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the value of unassisted birth

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Please share -- what was important to you about giving birth unassisted? What value did it specifically (as opposed to assisted/professionally attended birth) have for you? What good things came out of it? What were the initial and long-term effects of it on you?

Conversely, was there anything about it that you could see possibly being served better through other/different choices?
post #2 of 16

Ohh, nice thread topic

I'm a pretty private person. Birthing unassisted meant that I was able to do it on my own, without thought as to others expectations, needs, or fears. There was no risk of iatrogenic (sp?) injury. I was able to be free from external distractions and allow my instinct and intuition to guide me.

My two UCs have had a variety of effects on me. They were both very, very challenging to my integrity. And I don't mean, "Do I tell people my plans, or do I lie?" I mean, I was forced to be fully honest with myself. To face me fears and worries full force. To examine my values and decide, is this something that's REALLY important to ME? And WHY?

These days I can understand completely why some women just can't or wont consider UC. I had a hospital birth with my first, and then two UCs. (No no assisted homebirths) The first, I had to transfer immediately postpartum. I had thought I'd faced my fears and was prepared to accept all eventuallities. I was really shocked and -well- blown away when things didn't go as expected/ hoped for. I thought for over a year that I would never be able to face another pregnancy for fear of giving birth (and potentially having something terrible happen). It's challenging to take that responsibility on yourself, knowing that if things go well, it'll be "luck" and if things go poorly, it'll be "all your fault."

Then I got pregnant with my third. I very, very seriously considered having a planned cesearen. Ultimately I decided for another UC/UP, but with the xpectation that I might decide I NEEDED to transfer. I knew I needed to be okay with the outcome, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED. Thankfully nothing went wrong. But the postpartum phase was pretty hard on me. (The whole pregnancy was VERY challenging for me, emotionally and physically.) Even though my labor was quick, I was completely drained, in a way that I hadn't been with my girls. I couldn't take care of myself, and my husband couldn't seem to meet my needs. I couldn't go 3 yards to the bathroom on my own the first day. Then I got sick at 3 days postpartum. It took me a long, long time to recover. I got through it, obviously, but if I could do it again, I would have INSISTED that my husband call a local midwife or doula to HELP ME within a few hours of the birth. I was in really bad shape. I never expected to (essentially) NEED to be waited on hand and foot after having a baby.
post #3 of 16
I haven't given birth unassisted yet and will post more later this year. But I can answer some of the question now - my choice to birth unassisted has a lot to do with my desire to be free to follow the natural flow of my birth. I believe that will be the most valuable and important thing about my upcoming UC birth, to be able to do what *I* instinctively know and feel is right rather than go against it to comply with a midwife's directions or fears.

Originally, I thought I could have done the same with the m/w there for my first birth BUT when the time came I realised too late that in the moment of birth and immediately afterwards that arguing, confrontation, displeasure etc (negative things) would have put me further out of the natural flow of birth. So when I surrendered to my birth, I also ended up surrendering to my m/w in part. I am glad she was a pretty decent m/w or else my birth could of gone worse.

Thats not to say I think my homebirth went badly. I think it was wonderful but I know it was definitely NOT all that it should of been, and I don't intend to make the same mistake again or put myself in the position of having decisions concerning my care (or my childs) shared with a care provider. It should never be up for discussion when it is my instinct kicking in and saying "no! don't do this!"
post #4 of 16
I so want to answer this when I have 2 hands. I have seen a huge difference between mw assisted & UC now and all I can say is uc all the way.
post #5 of 16
what was important to you about giving birth unassisted?
It was important for me to have autonomy over my body and what happened to me, my baby, my husband, my family.

What value did it specifically (as opposed to assisted/professionally attended birth) have for you? It changed our lives. I am a different woman. DH is a different man. Our marriage is different. Even our older dc have more respect for their dad and me.

What good things came out of it?
Besides what I just said above... also good things: my youngest children who were UCed have been so healthy and so secure. They've never had anything bad done to them in the name of "for your own good." I have no regrets to mull over the rest of my life.

