Any unassisted homebirthers??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 01-16-2003, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How did you do it?
How did you prepare? ie if something went wrong??? midwife back up???
where you scared?
How did family react???? (or was it not an issue)

I have been thinking about it for baby #4 (not yet pg!!) I haven't even talked with dh about it, I think he would be really freaked out. Any ideas on how to approach this?

THANKS FOR THE INFO!

HEATHER H

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#2 of 25 Old 01-17-2003, 03:10 PM
 
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I will eventually reply more in depth to your questions, but for now I just want to mention that there have been several threads on the subject in the past here, and you can do a search to find them.
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#3 of 25 Old 01-17-2003, 08:50 PM
 
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Heather,

I am planning my first Unassisted/Free birth next month and can't wait to tell you all about it once it happens. I too considered and rejected the idea initially because of some of the same fears. When I finally accepted the possibility I realized what a great fit it was for me and now can't imagine making any other decision.

For me, much of the decision revolves around the deep need I have for being able to birth completely alone/instinctively. Even tho my midwife (with DS) was very, very hands off...I realized that her just being present cluttered the picture I need for an intuitive birth. Everytime I imagined the birth, I planned go really fast or delay calling the midwife unless there was an emergency. I now realize that I would have totally wasted my money and my midwives time even I had retained her for this birth. If there are complications, I will just go to the hospital.

Obviously, if you do go unassisted you have to take responsibility to educate yourself as to the basic warning signs of potential complications. But almost all birth complications have many signs well in advance that will alert you that perhaps you need additional input. Also, when you let go of giving over the "safety" of your child to another caregiver (be it Dr or midwife) you will become much more in tune to the well-being of your child. I have heard mothers relate how they just "felt" something was wrong even though there was absolutely no outward sign of a problem and get the needed help for their child in a very timely manner when birthing unassisted. But even this is pretty rare because when there is no interference to the natural cycle...our bodies do a pretty great job and are the best doctors or midwives we could ever encounter!

So, do your research...but also think long and hard about the philosophical reasons why this could be "better" and healthier for you and your future child. I found the philosophical reasons to be even more compelling than the scientific reasons.

I chose not to tell a number of people that I will be birthing unassisted because I just don't want their negative energy/worrying out there in the universe directed and me and my child. I know they mean well, and I would be happy to debate my decision with them...but why put my energy there? I told a few members of my close freinds and family who I knew would "get it" and decided I will tell alll the other after the fact. Everyone just assumes you have a midwife so ...you don't really even have to talk about it. When asked how things are going, I just relate knowledgable information..."Things seem right on track. Baby seems really healthy and active, the baby's positions seems really good" and people just seem to think your midwife figured all that out (ha ha..like she'd know better than me).
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#4 of 25 Old 01-18-2003, 12:59 AM
 
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Hi,

I just had my first UC 10 days ago; it was awsome. He was my third baby. I had me and dh and two close friends to get cool cloths for dh to hand to me, etc. Let me know if you would like to read my birth story.

Jenni

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#5 of 25 Old 01-18-2003, 05:00 AM
 
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My third child was born unassisted, by choice. My first two births were attended by homebirth midwives; the first was badly over-managed, and the second was attended by a midwife who was very hands-off (I requested no timing of contractions, no dilation checks, and no coaching) and the experience was healing and empowering. It was then that I realized that I could, and (for many reasons) prefered to do it alone.

It was really pretty straight-forward. The pregnancy was mostly unassisted; I did my own health care and towards the end I had a midwife determine the position of the baby. I also acquired a fetascope and learned how to use it. The labor itself was fully unassisted.

I do know quite a bit about birth, as I have been doing self-study and research for the past four years or so, so I was confident that I would be able to recognize potential problems, but also confident that it was highly unlikely (given my specific situation) that any would occur, especially if my labor was allowed to progress completely unhindered. I did have two midwives who offered support on my terms, and it was definitely comforting to know that I had that option, but once the labor started I did not feel the need for it. Our back-up plan for emergency care was simply to go the hospital, just as we would in any other sort of emergency situation.

