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Home birth or hospital birth - Page 2

post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veritaserum View Post

I would put my younger self in the "dogmatic extreme" category.  I was coming off of a bad hospital birth and a great home birth, so I knew that home birth is better for almost everyone and that birth interventions are bad, etc.  I mentally picked apart women's birth stories to find out what they did wrong.  

 

I didn't really see the dogmatic extremism until the past two years or so (after my SIL's fiasco of a midwife-attended home birth).  My perspective shifted and I paid more attention to what people were saying.  From where I sit, Carla Hartley and Gloria Lemay are on the extreme.  "Trust birth" can be explained to mean something that isn't evident within the phrase itself, but at face value it seems to say that birth is going to work if you just leave it alone and trust the process.  That's true for normal birth, but that can be deadly for births where complications are occurring.  I think "trust mothers" would be a far better message.

 

I have let go of concrete details when it comes to the births of my children (a blanket ban on interventions, for example).  Instead I am more fluid.  I'm willing to consider anything and I will choose what makes the most sense given the circumstances of that birth.  I am very confident in my knowledge of benefits, risks, and alternatives, which gives me the freedom to choose without guilt.  I don't fear interventions because I know I will only have them if there's a good reason.  I will certainly do what I can to avoid needing them, but I wouldn't, say, feel like a failure if I choose induction, an epidural, or even a c-section due to the unique circumstances of this baby's birth.  I would have felt like a failure nine years earlier in my natural childbirth journey.

 

My only goal for giving birth at this point in my life is to make the best choices I can under the circumstances I'm given.  I think it likely that I will have my fifth unmedicated birth, but I know I'll be ok if it doesn't turn out that way. :-)


Funny, I was going to use those exact same words, "Trust mothers" to describe how I see the true message of the "trust birth" campaign after reading a lot of carla hartly & gloria lemay's materials& from online conversations... I was just thinking about how that would be a better description! I really do think they (these individuals in particular) are more about women's rights, "family centered birth" and not about "if you believe hard enough you will have the perfect birth" which seems to be the misconception (and maybe how others are using that same phrase?)  Laura Shanley does express the belief that you create your own reality, but even her, when you actually see her speak or read what she's written, is not dogmatic about what's best for anyone else or say people shouldn't seek medical care.  I feel like I had a really wrong impression of her for years because I'd read what other people said about her beliefs before I ever read her book or an interview with her...

 

Anyway, I guess since I kind of dove into the whole birth scene from the unassisted side, i didn't have the same process (particularly the bad hospital experience)  I have come to see more and more over time, though, how there's this debate between home & hospital birth that is totally STUPID. I mean, the whole debate is based on these miniscule statistics (Like which one is REALLY stastically 1% safer) and when you add in all the other individual factors at play that could easily change your personal risk by more than a percent, it's just pointless. the fight is really about CHOICE, and on our side, it is completely and utterly pointless to argue that homebirth is safer because, what if we prove it is and they start saying everyone has to give birth at home? will we be any better off? No.  This is a huge human-rights/feminist issue & I think there are a lot of feminists and pro-choice people who are totally missing this huge issue that needs attention. we have the right to choose without basing the descision solely on statistics!

okay, I'm ranting. Lol. I think it's about time to log off the computer for the night ;)

 

post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by lia_joy View Post

I've been writing a book about unassisted birth -- it's taking WAY longer than I expected, but has also developed into something bigger than I thought.  I settled on the term Self-Directed Childbirth because I think it's a much clearer definition of what I advocate for.

 

I don't think anyone outside the family can really consider ALL the factors/ramifications of a birthchoice not to mention have the specific information about *my* body or what's happening inside of it... That applies to things I don't generally agree with (for instance induction for convenience without medical indication) as well as the right to birth unassisted or with a laymidwife.

 

The thing is, I have not really seen any dogmatic extremism... But I see all this mention of it- Like i'm missing something. I'm not sure if there is a seperate, dogmatic community that I'm just not a part of, or if this is just a myth being perpetuated by the "anti-homebirth" movement (aka dr amy.) Or maybe things being innocently taken out of context? (like "trust birth"  The woman who's behind that slogan does not use it flippantly or to mean that everything will go perfectly if you trust enough, yet that is how people seem to hear it)
   Every group is going to have some people who get overly passionate (especially when you factor in that some people speaking out for homebirth have been seriously traumatized by the medical system) and often the ones who get overly passionate become the most outspoken.... but as a general attitude, I just don't see it. any discussion I've seen where someone seemed to get 'pushy' about homebirth, there's always been someone else within the community there to speak up about the other side of the coin and the importance of finding ones own path...




I don't know how long you've been around MDC, and I don't know how involved you've been in the past, but, here, especially, I've seen a lot of minimizing of complications.  I mean, especially in the UC forum, it's terrifying to read sometimes, because you've got women with clear and present signs of danger, and all that is allowed to remain is the "trust birth, mama!" crap that literally gets babies killed.  I've been around long enough to have seen at least 7 or 8 babies die because of the encouragement moms get to ignore signs that there is Something Dangerously Wrong.  But those stories don't get kept around very long.  They get deleted or edited to take out the truth.  It's kind of horrifying.  I can think of at least two women, BY NAME whose babies died because of this kind of dogmatic extremism.  (I don't think I'm allowed to post them, tho.) The rest are mostly hazy memories because they weren't as long or drawn-out and drama-ridden.

