This post is my contribution to PAIL’s October 2012 Monthly Theme on Birth Stories. The prompts on this month’s theme asked readers to explore how their birth experience(s) affected their parenting and future plans. I already wrote out my daughter’s birth story in a LONG three part series here right after she was born nearly two years ago. In this post, I’m going to talk more about how that experience affected my hopes & plans for my second birth. As always, my choices regarding pregnancy and parenting are in no way commentary on your choices! They are just what worked for us.
For 1st time readers of my blog, I’m a regular girl who loves to travel & drink beer & shoot the shit with my friends who somehow turned fairly “natural” or “hippy” or “crunchy” or whatever you want to call it when I finally got pregnant with my daughter (born Dec 2011). I truly believe to each their own when it comes to birth experiences – I just knew that, for me personally, I didn’t want to approach birth as a medical problem that needed solving. Don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful that modern medicine & technology exists (hello 1st ART conception!), but I’ve never been hip on relying on it unless absolutely necessary. I wanted to have faith in the naturalness of the birth experience, and I credit a lot of that to my own mother who birthed all 5 of us kids “all natural” in the hospital during a time when it really wasn’t the cool thing to do. Her doctor actually thought she was crazy for wanting to decline an epidural and walk around during contractions! LOL. She taught me that birth is just another part of life. I’ll never forget the family sitting down together and watching all of the Baby Story videos when we were kids (I’m talking serious, watching the baby come out of the vagina kind of videos). My parents are chill like that. 🙂
My birth experience with Stella was honestly awesome. My birth preferences were followed perfectly by my midwife and the hospital staff, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I think that was equal parts good preparation (completing the HypnoBabies program & finding a provider who was on my page and 100% on board with supporting my wishes) and planning/luck (I arrived at the hospital already dilated to a 10 and ready to a push – this greatly decreased any chance of interventions happening that I wasn’t comfortable with). The most stressful part of the process was actually getting to the hospital and having to deal with serious contractions in the car for 30 minutes while I tried not to push!
Probably in large part because things went so smoothly with Stella’s birth, it really helped me to reclaim a feeling of pride and happiness with my body after years of feeling so defeated and broken thanks to Infertility. It also solidified the fact that I really wanted to try to do this in my own home if I was ever lucky enough to get a “next time.”
Fast forward 17 months to a positive pregnancy test, and one of my first thoughts was I want to try home birth this time!
My husband was not at all comfortable with the idea of home birth during our first pregnancy, and to be honest, I was also nervous about the logistics of it since we live 30 minutes from the hospital and this whole birth process was a new experience for both of us! Because of that, I never looked too deeply into it and compromising with a midwife assisted hospital birth was a pretty easy decision for us. However, this time around I did a lot of research about the safety and logistics of home birth and scheduled us for a two hour meeting with the local midwife (an extremely experienced man who has been delivering babies here for nearly 30 years). After a couple of weeks of thinking about everything, my husband agreed to give it a shot this time and support me in my home birth wishes.
[Side note – he is actually second guessing this lately, I think just because of general nerves surrounding having another baby, but that’s another story for another post, because DUDE, this home birth is happening. As one of my Twitter friends said, “She who pushes a baby out of her vag gets the only say. Pretty sure that’s an age-old proverb.”]
I should probably mention that I live in Colorado in an area that’s pretty home birth friendly. I say that because when I tell people here that we are planning on a home birth, the general reaction tends to be “Cool! With Bill?” When I tell people back in Minnesota (my home state), most of them think I’m nuts. 🙂 Just like there are great OBs and Certified Nurse Midwives and not-so-great ones, there are great and not-so-good home birth midwives as well. We are blessed to have a man here who is SO knowledgeable and skilled when it comes to midwifery, and I truly feel 100% at ease knowing that he (and his wife, a retired NICU nurse) will be on the scene when this little man arrives. Sometimes I feel judged by others for our decision to do this at home, but I try really hard to just let that go. I know the research I’ve done about safety and how qualified the provider we have chosen is, and I need to stay confident in that.
Another thing I like about this whole situation is having so much control over who knows what and when — and who can come visit and when. I think that initial bonding period of having just the four of us home together as a new family unit is going to be so important. My parents will drive out to CO after I give them the call, and I’ve made it clear to my husband that he needs to tell his parents (who live 15 minutes away) that they need to wait on our call to come over. I’ve spent the vast majority of this pregnancy being very relaxed and non-type A about things (SO odd for me), and I hope to continue that through birth, parenting, and beyond. I just spent the weekend with my parents in MN, and they (and my youngest sister) all commented at different times about what a relaxed parent I was and how refreshing that was. I like being perceived that way! I have rules for some things, but I definitely pick my battles, and I’d prefer to teach my daughter (and soon, my son!) about life through respect & love instead of through fear & intimidation. I know I’m getting a little hokey here, but for me, that extends to and includes how I feel about childbirth and doing everything in my power to have a calm, peaceful environment around me when I bring this child into the world, whether that’s at home or in the hospital.
