or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Healing Birth Trauma › Lost Chance for Home Birth
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Lost Chance for Home Birth

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This is my first time writing in a forum...ever. So, bear with me (especially with the abbreviations). I know the birth experience I had 10 months ago will seem not as traumatizing as others, but it is my only experience, and I think it will help me to heal by sharing it with others. Sorry this is so long!

When I was pregnant, my DH and I took Bradley Method classes, and we discovered that we wanted to give birth at home. We found a Certified Nurse Midwife who does home births, and prepared for this wonderful opportunity. Of course, everyone in our families and circle of friends thought we were nuts to do this. We both held firm beliefs that there are way too many interventions at hospitals. I faithfully exercised and watched what I ate for a healthy pregnancy, healthy baby, and natural birth. DH practiced relaxing me and coaching me. Since we were new to pregnancy/birth, we read books, we watched birth videos, and tried to be ready for anything.

My due date came and went, but I felt no anxiety. I didn't mind if the baby was late; I felt like he/she would come when he/she was ready to come (we didn't know the gender of the baby). At 41 weeks, we were required to get an ultrasound to check the baby's health--everything was good. The technician indicated that the baby weighed 9 or 10 lbs. The midwife thought the baby was around 7 and a half lbs., which I agreed with because I didn't feel too huge. At 42 weeks, we had to go into the hospital to check the baby's heartbeat variances--which the baby passed with flying colors.

That same day, the midwife gave us discouraging news: I would have to be induced due to the regulations of the doctor she is connected with. We were heartbroken, but decided to make the best of it. We packed up for the hospital. The midwife called and said we would go in the next afternoon. I began trying to do anything I could to induce labor on my own.
I finally got contractions to start by walking fast and far the next morning (Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.). I called DH and midwife, excited that I would not be induced and that we could proceed with home birth. We unpacked all of our hospital bags. DH labored with me at home. I was having strange, intense contractions that would last for five minutes and convulse my entire body.

The midwife came to the house and observed for a while in the evening. She was concerned by the time pattern of the contractions, noting that she had never seen anything like it (and she has delivered over 1,000 babies), but she felt that as long as they were effective, that was okay. The contractions wore me out, but they were not painful. This should have been a clue to me. We tried to rest that night, but I would wake up with each contraction.

The midwife came back and forth to check the baby's heartbeat and to see how I was doing. She delivered three other babies during the length of my long labor. On Wednesday morning, she finally did an internal check to see how much I had dilated. Only 4 cm. We were all discouraged, but DH kept feeding me snacks and we tried different positions. I labored all day that day, which happened to be my birthday. Friends and family kept trying to call to wish me a happy birthday. If they had only known how I was spending it! Baby's heartbeat was still strong. Around 11:30 p.m. that night, midwife did another internal check. Still only 4 cm. We couldn't believe it! I felt worn out. At this point, the words “failure to progress” kept playing in my head. The midwife announced that she felt we needed to go to the hospital at this point to keep a monitor on the baby and chart my contractions.

DH hurriedly repacked our hospital bags (leaving many items behind), and we rushed off to the hospital—a 30 minute drive. I still felt positive for some odd reason. I was glad that the baby wasn't born on my birthday, and the he/she would have his/her own special day. The midwife felt confident that the baby would come in 3-4 hours (this comment was made several times throughout the next day, to the point that I stopped believing it).

After a couple hours of monitoring my weird convulsing contractions (which barely registered on the monitor), we made a joint decision to start pitocin. We also opted to have an epidural as I was so exhausted from laboring for almost two full days, with little rest or little food. The epidural gave me (and a tired DH and midwife) a precious 3 hour rest. I don't think I slept very long, but it was so nice to feel relaxed. I didn't realize how tense I was until the drug kicked in. All of our relaxation techniques had not been working. When I awoke, I was mostly dilated.

The next six hours were sort of a blur—I remember laboring on the hospital bed, standing up on the bed with all of the wires/tubes connected to me trying to squat with the bar. One side of my cervix lip was still gripping the baby's head, so the midwife had to stick her finger in and hold back the lip while I pushed with the contractions. This was very painful, and I couldn't relax, even on the epidural. This went on for hours, until finally the head was free. I am thankful that my cervix was not damaged during this process due to my midwife's determination. I also remember a group of interns who asked to watch a vaginal birth. Apparently, it is quite uncommon. The lady in charge of them was more interested in coaching me than just watching, so the nurse made them leave, thank goodness. I am all for education, but not when it is adding to the chaos.

