My first baby was supposed to be born in water at home but was delivered by emergency C-section -- the cause, apparently that her cord was wrapped around her neck six times. Nevermind the fact that I still am not "over" this horrifying experience. Nevermind the fact that I was utterly petrified of birth anyway and stressed/panicked about it for most of that pregnancy (sure that didn't help anything...).
The biggest issue I am struggling with is that I am bound by provincial regulations to have any subsequent births at the hospital because I've had a C-section. I'm "not allowed" to have a home birth. I live in a small town, in a small province where the majority of people and methods and beliefs seem to behind, anywhere from 5 - 50 years. We have no idea what a birth centre is. And everyone I talk to looks at me like I have two heads when I say I plan to have a "normal" birth this time. They didn't think it was possible.
When I was in the hospital after my C-section, I asked the surgeon during a check-up if I would be able to have a vaginal birth if I got pregnant again. This is how she worded it: "We can allow a trial of labour." What I heard: they will humour a pregnant lady who is hell-bent on a vaginal birth, let her go through the motions for a while, and then most likely section her up anyway.
I don't have a choice of doctors or hospitals. In my region one is lucky to find a doctor, any doctor. We do have midwives and I am lucky enough to have gotten one -- because I called when my period was just a week late -- despite a long waiting list. So I count my blessings there. But our midwives are bound by those same regulations -- that say I can't give birth at home, and that I will be subject to our hospital's protocol from the moment I walk through their doors. Their protocol includes EFM for VBACs. I have not heard good things about what they allow or offer for comfort during labour. I do know that the environment was not conducive for me labouring the first time and I did not have access to any of the methods I had planned to use to cope with labour. And I'll never forget when they made me take off my jewellery -- my special beaded brith necklace made at my Mother Blessing -- in preparation for surgery. One of the biggest things I was hoping to rely on was a birth pool. Our little hospital does not have one. I guess there is a tub. A friend of mine called it a joke, saying it didn't even cover her belly.
So, in addition to trying to process my first birth, and trying to wrap my head around the logistics and pain of natural birth, and trying to convince myself that I won't actually rip open from the inside... I'm grappling with the fear that my needs and desires will be ignored, refused, and disrespected in the place where I am being forced to give birth.
Yeah, this post is long and heavy. Any ideas?