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Birth Stories - Homebirth Birth Stories
Thursday, 23 October 2008 10:33

     When I was sixteen I heard a story on the television about a unique doctor in Russia. He attended women laboring and birthing in water. I was immediately drawn to this, imagining how wonderful it would be to totally relax and float through labor. I gathered what little information I came upon and kept it throughout the years forgetting about it until my first pregnancy many years later. When I did call doctors in my area they all laughed at me. It was recommended that I either go to Russia, or France, where another doctor was also attending to women in water births. That pregnancy ended in miscarriage as did my dream of water birthing.

      My next pregnancy was healthy and happy, however it ended with what I believe to be a premature and unnecessary cesarean section for a frank breach presentation ... and dinnertime. My ability to try and birth naturally was undermined by a doctor with little regard for the long term effects of unnecessary surgery.

      Three years later I was ready to try again. A close friend had recently had a home birth utilizing water for management of labor pain. I had thought the age of midwifery was gone, but with her support and a new direction, (away from the standard medical community), I researched my desire to water birth at home. It was all set. My husband was completely supportive, and I was completely informed, or so I thought. I called the midwife of my choice. We talked for a few minutes and then she asked about my first birth. Upon hearing of the C-section she informed me that no midwife in Arizona would be able to attend me at home. It was illegal for anyone other than a doctor to attend to a vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC) here. (I later found out that this was not entirely true and that a Nurse Midwife could attend a home VBAC). There were no medical doctors supporting home birth, let alone water births in Arizona. I was devastated! Tears rolled down my face in disbelief. I was angry because the politics in the medical community were blocking my ability to birth my way, not once, but twice! Only unnecessary fear, not mine, but theirs, blocked my ability to birth naturally. Once I calmed down, and with the support of my friend, I made a few more calls that eventually lead me to the Cesarean Prevention Movement. I learned the importance of prevention that day. I learned how every medical intervention can effect the outcome of delivery. I was more determined than ever to avoid the hospitals and birth at home, in safety. My desire of "water birth therefore home birth", changed to "home birth therefore safe birth". Water became a tool of labor management and home birth became a belief. The CPM gave me the name of a naturopathic doctor, Farra Swan, attending home births. She was my only choice. I was determined that she would accept me as a candidate for home delivery, and that I would accept her.

      Although that pregnancy ended in miscarriage, this time, my birthing dream had not. I met with Farra, and we discussed each of our beliefs regarding pregnancy and delivery. We did not agree with each other on all aspects but we were both flexible and we accepted one another as clients. I became pregnant immediately after the miscarriage and with a little progesterone management I stayed pregnant and healthy. My due date came ... and went. Farra and I discussed possible induction, something I was against except in extreme circumstances. The facts were that at fourteen days past an estimated date of delivery she had to send me to the hospital for a stress test. Regardless of the results, the medical establishment would almost certainly recommend hospitalization and induction. Farra would have to follow their recommendations and so would I if I were to stay her client. Again, I felt the politics of birth affecting a very private and personal decision. Farra and I decided that if I went to 42 weeks we would try induction by castor oil, if that didn't work I would have to go in for the stress test.

      I was lucky. Labor started at 41 weeks, Labor Day, 1993. I woke at 4:15am to mild, yet consistent contractions. At first I didn't know if it was the real thing, but within 30 minutes, I was sure. I woke Ken up at 5:00am and he started filling the birthing tub. I called Farra to let her know things were starting, and my support team for them to come. Things started moving so fast. I was already beginning to work pretty hard by the time most of my support team was there. I had prepared for "endless" hours of light labor, not this intensity so early. My crew consisted of five friends and my husband, even my four year old daughter was there to give love and encouragement. I hand picked them and had been very specific on my expectations of them while I was in labor. This paid off. With their loving support, I was able to labor in "dreamland". I called for Ken to stay with me. I went deeper into my body ... I used deep, low moaning ... I was in an "altered state". Soon I wanted water. Period. Farra and I had agreed to wait to get into the birthing tub until I was in transition, so I settled for the shower. The move there took a couple of contractions in itself, but once in the shower and on all fours, I felt some relief. The pounding of hot water on my back was wonderful. I'm not sure how long I was in there for, but I was afraid that I'd run out of hot water soon. My focus changed. Things hurt more, I had to get out. I wanted to get into the birthing tub. It didn't matter to me that Farra wasn't there yet. I knew my body was right, and I followed those desires. With the combination of warm water, deep moaning and loving support, I was able to find a place with in my body where I could just "be". My support team was part of me too. An extension of my will. They anticipated my needs. I didn't need to think.


Farra arrived almost as soon as I'd done the switch. She checked my vitals and dilation, and the baby's vitals too. All was well. I was dilated to five centimeters. I went back into my dreamland after the check. Farra's assistant, Elizabeth, arrived, but I hardly noticed when, just that she was there and that it felt good everyone was ready. It seemed only minutes later (it was actually 40) I wanted to push. Push? Already? Farra checked me again. I was at 10, with a small lip to go. But I wanted to push... now. Farra held the lip so I wouldn't tear. Pushing was more work than I'd prepared for. The incredible amount of energy it took overwhelmed me. Although it was only fifty-six minutes, I felt like I pushed for many hours. Mentally, it was the longest part of my labor, but using my hands to feel the baby's head move really helped me to realize that I was progressing and that the baby was moving in the right direction. I called softly to him, singing, "Baby... Baaa-beee...Baaa-beee", It felt good to talk to him. It was peaceful between pushes and Sydney encouraged me, "You can do it, Mommy". She touched me softly. She was completely aware of this wonderful event.

      Then it hit! The ring of fire - appropriately named. It felt good to scream, it was cleansing. Farra coached me through those contractions. I could hardly wait to hold my baby. I think Farra was about to remind me to go slow, but I forgot about the shoulders and gave a strong push. Taylor Anthony was welcomed into this world at 9:05am. Farra checked him over while he lay in my arms - warm water caressing us both. We were surrounded by so much love. We all sat around in a daze. Ken cut the cord when it stopped pulsating. Everyone helped clean up while Taylor and I rested comfortably. Ken made a special gourmet french toast breakfast for everyone. It was a wonderful way to thank everyone and end such a beautiful morning of celebration.

The celebration of birth.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 14 November 2008 09:10
 
 

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