I did feel small twinges of fear at times, but each time I would examine myself and realize that there wasn't a valid source for it, and I would smile at myself and it would go away. Once the labor started I did not once feel afraid or doubtful of my decision -- my instincts took over and carried me.

I was a little afraid of well-meaning people interfering, and also, like chiromom, just didn't want to expend the energy on trying to explain myself. So before the birth, I only told people that I knew would understand or respect the choice. My mom, my brother, my mother-in-law, and my best friend. Everyone else just assumed that a midwife would be there, and if they happened to ask pointed questions I would just change the subject (I'm pretty good at that. )

My husband was initially a little weirded out by the idea, but the more I shared with him my feelings and thoughts the more he felt comfortable with it. Reading to him from books and watching videos helped as well.
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#6 of 25 Old 01-18-2003, 03:52 PM
 
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I would love, love, love to have a UC! But I'm not even pg and don't know if I want to be.

My one birth was in the hospital, much to my frustration. I had been interested in UC pretty much my whole life, even when I was sure I was not going to have kids, probably because I was born by UC and for a good many years I thought that's just how babies were born.

I had brought up UC during my pg but the whole idea made dh very nervous. Because of my "complicated" hospital delivery, I don't think he'd be comfortable with it at all.

I would love to just do it anyway, if there were to be a next time, just so he could see how it was the way to go, but I don't think it's a good idea to have someone at a birth who is nervous and thinking it probably will just end up in the hospital anyway. He might not even be comfortable with any kind of homebirth at all, but maybe a midwife (or even a birth center) is a reasonable compromise.

So no, I haven't had a UC, and perhaps never will, but I truly think that's the way to go. I was born after a 3-hour, uncomplicated labor, and I didn't cry, just looked around. (Today's my birthday, so just reminiscing...I thank my parents in my head daily for my peaceful birth.)

Laura Shanley has written a book about UC. I think she is even on these boards. She also has a website, www.unassistedchildbirth.com
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#7 of 25 Old 01-18-2003, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Jenni,


I would LOVE to hear your birth story!

I love a great birth story.

Of my three kids the first two where in a birth center. And the third was at home with a midwife. All real great experiences. I think having a UC would be beautiful and I now have a mission to talk DH into it!


HEATHERH

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#8 of 25 Old 01-18-2003, 11:50 PM
 
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My daughter's birth (my first child) was an unplanned unassited birth. It was amazing. My son's was the almost complete opposite , a pitocin induced hosp birth w/no pain meds (a very bad experience , exept for the end result). I think I went the route with my son for a couple of reasons first my insurance wouldn't pay for a homebirth with a midwife (so I thought I had no other choice) and secondly I wasn't ready to trust in my ability to birth alone on purpose.

OUR DAUGHTERS ARE PROTECTED SHOULDN'T OUR SONS BE TOO! :
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#9 of 25 Old 01-19-2003, 09:51 PM
 