Four of the main “cue words” in the HypnoBabies program are open, relax, release, & peace. Even now, nearly two years after my first birth experience, I find myself mentally checking out and repeating those words to myself when life gets stressful and I need to hit the reset button. I truly think that finding that program changed my life. It allowed me to really relax and feel confident during my first pregnancy and birth experience, and I think that has also led to me being a fairly calm, relaxed parent. This second pregnancy has truly been a time for me to again have faith in the process and in my body, and I am so excited to see what the future holds for this upcoming birth experience and our lives beyond it!
On that note, it’s time to pick back up my HypnoBabies coursework to get prepared for this little man’s arrival. I can’t believe I’m blessed to be doing this again! 🙂
To read other PAIL Bloggers posts on this topic, please click here!
Loved your write up. I get the same reactions from people when I say I’m having a homebirth again with baby number 2. I actually didn’t really tell anyone at all that we were doing that with my daughter when she was born because I knew all the relatives on both sides of the family and friends would discourage it and even after she was born I still got a lot of crap from people, the whole spew on well something could have went wrong and it would be all your fault if that happened, etc. I’m constantly hearing it this time around and just got to the point that I’m ignoring people or telling them to STFU. My hubby has always been on board with it and I actually ended up doing an unassisted homebirth with my first because she came 2 weeks early and the midwife in my area had a family emergency the day before and was in a different part of the state and since my labor went so fast couldn’t make it back in time. So now the whole idea doesn’t phase my hubby at all, he’s been through it all before including more than he bargained for, so he’s cool with it, LOL
I also like the fact that you are looking forward to the family bonding afterwards. That is the aspect I loved about my first homebirth. It was amazing to just have the bonding time there with no outside distractions at all. We actually waited several hours to tell anyone that I had given birth and while my parents live almost 3 hours away and wanted to visit ASAP I told them I wanted them to visit in 3 days ( I gave birth in the afternoon on Mon and they visited Thurs). That gave my hubby and I a couple days to get a routine figured out with no outside distractions which was really helpful for me, because my mom can be very overbearing and I knew if she showed up right away she’d want to constantly hold the baby, give advice, and it just wasn’t something I could deal with. My hubby’s parents live 20-30 minutes away and showed up the following night even though they were told not too, they literally just barged in our house without permission, I was beyond pissed. This time around my parents are determined to come the day I am giving birth to watch my daughter, which my daughter will be at home with us during the birth, so again I won’t be telling anyone when I am in labor and won’t let them know about it until several hours later and plan to do the same as last time where we have several days as a family to bond before family visits, and we plan to lock the doors at all times this time too, LOL I know other people love having family around right away, but for us, we have never had close families so we prefer to have our own bonding time before seeing any relatives.
I look forward to reading about your birth story this time around and how it goes. I’m due about 10 weeks after you and I’m always interested in reading other home birth stories. Hope it goes well for you!
Yeah, I definitely pick and choose who I bother saying anything to. It is definitely nice to live in an area where MANY people used themselves or had a best friend / sister / daughter / etc use the midwife I’m using. He is well respected!
We are actually really close to both of our families, but I still want that bonding time in the beginning to be just us 4 for awhile! I’m sure my MIL will be a huge help (honestly – no sarcasm!) once I’m ready for it… the biggest challenge will just be getting her to stay away until I’m ready for her. 🙂
I love the Hypnobabies cue words, and I’ve been interested in this method since the beginning. My doctor (who we love and who always is very concerned with my unique needs and concerns) will happily attempt (in fact, prefers) to deliver both babies vaginally if the baby whose head is closest to the cervix is head down and is not significantly smaller than the higher baby. However, I have not yet talked to him about my pain relief options (or lack of options) given that we’ll be having a twin delivery, so I don’t know that med-free is possible. Many times with twin birth, they are very hesitant to do a med-free delivery, because the chances of emergency c-section are so much higher. Yes, I could have general anesthesia for a c-section if an emergency occurs, but I really, REALLY don’t like this option. I’ve read that many hospitals also insist on doing twin vaginal deliveries in the operating room (YUCK), both because of the greater risk of need for the operating room and because there is simply more space for all of the people needed for each baby after delivery. We’ll have to wait and see what the doctor says about all of this.
Did you actually attend Hypnobabies classes? Or did you purchase materials and do a self-study?
With #1, I bought the home study course and followed that at home, plus we did a 1 day 6 hour class in the classroom that was sort of a crash course on it all (super helpful for my husband I think).
I also joined the Yahoo HB board, and there were tons of women on there using it for VBAC, planned c/s, twin births, etc. People loved the program for a variety of reasons!
I’m super curious what your doc will say about all of your options!
Not sure of your situation other than this comment. But if your doc/hospital is not cool with med free a compromise could be to have the epidural line placed but not hooked up so there is still easy access if needed. A VBAC friend was going to this until she found a more supportive doc. But it sounds like you have a good one.
