Friday, April 22, 2011

Don’t touch me. (My birthing history and what I have learned.)

With my first pregnancy, I was 18, went into it unknowing, and didn't have much obstetric care at all.  I had my baby in an ER with a dr that did things like come in while I was in hard labor, pat me on the rump and say “we’re gonna have this baby” (what is he delivering, exactly?) and then gave me a HUGE episiotomy which tore into my anal wall and caused me perineum pain for the next 5 years (not to mention nearly made me bleed out) and proceeded to instruct forced pushing which shoved that poor 8lb 1oz baby through the torn-and-broken-me so fast that his lungs collapsed and he needed to be in the NICU for the first 24 hours of life while I took in a pint of someone else’s blood and felt like I had been hit by a bus.

Second baby: although I had a ‘natural’ birth in the sense that I didn’t have any drugs or epidural or anything like that, I had everything else that was 'routine' because I was 'high risk' due to my pervious birth being so ‘damaging’ and two recent miscarriages (one second tri).  My daughter was born perfectly healthy.  She didn’t spend any time away from my side.  I, however, was broken.  The Cytotec they gave me while I was in labor because “I wasn’t progressing” (whatever that means) caused me to bleed internally, and due to my birth plan saying that I didn’t want a blood transfusion, they didn’t give me one when I needed it and in fact never even talked with me about it.  I ended up back in the hospital within days after being sent home and was very sick for months.  I went home from my second hospital stay with a husband who was very certain he would never ever go through that again.

This is why it took me 5 years to convince him to try for another baby.  While I was pregnant with Logan I did TONS of research and started to finally put together some of my birthing history.  I realized that what was going on in the birthing room was probably the deciding factor in whether or not I came out of it damaged.  They were adjusting my body in ways it would not have been adjusted had I just told them not to touch me.  That could possibly mean that everything that went wrong could have been avoided.

I started looking into midwifery care.  In my mind, a midwife was a perfect compromise.  She would be there in case anything happened and to give advice and yet completely respect the fact that I don’t want internal exams (and just for my sanity, I didn’t want to be weighed while pregnant either).  To be allowed to fully trust my body to know what I needed and when.  From start to finish.

While I was convinced that it was the hospital that had caused the issues in the first place and had I been at home I would not have come out of those births as damaged as I was, my husband was sure that I would have died had I not had the hospital at my fingertips.  He was terribly worried that I was going to kick the bucket without warning while in labor with Logan and he was going to be left with 3 kids and no wife. There was no way I could answer all of his questions and fears.  I found a midwife that was in my area and I scheduled an apt with her office.  Don was opposed to the idea.  We fought over it a lot.  Finally I convinced him to come with me and meet with them to pose his questions to them face to face. 

It took some convincing by both me and my midwife team, but Don left our second meeting feeling apprehensive but confident that they could handle an issue should it come up and they would know when I needed medical help.

That pregnancy had some serious downs.  I was sick for months, and terribly uncomfortable after that.  But the hour I spent every month with the midwife always made me feel more confident in my body.  I started to feel really confident in what I needed for a successful, natural birth in the truest sense.  At home.

I called the midwife in hard labor.  She got to my house in time to ask me if I was feeling pushy and even then I didn't let her touch me at all until the baby was literally falling out of my body.  No tearing, no issues whatsoever.  Despite the fact that this baby outweighed my previous babies by almost 2 pounds!

I had a similar experience with Luke’s birth just 2 months ago today. 

I fully believe there is a time and a place for allopathic medicine.  It is NOT in a routine birthing room.  Our bodies are made to do this. No matter weather you believe in God, the Universe, Mother Nature... whatever... there is nothing that says that divine design looked at the human body, and said "holy crap... we screwed up!  That’s not gonna fit."   



Katie said...

Thanks for sharing this!! I am having a VBAC birth for this baby after (as you know) a very
traumatic first birth experience. I totally agree with you!
Have a good day.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I had all six of my children by induction at the hospital, with varying levels of good and bad experiences - I have to say I'm not against epidurals, but I totally agree with what you're saying. There is a time for medical intervention - and there is a time for allowing your body to do what it's meant to do, and sometimes messing with what's natural can start a cascade of unnecessary problems.