What were the initial and long-term effects of it on you? I am stronger, physically and emotionally and spiritually. I care more about ME.... years of self hate/low self esteem have been remedied with this one simple thing-- giving myself enough respect to just say "no." I keep myself healthier and take better care of myself. I know now that the only who can truly be responsible for my health is ME. I can't live any old way I want to and then hope the doctor can cure me of whatever ails me. I am it, I have to keep myself healthy.

Conversely, was there anything about it that you could see possibly being served better through other/different choices?
In between babies, I sometimes wonder if I'd like to have a woman around to help... but then I watch my video or remember my birth in other ways, and I think, no... I would not want anyone else there. The fantasy of what it would be like is NOT what would happen in reality.... any more than the fantasy of having another woman in our bed at any other time... no matter how it is imagined in a fleeting moment... you know in reality you would not like it and you'd resent her, resent dh for allowing it and resent yourself for having asked for it.
post #6 of 16
Great topic!

I had two c-sections and then a UP/UC. I am a very private person and it was crucial for me to be able to labor and birth on my own. I felt so violated after my two c-sections.

During my UP I came to loved myself. Truely. I overcame so much self doubt and low self esteem. I trusted my body and my baby and we did it. Giving birth to my baby into my own hands how he was meant to be born cemented that. Dh and I are connected on a deeper level now. Like tryinghardmomma said, ds has "never had anything bad done to them in the name of "for your own good." I have no regrets to mull over the rest of my life."
post #7 of 16
Giving birth unassisted was the only logical course for us. Please let me explain. With our first child's birth, we thought everything went the way it was supposed to, hospital, intervention, threat of C-section...all the bells and whistles.
Afterwards, my dh and I felt, something wasn't quite right with that birth, but we couldn't put our finger on it. So we began to study, to read, talk to others, come to this forum, and learn all we could about the nature of childbirth, the emotional, physical and even spiritual aspects of the event. We also learned how very wrong our first birth went, and how violated our personal space was.
From there, we decided we wanted our next birth to be better, and planned on the same OB and hospital.
Then it dawned on us- it's not us that is the problem, its them...
long story short, we did a 180 degree turn from our first birth and UC'd with our second.
It only made sense. when all is said and done, and we decided how our birth was going to be- we learned that no one from the medical community could promise the birth we truly desired. The more we learned about birth, the more angry we got with our past and more determined to "do it right" with our 2nd baby (and subsequent children as well)

The value is profound. My dh and I have a deep intimate relationship and it only strengthened with Sydney's birth. He trusted me and never attempted to "rescue me" which was so awesome! My dh rocks btw! What a private sacred moment for us, that was never hindered, or tampered with by anyone.

My connection with Sydney is very very different than with Sara. Sara and I are very much in love with one another, but there is something significantly different with Sydney and I. I can't quiet explain that. It's not favoritism in any way, but our connection...its' just different.
And my dh and Sydney connected a lot sooner than Sara and he did. Sara really didn't know her daddy until after about 4 months. Up until then it was all boob all the time. Sydney and he connected withing a few weeks. (Meaning she truly knew who he was, kwim?)

I only wish we chose to do this with our first daughter, Sara. But, I need to forgive my self and be grateful all is well with her after the birth.
Side note: When people hear about our uc birth, they congratulate my husband for his efforts. Calling him "Dr. Greg". That really chaps my you know what. He always replies with, "I didn't do anything, she did it all"
But people still pat him on the back.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
"When people hear about our uc birth, they congratulate my husband for his efforts. Calling him "Dr. Greg"."

Same here! Silly people! They seem to have no awareness of the fact that birth is naturally something a woman's body just does, not something that is done for and to her by others.
post #9 of 16
Birthing UC was the pivitol moment in my life when I realized that this was just normal.. no fuss no fanfare..no drama just pure peace quiet.. serenity..pure and utter control.. it was wonderful to be alone with my husband and birth the baby we created 9 months earlier into his hands.. I mean at this point in my eyes its almost a crime to do it any other way.. I cannot beleive I robbed ourselves of this experience in the past.. it took a long time to get where I am at now.. but I am still high over it 15 months later! does that say anything??

