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Unassisted Childbirth -- Where do I stand? - Page 2

post #21 of 90
Indigo Lily Bear! Unfortunately I'm not really "back" -- I'm on a friend's line, still don't have internet access myself. I miss talking about my favorite subject with you all!

Maria, no problem! In a forum where misunderstandings can be so easy, it's actually good for us to keep saying " I hear you saying this" -- if you hadn't, I wouldn't have had the chance to elaborate, which I LOVE to do.
post #22 of 90

unassisted childbirth

Dearest Mothering Friends:

I am the product of an unassisted homebirth.

That was 1954. My Father delivered me as well as seven of the next eight. He was a Doctor of Chiropractic, but I do believe the law allowed him to do something like that as a practice of home methods, i.e., a family member can treat another family member as a matter of course. Also, childbirth is not a disease, so what is to be treated anyway.

I was told that my mom had placental problems, and one of my Father's cohorts showed him how to help my mom deliver the placenta, which he did each time. My mom went to the hospital for #5 who was breech (1961) and she was released the same day. It was Mother's Day.

I do not know if the experience "empowered" my mom.

I do know that it did not hold the marriage together. They were divorced after nine children and many years of marriage. My mom left my Father for another man.

Well, maybe it did "empower" my mom.
post #23 of 90
Thread Starter 

Keep it coming!

I am really enjoying all of your responses.

Indigolilybear, I guess I am doing my "processing" right now so that I will be prepared to birth another child in the future. I had planned on adopting a warrior approach, but, after reading up on UC, I am leaning towards a more confident, accepting attitude.

I thought that I had a great birth experience - no meds, very little intervention, home the same day - with my dd, who was born almost a year ago, but my labour was long and I screamed through the whole thing. Throughout the pregnancy, I could only think of the birth with fear. I don't want to be that way again, and, really, I don't think I will be.

With my first, I had a hard time transitioning from free-and-easy single gal to mother, even though I very much wanted to be a mom. I spent a lot of time focussing on that transition and too little focussing on how I'd like to approach labour and delivery. Maybe I am being too critical. I had to do what I had to do!

I am jealous of women who were confident enough to give birth unassisted, particularly with their first, because it suggests to me that they were extremely confident about themselves as mothers and very comfortable with the birth process. Is that weird? I constantly have to remind myself that other peoples' successes aren't my losses!
post #24 of 90

Re: unassisted childbirth

Originally posted by miriam
I do know that it did not hold the marriage together.
There are some books on unassisted birth that talk as if UC is a vital key in cementing the marital relationship. I think the reality is more that husband/wife birth provides the opportunity for a special kind of experience that can deeply affect the relationship. Like with anything else -- making love, for instance, or taking marriage vows for that matter -- it's all in what you make of it, right?
post #25 of 90
dearest friends:

my parents first relationship was doctor/patient. It is a relationship that outlasted the marriage, because she still used him as her doctor after the divorce. ( his attorney told him not to continue this arrangement - i told him also, but he would not listen to me)

i thought it was bizarre.

however i merely point it out to show that having unassisted homebirths w/ dh around does not guarantee the future of any kind of marital bliss.

i have gathered from the experience what i can as the oldest of nine - that childbirth is normal and natural, not requiring hospitalization, surgery, drugs, etc., in most cases.

i did use a midwife. i am brave but not all that brave. i know my limits.
post #26 of 90
as for the birth-strengthening-relationships thing. i agree, it is what you make of it though i cannot come up w/too many scenarios where two mature, loving and commited adults who *agree* to do this would not strengthened by it.

i think it is a huge statement of faith adn trust in each ohter and *personally* feel it has made a huge difference in our relationship. my DH has said that he feels much more attracted to me sexually since our freebirth and also is very impressed w/me after watching me birth ds. dd...it's hard to say why exactly it was different and it wasn't *horrible* but he was definetly relegated to secondary player. and i don't believe that he really received the "orgasmic, oxytocin energy bond" that was due him. neither did the midwives really....but dd definitely did!!

but the varieties of situations out there are as varied as the people are.....LOL
post #27 of 90
Just adding my two cents...

I am pregnant and we are planning an unassisted HBAC this fall. I had an extremely medically managed pregnancy with our daughter that culminated in a totally unnecessary c-section at 37 weeks for "failure to progress". I was never comfortable with my medical care and I have a lifelong fear of doctors and hospitals anyway. This birth did not help matters much.

My husband and I decided that this birth would be as different as we could make it. We have done our own basic prenatal care (in so much as we count baby's movements and occasionally measure fundal height). We have no due date, we don't even have a due month... I was nursing my daughter when we conceived so I did not have a cycle. All we know is it was sometime from January to April when we happened to test and it was positive. We're not worried, I am healthy, baby is active, we are educated, prepared and definitely well-read on the subject.