 

So I think it's really important to listen to someone who's having second thoughts and really thinks that they need to be seen, but gets talked out of it.  It happens more than you'd think. It just gets swept under the rug as fast as possible.

 

On the flip side, I'm more than supportive of women who look at all the options and reality and decide against intervention or hospital birth.  Heck, I'm one of them.  I'm totally going against "standard" medical advice because I want an HBAC. 

 

post #23 of 37

I've read the blogs of Hartley and Lemay and find them grating more than inspiring because I don't see enough "mother's choice" discussion.  What I see tends to be more in the "this is the RIGHT way" mentality.  This is true of Lemay far more often than Hartley....

 

And, yeah! Where are our feminist sisters on birth issues? Ugh! "Reproductive rights" encompasses more than birth control and abortion.  It also encompasses the act of reproducing (aka BIRTH).

post #24 of 37

When I was first starting out in this community, both online and in real life, the group of friends I was in with, the group of people on the internet I had a "super secret awesome forum" with, etc etc....were very dogmatic. Very very "trust birth no matter what", etc. Bashed non-crunchy type people secretly and spent a lot of time on more mainstream boards fighting people or being kind of mean about their choices (in fairness, those people were mean right back and were on the very opposite end oft he spectrum, the type of people who said things like "homebirth mothers are unfit, reckless, etc" and things like "I just think parents who don't vax are really abusing their children and putting mine at risk, vaccination should be a law and you should be jailed if you don't comply" - that kind of ridiculousness) I fit there. I didn't get it. I was the same way they were, thought I was "better" because I was making the "good" choices. Like I said, I was still very intellectually (but not so practically) involved in the birthing community. When I look back now, I can see how many people in those groups were new mothers with no idea, angry women who'd had bad experiences and people who were perpetually involved in the "wars" with "non-natural types" who I think really just liked drama. After my second birth...all of that fell away. I didn't feel good about being around those places or in those internet groups anymore. I felt much more tired, much more aware of how completely consuming and hard parenting is. I had to lighten up in my views for my own sake and sanity(I was being SO hard on myself about being "perfectly crunchy" and I was making myself really depressed and felt shitty about myself)...but also because, I as began to look around at the mothers I was meeting who I thought were just AWESOME individuals...I saw a variety of choices...I saw inductions that MADE SENSE, I saw repeat c-sections that, when the mothers explained why they didn't go for a VBAC, totally made me say to myself "thank god we have this technology" instead of "well, she should have at least TRIED for a VBAC" - I think that my own births and motherhood in general softened me and humbled me and I wasn't so intellectually compartmentalized.."these are GOOD choices and these are BAD" - it became "everybody is doing what they've got to do, everyone is human and everyone has to make birth choices that fit into their life, their views, their relationships, etc". I just started to see that my choices, the things that I thought were best, weren't always best. Weren't good for everyone.

 

Having been on two birth journeys myself, I went from wishing that more women could just "process through" their fears, so they could "trust birth" and experience true natural birth or whatever other crap like that...and came to understand exactly what so many are fearful of. I can never go back from birth, I can never be who I was before....I can never think that things are so black and white and that women who don't choose MY way are setting themselves up for failure...because I have felt how precarious birth can seem, how failure can seem to lurk no matter what you do or where you do it. I have seen how intense it can be and, knowing that I didn't even have "super" intense births....I CANNOT IMAGINE how some women come through their births in one piece. I was so proud of all of my choices before my first birth. I was doing everything right. I was going to "succeed" because I had all the answers. AFTER my first (and then second) birth(s).....I'm not exactly proud anymore. I mean, I am....but not in a "I'm better than ____" kind of way. I am EMPOWERED.....but also very, very humbled. I realize that I had pretty easy roads, compared to some women. I read birth stories that used to make me say "yeah mama! You GO!" - you know the ones, the long, hard labors some mamas have, with posterior babies or anterior lips or hours of pushing, or any number of other things that can just make it SO hard and painful. I used to be pumped by those stories, I would cheer and pump my fist even. Post birth...I'm not so pumped. I am happy...but I mainly just sob. I'm in fucking AWE. As intense as my birth experiences were, it brings me to sobbing tears to recognize what some women go through. I'm so ashamed and embarrassed that I used to run with a crowd that might frowned about a mama who transferred to have c/s...or asked the question "Well, did you move around, were you fearful...? or whatever. I read those stories now and can't believe what some of these women hold out through, what some women go through, before they decide to go to the hospital.

 

Anyway, I'm rambling.

 

The forum I returned to (MDC) and community I hooked in with after my second birth, two years ago, feels to me like the "real" birthing community. Especially my in real life connections. This is the community of people that is built up around the birthing center my midwife runs. There are a LOT of women in this community. I don't know them all well, by any stretch...but being around bunches of them at a time is amazing. Just hearing their thoughts, how kind and realistic they are....it really feels good. These are women who would never, ever blink at a UC mama deciding to go to the hospital. These are women who would never pass judgement on a mama who needed a c-section...many of them have had sections and/or VBACs. These are the ladies who really get it and aren't "natural means at home...anywhere else sucks" - they are more "we all love our kids, let's do what's best for them and for ourselves". There is no judgement, ever, just really cool chicks supporting one another and sharing ideas/information and keeping each other honest in really sweet ways.

