Friday, August 5, 2011

Safe at home


My husband and I are one of the few couples in the U.S. that have chosen to have their babies at home with a midwife.  We were not always this way. In fact when we first got married I would have never believed we would be where we are today.
It wasn't until 6 months after our marriage when I found out I was pregnant that things started to change for us. Of course at that point we were considering no other option than the hospital. I knew that I wanted as little intervention as possible and so started devouring any book I could get my hands on about labor and delivery and anything else that might go along with babies...having them or otherwise. I was introduced to the Bradley method and thought if I could just relax enough I would have a relatively painless childbirth.  We were naive in all sorts of ways but hopeful and eager to meet our new little man...a piece of me and a piece of my husband all in one. What could go wrong with parents so dedicated and eager to do everything right?
The Dr. I had chosen for Warren's birth was at the time the best possible option anyone who had decided to go as natural as possible could imagine. He seemed very "all natural" and even encouraged me to steer clear of the epidural showing me videos on how it can make the baby lethargic and unresponsive after the birth. I had even heard rumors that he had assisted in a home birth in the past.
At 38 weeks things started to change. Of course I was extremely eager to have the baby and my Dr. was going on vacation around my due date. He was concerned that I would go into labor when he was away. He also started noting that I had a small pelvis and said because of its size and the position of my tailbone labor would most likely be long and difficult (this was not encouraging and started things out with fear instead of hope).  I was already 3 cm dilated so we were all thinking I would probably go early.  At that appointment the Dr. chose to strip my membranes to see if he could speed things up a bit. I did not fully realize what he was doing at the time so once I returned home from the appointment I looked it up to find more information. I instantly regretted allowing that to happen. That evening around midnight my water broke but I was having very little, if any contractions. This is where all the scenes from all the TV episodes and movies flashed through my brain and I assumed normal birth was like that (example: lady on TV about to pop, water breaks, everyone panics rushing her to the hospital with only seconds to spare, baby is born looking like a perfect 6 month old and all are healthy and happy).  Needless to say with these thoughts we felt an urgency to get to the hospital ASAP. The best thing was (in my mind) that even though I didn't have strong contractions I was guaranteed a spot in the hospital and my way of thinking was hospital=baby no matter what my body was doing at the time.
Once at the hospital there were the monitors, an IV for group B strep antibiotics, miles of ground covered walking around and around the nurses station and much stress as I started to worry that I would never go into full fledged labor.   We decided to give it a try. After all I was progressing very slowly and was on a time-line enforced by the hospital.  Even with the pitocin I was determined not to get an epidural (that being my last "all natural" holdout). I labored with pit for more than 6 hours very much nearing my 12 hour labor limit.  Still only one or 2 more cm dilated. Finally, the Dr. enters suggesting a C-section. At the time he explained again that I was probably just too small and there were some women that were just not able to have babies vaginally.  I wept over my inadequate body and wept over the process we had undergone the whole night before and the whole day only to end with a C-section. Thoughts of my future inability to have children flashed through my mind and I was crushed at the thought that our aspirations to have 6 children might be over.  There's no way my body could undergo 6 C-sections.  Ben and I were both weeping as they wheeled me to the operating room truly believing we had no other option (and at that point we might not have).  So my husband watched the baby being "born" behind the curtain and I struggled to deal with all that I was feeling.  After all I should be happy that we had a healthy boy right? I was of course, but it was just so much different than I expected. 
Thus began the first step in our quest to figure out what the future would hold for me and my babies.
To be continued......

1 comment:

Grace said...

That sounds oh, so familiar. The doctors kept saying his head was too big and I was too small. They told me that it would be a long and hard labor and I would end up needing a C-section in the end anyway, so I might as well do it before it's an emergency and blah, blah, blah. I was thinking the same things you were. Our next birth will be at home.

By the way, I still have your book. I'm sorry I haven't gotten it back to you yet! I've read through it twice and still go back and read some of the birth stories now and then. I need to purchase it for myself. Will you be at church on Sunday so I can get it back to you?