Again, we hit another “lack of progression.” The baby's head was not progressing down. The midwife realized that I had a hard time connecting with the contractions, so she stopped the epidural. Pain and more pain. The pitocin was giving me contractions so close together, I didn't have time to relax. At this point, it was 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Again, everyone said “just 3-4 more hours.” I pushed and pushed and pushed.

I tried a birthing stool; it was an awful experience! The back pain was intense as the head moved further down. Finally, the midwife broke the bag of waters. Loads of meconium. The front pubic bones were on fire. I kept pressing a cold pack to them, but it didn't help. I begged for mercy. I begged for drugs. I begged for a C-Section even, and I meant it. I wanted that baby out. I was exhausted. Of course, the baby's heartbeat was just fine the entire time, no cause for such an emergency surgery. The midwife spoke to me at this point and said that we were near the end, and that I wanted a natural birth and she was going to do her best to help me achieve it. I asked for help, and everyone around me, even DH, ganged up on me.
Looking at it from their perspective, I know they probably thought the labor was almost finished. It was probably too late to even consider other measures. But, I felt utterly alone. Everyone around was exhausted from my long labor. No one was offering any other suggestions but to push, to dig deep into my “well” of womanhood and find the strength.

When the baby's head could be seen through the vagina, everyone was excited. Everyone, that is, except for me. [It was now 10 p.m.] They brought a mirror out so I could see, so that I would be encouraged. But seeing my baby's head had the opposite effect on me as I pushed and the head retracted again and again. I knew from the birth videos that I had another three-four hours because it takes a while for the head to crown and the vagina to stretch to accommodate. I started crying, horrified that the labor would go on for that much longer. They took away the mirror, and continued to encourage me to push. I felt like I had a raging fever, like I couldn't control my body. DH kept feeding me ice chips and trying to get me to relax between contractions.

Finally at 11:45 pm, the doctor who is connected to the midwife suggested an episiotomy, something I would have scoffed at pre-labor. I said “please!” Anything to make this ordeal stop. While she performed the episiotomy, the nurse told me that the baby would be out in the next push. I didn't believe her, of course, because everyone had been getting my hopes up all day. But, he was out in two pushes. A 9 lb. 4.5 oz. Baby boy, whose head was as round as a bowling ball—not having molded at all. I was so relieved to have the baby out, that I didn't even care what gender he was or if he was healthy.

This is difficult to write without tears because I wanted this birth moment to be so special. I wanted him to come right to my breast. But, since there was so much meconium, they had to suction out his lungs. The cord was cut right away. And I didn't see him for what seemed like an eternity.

The episiotomy tore despite the generous cut, so I had a 4th degree tear. I am not upset about the episiotomy or the tear at all. It healed just fine, even though I had as much trouble recooperating as some C-section new moms do.

I am upset that my body couldn't produce the contractions necessary to open the cervix. I have always wanted to be the kind of mom who gives birth and walks away from the delivery. I wanted to be “good” at it. I feel upset at the animosity I had towards my unborn child, like he was an alien that needed to be expelled. He is a healthy, happy boy, and I love him tenderly, so much so that I feel upset by these birth memories.

I had a great experience at the hospital—no one pushed me to do anything I didn't want to do. I am grateful that I am alive, that my son is alive, and that we made it through without much trauma. But I ask myself all the time why my story turned out the way it did, when all the new moms I know have their babies in 10 hours' time or so, and mine took 64 hours. I know a lot of the pain I experienced was due to pitocin, but thank God for pitocin since my contractions were too wacky to get the baby out. Had I been born in a pre-hospital time, I wonder if I would have survived or if the baby would have survived.

I do want to have more children, but I do not want to revisit the dark, lonely, frightening place I was in during those last 6 hours when I felt like everyone was against me and tired. I know deep down that I am glad I didn't get a C-section, but I feel conflicted about it now. I was so against drugs, interventions, C-sections, hospitals, etc. before all of this, but now I feel differently.

When I talked with a LLL leader afterwards about my birth experience, she told me a birth story very similar to mine that had a tragic ending. The same midwife I had attended a home birth two weeks previously of a woman who was also 42 weeks. The baby was monitored occasionally like mine was, but the baby died right before birth. I then understood why midwife directed me to be induced and then later to go to the hospital to be monitored constantly. Although she couldn't have told me this sad cautionary tale, I am glad that our little boy is alive, even though he wasn't born at home. Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments.
post #2 of 11


First of all, you are a woman 20x stronger than I am. You labored SO LONG and you kept in there, despite the empty promises you got on timing. Way to go, Mama.

