Thursday, October 22, 2009

Exploring the Homebirth Option

I've been slacking on the blog, but since my original goal was to post once/week, I guess I'm not slacking too horribly. Last Friday we headed up to my parents house for a visit and to celebrate my brother Richie's birthday. We went to the Michigan City Zoo on Saturday morning, and it ended up raining on us. Boo! :( We ended up hanging out in the monkey house for awhile, then ran to the amphibian house for some more inside time. On the way out we stopped at the gift shop to warm up! Claire convinced my parents to buy her this little kangaroo book. She loves it! She loves books that are tiny in particular!
Then we went to the Lighthouse Place mall for some shopping...well my mom and I did along with Claire of course. My dad and Richie headed to the boat. If you don't know what the boat is, it's a casino that is on a "boat." Then on the way back to Valpo we stopped at Coulter's Farm for some Fall Fun and pumpkins. Check out the photos in my Facebook albums. This site is hard to upload massive amounts of pictures to at least as far as I've I'm not reuploading. Hence, back to the slacking.

Monday night, we met with a midwife. I would really like to have a homebirth with this baby for many reasons. If one has done even a small amount of reading on this topic, one will know it is actually safer to birth at home versus in a medicalized model of child birth. Midwives will not induce, cut episiotomies, or use vacuum/forceps/etc. I also like the idea of not being separated from the infant at all. The hospital is a constant stream of separations for various reasons. I also like the idea of not being too far from Claire. I see no pros whatsoever of birthing in a hospital. If someone is scared of losing me or the baby, this is downright silly. If there would be something like a cord prolapse in early labor or placental abruption (2 of the things that would call for an emergency C-section and would be quite obvious as well), it would take just as long for them to get me from the labor/delivery floor to the surgical unit via pokey elevators as we would be able to drive there and call ahead to tell them we're on the way. And here's something that is really missing from the hospital picture...a doctor there prior to the baby crowning. A midwife KNOWS what these things are and can spot them early on. Midwives stay with you while laboring and delivering. They don't just show up to catch the baby and send you the big fat bill so they can drive their Porsche. If anything, I would actually be safer with a knowledgeable midwife who is in constant attendance, versus some flakey nurses that can't even start an IV. Yeah...did anything go right with Claire's birth?

Nope. It took 3 nurses 4 jabs to get a freaking Pit line started. Freaking incompetents. I wished my mom didn't live 3 hours away so she could've started it. She's a nurse. I've donated blood several times...even when I lived in German for my Study Abroad year and donated blood there...and everyone always said I have beautiful veins, so I don't know what their problem was. Ok, so anyways, yes, midwives would be able to spot a problem earlier on because they are actually there unlike a doctor who shows up at the 11th hour and does basically nothing. The Labor and Delivery nurses do it all!

The midwives also laid down some expectations for us since they will not work with just anybody. One thing they said was that we would have to be willing to go to the hospital because some people are so determined to stay at home that they refuse to go in when the midwives think it's needed. So this was good! They also said that they expect me to breastfeed for at least 6 weeks with the newborn since it takes a good 6 weeks for a milk supply to come in fully and be built up. Well at this point, Claire got up from playing with the toys they had, jumps in my lap, and demanded "NUMMIES! I WANT JUICY MILKY NUMMIES!" Yes, that's what she calls them lately. Juicy milky nummies. So I started nursing her, and they started laughing and made me feel pretty good! I was like, well, I will definitely have no problem doing that since she's still nursing now at 28 months!!!!!!! Wow! She turned 28 months yesterday!

And let's see...if something would be wrong with the infant...they are fully able to revive one and carry oxygen. I honestly think that most midwives are more personally invested in the whole process since they are women who have had natural births themselves. Not that normal doctors are less caring, but these midwives have a sense of passion about them. They shared their birth stories and breastfeeding stories, since the 2 are so closely related. I have a problem with going to a man who has never had a baby come out of his vagina. Did that sound funny? Because it should. I also would like to go to a female doctor or OB who has had a vaginal's the problem...I haven't found one in the area. The female family doctors or OBs have all either (1) not had a child yet or (2) have had a C-section. I think that the women that go through this process naturally are called to be midwives. Going to someone to birth a child who has not given birth themselves is like going to a mechanic who has never driven a car or a computer repair man who doesn't own his own computer. Something is wrong with the picture in my mind. Why do OBs who are trained surgeons for special cases like twins deliver normal, healthy babies.

I had an easy time with Claire. I had no problems getting pregnant. I had some minor morning sickness, threw up a few times, but nothing major. This time, same thing...but morning sickness is supposed to be good because it means lots of growth hormones. When did the troubles start with Claire? The second we set foot into the hospital after my water broke. They sent me home saying it was false labor and my water did not break. LIES!!!!!!! It was broken....and I continued to leak like a drippy faucet until I had my OB appt. the next afternoon. Then when the doctor finally checked me...he was really surprised to find there was (1) no bag of waters and (2) no fluid/empty pockets. Dipstick! I told you so. If only this same doctor would have actually come into my room to check me instead of just releasing me the day before...only the nurse ever talked to us. And she made me mad. She told me I was leaking urine. Lady! I did my kegels. I did leak urine. It was my water breaking, and I was right.

