All 4 of my kids were born at home with a midwife, with no drugs. I never imagined myself giving birth without drugs at home, but after I got married and we were thinking about concieving, I decided to read up on pregnancy and childbirth. I started reading on a web site called http://www.babycenter.com/, which led me to a web site called http://www.tryingtoconceive.com/.
At the latter web site, they recommended a book called, "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weischler. Well, I'm all for taking control, so I read the book. It was excellent and showed you how to chart your temperatures every morning to see when you are ovulating in order to maximize your chances of conceiving, and showed you how to conceive a boy or a girl.
I used this method, and without having an ultrasound, always knew the sex of my children before they were born (or the likelihood anyway). This method is supposed to be close to 90% effective when used properly.
From there, I somehow came across the Bradley Method of childbirth, so I read the book, "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. It teaches you how to have as natural a childbirth as possible. At the back of that book was listed a bunch of reference books, so I read those books.
One great one was "Immaculate Deception II, Myth, Magic, and Birth" by Suzanne Arms. This one is an eye opener and made me realize that if I wanted to have a natural birth (which after reading, I did), I was going to have to bring along an attorney into the labor room with me. My other option was homebirth. I figured that was the only way I was going to avoid all the interventions of a hospital, and avoid the temptation of readily available drugs while I was in labor.
I also read the books, Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley the founder of the Bradley Method. Go figure - a man invents a method of childbirth for women. I actually am not crazy about the Bradley method and this book but it's worth the read. Robert Bradley puts too much focus on the husband and his role. Who's giving birth here? I think more focus needs to be put on the woman's God given ability to give birth.
Bradley wrote this at a time when husband's were not allowed in the birthing room and he wanted to change that, and that's great. Husband's should be there and be involved and help their wives through labor, but let's not put too weight on their job as "coach". We took a 10 week class on the Bradley Method and it was very informative and I would definitely recommend it for anyone having a child, even if you are not planning a natural birth.
The classes they offer at hospitals prepare you for nothing other than checking in and telling you how your epidural will be administered and how to breathe (which is not effective and very different than how Bradley teaches).
The last book I read before giving birth was called "Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practices of Natural Childbirth" by Grantly Dick-Read. He is supposed to be the father of natural childbirth. This book was written a LONG time ago and is very outdated but has some good info, if you take it with a grain of salt. I didn't like this book because it basically said that childbirth does not have to be painful at all, that it's all about your mind and putting fear out, and as my son would say, blah, blah, blah.
I think I was reading this the week before I gave birth and when I was in the middle of labor trying to think happy thoughts so I wouldn't have pain, I wanted to kill this man. Childbirth without pain? Was he kidding?
After I gave birth to my next three children, I could somewhat understand where he was coming from, but your first child is always the hardest and no birth is without pain, whether you have drugs or not.
My thought was always, "When did you want to experience the bulk of your pain - during childbirth or after?" In hospitals, 80-90% of women are given episiotomies. Most women will tell you that that is where the most pain comes from during recovery, and can last weeks or months, and there's no drugs for you then.
Childbirth is painful, whether you have drugs or not. I'd rather have the peace of mind knowing that not taking drugs is safer for me and my baby, and giving birth at home is statistically safer than giving birth in a hospital.
Yes, it's true. I've heard and read of many stories of things going wrong in the hospital because of mistakes made by the anestesiologist or doctors. Very seldom do you hear of something going wrong at home and when you do, it's only because the media reports all of those, and reports almost none of the every day mistakes that occur in hospitals.
My midwife watched a woman die in front of her eyes while she was a nurse midwife attending the birth. The anestesiologist had administered the epidural wrong and it numbed her body up too high, causing her lungs and heart to stop working and she died. There was nothing they could do.
This happened again in a local hospital in Illinois just a couple of years ago. My midwife's friend was the nurse in the room that time. Neither of these stories leaked outside of that hospital room. I'm sure the hospitals paid a hefty settlement for those.
I chose to have a homebirth for the above reasons, but also because I believe that God made my body to give birth - without drugs and without all the interventions that occur in hospitals (episiotomies, using of suctions and tongs to pull the baby out, unnecessary C-sections, not allowing mother and baby to bond, etc.).
Women have been giving birth on their own at home for over 2,000 years. It wasn't until the last century that women started giving birth in hospitals. It used to be only the poor women would give birth in hospitals, because if you were wealthy, the doctor would come to your home. Women who gave birth in hospitals at that time (early 1900's) often contracted deadly bacterial infections and died. This was because the doctors at that time would be working on dead corpses in the next room, then come and deliver a baby without washing their hands. Gross.
It's part of women's curse to have pain in childbirth. Do we think we can outsmart God and get around that? I think by introducing a lot of these drugs, we have caused more problems - probably more than we even realize. I don't think it's wrong for women to take drugs and make use of modern medicine when necessary, but I think it's the "when necessary" part that has gotten way out of control.
I've heard many women say that they think they could have lasted without the drugs, especially when they realized how close they were to giving birth, but they didn't want to chance it. God said we would have pain in childbirth, yes. But we should also trust the character of God, knowing that he is loving and kind and compassionate. He would not burden us with something so great that we could not handle it.
My first birth was difficult, but my next three were pretty easy. Not pain free, but much quicker and less painful. Much of that had to do with my midwife, who was awesome and knew what she was doing. She uses herbs medicinally and knows how to use the things that God gave us to lessen pain during childbirth and afterwards. Again, man dismisses what God has already provided for pain relief and healing, and makes his own synthetic version. In general, not a good plan in my opinion.
Many people asked me, "But what if something goes wrong?" Well, that is when a hospital trip becomes a necessity, but it's rarely necessary in the case of a healthy young woman with a low risk pregnancy.
Home birth moms are monitored the same as other pregnant moms, to watch for any signs of potential complications. When there are none, and the pregnancy goes full term (beyond 36 weeks), it is deemed safe to give birth at home. A trip the hospital is always an option at any time if the midwife sees it necessary.
If a C-section is needed, even in hospitals, they need time to set up the operating room and gather together the doctors, which is about the time it would take to get to the hospital anyway.
However, all that information aside, I believe this is a matter of faith. I believe that God is in control of all things and trust him completely with the health and safety of myself and my children. Of course I'm not naive, and completely ignorant of all potential health risks. I educated myself on homebirth and took the necessary precautions to ensure a safe delivery, then left the rest up to God, trusting Him fully.
Read Cody's home birth story here.
Read Lynsey's home birth story here.
Why We Decided to Have Home Births
The All Natural Pregnancy
Labels: Our Homebirth Stories