Okay, I've just got to bounce some considerations of mine off someone. I've talked to my friends, but most of them just think I'm insane anyways, so it's not really great for getting constructive, mostly unbiased feedback. After my visit with the OB/GYN, I'm just feeling really uncomfortable with the way things are going already. If I'm this uncomfortable with it now, how am I going to feel when it's actually time to give birth? I don't want to be carrying all of this baggage with me until the day I go into labor.
My first OB/GYN appointment was finally yesterday. My doctor is a great guy. I don't feel as uncomfortable with him as I thought I would. Since I know his wife and kids it made it really easy to talk about things other than just the sterile doctor/patient conversations. It was just really comfortable and casual, at least on a personal level. On a medical level, I'm just really uncomfortable with it. I'm feeling like I'm being pushed into all the normal things and all the normal tests. He first tried to move my due date up from June 8th to May 29th. Then decided we'd stick with June 1st. The ultrasound dated me at about June 6th, so I don't see why he wants to push my due date up so far. He's basing it on my cycle, but he's not taking into account that I don't have a normal 28 day cycle. Given my children were all born between 42-43 weeks (when dated by ultrasound, otherwise my youngest was about 2 days early) and were all perfectly healthy, I really don't want him pushing my due date up even more. He said he wouldn't induce until I was at 42 weeks, but if he pushes my due date up by a week then by the ultrasound and my calculations which both mostly match, I'll likely be pushed into an induction when I'm really closer to 41 weeks when waiting a week could have meant for a naturally born healthy baby without the need for all of that.
My other option at this point is to see if I can still get in with the midwife for home births, but I don't think we can afford it, and, honestly, I don't consider her an option. During my last birth she seemed cold and sterile. She complained to me that I was starting to sound "pushy" and I wasn't dilated enough to push yet. I was progressing along pretty fast. I'd gone from 4cm-7cm in two hours and it looked like I would keep that pace right up. She half expected the baby to be there by noon...until she said that. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure the reason I was "sounding pushy" was because I was constipated and my body's instinct was to deal with that before I could really comfortably progress. Not to really get into details, but once I'd dealt with that I no longer felt the shooting pain down my tailbone and the urge for unproductive pushes. I get the feeling if I was allowed to grunt and push during those early contractions, labor would have progressed because after she told me not to push my labor stalled at 7cm for 4 hours and again at 8cm for 6 hours. I was in so much pain I was begging for a c-section because I didn't think I could handle it and I was terrified that the baby was never going to be born. Labor at the hospital with the hospital midwife was worse. She broke my water and things started moving fast. They moved me into the delivery room and I was kept down on my back, told to pull my knees to my chest, and yelled at for pushing too early the contractions (at least until that constipation issue was handled and my body felt more like pushing with the height of the contractions). I remember kicking at one of the nurses who grabbed at my foot to hold my leg "in the right place" for childbirth. I have no idea if I'd made contact. I know I almost kicked my boyfriend (the father of the baby) in the process. He was worried about me, unhappy that here I was in this violent frenzy and there was nothing he could do about it. All he could do is watch.
The whole birth with my last not only had me filled with mixed emotions, but it's got him pretty scared too. He thinks babies are supposed to be born in hospitals because "what if something happens?" I get that, but I assured him that in the event of an emergency, I'm not going to refuse to go to the hospital. I'm a reasonable person, even in childbirth, but he's still scared. The last experience did nothing to make him more comfortable with the whole idea.
So this has left us with two options, either deal with the whole birth at the hospital thing, or go with an unassisted childbirth. He and I have talked about it. I've agreed that if I go with an unassisted childbirth, I'm still going to keep up with my prenatal appointments. I'm going to see the OB/GYN so if we decide we can't do it and I have to go to the hospital, well, I've already got someone there who knows how I feel and will be more supportive of my decisions at least to a limited degree. My boyfriend will feel more comfortable knowing that the option for a hospital birth is still there in a more planned way than transferring from home with no care, no midwife, no anything. I figure that's a safe compromise. It's going to mean I'll have to sacrifice for his comfort and have more tests than I originally planned for just to make things easier. Those are sacrifices I'm willing to make. I'm even willing to tell my doctor "oops, we didn't make it to the hospital" if that's what it takes. At this point, it's all about making the boyfriend comfortable with the idea of having this baby at home.
I've done all the research and I honestly don't see any reason not to try for an unassisted childbirth. It just sounds like the right thing to do. I won't have anyone telling me what to do or what not to do. The contractions and labor were painful with my last, and I had that pain down my tailbone, but labor was progressing quickly and I felt like my body knew exactly what it needed to do in order to get that baby out. I know how I like to push when it's time, with my legs in a more relaxed position and in any position that's not on my back because it puts pressure on my broken tailbone. The only birth I was allowed to be in the position I wanted to be, I was on my side with my doula holding my leg up and out of the way so someone could get in close enough to catch the baby. I literally pushed three times and there was a baby. My first I wanted to be perched at the edge of the hospital bed, but they wouldn't let me. With my last it was instinctive to roll on my side again or to stand with my boyfriend or the wall as support in front of me. I knew what I needed, but I was only allowed to have that with my second. I just can't help but think that at home I'll have the freedom to respond to my body in the way I know I need to. I'm not afraid of an unassisted childbirth like I was with my hospital births. I wasn't afraid of laboring like I was both times I was supposed to deliver at birth centers. I'm not thinking about my last labor and the hostile warrior mode I was in while trying to push out the baby. I actually feel really peaceful about the whole thing. I feel really positive about it. I'm still afraid of the pain. I'm afraid that I'll have complications. I'm afraid something will go wrong, but those are fears I can work through. It's not like the fears of being in that all-too-sterile environment and having people tell me what I'm doing wrong. I'm really sensitive when people tell me I'm not doing something right. I don't like to be made to look the fool because I'm not flawless at something or because what works for me isn't "right" or "good enough". I don't have to deal with the judgments. I don't have to deal with the medical equipment. I don't have to deal with all the pressure. Most of all, I won't have to deal with feeling like my birth is some kind of performance art that everyone is critiquing.
My only concerns are what happens if something does go wrong. What happens if the baby's shoulder gets stuck, like happened with my last child. My friend is trying to make me paranoid about postpartum hemorhages, saying it only takes 4 minutes to bleed out and I'm 5 minutes from the hospital, not that I've had those problems before. I keep getting all these questions on what happens if this or that medical problem happens and the questions are all swimming in my head. I'm feeling like as much as I know this is right, I also don't know what I'm getting myself into. I'm not well enough prepared. I don't have all the answers yet.
So, I guess what I'm asking is what would you do? And I'm kind of wondering if anyone else is considering the terrifyingly not-scary option of having an unassisted birth.