Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Birth, undecided.

We've had one hospital birth with a lot of interventions, one hospital birth go so fast that the delivery happened unassisted, and then our third birth which we planned at home with a midwife.

The homebirth was the best birth, for many reasons. I love homebirth, and I don't love hospital birth, so it would seem natural that the decision of where to deliver our baby in December would be an easy one.

But it's not.

The simple reason for this is fear.

As safe as birth is, as capable as our bodies are, there is still so much fear involved. You cannot predict or plan birth. You can prepare and anticipate, and if you've had more than one birth already, know within reason how your body will respond to the demands, but largely, each birth feels like entering into the unknown.

When we were planning Michael's homebirth, I read every book I could find on the subject, and was convinced at what homebirths advocated--that for those mothers who were good candidates, homebirth was   comparatively a very safe option.

So, why all the doubt all of a sudden?

It's not me, really, it's mostly Mark. He was/is nervous. There's a chance the midwife won't make it, and a chance that something could go wrong. Those are very valid concerns, and something that no amount of planning can predict. We've known people who have delivered unassisted (this is not okay with me, neither Mark or I are medically trained) and people who despite standard prenatal care have delivered babies that necessitated a medical emergency. These complications can be so random, and it is hard not to think that we might be leaving the health of our child to chance.

On the flip side, hospital delivery for me hasn't been a walk in the park. It takes multiple (3-6) attempts to start an IV, I have trouble communicating my needs and advocating for myself, and the thought of not being able to hold my newborn immediately following birth without him being taken away from me to be washed, given antibiotics and a Vitamin K shot is agonizing to me, especially after having been able to have the beautiful opportunity to hold Michael, and bond with him in his first moments. That experience was priceless, and in the same way I fear birth complications, I fear policy preventing such an important moment in the life of a mother and child.

There are so many things we're weighing these days--being able to stay at home and not rushing to the hospital (my last two deliveries have been fast), but, it is nice to have nurses take care of the dirty linens, drinks and meals. I worry about coping with labor in a hospital, when I know I am able to tolerate it when I am comfortable in my own home.

Really, now that I am noticeably, unmistakably pregnant, this issue is all-consuming to my thoughts. We are simply undecided. I'm thankful we have safe options available to us, and my healthy pregnancies have afforded this conversation in the first place. I want to do the right thing for us in this situation. I was confident that our last delivery was the right thing to do, and I am waiting in prayer as we try to maneuver another chapter.

11 comments:

Sarah said...

We will continue to pray for you and Mark. We know this feeling . . . each birth we go through this same, agonizing decision process. It's so difficult. Hang in there. I think the Holy Spirit will make it clear to you. And once you know, rest confidently in your decision.

Mallory said...

Sarah, these are SUCH the perfect words to write to me right now. Thank you!!!!

We will keep praying, and we still have plenty of time. I'm so thankful I've had friends who have walked the same path!

Ana said...

So glad you posted about this- I think it is beautiful that you are weighing it and not just making an automatic decision based on "principles"-- I think God puts things on our hearts for a reason...
Our 2nd had to be a c-section that would have gone horribly wrong had I tried to do it naturally like the first (not trying to freak you out at all!!) But with our first it was completely natural in a hospital and I just told the nurses to leave me the h-alone and NO you cannot give my baby that shot right away. I know they were super annoyed with me so I got a doula for this upcoming birth so I won't have to deal with silly nurses and hospital rules. In the end it is our birth and our baby and they are our decisions to make. OK sorry that was a crazy rant. I just love that you posted about this, it is pretty much ALL I think about anymore too. Prayers for you!!

Mallory said...

Ana, thank you! And no apologies about ranting. There is so much to consider when giving birth. Of course, all I want in the end is a healthy baby, and if intervention is required, then so be it. But, that isn't the ideal and it isn't what I want, so the decision is a difficult one to weigh.

My goal has never been to have a baby at home or to prove anything, but to have a baby safely. Right now I am just waiting on my natural instinct to kick in, and prayer to help lead us to a decision. Either way, I want to be confident that we are doing the right thing.

Thank you for your comment, and prayers for you!! I understand how consuming the end of pregnancy is. It's all I can think about those last weeks!

Abby said...

