Sunday, January 13, 2013

Home Birth, anyone?

Okay so I know it came out like over two years ago, but I just watched The Business Of Being Born the other day on Netflix. I really don't think I have ever been affected so much by something that I watched. I am so regretful that I didn't watch this movie until after my babies were born. 

 I have never even considered the option of homebirth/midwife/birthing center etc until now. When Tater was born, I was two months past my 20th birthday, feeling very alone, and scared absolutely fucking shitless. I asked for my epidural as soon as I walked in the door. I was so terrified that I would be a girl from A Baby Story, screaming, crying, freaking completely out, you know the drill. I was so afraid to feel anything. Pretty much the same with The Bean, and that was only 3 months ago. The whole process to me was something to be scared of, not something beautiful like I know it should have been. 

I am not a hippie mom, for lack of a better word. I don't do any "natural" parenting stuff. The whole home birth/midwifery concept was NEVER something that would have appealed to me. You have your babies in the hospital, because that is what you are supposed to do. You get drugs because that is what you are supposed to do. If you get a C-section, that's what you are supposed to do.

But after watching this movie, something inside me has changed. I listened to the points that were made in the movie, and I thought back to the births of my boys. There were so many things, too many to even list here, that I was uncomfortable with, but too afraid to say anything about. I remember thinking that giving birth was supposed to be the most rewarding experience of your life, and here I was, strapped to a bed, drugged all to hell, feeling very pushed around and stepped on.

I saw the doctor for probably a TOTAL of ten minutes with each of my boys' births. He came in long enough to catch the baby coming out of me, and sew up my tears both times. LITERALLY maybe ten minutes. I remember thinking that it wasn't right. I remember thinking that I was so scared, so terrified, and now the person I thought was going to guide me through this experience was so unconcerned, so cold. During Bean's birth, he came into the room, started telling me to push, then, I kid you not, turned around, answered his ringing cell phone and walked out into the corner of the room to have a conversation.. He couldn't stop flirting with the nurse long enough to talk to me about what was going on. I was so oblivious, so confused. I was counting on SOMEONE WHO KNEW to help with this. 

I remember the nurse coming into the room what felt like hundreds of times, never speaking to me, just checking things on the computer, giving me more drugs in my IV, whatever, without even acknowledging me. I remember the Stadol, making me feel like I was going completely and utterly crazy. I remember hurting worse after they gave it to me than before. I remember the Pitocin, making me even more miserable than the Stadol. I remember the anesthesiologist being ANGRY because I asked for my epidural after he had already came and done one epidural for another girl 30 minutes prior, and was trying to go back to sleep. I remember the doctor telling me when I couldn't push enough, he was leaving soon, and if I couldn't get this baby out, they would have to take him out. I remember having the Bean on the Friday before Memorial Day, and when the doctor came in on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, he was literally pissed off  because no one else had performed the Bean's circumsicion. Really? I am so sorry to be a burden to you, doctor. He literally asked me "do you still want it done? because no one did it over the weekend."

I don't know why these things never bothered me before. Maybe in a way, I repressed them, because in the end, all was fine and I had my beautiful babies and we were all healthy and that was enough for me. Maybe I thought this was just the way things WERE, especially when you have a medical card. I knew I would get second-class treatment because of my medical card, and lack of "real" insurance, so pretty much I expected a rough way to go. But honestly, I never really put all of the bad things together, until I watched the movie and started thinking about my own birth experiences. 

I wish that I would have watched this movie before the boys were born. I wish I would have been brave enough to create the birth experience I wanted and deserved. I wish I could have considered other options. I regret not making it what it should have been. I am pretty sure that we are done having children now, and I regret the fact that I will never be able to know another kind of birth experience. I am so grateful that the boys and I were healthy, and I feel like that should be enough. But I am also a tiny bit disappointed now that I will never be able to feel what those mothers in the movie have felt. 

