Friday, February 21, 2014

Home Birth Questions

There is a power to women 
that comes when they give birth. 
They don't ask for it; 
it simply invades them. 
Accumulates like clouds on the horizon 
and passes through, 
carrying the child with it. 

-Sheryl Feldman

I have been asked a ton of questions in regards to planning on having this baby at home, so I figured I would answer the questions on here. I am excited to share with you my perspective on something that I find so very empowering for us mommies, but please also know that I respect all choices and viewpoints... this is just, by far, what is best for my family. Thank you for the same respect!

Here are a few of the questions I am asked on the regular regarding the home birth:

Why a home birth? Home birth has been something that always fascinated me, but I always thought that it was for "crunchy, granola mommies" and I never categorized myself with that label, though I starting to see it more so now (baby wearing, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, and birthing at home... most of which were unintentional but ended up being so, as I will someday explain in a cosleeping post.) I do recall being pregnant with Caydon and thinking that this concept was crazy, but I also didn't know enough about it. After Caydon's birth; however, I found a growing interest due to the fact that Caydon's labor, delivery, and postnatal care ended up being exactly the opposite of my birth plan. It's as if everything I had hoped for and meticulously planned with him was thrown out the window. It's not like I was too specific- quite frankly, I had no idea what to ask for-, but I never received any spray/care for my sutures, wasn't supported with bathing, and never saw a lactation consultant after 3 days of asking repeatedly in the hospital. I felt so disrespected, low, and afraid leaving the hospital with my new baby. I remember trying to be strong because I knew I needed to be, but feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with a newborn. It was just the two of us at night since day one. I was waaay too exhausted, but refused to put him in the nursery due to the potential of Caydon being adopted. I didn't sleep for 56 hours after my 13 hour labor because of trying to care for Caydon or entertaining visitors. I didn't shower for longer because I couldn't figure out how to get Caydon to sleep long enough to allow me to get out of my bed and clean up. I remember so badly wanting to just be in my own bed, in my own home, and starting my own life with Caydon, but I was too afraid to ask for it.

I also view this pregnancy as "high risk" for autism. There are various studies that suggest the idea of autism being connected to things that occur during pregnancy, labor, or post birth, so this has also pushed me against the encouraged idea of hospital birth. I could go on for days about the controversies out there, but the way that I see it is that if there is a risk, and the risk exceeds the why, then it isn't something I am interested in. This has resulted in denying the majority of testing including genetic and ultrasound. I explained this concept more in this previous post.

Finally, I simply find home birthing to be beyond beautiful. It seems so relaxing, even though the mom is in excruciating pain, because the mother is in control and full informed. I honestly feel that the sense of control behind the labor and the sense of being where you are most comfortable, your home,  as well as being "in the know" at all times, makes for this image of peace. I am excited to be empowered, respected, and in control, while giving homage to an art form that has been done since the beginning of time.

But, WHERE (insert emphasis here) at home do you have the baby? Honestly, I can labor and birth wherever I choose to be. That can be in our backyard, in my bed, Caydon's room (as if the mess brings comfort, hah), my roman tub/shower, the living room, the garage, my office... wherever. The beauty about not having an IV or any medical intervention is that I can move however I am comfortable. Oh, and I can eat as much as I please throughout the labor!
I have a girlfriend whose friend birthed in her SUV's trunk at the the local community college, since it is directly across the street from the children's hospital. She hoped to be in control of a natural labor and her midwife wanted to give her that, even though baby needed NICU care after birth. This was the best of both worlds for them, where the midwife felt comfortable with the compromise. How amazing is that?!

What about a water birth? Are you doing that, too? I am. I'm actually supposed to keep the room warm to help keep the water room temperature, or warmer, which makes sense being that the baby is due during the summer in Arizona. I love being in the water when it is warm outside, or when I am feeling stressed or crampy. Water birth is also supposed to better prepare your... ahem... "body" for stretching while reducing the pain 30-40% naturally. I would be lying to deny my thinking that babies coming out of water to greet the world makes for the perfect moment.

What about the risks? Well, I think there is empowerment to understanding what is said to be a "risk" and the truth behind it. For example, 1/3 babies are born with the cord wrapped around it's neck, and this isn't truly deemed as a medical emergency, as much as it is a scapegoat. The risk of a c-section by just entering a hospital is 33% and that number drastically increases the more medical interventions you receive. While I recognize that this procedure is a trend and people actually elect to have surgery vs going the natural way, I personally believe that they bring more risk to the mom and baby than people like to acknowledge and would rather do all things to avoid a surgery. I also like to acknowledge what the rest of the world is doing... something I do regularly when it comes to vaccines and the foods we consume... because I think the rest of the world is much more "with it" than the US tends to be in many aspects. Home birthing is the norm in many places.