The feelings of loss over the birth you wanted are completely valid. It's a source of grief in the midst of the joy of this new baby. The end result is VERY important, but the process of getting there, for a woman, is pivotal. It's like a right of passage for many of us. And to have it change so much from how we envisioned it and desired it those 9+ months is heart-breaking, especially if we feel like our bodies didn't work despite hard work and readiness. It can overpower the joy of your baby.

To encourage you, your next birth will be completely different than this birth, in many ways. You will labor differently, the timing will be different, and your body has given birth so it will be ready to do so again. You may not see that now, that is ok. It's still fresh, even after 10 months. Giving yourself time and space to process it all takes time. It took me about 11 months to fully come to terms with my c/s (I chose one, unnecessarily, at the point you chose NOT to, and I had a shorter labor than you - I wish I had the encouragement to keep going). I played my labor over in my head again and again, I analyzed and picked it apart. Part of it was helpful to learn where things turned, and how to learn for next time. Part of it was just obessing, but I had to do it. I kept reminding myself that DS's birth (9lb 2oz btw) was exactly as God planned it.

I hope as you continue to talk about it and hopefully get encouragement on here, you can heal and be ready for another birth. And get that homebirth . There is no reason to not have that as your aim for next time.
post #3 of 11
I can related to many aspects of your story... I think long labors are particularly difficult because even the most dedicated natural-birther is going to be exhausted after 48 hours or so. I can't really say too much more (not in the mood to relive my own birth experience!) but I'm glad you took the time to write about it, and also glad that you've found some positive parts to hold on to. That always was (still is) difficult for me, I tend to focus on the negative. Just keep talking about it, keep writing about it, we're here to listen.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the encouragement. I always knew that childbirth would be difficult and painful, but I didn't realize how emotionally traumatizing it can be. I see my experience from two perspectives: one is "oh my goodness, how did I get through that?"--like a veteran returning from war all shell-shocked; the other is "well, I have this DS for life, and I brought him into this world in three days"--which doesn't seem that long in comparison to the years of happiness ahead. Becoming a mother is strange but very empowering.
post #5 of 11
I have read your story several times now and found it very moving each time.

I know that feeling of "I am utterly alone in this."

I don't know why the journey through birth is so easy for some and so hard for others. But I get strength from hearing from other mamas who have made that long, hard, lonely journey and even found some gifts in it.

Thank you for sharing your story.
post #6 of 11
I am sorry for what you went through, and have felt similar. I too transferred and lost my homebirth, and I can truly relate to your feelings of being completely alone. My midwife was very tired and seemed to want to be anywhere but there, my DH was watching football and completey checked out of the whole process. They had expected me to go quick, but when I didn't, I was just on my own. My midwife made several comments to me where I felt she basically thought I was mentally stopping the process and that I was "too afraid of the pain." My baby was posterior and never turned, my back labor was so horrific there were no words for it. This is my story if you would like to read it:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...026&highlight=
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Angela, Thank you so much for posting your birth story. It is such a relief to know that I am not alone regarding the experiences I had or the feelings that remain. I am sorry that your midwife and DH were not "there" for you when you needed them the most. I am so grateful that my midwife and DH were so supportive, despite their exhaustion. But, I think next time I will need to secure even more help--perhaps a doula or two! I think positive attitude and energy are so important during labor and birth (probably hands down the most vulnerable, scary time in a woman's life).
I was glad to read that your DD's birth was fairly intervention free--that you got to feel her coming out. With the episiotomy and vacuum, on top of all the pain and confusion I was experiencing, it was more like a rescue mission instead of a touching moment. I hope that that one moment was worth all that you went through--well, that and seeing your DD so healthy for the first time.
Sometimes, I wonder why some of us have longer labors than others. Indeed, it was strange that your second birth would take so much longer. How could you have known to wait before calling the midwife? I think you did the right thing.
Will you try a home birth again if you decide to have another child? I am not sure that I would. I would be interested in hearing anyone's opinion on that.
post #8 of 11
Thanks--in many ways, it was, and at the time, I was grateful for that--that at least i had that. but as time went on i have started to dwell more and more on what I missed out on--having her put up on me, getting to hold her bloody and not wiped off, getting to delay her cord cutting, just having those precious first moments with her. I saw her come out, I saw her lying there screaming, and then they cut the cord and took her away. We had forgotten our camera in the rush to leave the house, so i don't even have any pictures of her first moments, just 2 crappy ones from DH's cell phone.

