July 11, 2012

Birth @ Home vs. Hospital

Moriah, Lily and Shiphrah were all born in the hospital.  Each of their deliveries were different, but  my birth with Shiphrah was the complete opposite from what I was expecting and hoping.  Being in the hospital created more complications and stress than was needed and I felt that a lot of unnecessary medical intervention was pushed upon me.  As a result I felt like an object of labor and not an individual with thoughts, wishes and a free will.  So I considered other options and elected to give birth at home.  Here are the perks:

Personal Prenatal Care
I switched from an OB to a homebirth midwife.  Debbie Pulley and Kay Johnson at Atlanta Birth Care are excellent midwives with a combined 50+ years experience.  During my prenatal visits with them, I noticed that they were just as thorough as the doctor's staff, but much more personable towards me and individualistic in my care.  Each of my visits with them lasted at least an hour and they were excited about my pregnancy.  The OB doctor doesn't take too much interest in low-risk cases like mine and I felt like a number.

Doctors know about drugs and surgery.  The midwives know a lot of alternative, natural methods to aid your body to do what it's supposed to do.  They also administer drugs and do stitches too.  The home birth midwives in Britain can give intravenous drugs.  It seems to me as I research more and more, that midwives (being a traditional profession dating back to Moses and probably before) have a broader depth of knowledge than most doctors.  I have every reason to trust them with my gynecological care.

No Bureaucracy
I didn't have to worry about my pre-registration forms getting processed before I showed up in labor to the hospital.  Neither did I have to worry about signing legal waivers at 10 cm dilation.  A lot of the care received in the hospital is so they can cover their own rear ends from litigation.

Freedom to Labor
I didn't want to give birth on my back, pushing the baby uphill and be stitched up later because I couldn't push in a different position.  Being able to labor at home was such a HUGE benefit!  You are in a comfortable environment where you can do whatever you feel would help alleviate or distract you from the pain.  As a result of this, I never really felt like I was in labor until the last 5 minutes because everything I was doing, REALLY made all the progression bearable and the pain less severe.  When you're forced to lay in a bed without the ability to move the pain seems more intense.  At home I could participate in my labor, instead of letting labor happen to me.  I wasn't expecting that squatting in the shower or sitting on the toilet would effectively reduce my pain but it did, to the extent that my labor was more like an illusive hope rather than a stark reality. 

No Unnecessary Medical Interventions
I wanted to give birth naturally and vaginally.  I wanted to avoid a cesarean at all costs.  During my pitocin induced labor with Shiphrah, the OB threatened me with a Section, as I was not progressing.  As a result of the threat of C-section, I was coerced into receiving an epidural I didn't initially want.  A C-section is major abdominal surgery with serious risks involved, as with any major surgery, and I knew my body would never be the same afterwards.  The Doctors present C-section as though it were like cutting your nails, but it's not.  One in three births is now a c-section.  If your labor endures until 24 hours (which is typical for some, unfortunately) they will just cut you open to get the baby out, even if your water hasn't broken because, "It's time."  They are too impatient to let nature take it's God-ordained course.

If I did end up going to the hospital after attempting a home birth, it's because medical intervention was necessary because a complication arose during labor.  The hospital, doctors and nurses are there for emergency situations and women with real complications.  Preeclampsia, incompetent cervix, pre-term labor and other risky situations are why hospitals were originally created.  In 1900, 95% of all US births were delivered at home.  By 1955, 97% if all US births were delivered in the hospital.  Both of my parents have siblings born in the home and hospital. 

Better Bonding
In the hospital, they take the baby from you after the birth.  Some nursing staffs are more eager to take the baby than others, but they do this to perform a variety of tests and to bathe the babyAfter Moriah was born, I didn't get to hold her at all for several hours!  As soon as she came out of the birth canal, she was whisked by a nurse to the other side of the room where she remained until I had to ask to even see her.  They put her next to my head but not in my hands before taking her to the nursery.  After Lily and Shiphrah were born they placed them on my chest and cleaned them there and allowed me to nurse before taking them to the nursery.  Joseph and I have never been separated while he was awake which has allowed me to become better acquainted with my newborn and it has given us a stronger start at establishing his breastfeeding and sleeping patterns.

Real Rest and Recovery
I did NOT want to stay overnight in the hospital.  The nursing staff comes to take your vital signs at all hours of the day and night.  During the day, people want to visit you and during the night the nurses want to take all your vitals, so I never got any sleep.  I would come home from the hospital exhausted with baggy eyes.  I wanted to be able to rest and recover at home without the poking and prodding.  Real rest allows the body to recover much more rapidly.

No Worldview Confrontations
I hate how the nurses ask you, just hours after giving birth, about birth control methods.  "We don't want our babies too close together," a nurse said to me once.  "Fine.  These are not your babies!  This decision is between God, me and my husband."  

There are also so many safety reasons why I wanted to plan a home birth.  Occasionally you hear about babies being switched at birth or people trying to steal a newborn out of the hospital.  There are also many illnesses all nicely contained in the hospital. 

Also, giving birth at home is consistent with our efforts to live more self-sufficient lives.  The more you're "on the grid" (as Jeramy says) the easier it is to track you in the event that our country becomes more and more communistic.  Plus, if you're more self-sufficient, you're more prepared for missions in a lesser developed country.  You don't have to pay someone to do a skill that you are capable of doing yourself.
I commend you to watch the documentary by Ricki Lake, The Business of Being Born. It's filled with statistics, personal stories and birthing scenes.  They interview doctors, nurses, couples, and midwives.

