unassisted homebirth - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-26-2001, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's good to be back isn't it!!!

I know we will never be able to reproduce the old boards--nor should we try--but there was a very informative thread on unassisted homebirth before and I was hoping we could start another. Unfortunately I was one of the ones reading the thread because I wanted to know more not one of the ones with the background, so is there anybody out there with good supportive info. on unassisted home birth??? We are specifically looking for resources for preparation.

Love to all, C
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Old 11-26-2001, 06:06 PM
 
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Are you talking about supplies to purchase or are you needing "instructions" on what to do in cerain situations?
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Old 11-26-2001, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm looking for anything helpful at this point. Although I think following my own body's wisdom will be most helpful, I am curious to read more about different positions and their benefits, how to handle certain situations, and suggestions about what supplies we might need. We are planning on a home birth so we'll be getting a tub of some sort but I'm not set on an actual birthing tub--anything that holds water and me will do.
I've got 2 books so far:
Unassisted Homebirth by L. Griesemer--very philosophical about the benefits but not very practical
Homebirth by Shelia Kitzinger--more practical but advocates having medical personnel there in all cases.
just looking for suggestions--
C.
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Old 11-27-2001, 03:15 AM
 
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Hi Violet,

Sounds like you have the major books on the subject. From what I understand they are real pioneers. These a few websites that I found good information about unassisted homebirths. (FYI, I'm going to be a 1st time mom and planning an assisted homebirth, but have done some research on the unassisted subject.)

Born Free website. This is full of information, support and inspiration.
http://unassistedchildbirth.com/

Mango Mama's website. She's a young mother of three. Very personal site. http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/W...924/index.html

Best Fed website. Here is a way to find the unassited homebirth community.
http://www.bestfed.com/childbirth/freebirth.htm

Hope that helps!
Claire

Spark and her four firecrackers.
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Old 11-28-2001, 12:51 AM
 
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Hi, I have looked into unassisted home birth and found a wealth of information at the bornfree web site with various links to info and supplies. Good Luck, Joyce
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Old 12-02-2001, 05:14 AM
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There is
www.birthlove.com
TOO
Enjoy and many peaceful wonderful thoughts of babies born at home to you
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Old 12-02-2001, 09:38 PM
 
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Bornfree is run by Laura Kaplan Shanley, who wrote another breakthrough book on unassisted childbirth

"Unassisted Childbirth" is the title, authored by Laura Kaplan Shanley. It is a very thorough book on the philosophy and some instructional information.

Also, "Spiritual Midwifery" by Ina May Gaskin provides more specific birth instructions.

Another book that supports unassisted is "Primal Mothering in a Modern World" by Hygeia Half Moon.

We had an assisted homebirth. However ds was born breech and this was very interesting. No problems at all.

If you find your are delivering a breech baby, it is most helpful to get into a sitting/squat position. Underwater would probably be great. If desired, your partner can support the body once born until the head is delivered. Once the body is born, you can even put your finger up to the mouth of the baby to create an air passage during the last push for the head.

It is important not to pull at all on the body of the baby in breech delivery. Stay relaxed, and prepare for a strong final push with the head. When a baby is born head first they tend to rush out after the head is delivered. Breech can be the opposite. A slow appearance of the body and a final push for the head.

I also always urge parents to have a pediatrician picked out before birth whom you are comfortable with, and will not panic over the homebirth. You do not need to tell them it is unassisted. If they ask the name of the midwife, simply decline to share her identity.

Birth defects happen regardless of how well the birth went, and if you suspect something is wrong, or even if you don't, I believe it is best for any baby to be seen in the first week by a pediatrician.

Our own homebirth baby had multiple heart defects. Something which the midwife did not detect. I began to think something was off but never guessed it was a heart problem. With the next one, I would plan to have the baby seen the same day or day after birth.

Heartmama

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 12-06-2001, 03:56 AM
 
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Right off the top of my head (not including books already mentioned): Emergency Childbirth by Gregory White. This was fantastic for my husband to read, he loves that it was short and simple and not all spiritual, LOL. Rahima Baldwin's Special Delivery I think is the best midwifery book out there, there's some good information on complications. Well, and I also love Jeannine Parvati Baker for inspiration.

