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Considering Unassisted Childbirth

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

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.

post #2 of 12

I will have a UC with this baby as long as my intuition does not direct me otherwise. I had a UC with my last and all of my losses (three of them in the second tri) were UC's as well. I highly recommend going to laura shanely's UC forum and reading through the information that has been compiled there. You will find resources addressing every fear you brought up and I think you will find that most people are terribly uninformed about birth and the real risks. I am a member and mod over on laura's board but have not come out with my pregnancy there; after my losses I wanted a new place to share with people who would not be scared for me. We have people come in all the time who are considering UC but are not sure, they just come to get unbiased information and there is a TON of research there. 

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

How funny that you mention this.  I JUST joined the forum over there.  I found her page yesterday after I got home from the OB/GYN appointment.  I'd been thinking about it all morning before I went to the appointment, but after the appointment I was pretty determined to look into this as another option.  It's good to hear there's tons of info over there!  Thanks!

post #4 of 12

Can you wait to show up at the hospital until you are in transition or pushing?  I know a few friends have done this and it worked well when they didn't have any other options.  And even if the doctor wants to induce you and even schedules it, it doesn't mean you have to show up.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

The way I look at it, if I'm going to wait that long to show up at the hospital then why show up at all?  I REALLY don't want someone telling me when to push, how to push, and how to labor.  That's what made my last childbirth experience so horrible.


Since I don't recognize when I'm in transition, just the point when I'm ready to push, I don't think I could honestly make it to the hospital if I waited that long.  My first was born in all of five or six pushes (I don't remember exactly, but that was also nearly 9 years ago) and my second was born in all of three pushes.  I think the only reason my last one took so long was it felt like an incredibly hostile environment.  Between the incredible pain I was in and the incredible desire to kick, punch, or otherwise remove the midwife and nurses from my presence, I wasn't exactly focusing on getting my baby out.  I was in fight mode, and I'm really afraid I'm just going to get back into that space the moment I'm slapped on my back, told when and how to push, and told what I need to do with my body to get the baby out when my body is telling me something entirely different.


You're right.  I don't have to show up for a scheduled induction.  It just bothers me that I'm going to be pressured towards having an induction when I don't feel it's necessary.  I was already pretty upset about a hospital birth in the first place.  At this point I just don't think I want anything to do with it.

post #6 of 12

Sarasyn, I'm really sad that you have to make this choice. I was hoping (after reading previous posts of yours) that you would find a good fit with the OB and be allowed to have the birth you wanted but in the hospital. It really pisses me off that it has to be an either or thing. Why can't they just let women labour like they want in a hospital room and be there 'just in case'? Why can't they respect a woman's birthplan and intuition and just let her get on with it?


I feel very lucky to be in Ontario where midwife care is covered by provincial health care so I didn't have to think about finances when I choose a homebirth. I had a good experience last time and am hoping all will go well for a homebirth again.


However, I'll be honest, since you asked WWYD... I would not UC. I think it would be too scary for me and my partner to not have someone there 'just in case'. I had a very normal pregnancy and an easy labour last time. I pushed for 20 minutes and he came out perfect - nice and pink with high apgars. However, I burst an artery and I believe that I would have died if there had not been someone there trained in emergencies. As it was it was pretty scary and there was talk of transfer, particularly as I also started to hemorage internally as well. So personally, after having that experience, I couldn't be comfortable knowing I was 5 mins from someone that knew how to deal with labour emergencies. To me that would be more stressful than being surrounded by a hospital (and I hate hospitals). 


I wish you well in this decision. I can't imagine how hard it must be to make this choice and I hope you find a good solution that works for your family. 

post #7 of 12
I feel it's a great option to consider....you deffinitely have to make yourself knowlegable, but really, we all should!
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

See, the problem with hospitals is it's still a hospital.  Unless they could make it not feel like a hospital, even if they respected my birth plan and let me labor in peace, I'm still going to have the hospital bed, the medical equipment, the noises from the hospital outside my door, all of that.  It would still be a hospital, you know?  There's no escaping that.  I just can't relax in a hospital.  I had a hard enough time at the birth center and that was much more home-like.  I think if a birth center were an option, I might have considered it, but even if it was financially an option, I just wouldn't feel right about going to that midwife again.  I didn't know it until afterward, but there are several people who feel the same way about her.


Unfortunately, in my experience, insurance doesn't cover home births in any place I've been in the US.  Some places might, but I know that in Mass the option is a birth center.  There used to be a birth center here that was covered under my insurance, but they stopped covering it because so many women were having their babies there that the hospital started to lose funding.  I think that's what a lot of it is about too.  It's all about funding.