How did you find your midwife?  Actually, my ex before my most recent (baby's daddy)'s sister... or, to put it simply, another teacher in my district who has become a great friend of mine!, had done her research and chose to have her baby with Mary, our midwife. She actually ended up being breech and unable to have the home birth, but was still completely amazed by the outpouring of love Mary and her team gave my friend and her baby anyway.  When I got pregnant with this baby, I decided to do some research and ask for friend referrals. The night that I met Mary, I went in with a ton of research on her, plans to continue shopping, and an undecided mindset when it came to home birthing. I left with a hug from her team, knowing that not only did I want HER to deliver my baby, but I also knowing that I absolutely wanted a home birth. She more than reassured me; there was something about her sparkle that gave me comfort amid the chaos. Every appointment is based on how I am doing holistically (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.) and she completely understands my concerns regarding this baby potentially having autism. Her team embraces children of the laboring mother to be involved every step of the way, and her office feels more like a home than a medical facility that gives Caydon anxiety (and me, as a result). I am so so SO happy that I just followed my gut and "knew" when I did, as I'm certain the end result would have been the same. They even give me support on the stress of this breakup and remind me how strong I am. Amazing.

What kind of medical intervention do you plan on having? To put it bluntly, as little as possible. If I could have the baby born in the caul, which is done by not breaking water until post birth, I would in a heartbeat. It's also supposed to bring good luck, which is kind of fun, as well as further protect the baby... sort of like cushioning. My plan is to trust my midwife, who is beyond amazing. She actually had my friend go to an OBGYN for a C-Section because of foreseen risks aka she doesn't "play god" and is humble enough to know when to ask for mainstream medical help. My midwife also sent me on my way to mainstream medicine during my 1st trimester when my UTI and funky symptoms got a little out of control. I appreciate that she recognizes the need for mainstream medicine, but also embraces the power of human strength and nature's way when possible.

What kind of birthing style do you plan to use? I honestly haven't firmly decided yet, but hypnobirthing and yoga birthing both sound great so far. I will be researching these, and other options, shortly.

Are you planning on photography? Or a recording?
I figure that some shorter parts will be recorded, but I am definitely planning on hiring a professional photographer there for the larger length of it. I actually have already found this person (go figure) since I am really excited about it. I do all of the fun stuff first ;)  This photographer is creating a "Birth Story," which consists of maternity,  labor, and newborn photos for baby... something I regret not doing with Caydon... so she will be there snapping away memories of the magic moment, as well as before and after.

Who is going to be there? This is actually a great question! Obviously, my midwife and her midwife assistant will be there.  One of my closest friends and mentors, Ashley, will also be there as my labor partner. I am not sure yet if Luke, the father, will be there. Luke's girlfriend will, under no circumstances, be present as she purposefully causes me a great deal of stress... she sounds quite charming (hah). (And yes, I have been asked this... why, I'm not sure, since I think it's easy to assume that I have a strong disinterest in this woman, especially considering she discourages a cordial relationship between Luke and I out of her own selfish ambition, whereas my approach to dating single dads has always been to respect and, hopefully, befriend the mother. So yeah, she will be as far away from birthing and this baby as I can keep her!)   My therapist says not to worry about Luke and his choices right now and just to give myself space to heal, so that's what I am doing before I decide on if I want him around. And, obviously, my photographer will be present.

So are you going to allow Caydon and Eva present?
It kind of depends on when I go in to labor. I am thinking that I don't want them to be there for the entire thing (sounds kind of boring or stressful for them) so Caydon will go to my parents' and Eva will go wherever Luke has in mind, if Luke is even there. If Caydon is asleep, though, I won't be waking him up to leave. I am not opposed to having either one of them around when the baby is born (granted that Eva's mom would want her there.. it's kind of on them, though I am not about to discourage her from being a part of the birth of her sibling), but I know that I won't be able to take care of them as much as I would like. Time will tell!

Any more questions, feel free to ask!

I will eventually answer questions in regards to how long baby will be under water, delayed cord clamping, and the placenta. Stay tuned if you are interested in these answers, but know these are areas that I am still researching and deciding on :)

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