Really discouraged with my birthing options - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 11-25-2014, 02:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Really discouraged with my birthing options

I live in a foreign country (in the middle of a 5 year contract) and we are unexpectedly pregnant with #3 .

The only options available in my city are a hospital delivery with an OB. In general, healthcare in this country is not good and there are only 1 or 2 hospitals where most expats who stay in country deliver (a lot of expats go home). The best hospital here has a 40% c section rate (expats often have money and insurance so are good candidates for c sections), constant fetal monitoring, and absolutely no visitors under age 12 (which aside from the fact that I hate the idea of being away from my older 2 for 2-3 days, because we are away from family and community I don't know what I do with the kids - my DH would have to be at home with them which means I'd be in the hospital by myself).

I had a natural hospital birth with DD and a birth center waterbirth with DS. I don't think I'd be so conflicted if my birth with DS wasn't so much better than my hospital birth. I know many laboring women don't care about modesty but I hated feeling so exposed in the hospital, and I loved how in the birthing tub I could wear a bathing suit top and feel "covered" - it felt so much more dignified to me (not to mention the pain was so much more bearable in the water) and when I visited the hospital here and imagined delivering on the table exposed under bright lights as a very conspicuous foreigner it made me want to cry.

I could convince my organization to send me to a neighboring country where I could deliver in a birth center waterbirth, or possibly even to the US, but that would mean 2-3 months minimum away from home, pulling my older two out of school, being away from our current community, not being with DH the whole time (he wouldn't be able to get enough leave to be with us for the whole 2-3 months), etc. So I'm trying to decide if the 24-48 hours of a better labor and delivery is worth the extra hassle of being away from home for so long (I'm the kind of person who enjoys traveling to a degree but I don't like staying away from home for a long time)

There are no midwives I can find here who will do a home delivery because electricity is not consistent (though we have battery inverters so wouldn't be an issue in our house), and there is no good emergency back up. Traffic is terrible and people don't always make way for ambulances so the trip to the hospital could take a while (any where from 10 mins to an hour plus), and if I arrive at the hospital on a Sunday or in the middle of the night they may not have full staffing and may not be able to attend to me immediately.

I do know of a midwife from a neighboring country who is open to the idea of coming to do a home water delivery but not sure how I feel about a homebirth in this context. (we know the midwife well and we really trust her skills). I don't think I would be able to tell my family I am planning a homebirth because they are already so worried about me delivering here and would be worried about me having a homebirth even in the US. I don't like the idea of hiding this fact from my family until after the baby is born but I don't think I would ever be able to convince them it's a good choice and will cause my mother especially so much anxiety.

Feeling discouraged about my options is putting a dark cloud over this whole pregnancy. I'm 20 weeks and having trouble feeling excited because I am just stressed about how this baby will enter the world. My expat friends who have delivered in the hospital here think I'm making too big a deal of it and the hospital here is just fine, but I felt so unsettled when I visited last week and I left the hospital visit in tears.

Loving wife to DH and
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#2 of 7 Old 11-25-2014, 04:26 PM
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I'm so sorry your only option in-country is so bad You have to do what's best for you and your family...but if it was me I would probably go to the neighboring country or back to the U.S. to deliver. It's going to be so much stress to basically know that your delivery experience is not going to be positive. I think you have to weigh whether the stress of delivering where you are is going to be worse than the stress of relocating for the birth. If it is then I think you have your answer. And the birth is not the only thing to consider, sometimes the postpartum care in high-intervention hospitals can be even worse especially if they're behind the times on rooming in and breastfeeding support, so you might want to look into that aspect as well. Big hugs and wishing you all the best whatever you decide.
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#3 of 7 Old 11-26-2014, 07:05 AM
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What a tough position to be in. I think if it were me, I might first try to see if there is a renegade OB somewhere who actually supports natural birth and could advocate for you in the hospital...if getting a supportive hospital team isn't possible then I'd most definitely be requesting leave to go to a neighboring country or the U.S.