The biggest problem we've had is with family and friends wanting to know when EXACTLY are we due and what did my doctor say at our appointment and when do I go for my ultrasounds. @@ We fob them off and just lie to some....... it wouldn't do them any good to know what we're planning and we frankly don't need the stress of their concern.
post #28 of 90


Dear Lakin24:

I am totally supportive of what you are planning.

I hope it works out for you, and that the experience heals you and your dh.

What a nice family you will have.
post #29 of 90
Slowly working throught this thread...

Originally posted by Dodo
First, I think it dredges up the stereotype of so-called 'primitive people', especially women, being impervious to pain. [snip] These observers may have seen what they wanted to see, you know what I mean?
The problem there, I think, is with the idea that "primitive" people are a different sort of animal from people living in industrialized societies. The idea that societal conditioning can affect how anything (including pain) is approached and experienced in itself is sound.

But certainly they were interpreting what they were seeing from the basis of their own conditioning, which made it inconceivable to them that anyone could experience pain and not react in a certain negative way to it. The other possibility, of course, is that those women they observed really weren't in pain. Painless birth, or birth in which the pain is not severe enough to cry out, or even pleasurable birth is possible; I know of many women, including myself, who have experienced this, and this even in a society that tells them from childhood that birth is dreadful! Just imagine how many more women would be able to avoid great suffering in a society that taught them that birth was (or could be) at base an enjoyable experience, and that advocated secure, unstressful environments for them to give birth in, essentially obliterating the fear-pain cycle.

Second, I'm uncomfortable with stories of women birthing one hour and returning to work the next. [snip] Birthing and working do not an ideal combination make.
It's true that given extreme physical effort or trauma, the body needs time to rest so that it can recover. This is common sense. On the other hand, not all birth takes such a toll on the body that the mother must be confined to bed for days or weeks. In our "civilized" society, mothers are put through all sorts of unnecessary stresses when giving birth. In a "primitive" society, it is unlikely that a woman will be subjected to the emotional and physical stress that characterizes most managed births, that her body will be cut or bruised or expected to perform as if birth is an athletic event. I've had both kinds of births -- and I can tell you with all honesty that my postpartum experiences were vastly different. After the managed birth I hobbled around like an old lady for weeks. After my unhindered births I felt physically very whole and well and was easily able to do basic household work. This from a woman who is extremely sedentary and pampered -- it makes me wonder how I would have felt after those births if I was physically fit and hardy!
post #30 of 90
ITA sweetwater. Dh's grandmother birthed 13 children. She told me that after her first birth she was wiped out and had 40 days of rest. By her 13th, she was birthing unassisted and within the hour she was back at work. I'm sure part of the reason she was back at work was because she had to but she most certainly stresses that those births did not take a toll on her the way her first did.
post #31 of 90
Thank you Miriam!
post #32 of 90
yes, heather!! what a great experience for you guys! it's empowering for me even to hear about! i'd love to hear about the birth when it happens!
many blessings.
post #33 of 90
Thank you Indigo Lily Bear and I definitely will post about the birth whenever it happens. I am having what "feels" like very early labor (mild contractions on and off and a feeling that I need to prepare my nest) but since I've never had the opportunity to go into labor I am not exactly sure. We'll just see what we see I suppose.
post #34 of 90
I am due 3/7 and am very seriously considering unassisted birth this time. I find this discussion very intriguing! I had a homebirth with a midwife last time and it was a very lovely experience. I really wanted to labor alone, which I did for the first 12 hours, but not birth alone. This time I'm feeling like I want to birth alone. My midwife last time was a very good friend and it was easy to feel bonded with her. Still, I feel as though her presence may have affected how well I listened to my body. I think that what I thought other people's expectations were colored my responses.

Unfortunately, I have Type II diabetes this time and take insulin to keep my blood sugars normal. It means I have no choice but to get prenatal care. I did find a midwife that has agreed to attend me at home, for which I am very grateful, but I'm also seeing an OB. My original plan was to tell the OB that the midwife is a doula and that I will labor at home as long as possible, and then, "oops!" not make it to the hospital in time. Now, I'm feeling more and more like I don't want to call anybody.

I feel like the fact that I have diabetes gives everyone even more of an excuse to look for trouble and I have tons of fears about getting caught in the medical model snowball. I feel so relaxed when I imagine myself giving birth alone and the fears all melt away. Am I crazy to think it's okay to do this alone with my condition? I have half a mind to let the midwife go, but I'd still have to see the docs in order to get the insulin that is essential to this little one's health. What difficulties, if any, will I encounter when I let the doctors and hospital know I've "accidentally" delivered at home? Will there be any legal implications? Will they call DCS on me? Will I be able to get a birth certificate? These are the questions that plague me. At this point, I'm just keeping everybody, so I can choose what I feel most comfortable with when the time comes, and will have help should I need it. Or am I sabotaging myself by leaving my options open?