I've spent a good deal of time over the past two days educating myself on unattended childbirths.  My boyfriend is actually feeling a lot more comfortable with it given that I've already told him that the first twinge of "something's wrong" will mean we'll discuss transferring me to the hospital.  He's gone over his list of "what if"s and I've found answers for everything, so he's a lot more comfortable with that.  I think the best thing we can do is be as prepared as possible and keep an eye out for any warning signs that we should be aware of.


While I have to admit, I like the idea of having someone accessible "just in case" the reality is I don't want them in the room messing with me and I definitely don't want them passing judgement on my birth experience, the sounds I make, and the process I go through.  It just seems like "just in case" tends to come into conflict with my own comfort.

post #9 of 12

I just sent you a PM about an unassisted childbirth FB group I'm in. If you want to join, send me a message!

post #10 of 12
I want to encourage you to have an unassisted birth. Your posts sound a lot like me. I had my second child unassisted at home & it was such a wonderful experience that I can't keep from telling the whole world. I read everything on Laura Shanleys website, it was helpful. Since my entire family is unsupportive of unassisted childbirth, I decided to do it by myself, completely alone. I labored alone, which was great! I gave birth in the shower on my knees with my torso upright. It's awesome to be at peace with your body, the childbirth experience & not have hospital people telling you how to labor or when to push. Your own body will let you know when it's time to push. My experience was awesome, I was on a natural high for months after giving birth. Oh, of course everyone thought I was crazy, & I've heard the whole "what if something goes wrong" speech. Honestly, when you take the craziness of the hospital out of the birthing process, things go a lot better, atleast for me. Everyone still thinks I'm crazy, but no one in my family can honestly say they were on a high for months after giving birth. (I had my first in the hospital with an epidural because it was so painful) looking back on both my births, I can say without hesitation that unassisted childbirth is better. I would do it again. Don't let society tell you how to have a baby. Oh, and I must add that when my baby came out her face was toward my leg , not the traditional face down, so as her body came out she turned face up. This did not cause any problems at all. Do what's in your heart to do with your birth. Be encouraged that other women like myself have labored & given birth alone & had a wonderful experience doing it.
post #11 of 12
Just to be clear, I am not an uneducated nut, in fact I am a registered nurse. I am probably more aware of what can go wrong than a lot of people. Unassisted childbirth is safe. It is awesome! My unassisted childbirth was so awesome that I cannot help but tell anyone who is half interested. You don't need a midwife or doula. You can do it by yourself. I am proof. Giving birth does not need to be a medical event. Left alone a woman who is not afraid of childbirth can labor & deliver her own child. I must add that my first birth was a hospital/epidural painful birth, no complications, the baby had purple hands & feet when she was born. This was from the stress of being born. She had no other issues & I was told that purple hands and feet are a "normal" thing. This did not set well with me, even though I am a nurse and understand the physiology behind it. However, my second baby born at home in the shower had great circulation from the moment she came out. No purple hands, nothing abnormal. Believe me, I was checking her out. Oh, and I did not have pain giving birth at home. I was in control, I walked up until the moment I got on my knees to push her out. Once I got on my knees her head came out in 1 push & body completely out on the second push ( it took about 5 minutes total, only because that's how far apart my urges to push were).
post #12 of 12

I've birthed unassisted 3 times & it would always be my first choice. this time I feel something is different & am planning a hospital birth, but absent a feeling that there's a real *need* I prefer to birth privately at home & I feel that it's safer without the interference of others. I think it's a good option to be prepared to birth unassisted & have the hospital available to you if at any point you change your mind. that is how I planned all my other births.  What it comes down to for me (and i think this is a pretty universal process because I hear people use it as an arguement against UC) is the feeling "if I give birth at X location, with X individual(s) and something bad happens, I'll never be able to forgive myself."  For my first 3 births, that's how I felt about the hospital (or hiring a mw) -- it just wasn't where my heart was calling me.  This time, I feel that way about UC. as much as I desire another birth like my previous 3, it's not where I'm being called to birth this child.  I think we all have the information inside of us to *know* what is best for us & our babies -- it's sorting out the desires & fears that can get in the way of seeing that knowledge that takes consideration.


If you are interested, here are a couple articles I wrote for The Birthing Site. the first one explains my decision & the second talks about deciding if UC is right for you. There are lots of other UC resources on that site & they are adding more daily, so I recommend browsing aorund there if you haven't already :)






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