 

The other thing I've noticed, though, is that this community of people seems to be less "birth centric" and is more centered on an entire lifestyle...natural family living. NFL means different things to all of the ladies there. But the point is, birth is not the only thing that is discussed, you know? I feel like the importance of EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING surrounding your birth is of less importance when it fits into a bigger picture of ALL the choices that come together to make up the decisions we make to try and have the best life possible. It just feels like, when the focus is on your WHOLE life..food, homesteading, your relationship/marriage, potty learning, sleep issues, etc....birth choices kind of fit where they SHOULD as far as their importance. You do what you do with everything else...take stock, research, talk to your community, make you a choice and move on, you know? The other, more judgmental community I was a part of....I noticed that it was ALL. about. birth. All the time. I think that's where a lot of the problem came in. When the "whole picture" is BIRTH...every small part of it seems like it is of huge importance....when the "whole picture" is on us, as women, mothers, partners.....our WHOLE life...the decisions we make about birth seem proportionately important.

 

So, what I mean is like this(example): When the RABID, unbending focus of a group takes natural, homebirth and ONLY homebirth to be of the utmost importance...the decision to go for a hospital birth instead of another UC is an abandonment of the whole "mission statement" of the group. When the focus of a group is on living a whole, healthy, happy life and supporting all of the elements that come into play to make that happen....the decision to go to the hospital instead of having another UC is seen as just another choice that you as a woman have to make to allow your birth to fit heathily and happily into your **whole** life.

 

If the community of people I'm a part of now, the truly supportive birth/family community I've come to know and love, was the only one I'd ever known....I would scratch my head at this "mysterious", hell bent on judgement style natural birth community idea. But, this community I've come to be a part of and love....the TRUE community, as I see it...was not my first stop. There DOES exist, groups of people who are unbending and rabid in their interpretation of what it means to plan for and have a natural birth.

 

I don't know what percentage of the community as a whole it would make up....but I've known midwives, doulas, mothers and childless women who have had this crazy, inflexible view of childbirth and parenting. I could never hang with these chicks now, because I'm just not "cool" enough. lol.gif I don't do enough "crunchy" stuff anymore to "qualify". But even if I was still crunchy enough to hang with them. I never would....because I'm not interested in feeling smug and superior....I don't think my choices are the best. I make the best choices I can and I want to hang with women who do the same...unapologetically...and who will respect me as the kind and good mother that I am. I want to feel peaceful vibes with cool women. There is nothing peaceful about thinking that you are "the shit" and everyone else who makes different choices or who is visited by bad luck in a birth or whatever is a failure.

 

I think that the NBC is like any other community of people. You are going to have some really scary fanatical types on either ends of the spectrum....and in the middle, the "mosties"....the people who are doing their best, who are generally loving and open toward other people who are doing the same. No group of people anywhere on earth escapes having a fringe or lunatic element who are too stubborn to see any way but their way.  It's a sad fact.

 

I think, though, that in many cases, the larger groups of very unbending, judgmental "Natural Birth Communities" types that you will find are online. It's harder to be a big a meanie head in person...it's harder not to be touched by someones story and see why they made the choices they made. These people who spend massive amounts of time on the private boards and stuff are more susceptible to falling into those types of things. I think. I know that was a large part of it for me.

 

 

post #25 of 37

Wow. I'm really glad the conversation took this turn and I'm glad that you ladies are open about your process & how your perpectives have changed.  I can see a lot of material there that I haven't thuroughly explored & i'm really grateful to have heard these 'insider' perspectives about what it felt like to engage in the "crunch wars" I hear so much about... I really didn't believe that they were that extreme.

 

  I had my first son in 2003 and the only "community" I participated in then was the UC board on ivillage (which I LOVED but is no longer active) There was an unspoken ettequite there that advice wasn't given.. It was "this is what I'd do" or "here's some info" but never "you should" and I've always felt that's the only responsible way to have these kinds of conversations.

 

     I was 19 and in a relationship that drained most of my energy so I didn't know any other mothers that I could connect with. I didn't really connect with any other women for years.  The journey through my first 2 kids was pretty solitary, now that I think about it, even though I did tons of research and reading about birth... I was immersed, but there wasn't a lot of back and forth conversation besides that message board.  being young and just kind of diving into UC, I never felt really "in" with the homebirth crowd because most of what i saw innitially was centered around midwives and against UC...   it was just in my bones to birth alone and it took me years to articulate it all in a way that made for a rational arguement.

