I'm a newspaper reporter, and a couple of years back I was covering a story involving a lactivism issue. Our web site was suddenly overloaded with thousands of hits, and I traced them back to MDC.
Man, what an eye-opener. I had never really thought about childbirth before, and I sort of vaguely wanted to have kids, oh, ten or so years down the road. When I did, I assumed I would have painkillers because, hey, pain is a drag and there's no downside to it, right?
But I got really fascinated by all of the birth stories, especially the homebirth stories. They resonated with me instantly and powerfully and I knew that when the time came, that's what I wanted for my own delivery. I don't think I had even really heard of homebirth before that (or if I had, I probably filed it away under "crackpot"), but as I was reading those stories I experienced an instant paradigm shift.
Exactly one year ago today, I conceived my son. It was totally unplanned, which was odd because I'd always been really careful about birth control. But even though it was a surprise, everything seemed right. Great guy, great relationship, both stable in our careers, not getting any younger. It so quickly turned into a joy.
I knew I wanted a midwife assisted birth, so I got some recommendations and started making phone calls. At that point I was thinking I'd go for a birth center; I had some vague impression that it would be safer.
There was one midwife I had heard really good things about, so I got her on the phone and asked if she would attend a birthcenter delivery. She said she only did homebirths, and told me that a birth center was basically a homebirth you had to drive to.
We made an appointment for later that week, and I went into hardcore, full-blown research mode. Research is something I do well, and I found a wealth of information -- about the cascade of interventions, about how hard it is to have a truly natural birth in a hospital setting, about the safety rates of hospital versus home births, about the experience of giving birth in your home setting. By the time the interview with the midwife rolled around a couple of days later, I was 100 percent on board with the homebirth.
My partner was worried about the idea of homebirth at first, though he said it was my choice and he trusted my judgment. The more he learned, the more he warmed up to the idea, and now he's a big proponent himself.
Immediately, the standard of care with the midwife was different than anything I'd ever experienced with a doctor. First off, she just took my word that I was pregnant. Now, I could tell that I was pregnant before I even took the home test, but I wanted some medical authority to tell me that, yes, I really was pregnant. The midwife was so relaxed about the whole thing, and it was the first lesson I got in trusting your body.
My midwife was great, very calm and practical and kind. When I heard people talk about their brusque ten minute prenatal visits with the OB, it seemed so different then our leisurely hour visits, where I would slip off my shoes and settle into the couch and talk.
I had an easy pregnancy and a wonderful, gentle home waterbirth. There was pain, but it really wasn't that bad. And more than that, it was an incredible and empowering experience that ended in a healthy baby boy. Within minutes, we were nursing on the sofa and I was in love. I wouldn't have changed a thing.
I've always identified as a feminist, and it seems that to a large degree feminism has forgotten to include childbirth in its work. I like to think that I see signs of that changing, and that natural, normal birth is becoming more prevalent.
Originally Posted by annettemarie
What do you do to get ready before you're actually pregnant?
Erm, honestly? It involved one very large bottle of bourbon.