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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here is the story:

I have a morbid fear of hospitals. The high c-section rate, and the fact that I live in an area where there is only one hospital that has 2 stars, and a bad experience everytime I've gone. So giving birth (this is my first birth) at a hospital hasn't been an option for me.

I looked up homebirths, and found 2 barriers. (1) I live in NC, midwivery is illegal and I am not sure how to find a midwife in such a hostile environment towards midwives. (2) I can't afford to pay a midwife out of pocket and my insurance will only pay for birthing centers.

This left me with birthing centers. There is one birthing center 5 minutes from me, it's connected to the Same hospital that has 2 stars. The Birthing center is considered very good, however my problems have been: (1) that if something goes wrong they transfer me to the hospital where I have had nothing but 100% bad experience, (2) the midwives have often bossed me around, threatening me if I don't comply or request alternatives telling me "there are none", (this makes me feel like under a stressful situation they'd tell me there were no alternatives, their solution was the only one, and threaten to take my child if I don't comply). (3) I'm not allowed to tape the birth, my main support may not be able to come and I want her to be able to see the birth; even if she can't see the birth I want the right to tape my birth for the memory. -- they refuse to make any exceptions and coupled with feeling uncomfortable with their center I decided not to go there.

My problem became finding another birthing center. The closest one to me in SC closed down, the second closest one to me in NC is 1 hour away. The final problem I have; is that they all want me to switch prenatal care to them, will not deliver if I don't switch care to them, and may not take me because I am too far along. They'd review me on a case by case basis, but the biggest problem I have is they are 1 hour away from me!

I don't have the energy to drive 1 hour to them every week and then be locked into prenatal care with them, when I'm fine with the prenatal I receive 5 minutes from me, just not with where I have to deliver--which is sensitive.

This left me with Unassisted Birth. I am not entirely comfortable with an unassisted birth. But I am 100% uncomfortable with hospitals, and 99% uncomfortable with my 2 birthing center options. And 98% uncomfortable with unassisted birth.

With unassisted birth I face 100% resistance from family and friends who would try to coerce me to go, or would literally try to be there in the room when I've told them to leave, and would call 911, who would then report me to CPS for not going to the hospital.

I also worry about giving birth breech, or the baby going into some type of fetal distress. I don't want to lose my baby. And I would immediately be willing to go to the hospital after the birth, but not before during such a vulnerable and sensitive time of my life.

Ideally, I would have a midwife to attend, or a birthing center I felt comfortable with. But I have neither of those two things.

It's for this reason I have felt incredibly anxious because it is starting to look like an unassisted birth is the only thing I have available to me. And this is my first child. I'm not sure what to do and am looking for:

1. Advice on how to find a midwife in NC
2. Emotional support and relief from anxiety from those who have had unassisted birth.
3. Not knowing at what point something is wrong to call 911

I have done as much research as I can so it seems slim that something will go wrong, but if it did. I am nervous, esp. without support and so many people in my life insisting that they 'protect' me from decisions they deem as wrong or unsafe.


Unassisted Birthing Plan, my current plan is to as quietly as I can get away from the family who have made it their business to arrive into town during that time and help unsolicited, and to give birth some place alone. To try in get in touch with my support person who is unlikely to be there, and to call 911 if something is wrong (I have no way of knowing if something is wrong!).

I would love to go to a birthing center, but the 2nd birthing center has to be able to take me, hopefully be largely hands off except for an emergency, and would have to be willing to let me get my prenatals where I'm at now and deliver there (which they say is something they don't do but are willing to discuss it after receiving my prenatal care). I'd have 100% more support from family if I could go this route.

:(

I'm feeling incredibly down about my limited birth options and support.
 

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I can't speak to the Unassisted birth component of things, but have you looked into other regular hospitals within a closer radius? Not all hospitals are the same, and it sounds like you would prefer to have some support.

I hope you find a solution. It sounds like a nerve-wracking situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would definitely prefer support, but a hospital isn't an option for me. I grew up in them, and just have an unwavering anxiety when it comes to most of them, and most of them will not let me keep my baby with me, so it's not feeling like an option. :(

It's definitely nerve-wracking that's why any advice on how to find a midwife in NC who might be willing to do a homebirth, or emotional support and positive experiences, or how any mother knew when something had gone wrong, would help alleviate the decision :(.
 

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Hugs to you. I'm sorry you're not comfortable with any of your current options. My recommendation is to contact as many doulas as possible and explain your situation to them. (If you have anyone that you know in your area who is supportive of uc I would talk to them.) A few doulas would consider attending a uc. They would be there for support, but not medical intervention. As long as you're all clear on that it might make you more comfortable than having it be just you.

