by Caroline, USA
My first birth went badly. I researched NOTHING during my pregnancy. I had full medical. I went to all my appointments. I did everything the doctor told me without question.
After 26 hours of labor, I had no strength. The epidural was causing uncontrollable back spasms. I could not concentrate on anything, and was already feeling very “out of it.” The doctor recommended an emergency c-section. So they carted me into an emergency room, put up a sheet so that aaron and I could see nothing, and they pumped me full of enough anesthetic so that I stopped twitching, and could not longer move, speak, or even think clearly. Isaiah was cut out and handed from doctor to nurse to nurse to doctor while we looked on from across the room. The nurse bathed him while he screamed. It was more than 2 hours before I could hold him. He would not nurse for the first month. I continued to pump with the hopes that we would eventually be able to enjoy that, which finally after many tears happened.
I didn't want my second birth to go this way. And after a c-section the outlook seemed even worse. Doctors demanded a 2nd c-section. My first doctor, whom I immediately quit, strongly urged a tubal ligation. That is where they tie your fallopian tubes in a knot so that you are incapable of having any more children. WHY? He said 2 was enough children.
It was after that appointment I really cried out to the Lord. I was SO scared, disappointed, and hoping against all apparent reason that there was a better solution. I wanted 6 kids, maybe more. That isn't a joke to me, it is my deep desire to be a Proverbs 31 wife and mother, with my children surrounding me and blessing me. I wanted my husband and I to raise our children with names of promise and pray our blessings over them and their lives.
And that is when I heard of homebirth.
I found another doctor, and continued to struggle and argue with her as I researched and read on my own about this other possibility. I found more and more articles and evidence that doctors interventions, stress of being in the hospital and any drugs or hormones greatly increased chances of having complications in childbirth, including leading up to c-sections. My research led me to believe that the epidural actually caused my failure to progress. I felt that if given the opportunity I could birth my child naturally. I finally found the courage to talk to my husband about it. At first he said nothing.
My new doctor at first seemed like she wanted to “work with me.” She offered the “trial of labor.” That is where I go into labor and we watch and monitor it closely and any signs that it is not progressing or any signs of complications we would immediately go into another emergency c-section. I asked her about her success rates. She said, “Oh about 60%.” That meant that 40% of the time it ended in a c-section.
That wasn't good enough for me. And I told her so. I told her how much it meant to me to have a natural birth. I didn't want IVs. I didn't want the monitoring band around my stomach. I didn't want doctors I didn't know and tons of nurses surrounding me and taking away from the experience between myself, the baby and my husband. But those were all just part and parcel of the hospital birth.
And that is when my husband said, “Yes. We will do a homebirth.”
And that was when our doctor started lying. She purposely measured my stomach incorrectly, telling me the baby measured weeks too large. She purposely started stretching the percentages of uterine ruptures after c-sections. We found out that I had gestational diabetes. I increased my research, and my prayer. I began a careful diet to control my blood sugar to ensure my baby's safety and health. After the first week there were no signs of uncontrolled blood sugar. my doctor demanded more tests. There continued to be no signs of uncontrolled blood sugar.
Then my doctor calmly asked me to take non stress tests. At first I complied, although this meant that I now had to ride the bus or walk to the doctors office twice a week now, sit for 30-60 minutes with my toddler son while attached to a monitor to see if myself or the baby were under stress. They came back negative. We were fine.
After a couple of appointments the doctor said, she wanted the baby to move more and requested a second ultrasound. I went to get my second ultrasound. 1.5 hours of laying there while the technician measured and measured and measured. I requested a printout of the measurements.
While most of it would not make sense to me, there were included estimates of how large the baby was compared to it's gestational age. They told me only the doctor could give me this information.
At my next appointment she told me the baby was too big and MUST BE INDUCED at 36 weeks. I refused and requested the documentation. The doctor said I had to talk to the hospital, who said I had to talk to the doctor, who said I had to talk to the hospital. Why the run around?
So I did not go to any more appointments. I continued my careful diet. I gathered equipment for my homebirth. I prayed and prayed incessantly to make sure I was doing the right thing, for my baby, for my family.
The morning of my due date I took castor oil. That evening labor started. My husband took our son to a friends for the night. I called my sister in law who was going to assist us. We all slept a few hours.
I woke up after a while and labored quietly in the other room. My sister in law woke and found me up. So we watched Frasier and ate toast with peanut butter. In the early morning hours we took a walk. It seemed like the labor was slowing down. So when we returned home I took a warm bath.
My water broke, and I got out. Hard labor had begun.
I could barely walk to the living room. I leaned on the arm of the couch and couldn't move anymore. My husband saw that it was time. I was afraid and started to cry. But my husband and sister in law were right there and encouraging me. And I cried out “Lord help me!” And my baby girl came out in 4 pushes, less than 30 minutes. I could feel her little hand moving wedged against her face. And then she was wrapped up and in my arms. I sat there for a long time, and offered to nurse her.
But she was not ready. Eventually my husband took her for her first bath while I took a shower.
Then we settled in on the couch for my son to arrive and our first guests.