 

     I guess I didn't feel a real strong sense of community til after my youngest was born (just over 3 years ago.) I became a stay at home mom and started working on my book so I really began examining what my birth choices meant to me. I got certified as a doula through CBI (so I'm on their email list) and started networking on FB and blogs and here and I still find it overwhelmingly awesome the ability we have to connect, share ideas, inspire, support & create movement in one anothers lives.... I felt like I'd been missing out on this community, feeling alone for all those years, but now I can also see the advnantages. By the time I started to really connect with other women, I had my stance was very clearly about "choice" and so I've probably levetated towards likeminded individuals and also people whos work I respect but disagree with on key issues (NavelGazingMidwife, for instance, is against UC and pro "big push" which, IMO are anti-choice but I still really enjoy her blog & her stance on other related issues)
 

 I didn't come to MDC til AFTER the birth of my third child. so actually, this is the first pregnancy I've spent here. I've heard a lot of people speak of censoring happen on the UC board, and I joined hesitently becuase of that, but I guess I've never visited enough to see it first hand.... I've actually seen a lot of level-headed conversations there, so I thought maybe it had been exaggerated.


  I did see one instance where a lot of encouragement was happening (telling mom to stay home) and the baby died. That conversation happened on facebook.  I only saw it after the fact.  The mother had come to me early in her pregnancy looking for support and asking questions (which happens fairly regularly on youtube. People see my birth vids & ask questions if they're interested in UC.) When she lost her baby (and from what little I saw online afterwards, there was opportunity to transfer) it really hit home as to why i never give advice or "recommend" UC when people contact me. I am always very clear "this is what I have done" "here is some info" "It's a Very personal decision, you have to understand the risks and it has to feel right to you"  I found myself looking back through our correspondence and was relieved to see I hadn't steered her in the direction of *my* prefrence. It was really heartbreaking & wondered how the women who'd encouraged her to stay home felt after they found out what happened... When it comes down to it, I think its the mom's responsibility to figure out which birth choice is right for her and to seek out relevent information, but when someone's posting online, you don't know who is being level headed and who is going to take your words as "authority"  In fact, some of the people who reach out to me, I get a very strong sense that they ARE looking for someone to tell them what to decide & do NOT want to play that role (anyone who's qualified wouldn't be giving advice online anyway.)

 

It's really too bad there aren't more resources women can turn to where they will feel safe, comfortable & respected enough to reach out for help...

post #26 of 37

I love reading this thread, and I must say, if K (baby #4) hadn't been stillborn I would have absolutely had a HB with our next and used a midwife.  I tried to birth naturally at the hospital with #5 but I was on the highest level of PIT that was legal and my uterus ruptured and we both almost died.  Things are so crazy now that they don't even want me having a contraction without being in the hospital so that I can be sectioned immediately.  I know that a lot won't understand that but after 1 stillborn, 1 rupture + emergency c-section, then emergency c-section at 33w due to fetal distress which showed that rupture was pretty close to happening again this is absolutely out last and maybe even irresponsible of us :(.  I will say, this time I'm much healthier and more tone and mentally just in a better place.  With L I was having braxton hicks contraction in the first trimester even and this time I've felt nothing, and I really FEEL this is just a better experience all around so far.

 

Sorry I had to jump in totally unrelated, but I envy the choices that you all have and admire your strength and courage, that's all :o)

post #27 of 37

The Crunch Wars. Ha! How apropos. They are still being fought, but more of us are conscientiously objecting. I find myself more on the Naval Gazing Midwife side of the home/natural childbirth continuum. I used to be at the Hartley/Lemay end. Real life experiences have taught me that birth is a force to be admired and respected, but it does not deserve blind trust simply because it is natural. The power of the ocean is beautiful and natural, too, but if you aren't sensible in your interactions with it, it can kill or injure you. 

 

When women are truly educated of the benefits and risks of all their options, they go into birth with open eyes. Awareness and appropriate reaction increase both the safety and satisfaction of birth experiences.

post #28 of 37
Thread Starter 

I am really getting a lot out of everyone contribution to this discussion.  It is really healing and comforting in a way that is hard to describe.  

post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veritaserum View Post

The Crunch Wars. Ha! How apropos. They are still being fought, but more of us are conscientiously objecting. I find myself more on the Naval Gazing Midwife side of the home/natural childbirth continuum. I used to be at the Hartley/Lemay end. Real life experiences have taught me that birth is a force to be admired and respected, but it does not deserve blind trust simply because it is natural. The power of the ocean is beautiful and natural, too, but if you aren't sensible in your interactions with it, it can kill or injure you. 

 

When women are truly educated of the benefits and risks of all their options, they go into birth with open eyes. Awareness and appropriate reaction increase both the safety and satisfaction of birth experiences.

 

As is most always the case...someone has come on to a thread and said in two sentences what I tried to get out in forty paragraphs! The bolded is so true and so wise...and it is the calm truth that lives in my heart very peacefully now, that I couldn't even see in my first experience with birth.

 

There is a small part of me that now wonders if I actually was so fearless as I think I was. I feel like I went into my first birth experience very very sure of myself. But maybe my constant repetition of the "crunch war matras"  was really about "faking it til I made it", so to speak. Maybe I wasn't one of the women who can be openly fearful and process that outwardly. Maybe my true fear was of failure...and the ways in which I protected myself from that fear, supported my desire to stand in a group of women and shout "if you had just trusted your body instead of that stupid OB, maybe everything would have been FINE!!" - you know?

