I am only 7 weeks so I'm hoping I have lots and lots of time to educate my husband. I won't do a u/c against his wishes; I had wanted to the last time, and he just didn't feel up to the responsibility of caring for me, a newborn, and our other children while trying to fill a birth pool etc. I respected his needs, but in the end my needs were ignored and I had a very, very traumatic birth which took at least 9 months of mental and spiritual recovery. I may write more about it at some point. Everything went well physically but my son was born dark purple and refusing to breathe, and eventually I realized he was probably exhibiting my feelings of being suffocated, belittled, attacked. (It was all very subtle and not even on purpose, it just wasn't a good day.)
My first birth was wonderful, I had two great midwives, and they really helped me with encouragement when I was getting scared and feeling helpless. I do credit them with getting me through that first birth, but once I understood what labor was all about, I felt like I could do it on my own.
The idea that we really could have an unassisted birth didn't become forefront until we were expecting our 4th; with my 2nd and 3rd I had a secret and almost subconscious wish to be alone the whole time. Both times I remember telling my husband NOT to call our midwives yet. I just knew intuitively that I could labor better without interference. I am very introverted and pensive and slow-to-think, and distractions throw me out of my track. Particularly in labor, I am so very open and any movement or sound in the world pulls me away from my focus.
I began reading more and more unassisted birth stories while pregnant with my 4th, knowing it was what I needed to do, but as I said before my husband told me he didn't think he could handle it, and he was actually the one who pressed me to initiate prenatal care with a midwife, toward the end of my 1st tri.
The day I went into labor, I just needed to be alone. But he wanted to call our midwife right away - my babies come fast, and we were experiencing a snow storm. I remembered his feeling of being inadequate in the face of an emergency, or even just a normal birth with a pool to fill (which I didn't even want anyway, though our 3rd was a beautiful and perfect water birth). Because of those circumstances, I allowed him to call our m/w, but I just felt crushed and defeated by that point. The labor stalled, it wasn't strong, I still managed to have a 2.5 hour birth total with only a few pushes, but.... it was torment. The whole time I felt my needs were being dismissed, I felt my body wanting to stand during labor and the delivery, even though all my other babies were born while I was on my knees. But all the commotion... I ignored my own intuitions and just did what I thought everyone else wanted me to do. Why? I guess I just gave up. Looking back I know the contractions would have been stronger and better in a standing position.
The birth was very hard. I pushed too hard, just to be done with the hateful process. For the first time I gave myself hemorrhoids. Then the midwives stripped my tops off so I could have skin-to-skin... in front of my teenagers! I was devastated and humiliated but I let them do it because in labor, my mind was different and I didn't know how to speak up for myself. Me, who wanted to be a midwife, who has attended births as a doula, who has had lovely homebirths and believes in natural childbirth to the core, didn't know how to communicate to my midwives that I wanted to keep my shirt on. Nobody even offered me a towel when I got out of the pool.
I know I said I would write about this some other time, in the healing birth trauma forum I guess. The whole story really is much longer. I'll stop now. :)
For the past few weeks I've been trying to figure out what to do about this pregnancy, but when I have time alone, in the night, in the quiet, the truth comes to me: I need to labor alone. Hiring another midwife will still bring in all the distractions that stop me up. Having a hospital birth seems silly and certainly wouldn't afford me alone-ness, though I wondered if I might have a stronger voice talking to nurse-strangers, rather than a midwife whom I have known for years and don't want to offend. (I know, my birth, it shouldn't matter if I offend someone....)
I just ordered the book Unassisted Homebirth and I'm looking forward to reading it. Also reading women's unassisted stories helps me confirm what I need to do.
So I just need to talk to my husband, gently, rarely, but let him know I just can't do this again with interference.
So here I am. :)