Oh, and one more thing. The video A Clear Road to Birth, while not really professionally produced, shows some really beautiful unassisted births, and... there's a new one that I have just heard rave reviews about, it's about waterbirth in russia, don't remember the name but I'm pretty sure Laura Shanley has it on her site.
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Old 12-07-2001, 01:31 PM
 
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Polly's Birth Book: Obstetrics for the Home is a must read IMO. It's about 500 pages and she goes into great detail of what kind of herbs to have on hand and what to do in case things don't go as expected. She goes into detail about what to do when giving birth to a breech child. She also has a chapter about what a midwives kit should contain, as well as what a mother should have on hand. This book is what gave me the knowledge I needed to decide on an unassisted homebirth with my next child.

Here's a link to the book:

http://www.selfpublish-lds.com/selfpublish/polly.html
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Old 12-16-2001, 12:43 AM
 
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My advice... "Just do it!"

I had my daughter unassisted back in March. Short labor, no problems.

If you want a TON of info go to www.yahoogroups.com and look for the group "cbirth" (if you haven't already!). If you read on the website you can see the archives and read read read for FREE!
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Old 12-29-2001, 04:36 AM
 
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I second most of the above posts. we had second baby at home freebirth--wonderful. My dd was an assisted homebirth andv ery interventive.
my advice, create affirmations to repeat to yourself that address your personal fears. This is critical in my opinion. YOu must know yourself in order to untrain yourself from our very screwy ideas of birth in this culture.
also, I too advocate Jeannine Parvati Bakers stuff. She is the best. Her site is www.freestone.org and she has awesome empowering articles for sale there that helped immensely. ALso Hygieia Halfmoon's "I can do this" --a journal through her preg. w/ her son which was totally estatic and it shows her doubts etc. Very pertinent. and yes, just do it!! good luck
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Old 12-29-2001, 11:20 AM
 
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I had an assisted homebirth 17 months ago. The only thing that I didn't really feel comfortable with is the fact that my midwife was very calm and collected during all of our prenatal visits but when it came to the actual birth she was very highstrung and ordered my husband around quite a bit when all he wanted to do was be with me...Her behaviour didn't really make me feel threatened at the time (I was in my own world most of the time...) but afterwards and still now, I feel as though I was robbed in a way.

I had heard about unassisted childbirth while I was pregnant, but I didn't have enough time to do sufficient research to make me feel 100% comfortable with doing it myself. My Dd was lying transverse in week 36 and I went for accupunture which didn't work because she was too big. In the end I had a ECV which was horrid!

I am trying to collect as much info as possible about unassisted childbirth so I am prepared for when we decide to have another babe. The one thing I do want to as here is what to do something DOES go wrong that cannot be rectified by myseself or Dh????? I suppose its the most common question....

Oh and thanx 4 all the links....they are great
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Old 12-30-2001, 05:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Raven
The one thing I do want to as here is what to do something DOES go wrong that cannot be rectified by myseself or Dh????? I suppose its the most common question....
Yes, it's a common question, and my answer is always, "go to the hospital!" Just the same as if we were having a midwife-assisted homebirth and something went wrong. I think what people are really wanting to know when they ask that is: how do you know when something is wrong and how do you know what to do? The answer to that, of course, is a bit more complex, so I ask them to narrow it down with specific concerns I can address, otherwise it'd just be me lecturing for hours.
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Old 12-30-2001, 09:57 PM
 
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One of my favorites is the Herbal for the Childbearing Year, Susun Weed.

IMHO, women have been assisted by other women for centuries upon centuries. I've also heard of women going off in the woods by themselves to birth their babies.

I always felt grateful to have my beautiful sister-midwives for energy & love. Even if the energy is a little off, like with Raven's (and my 2nd homebirth was assisted by a cnm who liked her oxygen tank a lot ) But that's all part of humanity and the different, gentle forces I wanted to bring to my birth. I don't regret it, but I might have regretted not having those people with more experience than I

Wouldn't change a thing
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Old 12-31-2001, 05:37 AM
 
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I do realize that women have been helped by women for a very long time, and it is truly a beautiful, romantic image. But in my reality it doesn't hold. I also don't believe that a custom's longevity necessarily has anything to do with whether it is beneficial to the individual. So for me the fact that women have been attended by women in childbirth for centuries is irrelevant.

One of my (many) reasons for choosing to birth without a midwife in attendance is that I don't believe there's anyone that knows my body as well as I do, and no one who knows how to give birth better than my body does. I used to hear women say that and honestly did not understand; I mean, no one can know everything, right?, and surely there's someone who knows something I don't, especially if she's been through it many more times.

