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Is there a difference in unattended homebirths and unassisted?

665 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  hypnohobbit
I had ds at home with midwife 'catching' and dd at home in the water and I 'caught' her myself but I had a midwife in attendance.

UC is very intriguing to me and I am comfortable with unassisted pregnancy but I love my midwife. And she is quite comfortable with not interrupting the birthing process. For birth #3, I would like to be unassisted but would like for my midwife to be in 'attendance'.

What is 'Labor Day' like for UC parents? And what about your pregnancies, I would love to hear your stories!
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for me and I think mose *die-hard UCers* having a midwife anywhere around your birth makes it no longer a UC. That said I think every woman needs to do what she thinks is best for her and her baby.

For me, having a MW or anyone even remotely knowledgeable about the birth process in my home at the time of birth I think would hinder me. I would find it difficult to let go and allow my body to do what it does and make the noises that I make. I think I would feel embarressed or embarressed for whomever was in attendance if I didn't "perform normally". Also, I think I would be looking to that person for a second opinion all the time. Instead of reling on my own knowledge and intution I'd be checking with her to make sure things were going okay.

For us "Labor Day" (we've had 3UCs) consits of me letting dh know that I think this is it and telling him what I want him to do with the kids (I never really know till the time) then he takes care of the kids, gets my towels and pads out so I can easily put them where I want them and brings me a glass of water. He goes about doing whatever usually filling the tub (which I've yet to use) and I labor alone for about an hour with him checking every 10min or so to be sure I don't need anything. He knows me well enough to not say anything, just come into the room so I know his presence is there, if I need something I'll ask, otherwise he'll stand there for a moment and then go back to what he was doing. After about an hour I usually want him with me and will hold out my hand one of those times he comes to check on me and he'll softly rub my back, whisper that he loves me and just be with me. About a half hour later I'll tell him I feel the head, he'll make sure he's got a clean towel and wait for me to tell him if I want him to do anything. After baby is born he makes sure we're both warm and that we got a pic in that first minute and then well sit and cry and laugh and marvel at our baby for a bit, usually until I start to get uncomfortable then he'll take the baby while I push out the placenta and get myself cleaned up and ready to get in bed. We'll cut the cord, wipe baby down a bit and then baby and I will snuggle in bed while dh cleans up and the other little ones come and meet the baby. Then baby and I will nap while dh gets food for everyone and makes phone calls.
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Unassisted is a mindset more than a set of actions. Lots of people have "oops!" births, we hear about them all the time in the media. Are these the same kind of unassisted we're having? No. They were totally unintentional.

Having a midwife or ANYONE with medical knowledge present can be very tricky. They need to intervene or else risk being sued, and finding one who would seriously just sit back is like finding a needle in a haystack.
They're going to advise, "help", interfere... that's their job, that's why you hired them and that's why they are there. Shadow care (midwife on the couch, in the driveway, etc) is saying, "I'm not confident enough to have a UC but I want to think I am".
So, I don't think it's fair to call it a UC. If the entire labour/birth was hands off and your caregiver of choice never touched you or advised anything, then maybe that's an unhindered birth - but not unassisted in the spiritual, mental, trusting way that many of us choose.
Hi Hypnohobbit, first welcome to MDC and the unassisted birth forum, and second thanks for the good questions! It's always fun to have new things to talk about here.

When I say that I had an unassisted birth (two actually
) what I mean is that I did not have a medical professional present and no one managed or directed the birth. I wish I had a more fully descriptive term to use, but "spontaneous instinctive birth without medical professionals present and without anyone acting in the capacity of midwife" is just too cumbersome.

My second birth was virtually unassisted with a midwife attending. It was a very empowering birth but ultimately having the midwife there, even with the intention only to observe or offer moral support and comfort, was to me distracting, inhibiting, and intrusive. I felt this especially when she first arrived and in the immediate postpartum. It was through no fault of her own -- she was great. But she was still someone that I'm not normally intimate with, and so her presence in itself kept me from going to a very deep place of intimacy with myself, my husband, and my baby. I also have found that I am extremely sensitive (in terms of absorbing others' energy) when I am in labor, and didn't want to have to deal with that.

