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!