Also, maybe there is just another mom around who is supportive of uc who would be with you. I found it valuable to just have someone there who could say yes that happened to me in labor too. I recommend reading a lot of birth stories and maybe Heart and Hands, a midwifery book. A lot of people also recommend Emergency Childbirth, I think by Gregory White. But for myself, I was comfortable using my knowledge and trusting my intuition to know if I needed medical help. It sounds like you're nervous about that. You could give it sone more thought and maybe you'll feel calm about it. The best birth experience you can have is wherever you're the most comfortable.

Can you seek out another area or state where they might see you infrequently after an initial meeting but talk over the phone and then have you birth there?

I'm so sorry you feel cornered and I'm just trying to throw idea out there to see if anything sticks. :)

I think clarifying what kind of support you want will help you. What is the bare minimum level that will keep you feeling ok? UC doesn't have to be you alone in a room. Would you feel ok with others who had btdt giving you support? Or is it only the lack of medical care in attendance that concerns you?
 

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Oh, and I'd tell your family that you're keeping your medical plans private. Or just make something up that will get them off your case. I mean, tell them that nicely. But say that because I believe it's dangerous to have family stressing you out and you feeling pressure from them.

Whatever decision you make it will be the best one for your baby. You are the best judge of that.
 

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I personally would explore the birth centers more and look into ways you feel ok compromising some. I mostly say this because it is your first and you don't know how you will handle birth. I say this because I thought I would handle it well - read all the natural things, listened to the women who had relatively easy, fast births - and well it turns out I don't handle birth well nor do I have an easy time with it. A UC might be a disaster if you go into it scared and also don't know how you will be. Then you may send yourself into a spiral and end up at the one place you really don't want to be.
 

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Some midwives to look into: Olivia Marshburn with Midwifery Services, Donna Galatti with Monarch Midwifery, Nancy Harman with Birthwise. Full out of pocket costs for homebirth are similar to hospital deductible costs in my experience, I've paid $2,000 and $1,000 for my two out of hospital births and the hospital one I paid over $2,000 altogether despite insurance, I have no idea precisely because so many bills came in and it was 9 years back.

I don't think UC is for you unless after further research and planning you find yourself less uncomfortable about it. Sounds like homebirth with a midwife would be your ideal choice. One has to be able to relax and let go to birth easily, and if your situation scares you it gets tough. At the least I believe you'd want an experienced natural birthing mom friend or doula to be around at the time. Not that everyone needs it, but it sounds like that would help you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Homebirth: I genuinely can't afford the cost of a midwife. This removes it from the table altogether. I will have to edit my post at some point if I am able to remove the question on how to find a midwife in NC.

UC or Birthing Center My only option is Unassisted or Birthing Center. And I just don't have a birthing center I can go to. The one that is 1 hour from me, literally is uncertain if they want to take me. And the birthing center 5 minutes from me is connected to a 2 star hospital and has made me feel very uncomfortable.

Hospitals: I have no good experience with hospitals, and won't compromise my baby being removed from me and placed into a plastic container in another room, or have doctors threatening me with non-compliance. If they do that with things unrelated to children imagine what they will do when a child is involved.

Looking for Support:
I am now looking not for advisory against Unassisted birth but hopefully emotional support for it to help me feel more comfortable and not less, with the only option I feel that I have left--that's why I joined today.

Instead of saying UC isn't for me, why not just say, you have to get into a calm state of mine. I'm sharing my fears and asking so that I can hopefully receive more assurance. :(

Salr -- thank you for the two book suggestions I will be looking them up. Also on my list of books I have to get is mindful birthing. I feel like there are two things that worry me: (1)the lack of medical care in attendance. I think I'd feel best if I had run into someone who was hands off, not pushy, let my body do the work, but was on call. (2) The fact that most people have their spouse or life partner with them, maybe a best friend, or someone they trust. I don't really have anyone I trust enough to see my body when I am most vulnerable who is likely to be there, and the birth and pregnancy has actually been a very sad period of my life for me. There's a broken heart wrapped up in all this mess and I'm bringing a child into a time in my life where I feel so incredibly down and lonely.

I know who I would like to be at the birth who would ease me, who I'd even suck it up and go to the birthing center with if I knew they'd be there, but they're not. And there is no one else in this world who I felt safe with and secure.