I am so curious to know, have any of you had a homebirth? Or given birth using a midwife instead of an OB? I am so intrigued by the whole thing, I want to hear from other moms. Tell me about it, or if you have blogged about it, send me a link. I am so interested to hear other mom's experiences, ones who were braver than I, or had experiences better or worse than mine. I can't wait to hear from you guys! 


  1. Hi, I stumbled across your post and just wanted to tell you it's ok to just feel what you feel. It's really entrenched in our culture that "this is how birth is." So few people question it at all, ever. I had a hospital birth with my first, and I was angry about how poorly I was treated. My second and third babies were born in the care of midwives, #2 at a freestanding birth center, and #3 at home. The care I received from the midwives was so amazing! They were so much more personal and attentive than the group practice of OBs I had with my first. I really wish midwifery care were the default for low-risk pregnancies, and OBs were just for the high-risk cases.

  2. I had a smiliar rotten experience with my first child 8 years back. My recent one I choose a wonderful OB, very homebirth like. BUT in the end, I never made it to the hospital in time, and accidentally delivered at home. It was a WORLD of difference from my first experience. It was just me and the doc making me feel "less than" or unhuman. Hugs to you....SOMETHING needs to be done about the way women are treated in the hospital. A revolution is starting I think...we are not gonna sit back and let them "blood let" us like old fashoned docs forced on to 18th century people. Good for you for spreading your wings and perceptions. I am sorry that you have regret about your births. I did too, with time mine faded some.
    If you friend me on facebook, you can read my homebirth story under my notes. ~Stephanie Thiess

  3. My heart goes out to you.

    I, too, figured out my first birth sucked long after the fact... then went on to have a scary-as-hell homebirth (unassisted) and then an amusing car birth the third time.

    Each birth brought me to a different place, all of them leading to becoming a midwife many, many years later. Your knowledge, your feelings, your writings *will* impact someone (or many someones), so you are moving mountains even as you are mourning your past two births.

    Even if you never have another child, your experiences have given you great hunks of information about how to protect your children and your family from huge organizations... from the government to hospitals to advertising. You have been given powerful armor with which to wear and use forever.

    It took a long time for me to come to terms with Tristan's (hospital) birth, but I've since adopted this phrase and share it with sad and crying mamas all over the world:

    If we hadn't been there, we wouldn't be here.

    For some reason, your path has gone differently than you would have liked, when looking back, but the path/experiences have given you amazing tools that will serve you and your family for the rest of time.

    Hospital birth is excruciating to witness when we know how beautiful homebirth can be, but we keep helping women as doulas, breastfeeding counselors and even midwives.

    Sadly, your births are typical in America. Certainly not "normal" or what they need to be like to keep a mother and baby safe, but what is easiest and most expensive and fastest for the medical machine to fill the beds & empty the beds, over and over again.

    As you watch and read about natural births, be gentle with yourself, not kicking yourself in the butt because you "should have known." Mourn, yes. But, what you are learning and will learn, will be an enormous gift to a woman who is a decade away from birthing, who is somewhere else in the world and doesn't know she is on a path towards your gentle knowledge.

    You *are* forever changed. Embrace those lovely changes.

  4. I had a similar sounding really crappy experience with my first child's hospital birth 8 years back, the recent one was outstanding...accidentally had her at rude doc in my face making me feel "less than"... things need to change in this country regarding how women are treated in the hospital. 200 years ago people were being forced to be "blood let" by quacks, and I often wonder if in the near future we won't shake our heads at the modern day medical care given by OB's.... Hopefully our children's children births will be different by then! You can friend me on FB if you want to read my homebirth story. ; )
    ~Stephanie Thiess
    p.s. loved your blog. well written.

  5. You are soooo not alone. Please don't beat yourself up. You did the best you could with what you had. Sometimes, even hearing the info, is not enough. I know all the stuff I heard on BoBB was not new for me, seeing it right after it came out when my son was a few months old. I had known it going into my first birth, in the hospital. We're military, and we were overseas, so we really didn't have much choice outside the hospital at the time.