 

I think I've come to a point in my life, where I can see that, at least for me, anger and rigid thinking and judgement can be very clear manifestations of fear, self doubt and lack of confidence in ones self. Maybe my journey started in such a rigid place, a place where "if you do xyz, everything will always be okay!" - because I NEEDED to believe that if I did certain things, I could prevent things from going wrong, I could prevent my failing.

 

Maybe it's not the community at large that leaves women who encounter problems, bad outcomes, etc feeling so lost and judged and shitty about themselves. Maybe it is, in part, their own voice that tells them mean things or scolds them? Maybe it's telling yourself that "if I do XYZ everything will be fine" and doing those things...only to have things go sideways anyway, that leaves so many women feeling let down, depressed and humiliated? Maybe some of us protect ourselves from fear, by clinging to the "If I trust this and let it happen naturally, I can prevent a bad outcome"...but are really only setting ourselves up for major let-down, feelings of failure and disappointment in ourselves, etc...if things go wrong because they just DO sometimes.

 

Maybe that's what it is for a lot of women who are unbending? I have known a few women who were really really wounded by a first birth that turned very traumatic who turned to the more radical "sects" of the NBC. Maybe a part of their healing process is being angry and maybe out of that anger is born this unbending view that if they had just been allow to birth "naturally" or if medical intervention hadn't been forced upon them, or whatever else, that they could have been saved from this trauma.

 

Maybe a lot of first time moms who are so inflexible and can't see how willy nilly birth can get, through no ones fault, are really just protecting themselves from that truth, in order to keep fear away? And maybe the reason so many of us are feeling anxiety this time around, is because we know that it's okay to question, to doubt, to know that birth can go wrong. Maybe this anxiety we are feeling, is a sign of our maturing as birthers? I know for me, I'm beginning to suspect that the anxiety I'm feeling this time, has been there the last two times...deeper down, manifesting in different ways....and that this time, I'm actually whole enough, calm and clear enough, to openly process it and accept it as a part of this??

 

I don't know. Very interesting topic.
 

 

post #30 of 37

I know I have seen women who felt judged for their transfer or C-section (or whatever) that were feeling that way (at least in part) because they were so judgemental going into birthing... I am a firm believer that no one can "make you feel guilty" or like a failure or anything else.  That is stuff that all happens on the inside.  When we are really confident and comfortable with something on the inside, that emotional, defensive reaction doesn't come up even when someone IS judging... It's easy shrug it off with the knowledge "she clearly doesn't understand my situation" -- and if some stranger on the internet can't understand my process, it's not really that big of a deal!! If it's people you are really close to it's harder, but confidence will still take you a long way :)

 

I think it's really natural to judge when we read birth stories, and in some ways that can be helpful when it poses questions or gives us ideas for  how we *might* do things differently -- as long as it's not done in an arrogant, hostile way... As long as we remember there are ALWAYS factors we won't know or understand and as long as we don't think that because *think* we'd choose differently, it means we are better than anyone else.

 

I have also seen judgement tossed around quite a bit from the place a lot of you ladies are coming from (not saying that's happening here) and that's one of the things that bugs me about NGM -- the attitude that  'I used to trust birth/think UC was ok etc. I trusted birth out of foolishness, therefore I think all UCers must trust birth of foolishness.'  It irks me because I feel like people with that attitude assume that, as a UC mom, I must be at the same point they were in their process (ei. believing bad things just didn't happen if they did everything right) It has been very hard for me to get through to people in that place and communicate that I am not ignorant of the risks. 

 

I did not follow any typical process with my birthing journey. I trusted MYSELF to know what was best. that's what it was always about. I never believed myself above complications. I always considered that my baby could die and it would be my responsibility -- I also considered that if i went against my heart, my instinct, everything that told me this was the best birth *for me* and something happened to me or my baby, that burden would be even heavier. 

 

There was a long time I avoided using the word "inutition" altogether to avoid getting seen as unrealistic and "woowoo" about birth.  for a long time I've been drawn to conversations about this, though I've always felt a bit uncomfortable/defensive because I put so much energy into facing complications and death while pregnant -- and going back to taking responsibility for our own feelings, I guess I was also defensive because I didn't have proof for *Myself* that I'd really know when to transfer because it never came up.  I kept feeling like when I participated in these conversations there was just ONE peice missing, that if I could define it, I wouldn't feel so uncomfortable. I feel like at least a piece of that piece has clicked for me in this conversation and through the process of deciding to birth in the hospital this time.   Hearing all of your perspectives has helped me to understand a little more why people develope that attitude, and I think (Hope) it will help me develope my communication on this subject.

      

 

post #31 of 37

I really get what you're saying, Lia. I, too, have found myself avoiding certain key phrases/words in describing why I won't go to the hospital, etc, to avoid people thinking certain things. It sounds like real quackery, I think, to some people and it's not that I necessarily care what they think, so much as I don't feel like explaining some things, I guess.