I'm sorry you're struggling with this. It is a big decision, and often times it isn't very fun to hear everyone's stong opinions on the topic. You could probably guess that I have many thoughts on this... but I will elaborate on a few points. :)
First, unless you're GBS positive, you shouldn't need an IV at all! Secondly, why would they take the baby away initially?! Unless the babe is having issues (whereby I'm sure you would WANT the professionals to step in for the well-being of your newborn), the baby should go straight to your chest where he/she can be dried, stimulated, and breastfed before any interventions take place. This is becoming quite commonplace. Nobody should be opposed to it.
I can absolutely understand where you are coming from though... sometimes women feel they don't stand up for themselves in the moment and later regret their decisions. Have you ever thought of having a doula present? She could give you the confidence you need to assert yourself in those situations. I know one in your area that you may get along with! :)
Unfortunately, having been a maternity nurse, I know that usually deliveries are wonderful.. beautiful.. uncomplicated. But then there are deliveries where for unknown reasons the babe comes out not doing so well. Many times it's totally unexpected. I do not believe that childbirth is a medical emergency. Not at all. I do, however, feel much comfort with a little oxygen, an ambu bag, and a skilled individual on hand just in case. ;)
Whatever decision you make, I know it will be the right one for you. Once you make it, be confident that you are doing what is best for YOUR family. I will pray that this baby's birth will be as peaceful as Michael's - whether it's at home or in a hospital!

Mallory said...

Thank you, Abby!!! I love the way you lay it all out there so professionally and respectfully. I truly value everything you have to say.

I've had many friends in recent years deliver babies and have those first moments, but for my two hospital births I didn't hold my babies until they were diapered and ID'd. It could have been my lack of communication or my wanting to be compliant; I want to be a "good" and "nice" patient. If we go with a hospital birth, these are the type of discussions I will be needing to have.

And like you wrote, I know that sometimes babies need extra help. This scares me because it seems so out of my control. My midwife is very skilled, certified in NCLS and an EMT also, but of course, there is always the unknown that accompanies childbirth, and even hospitals are not immune from tragedy.

A doula is a good idea--I will have to look into it. And again, thank you for your input! Hearing from all sides is so important!!

Elizabeth said...

This is very interesting to me because my experience has been that people are die-hard one way or the other and I have a hard time getting an unbiased opinion. I had 3 medicated-hospital births and my last was an unmedicated hospital birth with no doctor (I went too fast.) The last was by far my favorite as experiences go (although I always tell people I reserve the right to get an epidural ;) I wish there was a middle ground. KY doesn't allow homebirth but I think a birth center or something to that effect would be nice. My husband is scared to death of a non0hospital birth but I would be willing to try it I think. A doula sounds like the first step though. I too try to be compliant and therefore kind of get pushed around. Ugh, I know this was all "rambly" sorry!

Catie H said...

Hey Mallory! Do you have any local birth centers as an option? We've used on for our last two births, and they were the perfect "in-between" fit for us. Generally they have just enough equipment and supplies to keep everyone healthy and safe until you can transfer to a hospital. Just an idea!! These are the two we've used if you want to get an idea to compare them to something near you (if anything exists).

http://hollywoodbirthcenter.com
http://www.thebirthcenter.org/

Love & prayers!
Catie

Mallory said...

Hi Catie, thank you! Birth centers sound like really wonderful places, and I've heard amazing things about them. I a perfect world, you're right, it would be my ideal choice. We are, however, in a very rural area. We are two hours minimally from the nearest birth center, so that rules it out. Perhaps someday there will be one closer, but for now, there are certified midwives in the area that do homebirth successfully and safely. On the flip side, our local hospital is ranked #4 in the country for women patient satisfaction, so they try to be baby friendly.

Still, it's a tough call!

Anonymous said...

I had my last baby (our 4th, seven months ago) at a large hospital in central mn and was pleasantly surprised by how things had changed since my last (2 yrs ago)...my labor was fast, baby was good throughout till right at the end when had very tight nuchal cord- dr had to cut before i could finish delivering. So of course that necessitated them checking her out right away, but once they determined she was fine she went right on my chest and stayed there for long time- in fact had made the required phone calls to happy grandparents and didnt even know ht/wt till hours later, after we had snuggled and nursed in peace. I was very pleasantly surprised! Just sharing my experience in case might help you with your decision.

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