I don't know if I would try homebirth again. I am left with questions about if there is really something about me that stops the process, is it my fear. My 1st went quick but only after I got the epi, I went from 3 cm to 10 in an hour after I got the epi. It's like I can't relax on my own. My midwife said I relaxed knowing I was going to the hospital and that is why my body started pushing in the car. In retrospect, I see I was in transition when i was vomiting getting into the car, maybe if she had seen that and we didn't leave...I don't know. I know the reason this labor was so long was her position, but why didn't my midwife see that and try to encourage her to turn? If I was to do it again, I would definitely get a doula. THe question is probably moot for me because DH is dead set against another.

I know what you mean about "rescue mission instead of touching moment." THe L&D nurses were so rough and rude to me, when they put me on the L&D bed I reached out to one of them for help and she was like "don't touch me, I won't have you pulling on me, just get your ass onto this bed." I mean, WTF. They were SO nasty until the baby was out. I realize it was a seconds-matter emergent situtation to them but sheeh. They were telling me DD's heart tones were bad and scaring the crap out of me that she was going to die unless a doc got there right then to vacuum her out. And acting like there was something wrong with me because I couldn't push her out...then when she came out looking up they were all "OH, SORRY!" yeah, whatever.

I agree--I needed more positive energy and environment. My midwife's husband was literally calling every 30 mins asking if she was on her way home. Way to make me feel relaxed. And my mom kept calling from across the country, FREAKING out, not helping at all.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am completely in agreement with you on how we missed out on the "reward" part of birth. Here we are laboring for an eternity, transfering to the hospital, trauma upon trauma. Finally, the baby comes, and instead of getting to see the fruit of our labors, he/she is whisked away for safety (or whatever) reasons. Where is the beauty? Where is that moment of stillness where you get to hold the baby you have dreamed about seeing for nine + months? I felt like it was an eternity before they brought him to me, and I wonder what that moment was like for him.
I can sympathize with the mom calling constantly long distance, freaking out. She actually drove toward us and stayed in a hotel only an hour away without telling us when she found out I was in labor, ready to "be available" should I need her.
I don't know if I want to try another home birth because of the problematic contractions I was having that didn't progress at all. I know each birth is different, but it seems like I could do everything I was doing at home at the hospital. Plus, if there is something wrong, there is no need to transfer when there is an emergency.

I know that hospitals need improvements in certain areas (although I have no complaints with regards to the nurses I had in L&D--they were the best cheerleaders for me), and I felt like I had so many things against hospitals pre-birth. But now, I see that for women like me, whose bodies aren't built for childbirth, hospitals are a God send. I am sorry for the way you were treated though--not at all professional or compassionate. It all boils down to support. Women in labor need everyone's support, full attention, and inspiration--from doctors, to midwives, to husbands, nurses, doulas, family members. I have to believe that that kind of power cradles the birthing woman as she musters all of her strength and determination. We need to feel safe to progress; we need to feel like everything is going just as it should (even if your birth is radically different than all you have ever heard of); we need to be told the truth in love; we need a trusted guide. Birth is so much more than a baby being delivered.
I remember very clearly towards the end of labor how I felt like a little girl again. I felt afraid, like no one could protect me. I felt like everyone was telling me what to do, and I couldn't perform the task--making me feel ashamed of myself and my body. I remember another moment where I felt so feverish and out of control iin pain that I wondered if I was dying, or if this was what it was like to die. These moments are so powerful in my memory. I am doubtful that they will ever fade with time.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TankMom;15569498.
It all boils down to support. Women in labor need everyone's support, full attention, and inspiration--from doctors, to midwives, to husbands, nurses, doulas, family members. I have to believe that that kind of power cradles the birthing woman as she musters all of her strength and determination. We need to feel safe to progress; we need to feel like everything is going just as it should (even if your birth is radically different than all you have ever heard of); we need to be told the truth in love; we need a trusted guide. Birth is so much more than a baby being delivered.
.
ITA with everything you said, especially this part. I remember my DH asking the midwife, "Is it normal for it to take this long?" and she said, "No--most labors I attend are much, much shorter." I mean seriously! Then when she broke my water she made a big point of emphasizing how she NEVER breaks waters and hadn't in years because most of her clients have their babies so much more quickly. I truly began to feel that I was stopping the process somehow, it was awful and I felt SO alone, truly. I never felt I would die but I began to feel that it would never end and I started to see how the women in earlier times would give up and die, when nothing really went wrong but it just went on and on...there comes a time when it is just too much. A doula, more support, techniques to cope with the pain and have her turn...but I was just alone in my pain. I started to get scared for my baby after my water was broken. I started to think she was going to die. I think that was when I decided to go...but in my mind, maybe I always knew I was going to go, that was why I wanted DH to drain the pool, I remember being afraid that my 3-year-old would get into the room and drown in the pool if it wasn't drained and we ended up leaving.