 

I don't think, at all, that once you reach a certain level of understanding about birth, or awareness of how poorly things can go in the best of circumstances, etc etc....the further away from UC you get. Not at all. Like I've said in the past, the only reason both of my kids weren't UCs was because of stitching. I tear during birth, I'm "small skinned"...I watching the way my skin looked, all turned out, when my son was crowning..I understood why I tore so badly the first time and I know I'm going to tear again. I'm cool with it, with tearing, but I'm not cooling with not stitching and I don't want to go to the hospital. Enter, midwives! Even though, this third time around, the reason for not wanting a UC is a bit more complicated (I have come to be real friends with my MW and would just want her there anyway)....I think I'm closer to the correct mindset than I ever have been for a UC and if one of a few things happened with this pregnancy that would risk me out of my MWs care for legal reasons, but not reasons I view as ACTUAL safety reasons...I would be UCing before I went to the hospital or sought the care of a midwife one state over. Like, if this baby were breech....I could go the next state over, I could call up a midwife I don't know well but who is an awesome individual and very breech savvy...or I could UC. I would probably UC, to be honest, for a few reasons.

 

I sometimes grimace at some of the things I hear first time moms who plan to UC say. Everybody's got to start somewhere, you know, and I know that many, many if not most UC mamas do just fine their first time out. But I really do feel that I'm in a better position to UC and really, desire it for purer reasons, than I did the other two times.

 

It's something that has been in my heart from the beginning of my birth journey. But I know that I will probably never have it. It's okay. I have my fantasies...and I have two (soon, three, hopefully!) really perfect births and have had really hands off midwives, so I've always birthed alone and in the way I wanted to. I feel very blessed....but there is a wild part of me, that has always wanted to be on moss, by the river, in the woods, alone....with a fire, thick long pieces of cloth to wrap myself in. Just, TRULY alone....with the forest to shield me from the reality of anyone else existing, anywhere in the whole world. I want to be alone and to stay out there, in a little shack or a teepee or whatever, for as long as I want...and when I'm ready, come walking back home, for everyone to meet our baby. This is what feels "dead on" for me. I'm only a couple of degrees off from that. But it would be really nice to just completely sink into that and really live it. Maybe another life!

 

In any case. I feel a mother who has reached this level of knowledge about birth is more ready for a UC birth. Not even because her pelvis is proven, or she knows what it feels like and what to expect...not even for any of that, because I know some first time mamas who really have knocked UC out of the park and had completely blissful experiences. I think a mother with the deep knowledge of birth and of CHILDREN, what REALLY hangs in the balance when birth and life and death are on the line....that mother is better able to truly take responsibility for her birth, to hold herself accountable, because she even knows what that means.

 

When people asked me, before my first birth "well, can you really accept the responsibility of birthing like that, outside the hospital and everything" - I rolled my eyes and didn't even think about it. "YES, obviously" I replied. The second time around, while my answer was a little more gracious...I was still so sure, without really realizing how far off from knowing I was. This time, when people ask, I usually sigh as I say it, to be honest, because I think I really, truly do understand....I really do feel responsible...I really am prepared, again, but TRULY this time, to accept the accountability that comes with birthing in a place where there is no one else on whom to shift "blame" when something happens. That's a heavy load for me, right now, because I'm working through all of this, same as the rest of you. But it feels like real work. It feels really satisfying...and I feel like with this pregnancy, I'm really learning some things about myself that I didn't know before. My little blessing of a third child, who wasn't meant to be, and who now has me all wrapped up in myself, asking such basic questions: "Who are you, who do you want to be, what has this motherhood journey done to you??" - will this child be a rascal? Or a little piece of the sun, come down to light up our life? Probably both. I feel so blessed. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude.

post #32 of 37

I really do agree with you gals about choice-- it is mind-boggling to me that people can get SO heated up about preventing and aborting pregnancy, but SO dense and anti-everything about birth choice.  Like it somehow isn't part of "reproductive choice" or have anything to do with a woman's "right to her bodily integrity." 

 

Having a real choice in where, how, and with whom she gives birth is, I think, the ultimate in women's rights, and we are so far from it it's sad. 

 

And Broody-- I absolutely think you're spot-on with your assessment of fear being the culprit behind rigidity.  It is so much easier to deny and be angry and judgmental than it is to acknowledge fear.  There is a very deep fear in our culture, I think, about the loss of control.  It's so tempting to tell yourself that your life is in your control, and that you can make it whatever you want.  There is, I think, a kind of deep-seated worship of and need for control that is hard to shake.  That's why it's so tempting to assign blame-- because if someone is at fault, then obviously, the outcome could have been prevented. 

 

Sometimes, that's true-- encouraging someone with obvious complications to stay home is irresponsible and totally within one's control.  And other times, it's just not.  There's a balance that has to be achieved, and I think that balance is different for everyone.

 

For me, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if I have to go in to the hospital for this baby, I'll pretty much end up with a c/s.  I've been considering if it's possible to avoid a c/s by using some kind of anti-anxiety drugs or something while there, because I have a terrible, deep fear of hospitals in labor.  I might be able to do it if I have enough Xanax or something to overcome that anxiety- but... That's a really big IF for me, so it feels foolish to take that risk when I have support and can labor/birth at home relatively safely with the right preparations. 

post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by saimeiyu View Post

I really do agree with you gals about choice-- it is mind-boggling to me that people can get SO heated up about preventing and aborting pregnancy, but SO dense and anti-everything about birth choice.  Like it somehow isn't part of "reproductive choice" or have anything to do with a woman's "right to her bodily integrity." 

