed to “high risk” status because of my age and previous births (all normal and healthy), I knew I could never subject myself or my baby to all the unnecessary intervention to appease someone else’s fears. I was determined to birth at home, just as I had with my previous five babies (the first three were born in hospitals). It took some doing to find a midwife for my birth. Though I’ve used only midwives for well-woman care for the last 20 years, my current hospital-based midwife was not allowed to do home deliveries. My husband and I sadly severed ties with her for the duration of the pregnancy, since she could not knowingly see someone for prenatal care who was planning a homebirth.
We found just what we were looking for in a neighboring town. We found a certified nurse midwife with a homebirth practice who would not view me as a disaster waiting to happen. It was an hour’s drive to her home for prenatal care, but well worth it for the relaxed leisurely, unheard of hour long visits (with no waiting). We did the usual weight and blood pressure checks, but I eschewed all but the most basic lab work and tests. We mostly talked about my diet and exercise, and my mental, emotional and physical preparation for birth. Our focus was on healthy behaviors that would support a healthy pregnancy and birth.
I relished this focus on normality and wellness and was so thrilled with the pregnancy, that I made the decision to both blog and film the entire experience. I went on to blog my entire pregnancy and birth at even blogging several entries during my labor! I not only became a devoted blogger but became quite addicted to birth blogs by others. I found an on-line community of women and care providers supporting wellness-focused pregnancy, unlike anything I had experienced as a birthing mother or a labor and delivery nurse. I hired a British documentary filming team to film me during pregnancy and of course birth. I also made the decision to write a book about my nine birth experiences and my odyssey from teen mom to labor and delivery nurse to well-birth advocate. I’ve heard it glibly commented, that pregnancy is not an illness, yet we treat it like one nonetheless. I was delighted to spend my ninth pregnancy and birth making healthy choices that focused on what goes right with birth rather than what could go wrong.


Mimi said...

Awesome article!

kris said...

that's truly an amazing article! I'd love to read your book:)