July 10, 2012

Joseph's Birth Story

The due date was fast approaching and I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of our newest addition.  In the early morning hours on Tuesday the 19th (the due date) I had regular contractions and thought that I might be in labor.  However after several hours of clock watching and trips to the bathroom, the contractions were getting consistently farther apart and completely ceased after about 5 hours when I relieved myself.  That’s the last time I’ll eat two bowls of red chili and push a stroller uphill for a mile the day before I’m due! 

The day after came . . .

. . . and went.

Apparently I have a hard time waiting.

Two days after the due date, Thursday, I try to continue business as usual and keep my mind off of the fact that the baby is late.  My last midwife appointment was that morning and I had to ask Debbie, “So, the baby is going to come out, right?!”  And I was totally serious and somewhat discouraged as I asked her that question.  She looked at me and said, “You know, of all the expectant mothers we’ve had . . . they ALL have their babies.”  I just needed to hear that.  This was the first time I’ve ever reached and exceeded my baby’s due date.

That afternoon, I begin making dinner and notice an uncomfortable contraction at 5:18.  We sit down to eat dinner and at 6:18 I start timing my contractions as they are regular and I’m not really interested in eating.

After dinner, about 6:45, dinner is over and we decide to go outside to walk around and see if I’m in labor.  The whole family comes to cheer me on.  The neighbors across the street are outside and they begin talking with Jeramy about building an entertainment center.  So, we all go in their house and I’m still having regular contractions.  I’m distracted by the conversation, but I’m still pretty uncomfortable and tired of walking around.

We got back to our house at 7:30p.m. and I continue pacing the floor for another 30 minutes to see if the contractions intensify.  I call the midwife at 8p.m. and tell her what’s going on.  She could hear the uncertainty in my voice as to whether or not I was in labor.  I wanted to be sure of my labor before I had her come. 

I laid down for 30 minutes and my contractions were very erratic in frequency and intensity and I was almost completely convinced that it was NOT labor.  Jeramy called my Mom to tell her that there was some “activity”.  Mom decided to come over and sit for a while to see if anything was going to happen.  But I thought it would be a waste of her time. 

I got up from the sofa and as I walked to the toilet, I could not walk through my contraction.  If we were planning a hospital birth, that was the indicator to begin packing up to leave.  But, I decided to sit on the toilet for 30 more minutes to determine if I was in labor and then I called the midwife again to give her an update.  It was now 9p.m.  She and I agreed that I would call around 10 or 10:30 to let her know if my contractions stop or if they continue and I want them to come. 

Every time I moved, the contractions would reset themselves and change character.  And because of this, I was thrown off, thinking it was just flatulence, as it was before.  I know the character of real labor contractions and what I was enduring was far from it, so I considered that it wasn’t yet that serious.

After another 10 minutes, I thought it would be nice to get in the shower.  After washing off, I just stood there letting the water massage my lower back.  It was very therapeutic.  During each contraction I would tilt my hips and squat slightly, hoping that if I was truly in labor, my water might break.  But that never happened.  While I was in the shower, Mom popped in to ask about the girls’ shoes and decided to take them to her house.  By God’s providence she arrived just in time. 

Ten minutes before 10p.m. I get out and put on my robe.  Jeramy was laying on the bed, staying awake to see what would happen.  I kneel down next to him on the floor.  Then I have two really painful contractions about 3 minutes apart, that I endure with moaning.  This is it!  Then I feel something really peculiar and rush to get to the toilet.  My water breaks with a little cupful into the toilet bowl.  I call the midwife at 10:15p.m. and tell her that the pain is getting more intense, my water broke and I want her to come now.  I told her I thought she might have 10 minutes to get dressed and get to the house.  I tell Jeramy to get the birthing pool ready.  And no sooner had I said these words with great difficulty, I felt the need to push!  I called the midwife back and said, “Debbie, the baby is coming NOW!!”  I screamed for Jeramy, who had just barely reached the kitchen with the pool, to come catch the baby!  I threw the phone onto the counter and stood up.  I couldn’t have the baby in the toilet!  I couldn’t stand up either, so I just instinctively got down on my knees leaning on the bathtub.  Then Jeramy ran into the bathroom and yelled, “NO!!  You can’t do this to me!  Don’t push!  You have to wait until the midwife gets here!  You have to wait 10 minutes!”  I told him that I couldn’t wait and he must get down on the floor and catch the baby! 

With my right elbow on the tub and my left hand reached down between my legs, I felt the head coming out and screamed again for Jeramy to catch the baby.  He got behind me and as I pushed the baby out, I guided the head back so he could catch him.

After the baby came out, I was in shock for a minute as I realized what had just happened.  The midwife was still on the phone and Jeramy was freaking out.  Debbie spend several minutes calming Jeramy down.  Then I realized that we had a boy!  Jeramy did not want me to move or push anymore, so we just hung out in the bathroom, all of us covered in water and blood until the midwives arrived about 20 minutes after the birth.  They cleaned all our mess up, did all their checks and left around 1 or 1:30a.m.

All in all, it was the best birth ever!  We named our baby Joseph Wade.  We’ve had his name picked out for the last 5 years.

July 7, 2012

Introducing Joseph Wade!

Thursday June 21st @ 10:25p.m. 
7lbs. 5 oz 
20.5 inches

These pictures were taken at 10 days old by the lovely Leah.
I will post the birth story soon.