October 2, 2009

Birth choices...

After the birth of my first daughter, I knew in future births, I'd want something different from the hospital environment and spent time thinking about how the first time differed from what I’d hoped to experience. I wanted to be in my own space, free to move and make noise if I wanted to and to be un-drugged when my baby arrived. I also wanted the attendance of an experienced midwife who would support me in the moments I didn’t think I could make it and be there to monitor my baby's safety. I am pro homebirth but I was not ready to have an unassisted birth. 

We planned carefully and I took some time to mentally prepare myself for the upcoming birth. We went over the birth plan with our midwife and had a backup plan to transport to a local hospital in case of an emergency. But both my husband and I believe strongly that a woman’s body is specially designed to give birth without interventions. We still did all the normal labs and had an ultrasound to be sure our baby was low risk for a home birth. I also worked through a great book by Pam England called Birthing from Within and highly recommend it.

My wonderful midwife, Pam White, walked me through thirty-nine weeks with wisdom and compassion. By the time of the birth, she was truly a friend and I felt a strong degree of trust in both her experience as a professional midwife and as a mother who had been where I was going. She knew when to encourage me and when be silent. She respected the intimate moment that my second daughter's birth became for us and we connected in a very profound way.
My husband, in particular, preferred the home birth experience to the hospital. Since my midwife and her apprentice were there for the entire labor (for the last few hours), he felt free to run to the kitchen for juice or just be available to support me as I needed him. He felt my midwife was far more attentive than the doctor we had at the hospital.

There are people who give me that “Wow, you’re so brave to birth at home” comment. Some of them mean it and some of them are clearly thinking, “You’re so crazy to birth at home.” That’s ok. This is a big world with room for lots of different ways of doing things. I'm glad chose to invite Pam to be part of this moment in our lives.

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