I'm trying to get into a peace of mind where I can make peace with how my child is coming into the world, during this specific time of my life. Birth is supposed to be a joyful experience, and I'm feeling down, because it's mostly felt heartbreaking and lonely for me. Such a confusing time, and finding emotional support for my choices has been equally hard.

UC plan: I did make plans to call 911 to get the paramedics if I felt anything was wrong, I just have no way of knowing if something is wrong. I'm taking as much notes as I can and figure coming to mom's who did UC would help gauge how they figured out if something was wrong or if nothing did go wrong.

Lack of Control: I live with a family member at present, and family has literally signed up to 'help' me because I am alone. I'm in family therapy and will be talking about my feelings with the main person of concern who I would need on board to make everything work. I genuinely need to feel like I am in control, not out of control. But people have actually told me that 'my choices' are reckless, everything from gender neutral parenting being 'reckless', my asking for an alternative to the glucose test -- 'reckless', even considering UC as an option 'reckless'.

Ideally: My BEST option is if the birthing center 1 hour from me allows me to take prenatals that are 5 minutes away and give birth with them even if they have the records saying that I am low-risk. I genuinely don't have the energy to drive 1 hour. When I asked if they had any midwives or knew of any who would do a homebirth they explained it's illegal to me.

I think the Doula is a good idea. I am 8 months and time is of the essence.

Summary:
I do feel cornered into a UC birth. But we often have to make the best of what we are given, and UC is that option. I have anxieties about it and definitely would like some emotional support only (not advisory against please). But support so that when I go into this I'll feel less alone. :(

It is more likely to happen either way so definitely support in this area :(.
 

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Hugs to you, mama. I've done two UCs now, my last being just four weeks ago. I too have a pretty deep fear of hospitals and doctors and that loss of autonomy that seems to go with having a baby. I second the previous book recommendations, including Mindful Birthing. Rediscovering Birth and How We Do It look at birth from a sociologic/evolutionary perspective and really helped me so when the pain was crazy intense I was able to remember that our bodies are built for this. Birthing From Within is an art therapy book that you may find helpful as well. A lot of UCers talk about intuition, which is super important to listen to, but research is key too. Writing down situations that could arise and How you would handle them, as well as discussing it with whoever may be with you at the birth helps take a load off. Things like cord prolapse and hemorrhaging can happen, but again, if you already know what to do if it happens, you're less likely to worry about it or panic if it does happen. I'm not sure if it would have caused issues in a hospital since it was so brief, but when my last was born she did not seem to breathe right away. I didn't panic but suctioned her and rubbed her chest and she started breathing (more noticeably, at any rate) and pinked up. I had been over such a scenario in my mind so many times it was almost second nature.

It is hard when you feel like you have no other choice but it doesn't have to be scary, especially if you arm yourself with knowledge. As for family, I'm not confrontational at all, plus all of my family lives far away, so I can just ignore them when their antics get to be too much, but there are a lot of threads here with advice about unsupportive family and even birth partners. Best of luck to you.
 

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Also, I'd like to point out that midwifery is not illegal in NC. It is only direct-entry midwives who are not allowed to practice. At this point I would be wary of anything your family tells you, especially since they seem to have a special interest in pushing you where you don't want to go and no qualms about lying or threatening you to do it.
 

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Aww, you are in a difficult situation for sure. I firmly believe every mother should be able to birth in whatever scenario she desires and it is so sad that is not a reality because of the fear and lack of knowledge surrounding birth.

We had our first unassisted birth last May and, though it was possibly my hardest birth because of baby's size (over 10 lbs) and atypical head position, it was the BEST experience! Bonding with this baby was the easiest (even though I had wanted a boy and she was a girl), breastfeeding went the best, recovery was fastest for me.... so many great things!

I really would encourage you to check out Indie Birth Association at indiebirth.com. They have lots of unassisted birth resources, birth stories, and podcasts and articles that will really help encourage you that unassisted birth is normal and safe. They offer free 20-minute phone conversations with very knowledgeable ladies who can answer questions and allay fears. I did one and it was so helpful. I would also highly recommend their 5-week online course "How to Have an Indie Birth" that is packed with information about labor that I didn't know even after two births, preparation tips, stuff to know.... So much! Please, please check it out! (No, I don't get any compensation for advertising for them haha - I just think they are the best resource and they gave me so much confidence to birth unassisted.)
 

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P.S. If you take the course, you can be added to the private Facebook community of others who have had or are planning (mostly) unassisted births. Some of them had unassisted births as first time mothers. They are an incredibly supportive group, lots of resources and experience, and you may even be able to find someone in your area that you could talk to in person for support.
 