Such a great mindset for ALL of life! I am most definitely a hospital birther, but totally feel you on the private binding time part. I sent an email to both our families about EXACTLY what the visiting rules were before Gracie was born, then pretty much cut and pasted it for Lyla’s birth 20 months later. And 20 months after that, I’ll be doing the same for Poppy. What works for our situation and family dynamic is allowing our immediate families to come meet Baby in the hospital, then once we’re home, everyone is to stay away unless explicitly asked by ME. All three sets of our parents (mine are divorced and remarried) live very close by and love to think they own our children’s time. I <3 visiting rules 🙂
LOL, a close family – such a mixed blessing sometimes. 🙂
I love the idea of a home birth! I would have loved to have that option when I had my 2 kids, but unfortunately for me, I’m about as high risk as they come. So I was induced both times and had to get an epidural because I just could not handle contractions with pitocin.
I’ve found that I’m a very laid back parent as well. Actually, just a few weeks ago my mom told me she thinks I’m spoiling my kids, lol! I guess because I don’t stick to a ridged schedule with them, and I love to put my son in my moby wrap, so my mom thinks I hold him too much. Then with my daughter she thinks I need to discipline her more. But I’m like you, I pick my battles. I don’t think every little thing my daughter does wrong deserves a punishment.
I will be praying for you and your upcoming birth! You will do great!
I am firmly a believer in there is no such thing as holding a baby too much! In our womb they are held 24/7 – it’s a DRASTIC reduction to be held even half of that after they’re born! I held my daughter non-stop when she was young and it doesn’t seem to have had any sort of negative affect on her. 🙂
I wish I’d read this when Bryson was born. You are so right, and I’ve never thought of it that way. Thank you!
Cool! Sounds like you guys are really prepared and in great hands to have the birth that works best for all of you. I think you sound very confident in and happy about your choices, as you should be! That’s the thing–I never let myself feel shamed for choosing a hospital birth or pain med because I know what’s important to me at my core about my birth experiences and I know I’m doing what I need to do to achieve that. So are you, so there’s no reason for others’ judgments to matter at all. I think it’s only when we’re operating out of a place of reactionary fear or avoidance or coercion that others’ judgments matter– because if you’re confident and happy in your decision to homebirth/breastfeed/formula feed/stay-at-home/work/whatever, other people don’t really have a place in the conversation anymore. Not that it feels good to be attacked or insulted, in spite of that.
Anyway, that was all long, but I’m excited for you!
Exactly – operating out of a place of reactionary fear gets none of us anywhere! We all have to do what is best for us and our families.
Oh yeah! And I meant to say that picture of her as a newborn even looks like her now! I don’t know if it’s her eyes or nose or what, but something about her face has stayed strong all along. It’s really amazing 🙂
I think it’s her lips. She’s always had amazing lips. 🙂
Love reading about your plans for a home birth. My 3rd I used hypnobabies in the hospital as well as a doula (again) and a tub before pushing…after 3.5 hr labor and delivery start to finish those 3 things really helped!
We moved to our current state 3 years ago and my parents and step parents are about 2.5-3 hrs away and my in laws are in Canada. My first we did have a little bonding time and my second, but with my third and this one again I am hoping my in laws come down about a week before I am due. I went into labor about 4:30am last time, and my sitter is in HS and most of my friends have 3-4 young kids so we really need someone here that isn’t 3-8 hrs away if I need to go in to the hospital. That is where a home birth would be nice 🙂
I love this post and I can’t wait to read all about your home birth experience. As someone who could never do that because I’m too high risk, I am fascinated by the experience for those whom home births are right. Two years ago, I would never have admitted to that. I would have been you’re all crazy and stuff because I was not educated. Over the past 2 years I’ve learned so much from you and the other lovely ladies who have chosen home births. I have always wondered about it, but would never admit it because of my knowledge of everything bad, stupid NICU experience. Thank you for sharing your stories and you’re right THIS HOME BIRTH IS A-HAPPENING!!!! And yes, some people are just too much in their own way to see a different perspective!
I am so excited for you! As you know, I do not get into birth plans, etc. but I do love hearing and reading about home birth! I can’t wait to read about your experience and I so hope it goes as you’re expecting and hoping it will!
That’s a beautiful post and a lovely way to parent and live life. Good luck with your home birth!
I hope your home birth goes smoothly!
You look so young in this pic. I love how happy you both are. You’ve mentioned before your mom had all natural births. Was there anything specific that prompted her to go against the norm? It’s great that you have such supportive close families. I’m close with my family but my epidural using formula redding mom(nothing wrong with that but not me) doesn’t get why I don’t want to just schedule a c-section, which is…hard.
Nah, my Mom has just always been a “walk on the earth barefoot and ride a horse bareback every day of life” kinda gal. 🙂 When I told my parents we were doing a homebirth this time, my Dad said “COOL! We totally should have done that with you kids. The only complication we ever had was caused by the stupid doctor being impatient.” I love that they’re so chill about stuff.
[…] October – This month I was mostly focused on work / maternity leave issues and what to do about our daycare situation. Sometimes it sucks to have to buckle down and think about adult stuff, eh? I did chime in at the end of the month with my thoughts on my first birth experience and how it affected my plans for this upcoming birth. […]