But after doing much study into midwifery practices, I now know that in fact the midwife's special knowledge is overrated, just as the obstetrician's special knowledge is overrated. There are always going to be situations in which a given individual's knowledge or energy is helpful to another, but it's mistaken to assume that attendants are intrinsically necessary to the birth process, for either physical or spiritual reasons.

In my case, in two of my births a midwife's preconceived notions about what birth should be interfered with what my birth was supposed to be. I also had felt that the midwife's energy was in itself an interference, and did not want to risk that again.
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Old 01-02-2002, 10:08 AM
 
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Well, I have been soooo brooooody of late! My husband is looking silently worried! LOL!
It all started when I was reading unassisted birth stories on www.freebirth.com It all seems SO right! Just reading these womens stories made me feel as though giving birth freely is the only humane way to bring a child into the world. I have decided that all my future babes are going to be born freely and unassisted.

I had a home birth with a midwife and until now thought that you couldn't get any gentler....its funny how even when you think you're being open minded you still fall short. Anyway, thankfully I have seen the light and I can feel the ball of passion welling up inside of me - this is the right way to birth a baby!

Women need to realise that their bodies know how to birth and that unborn babies know how to be born. It is not something the universe has placed into our hands to dictate or control...it is a sacred process that can illuminate our souls, bring us closer to God and heal our wounded egos....
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Old 01-05-2002, 03:26 AM
 
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Laura Shanley has a lot of links to other good UC sites, as well.

One of the most inspiring things to me was a videotape of several unassisted births, which is available through CBirth at yahoogroups. Some of them are also on A Clear Road to Birth.

I know the passion you are feeling. It is an amazing thing, isn't it?
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Old 01-05-2002, 05:54 AM
 
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re: if something goes wrong....yes, you can go to the hospital but the real crux of freebirth is that you accept that something can go wrong and you are taking responsibility for it. I believe that you must truly confront death to birth freely....they are too interlinked. In fact, w/my freebirth, that was the toughest part as I had a 2.5 yr. old who I felt I could'nt leave or die on. Yet, that can happen any second, any day. NOt to sound morbid, yet this it the truth.
Again, i cannot stress enough that you must be willing (scary as it may be) taht you are the ones responsible. And this is what also makes the journey so strengthening for you, your family relationships, etc. You are trusting yourself and your family. no one else to interfere w/their paranoia. scary but the not as glamourous side of birthing. and possibly the most rewarding parts
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Old 01-05-2002, 05:29 PM
 
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And babies die in spite of medical monitoring and intervention, and sometimes because of it. Who is responsible for the death then? Is it those birth attendants you put your trust in? Or is it at base still you for putting your trust in them in the first place? This is a hard issue to come to terms with, the fact that we are always ultimately responsible for the outcome, because we are the only ones with the ultimate power to make these choices for ourselves and our babies.

The scary thing about freebirth is that there is no fooling yourself about who's responsible. It is harder for many women to consider freebirth than it is to go through unnecessary surgery, separation from their baby, and mutilation of their bodies. I understand that fear, it can be overwhelming (and that in itself is a risk factor), and there is no judgement from me. Just sadness for women who don't feel able to avoid it, and find themselves and their babies harmed in the process.
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Old 01-05-2002, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sweetwater--you said it so well
"It is harder for many women to consider freebirth than it is to go through unnecessary surgery, separation from their baby, and mutilation of their bodies. " That's why we are choosing a freebirth (i like the way that sounds--freedom to birth how we feel safe and secure and happy--at home). The thought of a c-section, separation from the baby, laboring in a hospital bed, arguing with drs and nurses about decisions I've already made while I should be busy with birth, the odacity of somebody else telling me when to push--it's all too much. That is what frightens me and not even just for the health risks associated with birthing in a hospital, but because I know I would absolutely hate every minute of giving birth in the hospital and I'd be furious with the staff and they would give me a hard time about being difficult and that is not the state of mind I wish to be in when I meet my child for the first time.
It's hard to explain to those who trust their drs explicitly (like my mother) but I don't want an IV in my arm (or whatever they want) "just in case"--that doesn't reassure me, I think it's wrong, and it would be wrong of me to go along with my dr's requests just to appease him when I DISAGREE. I should not have to compromise on what I believe is best for me and the baby just to please someone in scrubs--that is where I would be relinquishing responsibility and that does not absolve me of the ultimate responsibility for my baby. Should something happen and the dr is there it is still my fault for choosing that dr to be there--perhaps another "expert" would have been better or perhaps NO expert would have been best. And in my heart I know that my best odds are with NO expert in the room.
V.
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Old 01-06-2002, 04:21 AM
 