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#4 of 7 Old 11-26-2014, 07:58 AM
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I'm sorry. I had the same concerns when I was pregnant with DS3. We live in rural France, so hardly the same situation as yours, but the system here is soooo old fashioned and patriarchal, and natural birth in my area is practically unheard of.
I ended up having an unassisted birth with him, and telling the hospital that it was "just too quick" which worked out fine, but honestly, I would rather have had a homebirth midwife.
Can you arrange a meeting with the midwife from over the border, to discuss all your concerns about safety, what would happen if you needed to be transported, etc? At least that might help you to make a decision.
It is a sucky situation. Please keep up posted on what you decide!

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#5 of 7 Old 11-26-2014, 08:05 AM
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I wonder about the homebirth option you mentioned. If your family wasn't an issue, would that be your preference? If so, then I think your anxiety outweighs that of your family. Your mom will worry about you no matter what. If the opportunity to have a home birth calms your worries, then that seems most important.

The only thing that would prevent me from choosing that option is the traffic you mentioned. I would want to be sure that in the event of an emergency transport, I could get to the hospital quickly. But that's just one of many things you're weighing, do I don't know how high it is on your priority list.

The last thing I can think of is that if you do choose to give birth in the hospital, be sure to have a doula or strong female companion there with you. I think that could really help with the feeling of exposure you're talking about. She doesn't need to be trained if there is nothing like that where you are. Just someone you trust who will hold your hand and look out for you, who will be strong and also let you feel your feelings. I think that could make a world of difference.

I hope you find an option that you're comfortable with. This sounds like such a hard decision.
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#6 of 7 Old 11-26-2014, 11:24 AM
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Ugh that is tough. I too live in rural France like babymonster and for my first baby my only options were UC or hospital. I decided to go to the hospital but I really really didn't want to be there. It ended badly and I regret having gone there so much.

My second I had at home which was wonderful. Our house is about 20 minutes from the hospital and I had the option of having an ambulance outside incase, which I didnt do but could you do something like that? If I were you I would talk to that midwife and I would make a decision based on me and my baby and no one else, it is so important that you are where you need to be.
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#7 of 7 Old 11-28-2014, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for all the suggestions and support.

I'm going to look more into my options next week - I want to call the homebirth midwife and ask a few more questions and see if the timing will really work out for her to come. I am also making a trip to the embassy next week to find out how long it will take to get the baby a passport - I was thinking if I drive instead of fly, I could wait til 38 weeks (#1 was 41 weeks and #2 was 40 weeks so I don't anticipate this one will come very early). It's a 14 hour drive but we would do it in 2-3 days and take it slow. Then if we can expedite the passport, we may not have to be away from home for as long as I originally thought.

I also heard about another hospital in country that is very good but might be a little less strict with policies which i will visit next week - the one I visited is known as the "best" hospital so they are very medicalized. They only allow one person with me which wouldn't allow me a doula, but there is a belgium midwife who is looking into getting delivery rights at the hospital - if that works out I would still need an OB but the midwife would be able to be with me so at least there would be someone besides DH who could advocate for me.

TBH, the postpartum is one of my biggest concerns - we don't do vit K and don't want any vaccines at birth - here they give them the LIVE virus oral polio vaccine at birth!! And there isn't even any polio in the country. It's the kind of culture where women have few rights and do whatever the doctors tell them and I'm concerned they would just take my baby and give them the vaccines anyway because they'll just think I'm crazy.

My family is a big concern about a homebirth - the traffic is another concern. I'm also concerned that practically no midwives support a homebirth here so it makes me wonder if it would be really risky.

I'm grateful DH is supportive of any option, though he's not thrilled with the idea of going to the US and I'm not either because we would have to fly by 32 weeks which would mean a lot of time in the US and he wouldn't be able to get enough leave to stay with us, so I would have to don the 24 hours of travel with the older 2 kids by myself at 32 weeks.

I'll update when I have more info...

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