Nobody but my husband will ever have the priviledge of being in such a sacred birthing space with me ever again! that alone is sooo freeing all unto itself *sigh* I feel such sadness for people who will not or cannot open their minds and souls enough to see this this IS how birth was meant to be.
post #10 of 16
Originally Posted by cottonwood View Post

Please share -- what was important to you about giving birth unassisted? What value did it specifically (as opposed to assisted/professionally attended birth) have for you? What good things came out of it? What were the initial and long-term effects of it on you?

Conversely, was there anything about it that you could see possibly being served better through other/different choices?

Another super old thread but an interesting topic so I thought I'd ressurect it.

Giving birth unassisted is important to me because I'm a private person, I enjoy listening to my intuition and deepening my trust in myself, and its something i *know* i can do, its simply a matter of believing in myself.

UCing and UPing have helped me understand how strong i am, mentally, physically and spiritually. This awareness has allowed me to feel powerful enough to overcome or conquer any sort of challenges life throws me. If i had given birth with a midwife or in a hospital i know i wouldnt feel nearly as capable or strong as i do now. That would have been me giving the power away that i now feel capable of owning because of UC/UP. My life would be very different.

I wouldnt change how i gave birth, not in a million years. I dont believe i was "lucky" or any other nonsense. I believe i made a firm choice and from this choice the birth unfolded naturally. The birth started in my mind with the choice to take full responsibility of myself and my baby--from that it all happened as it did due to that choice. The intention is the guiding force, in other words.
post #11 of 16

Hi there.  I'm new here.  I had two natural births, in hospital. We tried for homebirths but the midwives always found some reason why I had to have them in hospital. Time limits. I pushed too long with my first and with my second I was supposedly pregnant too long.  They never believed me when I said he was not as overdue as they claimed.  He was supposedly born at 42 weeks 3 days and I kept saying they were off by a week.  I was bullied at the end and told my baby would die by the head midwife, that he would die no matter what and I should get a c section.  No reason why really, other than she felt I had "exceeded my physical limitations" and the baby would not descend further.  We did the non stress test all was fine and we left AMA to try some more natural methods such as acupuncture, homeopathics the breast pump etc, which actually helped immensely.  Next day we did go to hospital and I did have my waters broken as I had made a lot of progress, as compared to the previous day when I was not effaced at all and barely dilated. Birth was fast and furious and I missed my labor tub.  BOTH my boys were posterior so intense back labor. I figure if a woman like me who can have 2 posterior babies drug free is not allowed a homebirth, then I'm never going to get one with these midwives.  I'm tired of playing their stupid games because I always lose.  My husband missed the second birth because they and the hospital claimed I had hours left to go based on cervical dilation and so he went to pick up our oldest from daycare to take him to the babysitter, and didn't make it back in time; I dilated from a 5 to a 10 in about 20 minutes.  Our oldest son was so upset he wasn't permitted to be at the birth because of hospital policies.  I'm sick of this crap and I'm not doing it anymore.


So, I fudged my LMP to match my ovulation date, as I have longer cycles, have refused the early ultrasound and just about every other test they have asked.  Currently fighting with them about the value of blood tests this early in pregnancy although will do one later.


My husband and I agreed to do UC and it was always something that came up during pregnancy and labour of our second son. It took my husband a couple of moths to bond with our second as a result of missing the birth and we never want to go through that again.  Yes my births were natural in that we didn't use any pain meds but they were not natural in that midives and nurses controlled when where how and bullied me or tried to anyway. I felt depressed and disappointed after the birth of our second although happy to have a healthy big boy.  Might I mention that both my boys were nine pounders.


