It probably sounds strange for some that I'd consider UC here in NZ, where midwifery care is free and readily available, as I know many UC in the USA out of necessity. But I'm 30 weeks pregnant and can't have the midwife I had with my 13-month-old as we've moved towns. I don't feel particularly close to the midwife we have now, and intensely dislike one of her backups - she is a bully, and someone I know won't respect my space. I'm slow to trust at the best of times, but this time it seems harder than ever. I feel an intense desire to respect my space - I do not want to be talked to or touched during labour.
Funny enough, my 13-month-old was an UC - but not a planned UC. The on-call didn't believe that I was as far into labour as I was, and only sent my midwife once I started pushing, so my husband caught him and they turned up around 5-10 minutes after he was born. My last two labours, for my two living children, have been around 3 1/2 and 3 hours respectively, so all going well I'm not expecting this one to take long either.
This is different though, somehow, for a number of reasons. Firstly, I guess, because I'm possibly going to plan an UC, which is a different place psychologically from having one. Secondly, because I won't have the wonderful friends around me who attended my son's birth, as we now live too far away. So I guess I feel isolated, unsupported - which is not what you want for any kind of birth, UC or not. Lastly, I'm struggling with the fact that it's a bit of a fear-based decision, and I don't like to make decisions based on fear. I was traumatised in April when I watched my friend of 18 years assaulted by her midwife, resulting in a near 3rd degree tear, as her husband, mother and I looked on powerless to do anything to stop it. I'm terrified of the violation of my personal space, and I've just taken great relief in evicting my abusive father-in-law after his visit a month ago and banning him from staying after the baby's born, so I've only just got back to a level sort of space and I'm loathe to make myself vulnerable again.
My husband doesn't feel especially comfortable with planning an UC. I fought tooth and nail for my home birth with the last. As a compromise, I'm happy for the midwives to wait downstairs until if and when I want them, but I haven't broached that plan with them yet so I don't know how it will go. So what to do? I'm well-read on all things to do with birth, but I still feel daunted. I guess I need to stop grieving for what I can't get back - my friends - and shake off the notion that the midwives would be a replacement for them, because they wouldn't. I'm not afraid of the birth, I'm afraid of other people - and were it a warmer time of year, I was only half joking when I said to my husband that I'd have it in the field down the road by myself if he wasn't happy.
Has anyone else felt torn in this way? How did you plan, practically and emotionally for your UC? Did anyone do it with just a partner present and regret that there weren't more hands present, or vice versa? I'm keen to hear others' experiences and reasoning. I'm not sure if this is my path yet or not.
I don't regret giving birth unassisted at all. I'd give birth by myself (and do just fine) if I had to. In fact I'm somewhat wanting a solo birth this time. I don't mind if the husband happens to be there (or maybe I'll call him in), but I'd almost like to do it while everyone is sleeping. :)
The nice thing about giving birth is that your body knows exactly what to do, and if you're alone, you'll know exactly what's going on and you'll be able to handle your birth without any help. (You'll also know if you need help, so keep your phone or a helper handy.) With my last birth, baby had a nuchal cord which I felt and unwrapped before I pushed her body out. Had I ever unwrapped a nuchal cord before? No. But I did know what to do if my baby had one, and it doesn't take rocket science to be able to do. You'll be just fine. I like to go over this site each time I'm pregnant, and have it available to my husband while I'm in labor:
I know...I know I'd know what to do. I don't feel concerned about that, exactly. It's hard to pinpoint - I guess I'm feeling generally unsupported since we've moved away from everyone I was close to. It's the emotional support I want. Hubby is actually great for that, but I'd rather not have him there than have him present & freaking out about an UC. I know we'll at least need some back up to mind the 13-month-old. I remember, with my eldest, having something of an epiphany, knowing what a mother cat feels like, something I never understood as a child. I had this strong urge to run to a barn or something, away from the MW, my partner and friend. Mind you, that particular midwife was one who mistreated me, and my fiance at the time was worse than useless, so it's a slightly different situation now. But I still remember how strong that urge was.
I guess what I'm really mourning is not having close friends around to help me celebrate pregnancy and birth, throw me a blessingway, share the joy - but the midwives won't be a substitute for that. Thanks for the link, will have a look!