Kimberly said...

I've had all eight at home, but just had to share a comment the midwife made after Lucinda, #7: "So let's see, that's the third C-section you've avoided by homebirth, right? I can hardly wait to tell everyone at the hospital your birth story, since they never get to see these situations with good outcomes, since they'd have intervened hours ago."

Anonymous said...

Ijust had my 5th c-section and was told my uterus was almost to the point of rupture. One big contraction and we coould of both died. Looking back to my first section I think could of been avoided but they interfefred with my birthing with pitocin. I had two vaginals after that and then the 2nd c section due to them rushing me again with the pictocin. I have eight children but now I was told I should have no more due to the weak uterus. I duebelieve allofthe hospital intervention caused alot of unecessary complications. I can't change it now though. Hope you are enjoying the baby and other children!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

I have heard so many stories like yours Nori! So many. I honestly believe that this information should be included in sex education/health classes in highschool before we have children. But no school would ever decide to say not to trust doctors and to go with midwives instead. That could easily get them sued if something went wrong.... our country is awfully sue happy.

The truth is that this information isn't new. And in no other natural process has science and technology taken such a dramatic role... except perhaps our food. I see these things as going hand in hand, side by side. We feed our babies fake food, tell them not to take drugs while we are pumping them full of vaccinations and Ridilan, and make sure that all the girls know that when they get married and have babies they should be WORRIED, very worried so they run to doctors, have c-sections, and then start the whole process over again by feeding their babies fake food. And we wonder why we are getting less and less healthy as a country.

Sigh... but I digress. I sure as heck am going to teach my children (my daugher AND my boys) that childbirth is just like any other natural process and should be treated with respect and trust.

Blessings to you all!


Val in the Rose Garden said...

I wanted to add something. I wrote much of this post at a coffee shop which I frequent. There are two barista girls that I have come to know and they have watched my whole pregnancy. When Luke was born they were really excited to meet him. I came through the drive through when Luke was just 4 days old and seeing that no one was behind me, stopped and chatted with them for a while. They were jaw-droppingly shocked when I said that I had my 9lb 9oz baby at home. They were even more shocked when I said he wasn’t my largest baby. One girl made the comment “Well, I am just going to be a c-section mom. I’m sure of it.” and I probably should have been more gentle, but I found myself saying “Well… that is your choice, but let me tell you something. Lucas is 4 days old. I am on panty-liners and Advil. You would still need someone to help you poop.” The conversation that came after inspired this post. The truth is, many girls have NO idea the choices they are making when coming into the relationship of birth. And many don’t understand what their choices are, or even that it IS a relationship. We need to train our girls to trust their bodies so that they understand now, and don't go through things like many of us did.



Sacha Joy said...

Hi Val. I started reading your blog a year or so ago, since you have so many great creative ideas.

I just found out that I'm pregnant (9 wks). It was an accident (although a happy one). It caught me unaware, and I'm completely unprepared and unknowledgeable, since it's my first time.

I have grad student health care, so I wasn't sure who would be on my PPO list. I figured my health care wouldn't be very generous with midwife care, so I just went with the standard OBGYN clinic closest to me. But now, I found out that a midwife who I know in the community is a PPO on my provider list. What is the process for changing your doctor, once you've already started a prenatal program? I'm in need of advice!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

I contacted you on your own blog Sacha Joy, but just in case you missed that, I would love to chat with you about your upcoming birth and look forward to answering any questions you may have to the best of my knowledge. Please feel free to write me at BlueRoseMama @ anytime.



radicalshift said...

I have helped birth 3 beautiful girls and I can back up everything you are saying Val. Dylan was a hospital birth with interventions.. if she hadn't been so small there would have been all the problems associated with your other readers experiences. Rowan was a home tub birth and it was awesome.. problem free and beautiful.
Jasmine was a planned c-section with a spinal. Any way a baby comes into the world is beautiful, but you're right about the downsides of the invasive approaches. There is a lot of recovery.

I really want to thank you for sharing your experiences so liberally. It makes a real difference to get these ideas out into the community and spread the love. You are a beautiful mama and have beautiful kids. I admire you and your husband for the awesome work you do creating responsible citizens of our earth.

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