 

Having a real choice in where, how, and with whom she gives birth is, I think, the ultimate in women's rights, and we are so far from it it's sad. 

 

And Broody-- I absolutely think you're spot-on with your assessment of fear being the culprit behind rigidity.  It is so much easier to deny and be angry and judgmental than it is to acknowledge fear.  There is a very deep fear in our culture, I think, about the loss of control.  It's so tempting to tell yourself that your life is in your control, and that you can make it whatever you want.  There is, I think, a kind of deep-seated worship of and need for control that is hard to shake.  That's why it's so tempting to assign blame-- because if someone is at fault, then obviously, the outcome could have been prevented. 

 

Sometimes, that's true-- encouraging someone with obvious complications to stay home is irresponsible and totally within one's control.  And other times, it's just not.  There's a balance that has to be achieved, and I think that balance is different for everyone.

 

For me, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if I have to go in to the hospital for this baby, I'll pretty much end up with a c/s.  I've been considering if it's possible to avoid a c/s by using some kind of anti-anxiety drugs or something while there, because I have a terrible, deep fear of hospitals in labor.  I might be able to do it if I have enough Xanax or something to overcome that anxiety- but... That's a really big IF for me, so it feels foolish to take that risk when I have support and can labor/birth at home relatively safely with the right preparations. 

 

I'm beginning to see that shame of being fearful is just as, if no MORE, harmful than fear that someone feels intensely, but can at least acknowledge and work through, you know?

 

There is a quote in the Birthing From Within book that I love...and I'm paraphrasing here:

 

What is within you that you bring forth, will help you. What is within you that you do not bring forth, will destroy you.

 

I think it's lovely in a book about intuitive birthing from within, because it strikes so heavily on such an important element in birth. Honesty with ones self, taking a real look at what you think, where you're at with birth...and working through your thoughts, fears and areas of "weakness" within, can turn negative into real positives and true strength. Doing that won't save you from misfortune, but it will make your birthing experience easier to cope with, I think, whether it goes extremely well or not.

 

post #34 of 37

It's not just UCers who might be "woowoo" in their thinking. It's a problem within the natural childbirth community at large. It was a problem for me with my first homebirth. I'm glad that the midwife I used for my home births is not "woowoo." She is logical and practical, which is how I am normally. When I converted to the religion of Trusting Birth, I lost my objectivity and critical thinking skills. I have since abandoned that faith and reclaimed the usefulness of rational thought in childbirth.

 

I do support UC as a valid option. I have two close friends who chose it (one for her third and one for her second). Neither of them were "woowoo" about their reasons (such a good word :-)). They were fully aware of the benefits and risks of their choices. They both decided that UC was the best option available to them for the births of those babies. I was talking to one of these friends about UC and "Trust Birth" and she expressed her frustration with the UC community because an alarming number of UCers stay home with stuff they should transfer. She said there's a lot of pressure to NOT rely on anyone else's help, like remaining unassisted is more important than a safe mom and baby. Babies die that probably would have lived.

 

I see that as a problem in midwife-attended home births, too. Transferring is viewed by some as failure instead of the safest thing to do for that birth. That was a problem with my SIL's birth. There was ample time and three reasons that individually would have sent most people to a hospital. Her midwife said it was fine to stay home. If they had stayed, he would have died. If by some miracle he survived birth at home, this birth would be held up for others to admire. Wow, look at this amazing midwife who saved this preemie from time in the NICU by attending his birth at home. @@

 

It pisses me off how high risk home births are held up for others to admire. "I just attended the HB3C of twins who were double footling breech! See? C-sections are so unnecessary." It's great that that birth went well. But what if it hadn't? What if the second twin had died due to cord prolapse or another breech-related complication. Would we still think it was good for this birth to be at home? I don't want to see women's choices eroded, but I do not see proper education of the worst-case scenarios of choosing to stay home with higher risk situations. Some "variations of normal" are really best handled within a hospital.

 

I do trust birth to usually work itself out and I do rely on my intuition during labor, but I also trust the providers I have with me and that we are all prepared to act if the birth changes to not normal or risky.

post #35 of 37

I think we would see a lot more mamas who are more homebirth/UC minded go to the hospital for certain situations if a vaginal birth would be allowed.

 

Twins

Breech

Previous birth was a c-section

 

How many more examples of variations of normal can we come up with, that simply are not allowed to "go vaginal" in many states these days? Quite a few, I think. Your age, medical history, etc play into that equation as well. Some hospitals will get straight up nasty with you. I mean, we know it doesn't happen frequently...but we've all heard the stories of judges getting phone calls in the middle of the night, to ORDER c/s's and CPS being called on people for refusing certain interventions...can you imagine?

 

It is my opinion that there are many, many women who stay home with things that are "iffy" who would go to the hospital if they knew they had a shot in hell of having a normal, medfree, vaginal birth..or AT LEAST the chance for a trial labor (a TRUE chance, not lip service). You know what I mean? I don't think that these women are sniffing out danger and heading for it at all costs or even just being cavalier about the risks....I think they just see on one hand, a hospital that is straight up hostile about giving them a chance to have a vaginal birth...and on the other, a medfree, intervention free, PROBABLY perfectly safe birth. They know that they've got pretty much a 989 out of 1,000 chance of having no problems whatsoever and a 996 out of 1,000 chance of having nothing serious go wrong...and that looks pretty good when the other option is an elective section at 38 weeks. It's a shitty choice for the fact that you don't HAVE a lot of choice....but it would be a pretty easy one for me to make.