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Jonathan's birth

I had been having painless braxton hicks for a few weeks, so I didn't pay much attention to the ones I was having Monday night, beginning around 8 or so. I watched some television after I had put the girls to bed, while Brian,(dh) worked on business in the bedroom . Near 10 or so I went to the bathroom and noticed some bloody show. I was suprised...I wondered if tonight I would have the baby or if it would still be a few more days...weeks, etc. I had a feeling though..so I went and woke Brian, (who wasn't too thrilled to have been woke up). The "braxton hicks" were more regular..but I wasn't sure if I was in labor because it was just a minor tightning..no pain. Brian seemed really tired so I asked if maybe I should phone some of my friends from church so that if I was in labor they could help keep me company. (he has rhuematoid arthrits..he has trouble moving sometimes and has extreme fatigue), Brian replied.."don't you think it is a little late?" It was 11 pm. I told him that I didn't think that they would mind. So...still not knowing if I was in labor I called my friend Mika and asked if she and Jill would like to come..but that I wasn't sure this was labor, and that if they didn't want to make the trip not knowing for sure that was okay. She said she would come and asked if Liz could come if Jill was unable to make it; I said okay. I hung up the phone and turned on the television. Within minutes I began feeling crampy..like menstral cramps. I walked around and I had Brian rub my back while I breathed through them. They were very short and a few minutes apart. I went to the bathroom again and noticed more bloody show. The cramps were definately becoming contractions..though I was suprised to feel them only low in my abdomen and lower back. (I had expected my whole abdomen, back, down my legs, etc.). I ran a hot bath and sprayed hot water on my abdomen during the contractions and Brian rubbed my lower back. They were definately intense. I got out of the bathtub to go to the bathroom. I put some cool cloths on my abdomen and was moaning through some contractions and I saw Liz. (Mika was still in the living room). At that point it was only about an hour since I had spoken with Mika on the phone, (when I wasn't sure that I was in labor), . so it was.a little after midnight and I couldn't really talk to them. I had Brian help me through the contractions on the toilet and asked Liz/Mika to please wet some cloths with cool water. They did that while Brian rubbed my back and held me through contractions. I was very vocal..it was pretty intense feeling and I wasn't sure how much further I had to go. I was feeling hot and shaky and the contractions seemed close together though not very long. I went and lay on my side in the bed..the pain was so intense and I felt like I just needed to lie down to try to collect myself. Brian didn't think that I should get into the bed but I told him I needed it for a bit. I asked Mika/Liz to go get ice from the freezer to help with the cool cloths and they did that. They stood by the door and handed the cloths to Brian and I put them where I needed them. Brian was rubbing my back and I asked Mika if she would just hold my hand through some contractions. So..she did. Other than me moaning/vocalizing/etc. it was pretty quiet in the room and then I asked what time it was. It was near 1 a.m. I said okay and that I needed to go to the bathroom, (pee). Mika said.."yeah you probably should empty your bladder". So..I got on the toilet and moaned through some contractions..and went pee/poo, etc. I was soooo unhappy and felt hot, shaky, and like crying. I didn't feel any pressure like I would have to push anytime soon and my water hadn't broke yet. I was sure that I had hours to go..and I felt like such a failure at labor because I knew that I was vocalizing pretty loudly. I reached down and felt for the bag of waters. It was bulging and intact. I asked out loud to anyone who would care to hear me if I should break it. (Though I think that I was trying to figure out whether or not I should...I was rather unsure about it). I felt the bag get tighter during a contraction and before I knew what was happening..I had broke the bag. Gush! All of a sudden I felt a head on my hand. That got my attention. I am sure that I looked like a deer caught in a pair of headlights. I was trying to keep the head from coming out too fast; I felt like Iwas going to tear up through my urethra. I yelled, "counter pressure!!" Brian thought that I meant on my back..but I wanted him to help me hold the head from blasting out. So...Brian is behind me. I am sitting on the toilet with my hand holding a head back as best as I can..while I am also pooing. (I am so thankful that I was on the toilet). Anyways, I started trying to tell him no, that wasn't where I wanted him but I couldn't say anything because my leg was shaking and I was focused on the head. I heard someone say, "honey, he is going to fall in the toilet.." or something like that. Then it was really blurry. I remember seeing Liz putting on gloves and Brian holding/pulling me up to a standing slant sort of squat over the toilet and then I felt the baby just come out of me and I heard a gush and a loud cry/crys. And before I could see straight someoene had handed me the baby. I had my hands on him..but I dropped him as he blasted out. He blasted into Liz...along with a lot of amniotic fluid. It was a good thing that she was where she was because although Brian and I had hands on the kid we didn't have a good grip and he would have went flying into the wall or floor. I was helped into bed carrying the baby. I just stared at him. He had tons on black hair and looked healthy. (We found out the next day that he was 9 lbs. 3oz. and 21 and 1/8 in. long., 15 in. head). Mika and Liz cleaned up so that Brian and I could focus on the baby and each other, and we talked a bit and then they left. It is still such a blur in my mind. I am so thankful to have had this baby at home. I wasn't hooked up to any machines or talked into any postions, confined to bed, etc. Everything was pretty much on my terms and everyone was respectful of what I asked and wanted. As I continue to process my feelings about this birth I don't think that I was prepared for several things. I had a lot of fear (of labor pain)..and I think that made the actual discomfort worse than it was. I was trying to intellectualize where I thought I should be (progress wise in labor) and I became a bit discouraged when I thought that I wasn't that far along..when I was actually almost done. I also did a lot of vocalizing and I felt really weak about that at first. I had these visions of a nice, quiet, peaceful homebirth..and it was actually a really wild, intense ride. I also found that I am glad that I had some friends there..and I was really unsure about who if anyone I wanted at the birth the whole pregnancy; I had a lot of conflicting feelings about that..but when the time came I called a few friends and they came and were really great at the birth. They didn't interfere at all and just did what we asked. (but otherwise just sat quietly). Our first homebirth really has made me want to have any other babies at home the same way. I also think that it bonded me and my husband closer. Even though we had 2 other people there..they let me and him be together and he helped me through the tough contractions. He told me after the birth that he felt closer to me than he had in a long time...and that meant a lot. So..anyways, that is what I remember about the birth thus far. I am still pretty tired from doing night duty with a newborn..so if anyone has any questions or comments feel free to email me to discuss them.