People are downright mortified and terrified when they think of a homebirth. In all actuality, the home is the place where you are everyday. Only your own germs are there. No random weird hospital illness you can pick up on elevator buttons. Women gave birth up against trees and in log cabins forever. When did it get so freaking medicalized that women have to be carted off to the sick house, doped up, and have a baby yanked out of them? I think I was unnecessarily induced with Claire. She was a posterior presentation (came out face-up) which made me have a lot of horrible back pain/back labor. After reading about it, I was clearly in early labor since once the pit was started, she was born within 5 hours. Usually back labors and first labors are much longer than that.

Midwives don't practice medicine and haven't been trained to cut people open. But I really got the vibe from these two ladies that they don't try to play God, nor would they want to! If you are going into labor too early or if you are way overdue, you will probably have to go the hospital route.

There are 2 large studies that say it's equally safe as far as the death rate is concerned for mom and baby and WAY safer if mom doesn't want interventions leading to C-sections. The ONLY studies in the world you will find that say homebirth isn't safe are those performed by the ACOG which isn't even a medical board.

Here's a doctor who heads up a Chicago homebirth practice and always has better statistics than any hospital in the area:

Medical Studies proving safety of homebirth:

This one summarizes and has links to other studies:

Ok, so people who are still afraid of the homebirth route haven't read a book on the topic...or perhaps know someone who had some sort of emergency that was probably caused by the hospital in the first place. Besides...emergencies are sooo rare! I have spoken with at least 5 women in great depth about their awesome homebirths. All of them loved the prenatal care that comes with midwives. The average midwife appt. is 1 hour! That means sometimes it might be 45 minutes. That means you are actually talking to both midwives for 45 minutes to a little over an hour. They explained it would be the same as an OB appt. You pee in a cup. You get your blood pressure taken. They measure the fundus. But in addition to the OB's 2 minute "Do you have any questions?" They talk to you! They talk to you EXTENSIVELY about diet, exercise, and your personal emotional growth about the little addition growing in your belly.

They also encourage husbands to come with to the prenatals! It helps to foster understand to why choices that are being made are the ones being made. The other thing I liked was that they said just by working with a midwife doesn't promise you a homebirth because that is realistic. I know I don't want to be induced again like with Claire. Interestingly enough, for a Caucasian first time pregnancy, 15 days should be added to the EDD. Crazy, right? Well apparently different races have different amounts of times for gestation! Read towards the bottom of this link: I found that fascinating because it seems like EVERYBODY is induced nowadays...sometimes even before their due date. Why? Well I guess it varies from case to case...but it seems like the doctors are setting up patients for failure.

I would also like to prevent another posterior labor. That is something no regular doctor even cares about. Since Claire came out that way, I'm more likely to have another baby like that, although I've not met anyone that has had 2 babies posterior. My mom and Grandma LaVerne both had one of their babies posterior and said it was their hardest labor. I don't have anything to compare it to, yet.

Is homebirth safe? Yes. Homebirth is safe. We can't live in fear. Hospitals don't save people anyways. People save people. I know homebirth isn't for everyone and people will disapprove. But they also think it's weird that I still let Claire nurse. So bring it on. I chalk it up to lack of education in the arena. So before leaving a negative comment, make sure you read all my links...or at least mostly skimmed them.


Kelly said...

I'm glad you find a midwife you like! My sister in law had her 2nd at home and she had a really great experience with it. I hope you are able to have the birth you really want! :)

Patty said...

Wow...There's a lot to say! I think homebirth is wonderful way to have a baby, and although we had Molly at the birthcenter, it was NOTHING like the hospital birth I'd had with Maureen, and it was fantastic. I was so happy to be home that same day, and have myself and my husband to do all of those personal little things with Maureen in our own house...

I hope your birth is better this time. A Midwife that you like and trust goes a long way to getting there!!

soozenw said...

I hope that you will be able to have your home birth! I too have been reading the crap out of home birth stats and stories (especially HBAC since that is what I am doing), and I feel so good about my decision. So good, in fact, that I am actually looking forward to giving birth-not just the end result, the entire process!

This is the best quote I have read in my reading, “The first intervention in *natural* childbirth is the one the woman does herself when she walks out the front door of her house. It is from that first intervention that all the others follow.”---Dr. Michael Rosenthal

Curllyq said...

This is my favorite link:
It's one place that has link to lots of info, studies, people who know what they are tlaking about, etc...

No annecdotal "evidence" of risk. It's great!