    I thought, going into it, that just knowing this stuff would be enough to help me avoid it. It wasn't. With no one to back me up, to support me with their experience and knowledge, things went south fast. The induction, the water breaking, the stadol, the epidural, hours of pushing on my back, the vacuum, the episiotomy...and in the end, after the c-section, they didn't even tell me WHY. Far too easy to peg it on the big baby, "Oh he's ten lbs! No wonder!". Not a word of his tilted head, these things I had to fight to sort out for myself.

    Even though I was pregnant just 18 months later, hoping against hope that this time would be better, I had ALOT of cobwebs to clear out before the big day. I was able to get my magical birth, but the healing, forgiving myself, all tooke place before that. By the time the birth came around, I was able to experience it for what it was, the birth of my second son, and not just some twisted way of making up for the birth of my first. The process was healing, and made the birth possible.

    Am I totally 100% ok with what happened the first time around? No. Better than ever, certainly, but it's a grieving process. Two steps forward, one step back, some days are worse than others.

    You've taken the red pill. It can really suck, but in the end, I like to think knowledge is always better than ignorance. You did the best you could at the time.

    I did a blog not too long ago, comparing my two births (lots of pics!) and analyzing a bit. It's not really big on "OMG LOOK HOW AWFUL" but I don't have the rose-colored glasses on either. I wish you well in your process, you're not alone. :)

  6. First, I just want to send you a ((HUG))! I'm really proud of you for talking about this and letting us all hear you processing outloud. What happened to you at both of your births is NOT ok. And it's NOT ok that this has come to be the norm for women in the US. I had a CNM deliver my son in a hospital. He was GREAT and did everything he could, but we ended up trapped in triage because there just weren't enough rooms.....which lead to me being forced to "follow hospital proceedures". My midwife's hands were tied until we could get out of the RN run triage. I ended up with drugs because I was too "loud" and the RN kept telling me that I wasn't progressing. In the end, I gave birth to a healthy baby only 11 hours after it all began and only 5 hours after getting to the hospital (super short labor) I have felt violated in regards to the drugs ever since. I pushed him out 30 min after the drugs were put in. I wonder, "could I have done it Natural?", "I didn't want this for me and my son....was I too weak?" I never want to doubt again, so I am planning on having a home birth with #2. It's my way of taking back my power as a woman and mother. Midwifery has been the method that most women have used for's also the method used most in Europe and other developed nations for healthy, normal-risk moms. OBs do wonderful and amazing jobs...they save lives....but they aren't interested in nor are they trained to support women in labor. They're cutters and they do us a great service in this. Somehow, things have gotten flip flopped in the US. Keep speaking up! If we all demand the care we desire and deserve, the system will have to change for us!

  7. Well I didn't have a homebirth or a hospital birth with a midwife. I had a birth in a hospital based birth center with an OB who never left my side for the 1.5 hours that I pushed, who massaged my feet between contracts, and encouraged me that I COULD do this without any medication. I was free to move around, had no IV, the nurses were wonderful etc. There is nothing I would change about my child's birth.
    I would gladly choose that OB over the midwives I am working with for my current pregnancy, but he has since moved out of the area. That's why I disagree with so many people who think OB's should ONLY be for high-risk cases, because that limits women's choices just as much as the current system does.

  8. I never considered myself "crunchy" but after a traumatic C section experience I wanted to try something else. My midwife was SO supportive, and prenatal visits were nothing like at the OB's sterile and cold environment. VBACS are not too common in Vegas, most OBs dont do it, so I decided to do the home birth where I could control things instead of the doctors calling the shots. 34 hours later of excruciating, mind blowing, lose-your-mind pain, I begged to be taken to a hospital. Where they promptly sliced me open and removed my baby. At that point, I was so relieved that the pain was gone i just did not care. Now I realize the wisdom of being in a place where you at least have the option of pain relief. I am still a little sad that it didn't work out for me. Being home during my labor was comforting and awesome. I wish I had the kind of body that birthed easily. I wish I could have finished birthing at home. But apparently that is not the case for me and being exhausted and in massive pain can happen. I have heard amazing home birth stories and I am always a little jealous that mine didnt work out. But I commend anyone willing to try!


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