I'm angry that each time I clearly state I do not want active management of the placenta, they insist on it and say its necessary even though prior to the birth they say no problem.  I'm sick of the early cord cutting for no darn reason and the hospital profitting from my baby's cord blood when it is their blood and they should get the full benefits of it.  I'm tired of someone shoving their hand up me without permission just because I'm in intense labor/pushing (I almost kicked her when she did that when I was on all fours). I'm tired of being told to lie on my back to push and being told to push push push when really there is no reason to.  My baby ended up being pushed out so fast so then they used that excuse to cut the cord fast and go suction him. So ridiculous! Theatrics for no reason.  Leave me the heck alone. I have no trust anymore in these people so I tell them what they want to hear most of the time and then we will go do our own thing. I want the prenatal care only to cover my butt with regards to CPS and in case I do need to call them for any reason, nice to have that option.  I'd like to have them come take a peek at the baby after birth, after a few hours. I'm not calling them right away and having them harass me for hours afterwards instead of spending the time bonding with baby. So much more I could say.  I went into this thinking these midwives were really what they stated (they are a group of midwives) and really they have become so legislated they have become the OB's that they fought against for years.  Thankfully midwifery care is covered by OHIP in Ontario.  That's my story.  So I show up for appointments and refuse doppler and go about my way and we will do UC.  My husband is very excited and asks lots of questions.  He's also got some medical training although not relating to labour and delivery.

post #12 of 16

Well, I'm typing one-handed as I nurse my 3-day-old UC daughter (fifth birth, first UC).  


Baby 1 (38 weeks, 7lb3oz) was an induced hospital vaginal birth with epidural.  Dr let Daddy catch her.  Not a bad experience, all-in-all.  

Baby 2 (39 weeks, 5lb4oz) was a spontaneous hospital vaginal birth with no meds.  The experience of actually *feeling* his birth was wonderful, but my OB nurse was a bitch (I worked at that hospital as a CNA, knew her, and we didn't like each other at all, but she was the one on call at the time), and Daddy and "labor support person" (yeah right!) joked, laughed and totally ignored and annoyed me throughout my labor.  

Baby 3 (33 weeks, 4lb1oz) was intented to be a UC, but when my water broke at 33 weeks, we headed to the hospital.  He was breech, and they bullied me into the most scary thing in my life, my first c-section.  6 hours after his birth, he was airlifted 300 miles away to Denver, and 3 days later I was released and drove a stick-shift pickup out to meet him and his daddy in Denver.  C-section recovery was AWFUL!!!!!!!  Swore I'd NEVER go through that again!  

So, Baby 4 (35 weeks, 4lb15oz) was another UC attempt.  But after hours of hard labor with no progression, I gave up, and went to the hospital.  I was so panicked they had to give me a general for the c-section, and Daddy wasn't allowed in the OR. I ended up with a uterine infection, and again, recovery was AWFUL!

Baby 5 (38 weeks, 6lb) I finally got my UC!!!!!   http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1384270/faythe-marie-5-29-2013-6-28am


Now, having experienced the spectrum, I KNOW that if I ever have another baby, it'll be another UC.  The biggest thing for me was being able to have a VBAC when otherwise I wouldn't have been able to.  Second to that was the fact that ME MYSELF AND I were in control of what happened.  *I* did this, and I did a damn good job of it, and didn't need outside help.  I did give up toward the end (its all in that link), but she knew what mama needed, and showed up before we could get to the hospital. <3  It's very empowering, to know that she and I did this, all by ourselves!  I truly believe she's healthier for the lack of stress, poking, and prodding.  And for the fact that she got ALL her umbilical cord blood.  It was also a very spiritual thing, largely because of what she and I have been through in the last 9 months, we've been all each other had. (quick run-down, lost custody of my other four before I found out I was preg with her. Sperm donor left me in a homeless shelter at 8 weeks preg. Then an ultrasound [falsely] indicated she had no arms. The ONLY friends that stepped up to help, rescued me and I went to live with them 700 miles away, lost all my ID in the move and it took 3 months before I got enough of it replaced to get another u/s which showed her gorgeous perfect arms!!!  Labor was just her and me, my fiance (first time dad) was NOT helpful at ALL during labor (slept through most of my hard labor, and everything before that, and is now proud as a peacock that he delivered her [no, Honey, *I* delivered her, you *finally* tuned in during the last 5 seconds of it]).  But it was fitting too.  For the whole 9 months, others have come and gone, but her and me, we have always had each other, and it was just "right" that we did this on our own.  :-)  My bond with her is absolutely incredible, and she's my miracle baby in SO many ways!