Thanks for reading,

Jenni '

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#10 of 25 Old 01-19-2003, 10:20 PM
 
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Oh Jenni,
What a fantastic story - and yes you are VERY BRAVE.....

I hope that when my time comes I will be just as brave - even with a MW. We're still TTC#3 - my husband is confident that his swimmers made it - and we're only 1dpo.

CONGRATULATIONS....to you and your family AND your very brave DH!!
Chelly
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#11 of 25 Old 01-20-2003, 12:42 AM
 
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Good Luck TTC #3; Gee whiz...I remember when I was wanting to be pregnant with #3..and now he is here! It will happen!!

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#12 of 25 Old 01-21-2003, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!! FOR THE BEAUTIFUL STORY!


It sounds so exciting. When you always have someone there to let you know what is going on, it must have been a little scary to go it alone. I am still working on my DH! But so far he is still a "No GO!"




HEATHERH

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#13 of 25 Old 01-22-2003, 01:30 AM
 
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Hello everyone! What a great thread. We are currently ttc #4 and will be having an unassisted homebirth. This has been fun to read. For all of you who have already had an unassisted birth- How did you overcome the fear of what if's> I know in my head that it is ridiculous and that everything will be fine. However, the magnitude of responsibility we are taking on frightens me a wee bit. When a baby dies in the hospital no one points fingers but if it is unassisted or with a midwife it is all your fault. Would love book suggestions or words of wisdom.
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#14 of 25 Old 01-22-2003, 09:40 PM
 
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Hi everyone!
As some probably know by now I am a "UC'er" - I gave birth to my son this past November all on my own in my own bedroom, on my own bed
I about went through almost everything to get to my solo UC. Two bad hospital births, one so bad my son was in critical condition before he was 2 days old. Opposition from every family member I had. Opposition from Dr's (when I was preg w/ my second)Had to have long long talks with a fearful dh. And yes there was all the garbage in my own head too. First had to clean it out, then had to think long and hard if/why/how I could do it. I had to face my fear of death, I had to realize that birthing alone like I wanted meant taking full responsibilty for anything that may happen (inluding death When I faced fear head on, it began to dissipate. Confidence was the key word for me while I was pregnant. Sure the what if's and fears would try to knock at the door, but just like blueviolet said
Quote:
would examine myself and realize that there wasn't a valid source for it, and I would smile at myself and it would go away.
And I too, once in labor , just let my ego jump ship (yet I was the most aware still out of any of my births) and let my body guide the way. 8-10 hours later I had my baby in my arms

I'll edit to add later tonight when I have more time
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#15 of 25 Old 01-22-2003, 11:37 PM
 
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I had my first unassisted birth 5 weeks ago. I can't wait to do it again. It is an incredibly powerful experience. My first was born at home with a very hands off midwife. But, when I look back there were things I wish I hadn't allowed. This time it was all me, no pressure from anyone.
Megan
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#16 of 25 Old 01-26-2003, 02:38 PM
 
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hi, we had our first freebirth almost 2 years ago. Our dd was a very assisted HB and ds was our second--freebirthl/lotusbirth.