Here's the story of my last UC.
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Originally Posted by hypnohobbit
What is 'Labor Day' like for UC parents? And what about your pregnancies, I would love to hear your stories!

I just realized I didn't answer this question.

This is my second UP and it's incredibly freeing. Liberating. Empowering. Realizing that pregnancy is NOT a time to be afraid of things or to feel yourself submitting to someone.
UP has really changed me and how I have learned to trust. It's gotten me through a lot of trust issues with my body and it's preservation.

I had planned a UC with my son, but went into early labour (not *that* early, but earlier than expected). I knew something was wrong and I'd had a dream where he told me to go to the hospital.
I didn't know I was in real labour yet, but went to kind of 'be sure'. I ended up with a pointless emergency c-section (he was crowning breech by the time I could get anyone to check me). The only good thing about it was that it gave my husband time to get to the hospital so that our son wouldn't die alone (I was unconscious, and he lived a very short time due to anomalies of the heart and lungs).

My labour with him was almost painless, truly. I know it was this way because I trusted, and didn't count seconds, I didn't make it some silly ritual like I did with my first. It was just part of another day...
When I think I might be in labour with this baby, I'll just continue on with normal life, NOT look at any clocks (I'll put electrical tape over them all if I have to!) and just ignore it until I can't anymore, then I'll listen to what my body tells me. No big deal, it's just birth.
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I'll just continue on with normal life, NOT look at any clocks
Great advice, even if one isn't going to have an u/c birth. With last birth, my rushes were alll day, but never at 5 minutes apart lasting 60 seconds. They were 5 minutes to 14 minutes to 1 minute to 20 minutes and stop for an hour. I just did my normal everyday stuff, play with the kids, clean, made dinner. When my water broke, I knew the feeling I had alll day was labour, but not text book labour. If I was watching the clocks alll day i would of gone mad. We did have midwives coming to the birth, called them after my water had gone, and they didn't think I was in active labour because I wasn't 5 minutes at 60 seconds. So, the baby was born without the midwives, because I wasn't 5 minutes apart

Listen to your own body! I knew with our last he would be fine without the midwives at his birth. With my 2nd dd she was a breech and I knew she would not turn, I told the doctors this, they tried to turn her, I did everything I could think of. But, i knew her head was not going to turn. A good friend of mine last year had a stillbirth, she had heavy bleeding and clots passing(clots the size of oranges, and this was happening for weeks), but the doctors and midwives and the u/s tech told her it was normal. She knew in her heart the baby was dead or would die. She told the midwives and the doctors and they alll told her the baby would be fine.

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To UP/UC Mamas

In 2001 I had miscarried my baby boy at 4 months gestation. I am so glad that the hospital sent me home and I miscarried there. My mother caught my double footling breech boy
My wish of a homebirth was fulfilled. Now I regret ever going to the hospital afterward. We called 911 and an ambulance took me in. I had delivered the placenta in the ambulance and when I got there they put my baby in a plastic jar as medical waste and left him on the counter so I could see him as a reminder of my pain and loss. I should've kept him at home, I knew I was ok and I didn't need a medical professional to tell me so. They treated us horribly. Like I was seeing a witch doctor for my birth. They wouldn't even let my mother or dp in to see me, they told me that my mother knew that I was miscarrying and she never told me (tried to turn me against my mother???)(hence, they were 'protecting' me from her by not letting her in), and that it was best that I miscarried because I could've had a monster. WTF?!?! A 'monster'?!?! (Autopsy showed a perfect baby)