P.S. I am a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital where my OB practices and I have attended homebirths as both an assistant, and as the primary midwife, in the past. So I know a little more than the average bear. Of course, that may be part of my problem!!
post #35 of 90
Sofiamomma, your experience sounds a lot like mine. My second birth was everything I hoped for. I labored alone for the first eleven hours, then the midwife was there for the last two hours. And she was wonderful, very respectful. Let me run the show. Even so, I felt a desire to birth alone, and it became stronger the closer I got to my third birth. I didn't understand what it was about so much as I *felt* it should be that way -- it was only later, after the birth, that I really began to understand why I had felt that way.

Sofiamomma wrote: Still, I feel as though her presence may have affected how well I listened to my body. I think that what I thought other people's expectations were colored my responses. I write: Of course. Our minds and bodies are *always* affected by environment and the presence of others -- it's all just a matter of degree.

Now about your concerns: precipitous births happen -- they're not so uncommon that anyone would immediately assume that you'd done it on purpose. But if you do not call 911 and then take the baby into the hospital for a checkup, I imagine there'd be some suspicion. Legally, I don't believe there is anything they could do to *you*, but in some states anyone else who is at the birth can be charged with practicing medicine without a license. The birth certificate shouldn't be a problem, since you have had prenatal care, proof that you were pregnant and didn't steal the baby.

If you claim a precipitous birth and do *not* bring the baby in -- the doctor could call the state children's services agency, and yes, they could make trouble for you (although it's rare that a baby is actually taken away in such a case.)

It's a tough call. Ideally, you would find someone sympathetic to your plans, or least to the idea in itself. But I know that's easier said than done.

You could call your doctor immediately after the birth, explain that the baby came almost before you knew what was happening, that the placenta is out, no bleeding, that the baby is doing great (you should know, after all, being an L&D nurse,) and that you do not want to stress him with the trip to the hospital at this time, and that you will now make an appointment to see a pediatrician. I really don't think there's anything the doctor could do at that point. He might insist that you come in immediately, at which point I guess you'd have to ask him what would happen if you didn't. As a medical professional to another medical professional, he might be less likely to feel the need to interfere.

You might also want to retain a lawyer beforehand, just in case anyone starts threatening you.

As for the diabetes, as far as I know, complications or difficulties of a certain sort are more likely, but not a given. If you are comfortable with your health and your ability to monitor it, I imagine the risk would be relatively low.
post #36 of 90
Hi Sofiamama,

The only state that has issues with legality pertaining to UC is Nebraska. A father is charged with a misdemeanor if he catches his baby.


Do some research about your state and find out what needs to happen in order for you to obtain a birth certificate. It should set your mind at ease a little.
post #37 of 90
Thanks so much! I did check out Laura's website and there was some info on obtaining a birth certificate in Missouri. It didn't sound too difficult, so that made me feel better. I'm guessing the nurses I work with will not be surprised if I "precip" at home. They know I'm planning to labor at home with a "doula" as long as possible. One of them has even said, "You're going to have this baby at home, aren't you?" I just smiled and said I wouldn't be sad if I did. Sweetwater, I liked your suggestion about calling to say I'd had the baby, everything's fine and not wanting the stress of coming in. I can see her (my OB) being all right with that. I'm just wondering what the legal implications for *her* will be if i don't come in. That in and of itself may cause her to insist. At my next appt, I'll mention the doula and my plans to labor at home and see what kind of response I get from. Maybe she'll mention what she'd prefer if I don't make it in time. She's been pretty on the ball so far about what she thinks I'll want. For instance, "Oh you don't want this script for prenatal vitamins, do you?" "You probably don't want the triple screen", etc.
post #38 of 90
I highly doubt there will be legal implications for her if you choose not to go to the hospital. That is something that is out of her control. I think though that there may be legal implications if she knows of you plans and doesn't try to dissuade you from them.

Here's the exact law for getting a birth certificate in MO

post #39 of 90
That's exactly why I'm not tellin' her!
post #40 of 90
I just wanted to write that I love the idea of UC... but after my two experiences, I don't think I'd have the confidence to do it. With #1, I tore pretty badly (but refused stitches). I toyed around with the idea of UC when prego with #2, but went with the same midwife and another homebirth. #2 was born blue and floppy and needed mouth-to-mouth and an oxygen tank to get him to come around. Then I began bleeding uncontrollably and needed Arnica, methargin, and Pitocin, as well as the manual removal of blood clots, before we got it under control. Had the midwife not been there, I probably would have gone to the hospital, kwim? And, just for the record, my midwife is a CPM and is TOTALLY hands off. I labored by myself with only DH present; she came in during pushing and sat and watched quietly and never did anything to induce the bleeding, such as cord traction or fundus fiddling. It was just one of those things......
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