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Wow ladies, I feel like I've come home. What beautiful life affirming posts you all have written! I love being surrounded by your intelligence and energy. I just finished reading Lynn Griesemer's "Unassisted Homebirth" and found it very informative. K'sMami, I've still got your book suggestion printed out and one of these days I will order it.
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Old 01-06-2002, 11:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by violet
or perhaps NO expert would have been best.
After the birth I called my midwife (who was in complete support of my desire to birth without her help) and described the umbilical cord to her, because I thought it looked odd. She said that I was describing something called a velamentous insertion ("where the vessels insert and separate while still in the membranes and not on the placental disk"); this can be very dangerous because the umbilical cord can detach before the baby is born, causing hemorrhage and probable death to the baby unless the birth is imminent or there is time for a cesarean section.

Ah, my midwife said, it is a good thing you didn't have someone trying to hurry your labor up! The point being that typical labor management for a long labor like mine, i.e., inducing or augmenting the labor, (not to mention obstetrical idiocies such as forced pushing in the lithotomy position,) could have put enough extra stress on my body for the umbilical cord to detach from the placenta.

A medical professional, of course, would probably point to this type of "complication" as the very reason women should give birth in hospitals. Yet, when so many women's bodies are unnaturally stressed with pitocin, drugs, forced pushing, etc., how often is that very "expert" labor management the cause of stillbirth or emergency c-section?

As it was, my body knew just what to do (take it very slow and easy,) allowing the baby's passage to be as gentle as possible. The only force applied to the baby, or to my uterus, was that of my uterine muscles themselves. And they moved my baby out so gently that I didn't even feel the pain of my uterus contracting in the last hour of labor.

How different would it have been after 24 hours, when the contractions were still several minutes apart, if I had been given castor oil, or pitocin; if I had been stressed out by bright lights, people coming in and out, painful vaginal exams, ultimatums ("if your labor doesn't progress soon, we'll have to go to the hospital"); if my body had been stressed by being made to labor in an unnatural position that cut off blood flow to the placenta, or by forced pushing; if it was stressed enough for labor to stall, necessitating the dangerous vacuum extractor or forceps... etc., etc., etc.? (And how thankful would I have been, if I didn't know any better, when after all that my baby went into distress and a c-sec saved her?)

It seems to me that the odds, in my case, were in favor of homebirth unattended by "experts". Because the experts are the only ones who are going to demand that an otherwise normal process be manipulated in such potentially dangerous ways.

Don't get me wrong; I know that medicine saves lives. It saved my husband's, actually, and I'm grateful. But there is no doctor who is going to be able to deny that medical practitioners are at fault for an appalling number of illnesses and complications and deaths every year. And while each will deny that their personal methods are exempt from criticism, clinical studies show differently, condemning the use of routine interventions. They are not practicing, most of them, in a scientific manner. And so it seems to me a little disingenious that they should argue that it is too dangerous to give birth without an "expert" to call the shots.
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Old 01-07-2002, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sweetwater, I'm printing your story and keeping it with my 'positive affirmation' kit. Your birth situation is exactly why I feel so strongly about birthing at home without the hinderance of an expert and their interventions. Cause and effect relationships are the most difficult to prove but I know in my heart that odds are the complications that "necessitate" intervention are generally induced by the hospital/expert themselves. I will read your story again and again--Thank you
V
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Old 01-09-2002, 06:01 PM
 
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Sweetwater, I am touched by your story. I too get very(!!!!!) angry when I think about how self righteous and down right selfish doctors can be!

In her book Gentle Birth Choices Barbara Harper says it nicely...

"Proponents of gentle birth are reevaluating the standard obstetrical practies of hospital births. Each one of the practices has been studied and researched. The stacks of data accumulate, and when they are all read and evaluated, they all say the same things. These findings, coupled with a greater understanding of birth, indicate that the prevailing practices and beliefs about childbirth are based on false, outmoded, or unverified assumptions. The unnecessary procedures and outdated attitudes concerning women and childbirth rob a woman, her baby, and her family of the emotional and spiritual opportunities inherent in life's most creative and powerful experience."
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Old 02-18-2002, 10:43 PM
 
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Hi all...