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I did just a minute of googling and I think there are some options for a home birth depending on where you reside in NC. Check out this website: mountainhomematernity.com and others may exist! I am so fired up for you... You deserve a beautiful stress-free birth!
 

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I might even just give this midwife a call! She advocates for assisted home births in NC and might have ideas for you! I hope she's near you though and could personally help out! 828-342-8128.
 

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As you can see, I'm supportive of uc. But I still recommend contacting as many midwives and doulas as you can. Those conversations may lead to something.

You may be able to barter for services. You may be able to find someone who needs to attend a birth for some kind of certification and would do it for free.

Stay calm if you seek out what's best for you and some people are harsh. They are not you and they can only speak for themselves. Just put out feelers... like "I'd like to have someone attend my birth but I'm feeling like I just have to do it by myself." Then you'll see whether they say Oh don't do that! That's a horrible idea. Or if they say, You know, I actually know someone who did that. I think it's weird but it worked for her. You can take it slow when you gauge the level support. Keep it hypothetical and you can just laugh along and say Yeah I guess that's a silly idea! You don't owe anyone else anything.

Just keep in mind that there are people out there who want to help you.
 

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You sound like you're close to me, I'm over in Burke & had the same situation 2 years ago. There's a great doula here who does it mostly as a ministry. She does charge, but it wasn't much compared to most doulas. She helped another friend for her UC. I have the number of a midwife in Asheville; I told her up front I was UCing & couldn't afford her, but she was willing to take on some prenatal so I would know baby's position towards the end. I fell in w/ spinning babies at the end & like you hate to drive, so I didn't use her except for the one appointment, but you can pm me if you want more info. on her.
 

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Would you consider exploring what ideal circumstances with a midwife or in a birth center or (in the event you needed it) a hospital which might make you feel safe? Like create a vision for yourself of an ideal birth where you and your baby can have all the safety and assistance you deserve, through any situation, if the world you lived in was perfect and all the people around you were supportive? That might be a nice place to start from.

Have you discussed your concerns about your baby being taken from you with your therapist?
 

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1. Do you qualify for Medicaid for Pregnant People? Some NC midwives take it. Look into that before totally writing off homebirth. http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dma/medicaid/families.htm#pregnant

2. You mentioned one support person who you probably won't be able to reach. Can that person become more reachable near your due date or can you find another support person?

If you don't have a reliable support person, I'd be incredibly hesitant. I know some people prefer birthing entirely alone, but there should still be someone nearby who knows what's going on and can listen out for any problems. In an emergency, you may not be up to dial 911.

Full out of pocket costs for homebirth are similar to hospital deductible costs in my experience, I've paid $2,000 and $1,000 for my two out of hospital births and the hospital one I paid over $2,000 altogether despite insurance, I have no idea precisely because so many bills came in and it was 9 years back.
Nancy Harman told me that she charges $2500 just for her assistant's fee. That's even if you have insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks you guys your support has been amazing. Where do I begin.

@RobynHeud, Thanks for your story, it helped to read it.

My family didn't tell me midwivery was illegal. The birthing center I called (both of them I talked to) said homebirths and midwivery were illegal (midwives who are not attached to a birthing center). Combined bonus I can't afford a midwife out of pocket without my insurance :(

Also from what I read and learned my insurance won't cover a midwife that isn't part of a birthing center; and I read midwife laws and found out this to be true. I can't remember where I read it, but it limited my options.

Contrary my family has been very supportive of a homebirth, since they are not comfortable with the birthing center/hospital that is next to me. It's unassisted birth that they would not accept, esp. if it meant leaving me unintended.

The problems with homebirth is that I don't have a midwife I can afford; with the added combination of if I went without a midwife my family would insist that they be present. I'm not comfortable with that.

There's genuinely only one person I want in that room with me, and that's someone who means the world to me. Added bonus they are 3 hours from where I am and have things they need to attend to, though they have expressed a want to be there, we all know that depending on when this child comes they may be unable to.

@Jewel thanks for that indiebirth link I am checking it out after I finish this post it sounds awesome!

@sacredpregnancy, I have definitely looked at this link before and it was definitely awesome. I can't even remember how I found it, only problem for me was it was very far away from where I live. I thought about living with them before the birth and offering to barter, but I just don't know if I can do it. My support system lives 3 hours from me and about 4-5 hours from Asheville. My family would understand that option but there's no way they'd drive with me several hours to Asheville and then help me get my support system. So I'm somewhat limited. Another problem was they don't take insurance though they do barter and offer a reduced fee, and I have no way to pay them if I am not reimbursed by my insurance.