I wasn't so confident in my next pregnancy. I was scared to death of losing that baby. Probably a good thing that I had a great midwife! With ds I was in labor 38 hours and determined to have a homebirth. My mother was less confident than I and after 24 hours of labor was eager to take me to the hospital. She wanted to take my pain away. I was doing what felt right though, voicing through those surges. She saw it as pain but I thought that by sounding out during my surges I was more tolerant of the pain, I guess it was distracting to me and helped me to get through them. I kinda had performance anxiety. I labored best by myself but I hadn't much experience with labor and birth, the only birth I had ever seen was my younger brother's homebirth when I was 6. My midwife knew I could do it and I sensed her confidence and it grew my own. After such a long exhausting labor I gave birth at home to a 9# 8oz. boy.
I hemorrhaged horribly, almost to the point of going to the hospital, I needed 2 shots of pitocin after breastfeeding to stop bleeding. I guess this birth needed some help, I was just so unsure of everything, even unsure of the relationship I was in (which my mother had speculated was the reason for the prolonged labor). UP/UC never occured to me and I never knew it existed so I never read up on it though I did read about native american women giving birth in a field alone holding a low tree branch and squatting. My feelings on birth was that it was a normal natural process, but it was still a big deal and I needed assistance.

Pregnancy #3, I had much more confidence in. I was more educated on birth after training to be a hypnobirth instructor. I knew it would be shorter, I knew I wasn't going to hemorrhage and all would be perfect. I went into labor at 6am and after having surges that felt a little different than braxton-hicks, I decided to clock a few, just to see if this was really it. Sure enough, they were 5 min apart and 1 min. long. My mother was relentless about timing though I never felt it was necessary. I stopped looking at the clock, I had more important things to do. Instead of coming closer together, they spread out and I only had a couple each hour. So I went about my day as nothing had happened. At 2am it started again. I finally got out of bed at 4am and got in the shower and eventually filled the tub and layed down. My mother brought in a watch to make sure I was timing. (yuck!) They soon started becoming very close together and I called the midwife in. I was dilated fully and ready to go. When everyone arrived they filled the birthing pool and helped me climb in. I had an awesome team, everyone was very helpful and I had a terrific backrub. My midwife suggested that I was in a great position to 'catch' my own baby. This was so encouraging that on my next two contractions I pushed with all of my might and out came this BEAUTIFUL little girl!

I had everything I needed in these births except for intimacy. My dp will not attend my births, and he would most likely be a hindrance anyway. He lacks a desire or I don't know how to put it...maybe an intuition. He lacks compassion and just wouldn't know what to do or how to handle it.
Sad though, because my birth ideal would be with my husband holding me and comforting me, giving me massages and etc. and it is something I fear I will never be able to experience.

I am bursting with confidence now. I know I can have a UP/UC. But with who? I can't do it alone! Well, I can, but who is going to clean up?

I feel that prenatal care is something I can accomplish on my own and that I do my best laboring alone. The best person I can feel the most 'primitive' with is my midwife. My mother is too on the clock and worried and not so intuitive as my midwife. My mother is a great help and so eager but the woman, if she read this post, would edit it before trying to understand it. I just wouldn't feel comfortable howling with her. I'd feel she'd want to correct me, I can't just let loose with her. My midwife would howl with me!
My mother doesn't 'know' when to be quiet so I can focus on a surge, my midwife does. She has an incredible intuition. I loved being alone in my labor, each time someone came in or spoke it was a distraction. And the only person I really wanted there was my midwife. That would break my mother's heart (I hope she never reads this post, if she ever learns how to use a computer I'll have to delete this!). She is a great birth attendant, maybe I just need to 'train' her!

Maybe oneday I will truly experience UP/UC. But for now ladies, all I have to say is
You are my heroines!

Thank you for sharing your awesome birth experiences with me and informing me on what UC really is. I so enjoyed reading these empowering birth experiences and I now have a different respect for what us birth warriors can accomplish!

DP is ok with me doing a UC. (He has the utmost confidence in my birthing body!
) He just refuses to be the one to experience it with me. What is your take on being ALL alone?
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