I'm also mad at myself because after they took her, DH went with her and after I was stitched up and brought to my room, WHY didn't I just get up off my butt and go find her? I just lay in bed and I kept calling DH and he would say, "I'm still with her in the nursery...they say she can't come to your room until her temperature is back to 98," and it never occurred to me to just get up and go find the nursery so i could at least be with her. I was walking, etc., just fine, since I didn't have epi or anything. DuH! it took them almost 2 hours to bring her to me. And like you say, what was that like for her? I didn't want them to bathe her, but I forgot to tell them. At least I made sure she got no eye goop or hep B shot.

I wish there were freestanding birth centers in my area, I think that would be a great compromise for me were I to have another.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelachristin View Post
Thanks--in many ways, it was, and at the time, I was grateful for that--that at least i had that. but as time went on i have started to dwell more and more on what I missed out on--having her put up on me, getting to hold her bloody and not wiped off, getting to delay her cord cutting, just having those precious first moments with her. I saw her come out, I saw her lying there screaming, and then they cut the cord and took her away. We had forgotten our camera in the rush to leave the house, so i don't even have any pictures of her first moments, just 2 crappy ones from DH's cell phone.

I don't know if I would try homebirth again. I am left with questions about if there is really something about me that stops the process, is it my fear. My 1st went quick but only after I got the epi, I went from 3 cm to 10 in an hour after I got the epi. It's like I can't relax on my own. My midwife said I relaxed knowing I was going to the hospital and that is why my body started pushing in the car. In retrospect, I see I was in transition when i was vomiting getting into the car, maybe if she had seen that and we didn't leave...I don't know. I know the reason this labor was so long was her position, but why didn't my midwife see that and try to encourage her to turn? If I was to do it again, I would definitely get a doula. THe question is probably moot for me because DH is dead set against another.

I know what you mean about "rescue mission instead of touching moment." THe L&D nurses were so rough and rude to me, when they put me on the L&D bed I reached out to one of them for help and she was like "don't touch me, I won't have you pulling on me, just get your ass onto this bed." I mean, WTF. They were SO nasty until the baby was out. I realize it was a seconds-matter emergent situtation to them but sheeh. They were telling me DD's heart tones were bad and scaring the crap out of me that she was going to die unless a doc got there right then to vacuum her out. And acting like there was something wrong with me because I couldn't push her out...then when she came out looking up they were all "OH, SORRY!" yeah, whatever.

I agree--I needed more positive energy and environment. My midwife's husband was literally calling every 30 mins asking if she was on her way home. Way to make me feel relaxed. And my mom kept calling from across the country, FREAKING out, not helping at all.
Oh, hon, that is so frustrating to read! I think you'd do just fine in another homebirth with another midwife that you connected with better. It would have been nice if your midwife had been able to figure out that your baby was posterior... there are a lot of things that can be done to help lessen the pain and move the baby... it doesn't sound like your midwife tried any of these things? I'm so sorry that you went through that! I'd give you a big hug if I could!!!
I can't IMAGINE my husband calling me during a birth unless there were a life or death kind of emergency! When I'm at "work" meaning a birth or prenatal or postnatal, my family does NOT contact me unless it's absolutely necessary! I call them when I have a short break, to update. I'm actually on hiatus right now and working another fulltime job in another industry, but still, noone calls me at work unless it's an emergency! I put all my attention on the job at hand!
Also, I don't mention being tired at a birth... EVER, in the presence of the mom! If I'm tired, then she's tired too!!! I try really hard to keep my positive energy flowing and keep up with snacks and bathroom breaks so that I'm well rested and happy, so I can put all my energy on mom. I'm so sorry that your midwife seemed unfeeling or indifferent. Perhaps she was having a really busy week!!!
I noticed your status, manifesting yourself back to california. That's so cool. That's what I'm doing too! LOL!!! Currently in the midwest, but a born and raised california girl here! Feel free to PM me anytime to chat!
- Jen
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Healing Birth Trauma
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Healing Birth Trauma › Lost Chance for Home Birth