Still I love Asheville and my dream has been to give birth IN Asheville -haha- Thanks for bringing it up again as I was recently thinking of them again; I'll add it back to the table. I'm trying to see if the place 1 hour from me will take me, I'll talk to these guys next, and I'll weigh how I plan to do this!



@Salr, With bartering I am big on bartering. I WWOOFed in exchange to learn skills like milking goats, gardening (I hate gardening), I apprenticed for several years at a horse rescue with 50 horses, worked with exotic animals like prarie dogs and raccoons and servile cats and bears. So bartering and me should go together. The place in asheville I looked at offers bartering to reduce their fee, and a sliding scale, and I don't know there's a lot to think about: http://www.mountainhomematernity.com/fees-and-payment.php

Right now the only thing I 'can' offer is working for them, and due to circumstances out of my control I'm not ready for that. I'm currently receiving a lot of therapy and assistance right now. But idk, it's something I'm thinking about again now that it was brought up again. A lot to think about, maybe it won't be so lonely as they appear supportive and I resonate with them more than I do with the people I've met so far who might deliver.

I guess I should definitely try and be more open to help and people out there.

@Cyclamen, I have two ideal visions. Ideal vision #1 . I give birth in my yurt (which I built with assistance up in asheville). My support person is ideally with me, I am in a peaceful state of mind, I breathe through the pain not against it, and I give birth to a healthy baby. If my support isn't there I call them or skype, and give birth to a healthy child.

Ideal #2 , I give birth in Asheville, with the assistance of a midwife and hopefully with my support person, same scenario as #1 . They are largely hands off, respectful, I feel a lot of resonance and comfortable with the person(s) attending my birth, safe, secure, relaxed and like I am given the time to communicate freely (I have a hard time verbalizing and speaking esp. under pressure and stress as well as day to day life), but in this situation people are patient with me, give me and my body time, and if something goes wrong they are quick to send me to receive help.

And settled for Ideal#3, a birthing center that will take me with the same feelings as #2 .

I wanted to have a Doula and spoke to one, but I never really followed up because I couldn't afford her and didn't need the emotional support, I just wanted her there when I delivered to be my advocate for me. But I just couldn't afford it nor did I know where I would deliver whether it would be out of range.

@sillysapling, I have one support person who I trust with everything. Should something happen to me this person is the one who I plan to give my child too provided my grandmother is ok with it. It's a little complex but it is very likely that unless I can find a way to get them here, and unless it doesn't line up--it's just, my answer is no. They cannot reliably be there, but they are important to me. Outside of that I have no one I am comfortable with, not a doctor, not a midwife, no one except for myself. I have people I CAN trust, but seeing me in a vulnerable position, being nude in front of someone, just those things--I can't just do that without feeling shame and I have so much pain surrounding that. This person is the only one, even letting a midwife in is scary for me, tearfully so.

Here midwives are randomly assigned at the birthing center I will be going to and that terrifies me. I didn't get the opportunity to bond with someone and feel if I trusted them or not, and so, I'm anxious. I'm even anxious about the one 1 hour from me. I think I'm going to contact that people in Asheville, but they're far away, I'd have to meet them beforehand and I am not sure if I can afford it right now, so just so much to think about.

I do have insurance though. I have NC medicaid, I just don't know who to go to who would take it with the distance.

@Voondrop, Thanks for the suggestion I will keep it in mind.
 

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Midwife assisted home birth is NOT illegal in NC. The laws are restrictive and make it more difficult for midwives than it should be, but it is NOT illegal. The question is whether or not you can find a midwife in the area who accepts medicaid (which at least Nancy Harman does) who's willing to work with you. I don't know what that area is. You've been given the name of 3 homebirth midwives in NC, I doubt they're the only ones, you may be able to find one who serves your area. Or who's willing to work with you, some people have worked things out with midwives who were far away. It's worth considering.

Are you working with a personal therapist? I think it's a good idea if you aren't.

Ultimately, if you want to do a UC you need to figure out what you need to be confident going into it. I think going in afraid or doubtful is a pretty big hindrance. Fear can stall labor, and it'll also cloud your judgement.

Also, have you seen this site? http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com/ It's got a lot of information and birth stories, might be helpful. One of the stories about a painful UC really closely mirrored my own labor and I don't know if I would've gotten through it if I hadn't read that story.
 
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