One word of wisdom that I found was that you do *not* need to be completely confident from the get go. In fact, I would say I was scared ****-less every step of the way (I am a worrywart). HOwever, I slowly commited myself to this process as the pregnancy progressed. And the process itself totally changed me. It was a walk of faith--faith in myself, body and family.

LOUISE--what I would say is to keep yourself surrounded completely by supportive stuff and that said, I HIGHLY recommend Jeannine Parvati Baker's site...www.freestone.org
She helped me immensely through this process which actually started when preg w/dd and dh and I read an article by her that set off our "truth bells"...however *I* was not prepared at that point to do it (dh was!). I also worked a lot w/affirmations as doing this helped me figure out what I was *really* scared of.

Another aside, yes, it is an IMMENSE responsibility to birth this was but by having someone attend your birth, you are only subduing this responsibility....meaning you are ALWAYS responsible for what happens at your birth no matter what, KWIM? There is just more of an illusion that you are sharing this responsibility or load w/others. Remember that there are risks to birthing *with* someone there as well. I personally felt taht I wanted to be able to only hear myself/body/baby as much as possible and I just knew if someone was there, I coudn't do this. Yes, there may be strengths to birthing with someone there but there are also strengths to birthing with only yourself to guide your steps, KWIM?
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#17 of 25 Old 01-26-2003, 02:44 PM
 
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My homebirth was NOT what I planned. I was supposed to have my midwife present....I don't want to go into details unless someone asks...but my DH delivered our baby...due to the midwife's error..to say the least....
I would encourage anyone having a homebirth to go ahead, but ask the midwife a thousand questions to be assured she is decent...
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#18 of 25 Old 01-27-2003, 01:34 PM
 
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hi, we are planning an unassisted homebirth for this baby, coming early june. did you guys tell people you weren't having someone present for the birth, or just lead them to believe there was going to be a midwife? mil keeps saying we need to hurry to find a midwife, and i don't care if she knows we don't plan on using one, but i really don't want the all of the worrying and negativity she would give if she knew. she lives halfway across the country, so she really wouldn't know if we kept it from certain people. for our first we had a midwife at a birth center and we didn't feel like it was our birth. i am confident we can do it, we are starting to research more about it so i know we'll be ready when the time comes. it's just that everyone else is so wrapped up in what doctors say so i know they would be afraid for us. i'm really excited, i can't think of anything more empowering!!!
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#19 of 25 Old 01-27-2003, 01:53 PM
 
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When asked questions by people I am not ready to tell I either make a vague statement like, "yep, we are all set. Everything looks great" which implies to others that you have seen an "expert' or I just lie. "The midwife says everything is fine" Hey, I'm the *midwife* here and I do say everything is fine. So, there!
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#20 of 25 Old 01-27-2003, 04:41 PM
 
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No, we really planned on having a midwife, but dinner with her boyfriend was more important than sticking around for me to have the baby. She was REALLY slow getting back to my house when I told her to hurry up....several calls later, and after directing my dh on the phone, which he dropped and almost hung up on her, our daughter came into the world in daddy's hands...Because of all the loopholes and because we cannot afford it, there will be no suing her....if I would have known how easy it would be, we could have saved the money we borrowed to have a "midwife assisted" homebirth,,,and I got NO refund!!
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#21 of 25 Old 01-27-2003, 08:13 PM
 
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Let me tell ya I just had my husband/wife assisted homebirth on the 14th and it was the some of the most beautiful moments in my whole entire life. I am changed! I posted my birth story on this board today....go have a read. I just joined today as well.

I had all these fears and worries. But after battling for the birth I wanted and just reading and talking to women who had done it I got to the point where I knew I could. They all had such great births...and everyone I knew who used the hospital had a horrid painful...long...drawnout medicated with baby complications birth. We were so lucky with our first baby Eli. God was so watching out for us. I had as good a birth I could have at that time in my life in a hospital. It was unmedicated. I was stuck in a bed though with wires and monitors all over me. Couldn't drink or eat or move! Was gotten on to when I would move. I had to not vocalize so they the docs and nurses would think I was okay. You have to be silent and act perfect so they don't think you are in pain and in need of their drugs.