I see. I totally understand that. A pregnant/birthing woman needs support. If I were you I'd just be stubborn about it and tell your partner that if he's not going to support you, you're going to go and have that baby by yourself. Tell him you know how to give birth and you know what's best for you. Educate him. Show him birth videos.
I know exactly what you mean by "feeling like a mother cat." The first time I was in labor, I asked my brother to take his kids to their mom's place (we were roomies at the time, along with my partner, and amazingly he supported my decision, being the hard-headed know-it-all he is LOL), and he did so, and holed up in his loft room (in fact fell asleep during my labor) while I labored so I could feel completely alone. This made me really happy. With both of my previous labors, I needed peace, quiet, and solitude. My mom tried to come in when I was in labor with my twins (which is my first labor), and I breathlessly told my husband to make her go away. (And he did!) With my last, I was going to invite some friends over for the birth. At 37 weeks, I thought I might be in labor, so I asked them to come over. As soon as they did, labor stopped. I ended up having her one day shy of 39 weeks, and though I did call my friends again, they didn't answer their phone. They missed the birth because my labor was so quick! And I'm glad, because when I started to think about them coming over in the throes of labor, it made me feel anxious. I immediately had to redirect my attention to my labor and put it out of my mind. This time I'll be holed up in my attic bedroom, and if it happens when the kids are up and labor is even long enough, I'll let my husband call my best friend over to help with the kids so he can attend to me.
After you have the baby, come post here, we'll celebrate with you. <3
(P.S. That website I linked you to is also amazing at mentally preparing you for birth...it really puts you in the right mindset.)
Oh, I've told him that, now. But I don't really want to do it without him. He was my rock during labour with my last. He was unobtrusive but when I reached for a hand to hold, his was always there. I'm glad that we've done this before - we watched all the videos last time around and he's cool about home birth now, which at the time was a huge, tearful battle. I keep pushing him to read Gregory White's 'Emergency Childbirth' that I saw linked to here - I think it'll really put his mind at ease. I'm prepared & have been for ages, but it's getting him prepared that's the hard bit. I totally understand why you sent everyone away - mothers can be the worst people to have around, sometimes! They fear for their daughters and it comes through.
I had a similar experience with my last - I could feel myself getting ready to labour while we were out on our honeymoon in a little farm cottage, way away from everywhere. But I knew my eldest daughter wouldn't forgive me if she wasn't there. When we got home, DH had the most horrific cold, and I was having regular contractions for some time that night. I realised how sick he was and that he wouldn't be able to speak up for me or enjoy the experience and so after he'd put the birth pool up, middle of the night, I said "Don't worry, I'll just go back to sleep" and did. A couple of days later he was still sick but seemed a lot better and I said that morning "Do you think it's a good day to have a baby?". He didn't exactly say 'no', haha, so that evening I went into labour again and three hours later he was there. He's just said that he doesn't want to be the only adult besides me in the house, which I think considering we have older ones to care for, is fair enough. If I needed him and he was distracted by the youngest crying, I'd probably find it frustrating.
Well, you have to do what's right for you. Me, I don't need anyone to help me give birth physically or emotionally, but I did like my husband there so he could bring me whatever I wanted and I didn't have to move. I'm a huge fan of unassisted birth, but I think it's good to have someone "on call" that's at least in the house that can assist you.
And yeah, that's the only reason I've wanted to invite friends over, is so they can help with the other kids and help out after I have the baby. Definitely won't make my husband take care of his laboring wife and three kids 3 and under at the same time, lol. But last time we got lucky, the twins were sleeping (almost 17 months old at the time) and labor only lasted an hour. When I really needed extra help was after the birth and the twins got up!
That's awesome, I have similar stories with my babies...whenever I felt ready to have them is when I had them. With my last, I had a few days off from work and so did my husband (I worked until I delivered), and I was like, "I'M DONE, LET'S HAVE SEX." We did, and she was out within 12 hours afterwards. Lol.
Oh yes...I have a feeling the honeymoon weekend two days beforehand might have helped DS out I had a feeling even before we went, though, that I could have had him out there in that lovely little cottage by the fire if I'd wanted to. We took the birth pool and some newborn clothes in case. And he was born at 38w 0d, so this was pretty early on! I toyed with the idea, believe me. But I felt I owed it to Miss 8 to wait until she was back. It still would have been a beautiful birth, though. Not that I'm about to regret the last child-free weekend I'll probably have for years to come...