Whew! Typed all that one-handed!  Now I'm going to walk up to Pizza Hut (fiance's work) and eat supper with him and let him show off his new daughter to his impatiently waiting co-workers.  I hope we don't get rained on, lol!  Peace!!!

post #13 of 16
Such a wonderful thread! My UP only lasted 28 weeks and now baby is in the NICU but u women are amazing and I am hoping my next one can be a UP UC. At least I have 28 weeks of practice!
post #14 of 16
Bailey, I am so sorry to hear that greensad.gif I hope baby is doing well. I'm praying for a long and healthy pregnancy for everyone!
post #15 of 16
Thanks. Baby was actually diagnosed with dandy walker malformation (a brain cyst that causes hydrocephalis and delayed motor development) via ultrasound. I actually wanted to UP and definitely did not want to have an U/S, but for some reason I have yet to understand i had one. It led to a domino of tests and repeat U/S and a major amount of stress. Even though baby ended up in the hospital it ended up being for breathing problems completely unrelated to the dandy walker diagnosed via ultrasound and neuro department was the first set of specialists to sign off her case saying that the cyst was there but would not effect her life! It was right then that I had a re-affirmation that i would never have an ultrasound again. I was told to"consider my options" after my ultrasound with her because of the "devastating affects" of dandy walker, yet even an amniocentesis to check for lung maturity (which she passed) couldn't predict her current breathing issues.
post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by cottonwood View Post

Please share -- what was important to you about giving birth unassisted? What value did it specifically (as opposed to assisted/professionally attended birth) have for you? What good things came out of it? What were the initial and long-term effects of it on you?

Conversely, was there anything about it that you could see possibly being served better through other/different choices?

I haven't been around for a while, my last UC was Oct. 09, but with another planned UP/UC underway, this topic caught my interest.


I have found that I am a very private birther. If I didn't feel so much need for the awesome counter pressure my husband gives during labor, I'd likely want to just be left totally alone to do my thing. It's very important to me to be able to tune in to what I know about myself, and what my body and intuition is telling me. I have found, through trial and error, that when I feel like I have someone else to rely on, to be "in charge" of something, I let go of that portion of me that pays attention to THAT detail. When I have a Dr. or midwife, I turn over authority on a great many things to them, rather than being the super-consciencious mama that I need to be, during pregnancy and the birth, and I don't pay attention to that small voice in my head telling me to pay attention to this or that, this is important, I should change this, I should/shouldn't eat that today, I should really get out and go for another walk, I should go to bed NOW instead of in half an hour (which always turns out to be longer), little things like that that add up to issues I could have avoided. I have never known, with any of my pregnancies, those feelings to be wrong. Most of them are common sense. Some of them, though, end up being more important than first glance might suggest.


I feel that personal accountability, rather than holding myself accountable to someone else, means I don't "cheat" on my own health, and health of the baby I'm growing. There is no one to impress, no one else's feelings to take into account vs. what's right, and no one else to blame if something goes less than ideal. I can focus completely on what is actually happening to and with my body and my baby, while moving on the path that I have decided on, based on that input, and change course whenever I feel the need to, before something becomes an issue, to correct anything that may be starting to go a different path. Or, as happened with my august '11 baby, choose a different route altogether (he was a planned hospital birth, with an OB I began seeing at 30 weeks).


As for anything that I could see being better served through other/different choices with my last UP/UC and this, my current UP/planned UC, I can't think of a single thing, other than socially. It's sometimes a VERY lonely road to be the non-comformist in the birth world. I have no one to talk about the joys of this pregnancy with other than my husband, and sometimes, I think it would be nice to once again have that commonality with the women I spend time with. We just don't discuss pregnancy or childbirth, because I'm not the epi-epi combo platter type of gal. My kids range from 12 years old down to almost 2 (youngest turns 2 a few weeks after I'm due this time), so I have a good cross-section of moms to talk to in my children's activities, it just seems this one topic is totally offlimits to me, because of this choice. It's a price I am willing to pay, for what I feel is the best and safest, least likely to be harmful, route for myself and my unborn child. It does irk me, though, that that price has to be paid.

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