But I did it. Thank God! And my sweet hubby!

Remy's birth was so simple. I woke up...water broke....I hurt for hours....in and out of the tub...did what I wanted...just got through the contractions...and then his wee wittle head was bulging into my hands! And I was having my baby!

There was so much less blood and it was so unmessy! In the hospital it looked as if someone was cut to death there was so much blood.

It was just perfect and simple.

Birth works when we leave it alone. I just let go and let my body work.

I used two different midwife's for prenatal care from about month 5 and on. But I went in monthly. They knew I was going unassisted. It didnt start out that way...but that is where we were to end up and I am so glad it did.

You are going to have fears....but they go away when you are in labor...you become the mama bear who must do what she must to birth her baby.

I will offer any of my own journey...just ask. There is much to tell. But this is a book now.

And just let family think you have a midwife! We told much of our family. But have kept it from friends here where we live. Like church. Didn't want to have to explain ourselves. LOL.

Hugs...and I can't wait to see how you grow and learn....you can do this!
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#22 of 25 Old 01-28-2003, 03:06 AM
 
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we evaded the question mostly w/my mom who we KNEW would be terribly worried about it as long as we could but she caught on fairly early and then we didn't lie. We never lied to anyone about it, and were fairly open about it w/everyone except my mom. Everyone else was really supportive! It was wonderful though I did feel really bad about how worried my mom was. And actually w/others (meaning friends, sister, etc) I was extremely open and discussed many concerns etc w/them. Many acquaintances were very weirded out by it, and said so, but it was fun to explain to them why we were doing it.
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#23 of 25 Old 01-28-2003, 11:57 AM
 
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Hey, it's your right to birth the way you want. More power to you.
What do they think people did before doctors? My mom was really freaked out about me having a midwife-she must have had a premonition or something...but just because I had a bad experience, and totally not the birth I wanted, I still think it is a woman's right to make her birth exactly as she wants it to be.
I had a question, though...where did you get a cord clamp, and what happens if you tear? Will dh sew you?
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#24 of 25 Old 01-28-2003, 02:57 PM
 
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Some UCers use cord clamps, others just tie off the cord with something like shoelaces (cheaper and more comfortable for baby.)

The nature of planned UC is such that deep tearing is very unlikely. Tearing usually occurs because a woman is inhibited, afraid, compromised by interventions and drugs, being asked to push before her body is ready, or in the wrong position (left to her own devices, she will instinctively find the right position.) Small tears do not need stitching any more than any small cut to the body does. Some UCers have midwives as back up; I would have called a midwife friend in the event of a non-emergency injury that called for skilled care of some kind. Others would just go see a doctor, I suppose.

Solmama, we didn't tell anyone who we thought would interfere in any way, including worrying at us. The few times that strangers asked specifically whether we were having a midwife, I would say, "we have a midwife for back-up" and let them chew on that. If I had enough time, I would go into more detail. I've only had one stranger react negatively; he said it was "out of his league" and walked away! Usually people ask, "aren't you scared that something will go wrong?" But surprisingly they are usually just curious, not hostile.
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#25 of 25 Old 01-28-2003, 04:25 PM
 
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Well we purchased all of our birth supplies online....the cord clamps and such.

I was swollen down there...and DH hasn't found a tear or anything. The swelling is gone and I don't hurt down there. I just have the butt pain from his big old head...and don't feel totally normal down there at all yet. But I have even heard of women tearing to a second degree and just staying in bed with their legs together so they can heal.

I have used a peri bottle with warm water and Bentadine to spray myself with everytime I use the potty! I haven't had an infection and only used an ice pack once after birth. The trama down there was so much less then it was with Eli where I was flat on my back with my legs in stirrups in the hospital. I tore to a 2 and then they cut me to a 4...hole to hole. mmmmm...and I had a bigger baby this time around! I think that speaks for itself.
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