 

I can't blame those women. If I found out my baby was breech, or I had twins (with their own cords/sacks/placentas) I would rather UC than go for an automatic section at the hospital. You know?

post #36 of 37

I agree that most hospitals suck when it comes to respecting and supporting women's choices. I wish VBAC and vaginal birth for twins and breeches were more widely available. I understand why women choose UC when that's their only option for a vaginal birth. I support that choice. I just really hope that the mamas that choose homebirth or UC under potentially or outright risky conditions have a full understanding of the risks of staying home/UCing vs. the risks of, say, a c-section. 

 

ETA: In other words, I think the NCB community is sometimes guilty of glossing over or de-emphasizing risks just as OBs sometimes exaggerate or overemphasize risks. Neither gives an accurate picture so that a woman can make an informed, safe choice for her particular situation.


Edited by Veritaserum - 12/22/11 at 1:34pm
post #37 of 37

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Veritaserum View Post

It's not just UCers who might be "woowoo" in their thinking. It's a problem within the natural childbirth community at large. It was a problem for me with my first homebirth. I'm glad that the midwife I used for my home births is not "woowoo." She is logical and practical, which is how I am normally. When I converted to the religion of Trusting Birth, I lost my objectivity and critical thinking skills. I have since abandoned that faith and reclaimed the usefulness of rational thought in childbirth.

 

I do support UC as a valid option. I have two close friends who chose it (one for her third and one for her second). Neither of them were "woowoo" about their reasons (such a good word :-)). They were fully aware of the benefits and risks of their choices. They both decided that UC was the best option available to them for the births of those babies. I was talking to one of these friends about UC and "Trust Birth" and she expressed her frustration with the UC community because an alarming number of UCers stay home with stuff they should transfer. She said there's a lot of pressure to NOT rely on anyone else's help, like remaining unassisted is more important than a safe mom and baby. Babies die that probably would have lived.

 

I see that as a problem in midwife-attended home births, too. Transferring is viewed by some as failure instead of the safest thing to do for that birth. That was a problem with my SIL's birth. There was ample time and three reasons that individually would have sent most people to a hospital. Her midwife said it was fine to stay home. If they had stayed, he would have died. If by some miracle he survived birth at home, this birth would be held up for others to admire. Wow, look at this amazing midwife who saved this preemie from time in the NICU by attending his birth at home. @@

 

It pisses me off how high risk home births are held up for others to admire. "I just attended the HB3C of twins who were double footling breech! See? C-sections are so unnecessary." It's great that that birth went well. But what if it hadn't? What if the second twin had died due to cord prolapse or another breech-related complication. Would we still think it was good for this birth to be at home? I don't want to see women's choices eroded, but I do not see proper education of the worst-case scenarios of choosing to stay home with higher risk situations. Some "variations of normal" are really best handled within a hospital.

 

I do trust birth to usually work itself out and I do rely on my intuition during labor, but I also trust the providers I have with me and that we are all prepared to act if the birth changes to not normal or risky.

Part of the reason I chose UC was because, as much as I didn't want a MW to insist that we transfer due to protocal in a situation I felt safer at home, but I also didn't want someone encouraging me to stay home if something felt off... I didn't trust anyone to respect me enough to put their career (or ego) on the line based on my intuition & At the time I didn't feel that my own inner voice was loud enough to overshadow a midwife's "authority"... I think that women having authority over their own births and the ability to choose what's best is a huge piece that is missing in this whole mess. Any kind of birth philosophy can be pushed to the point of being valued over the mother's (and by extenstion, baby's) experience & needs as an individual

 

I think that the way a story is told makes all the difference -- that is true for stories of emergency situations (which can be shared in a very productive, realistic, "be aware" way or a "never try to give birth without a whole staff of doctors or your baby will probably die" kind of way) or of high-risk homebirths that end beautifully (which can be shared in an empowering "make your own decision" kind of way or a "Home-birth rocks. F- the hospital even if you're high-risk" kind of way...

 

One woman who shared her birth stories for my book had a 36wk breech UC. That story could certainly be summed up in an egotistical way, but instead she shares that she spent a lot of time in prayer, very intensely in the last week as it had become clear the baby would be born early.  She thought long and hard about going to the hospital. she said in some ways that would have been more comfortable for her as she'd had a previous hospital birth that was not tramatic, but deep in her heart she felt staying home was the right thing to do for *that* baby... And it was.  But the moral of the story (the same moral it would have if she'd concluded transfer was best) has nothing to do with home vs hospital in my mind -- or trusting birth no matter what -- it has to do with really listening to yourself, your baby (& your god) and valuing the information you find.... And that is the place where I embrace the "woo" (though I do my best to carefully articulate) because there's often no scientific evidence or logical explanation, but if you've ever felt that *knowing*.... You know that other women who make decisions you can't imagine making (at least some of them) must feel that knowing as well.

 



 

 

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