I'm just over a month along, second child. First ds I had at 18, unmedicated, totally natural (with episiotomy however), and I really want to have this child (8 years later) at home. We are ultra poor (I'm the grad student doing her dissertation on attachment parenting; you may have see the survey link posted here...and my mate is an english major, undergrad) and since my first birth went so well and without concern I am wanting to have this baby unassisted. I have read "Spiritual Midwifery", all the LLL birth books (I'm a leader too), Rahima Baldwin's book "Special Delivery", and lots more...like Emergency Childbirth by Gregory White, etc. Although I DO feel strong and secure about my body's ability to give birth naturally and with only my friends and family around, I have taken a few precautions...like I will labor and deliver at my best friend's house, which is only 3 blocks from a hospital, and also "require" that both my birth partner and best friend, my birth coaches, read at least a few of the books that are best for preparing to be my helpers. Also I will have a "prep meeting" a month or so before the birth where everyone who I expect to be there (esp. the men) will learn the basics--like how to transport me (knee-chest position) to the hospital, etc.

Any other ideas from others who have attempted or successfully done home birth without medical professionals?
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Old 02-19-2002, 01:10 AM
 
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I had my first at home.Every birthing is different ofcourse.You could monitior FHR with a fetoscope or doppler.I have found the midwives archives to be useful....http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/
The book...help she's having a baby by nancy crowely is short and simple.

Know your birth certification laws to see if there is a short deadline,or if you have a year to file.

Best wishes to you!!!!
Sara
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Old 02-20-2002, 01:57 AM
 
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IMO, this is *the* way to go. We had a homebirth w/baby one and a freebirth w/baby two last may....for the record. However, in my experience, it is a very tough road to go in society. the reason I voice this concern is that it sounds like you are stating the reason for this as financial...and it (again--MO) requires a totally different approach. there are many great writers tha tyou didn't mention so I don't know if you have read them yet like Laura Shanley's "Unassisted childbirth" (& www.unassistedchildbirth.com), Marilyn MOran, Jeannine parvati baker offers many books (w/her own kids freebirths) and articles on her web site (www.freestone.org) For many people, this kind of birth is about not hiring someone to take your responsibility away from you and your fam.
that aside, I think you and your family are on the road for a great adventure upon which you will be greatly rewarded and grow so much!!!
of course you can do it!! inform yourself but also think mostly about "untraining" yourself of what our culture tells you birth is about. If you and hubbie can conceive w/o a professional there, you can birth that baby too!! in the same manner, love and communion!
much blessings!

ps....i re-read your post and realized that it struck me that you *may* want to avoid "over-informing" your birth partners.....this can bring an atmosphere of fear that can be less-than condusive for a peaceful, trusting birth. I am *not*saying don't have them read anything....but be careful. I myself got very overwhelmed reading "hearts and hands" just because I got emersed in the fear/science mode.....just a thought....read they're reactions carefully!! you want them trusting birth and more importantly--YOU!!--, not trying to be dr.s. My thinking is the more you are able to listen to your body and its signals, the better for everyone involved. They should follow YOUR lead.
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Old 02-23-2002, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just want to keep these unassisted birth threads going because this is where DH and I heard about freebirth and this is what we are planning. Not everybody knows our plans and of those who know, not everybody is happy with our plans. I don't have much advice about the safest way to go because dear babe isn't due until May. But, after lots of reading and praying and researching, it seems to me that freebirth is the safest way to go if you truely want no interventions. I believe that the only way my "birth plan" will be followed is if only DH and I are there to make sure that we follow our own instincts. Anybody else present will have their own fears and agendas to follow and I don't want that at all.

Also, recently, I reached the point where I don't want to read any more about birth. Odd really, I've been reading so much. But I feel satisfied and I just want to be in touch with the babe and with DH and peaceful and relaxed. I don't want what this book or that book said to be influencing me. So these last 10 weeks will be me and babe and a journal.
good luck
v
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Old 02-26-2002, 01:16 AM
 
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violet--for what it's worth, i think your instinct not to read or ingest more ideas now that you are set is totally natural and even a good sign. after all, the whole premise of teh freebirth is that you, dh & babe are the best "experts" on yourselves and connecting and centering are great ways to do this. just keep listening to that tiny little inner voice....i've never regretted it!
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Old 03-14-2002, 10:24 PM
 
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It sounds like you've got it covered! I would add that in my case it was very important to me that the people present understood that their roles were not to manage the labor, and that I might be in a lot of pain and that this should not lead them to believe that something was wrong.
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