I looked into water births and just loved the idea. The further I looked into it, the only way to do a waterbirth was to have a homebirth or travel two hours while in labor. to get to the nearest birthing center that does water births. Well, at the time, SuperDaddy and I were not comfortable with either option, being it was our first baby. We decided to have this baby the "traditional" way with the local hospital. We chose a hospital midwife. I wanted a female doctor because I wasn't comfortable with a male. The only option was the midwife-which I was certainly okay with.
On our first visit, the midwife guaranteed me that she would be there for my labor and delivery. I told here I didn't want it any other way. Around the beginning of the third trimester, we took our birth plan to the hospital. She proceeded to read through the birth plan and said "these are by no means set in stone, depending how things go, we can change this." I didn't want it to change. I wanted a natural birth with no unnecessary interventions. I thought having a midwife, I would get this. But it wasn't looking like that. SuperDaddy and I said to each other that we will try our best to keep each other accountable to the birthplan.
Then came Lamaze class, they showed us all the "routine" interventions involved with having a hospital birth. It made me uneasy and I started looking more into these interventions...
Here are some facts from naturalbirthandbabycare.com
- IV Lines--Most hospitals routinely use IV line birth interventions. Usually they do this because they forbid food (and sometimes drink) during labor. This has negative consequences above and beyond the IV.It makes no sense to require you to do extensive and exhausting work with no food or drink!
- Routine Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring--In hospitals it is almost universal to strap belts and sensors around your abdomen, leave you in bed, and watch the monitor to see your contractions. Because of the high false positive rates continuous fetal monitoring puts you at greater risk for cesarean section.
- Inability to change positions--There is also a possibility of your labor being slowed or ineffective because you're unable to move. You may feel more pain because you are unable to work with your body.The inability to change position may cause your baby to get less oxygen than he or she should.
- Then if labor hasn't started or isn't progressing fast enough, there is Induction...Inducing labor can cause a "cascade of birth interventions" - meaning that induction can lead to an intervention, which leads to another, etc. etc.
- Rupturing the Membranes--This procedure is most often done because of the belief that it will speed up labor - and it occasionally does. It may also be done in order for an internal monitor to be screwed into your baby's scalp.
- Internal Exams--You will know when you are close to being fully dilated, and a skilled care provider will also be able to tell. There is no reason to have countless exams or to endure the pain or the anxiety that may come from being told "you're not making progress."
- Directed Pushing--Though it is not technically an "intervention" in that something is done to you, I list directed pushing here because it is an unnecessary intrusion in the birth process. Being forced to push in a certain way and certain positions can results in loss of control, extra pain, and can contribute to tearing.
- Active 3rd Stage Management--Birth of the placenta. Some caregivers try to "actively" manage this stage of birth by pulling on the cord and pushing on the woman's abdomen. Jerking the cord around can cause tears and hemorrhaging - the very thing that the doctor or midwife is trying to prevent.
- C-Section (Cesarean Birth)--major abdominal surgery to birth the baby. With a cesarean rate approaching 30% in the USA, it's troubling to think that so many women are going through surgery that may be unnecessary and emotionally damaging.
"All interventions can and usually will change the course of your labor. One intervention tends to lead to another, and another, and another, until your birth morphs into something completely different than what you were hoping for. Birth is always unexpected. There are times when interventions are needed - but oftentimes (especially in hospitals) they just create problems."
Needless to say, after Lamaze class, I was 34 weeks pregnant and very overwhelmed. How was I going to have a nice, calm, quiet, and peaceful experience, if this was my fate? The hospital wasn't even going to honor my birthplan. I became depressed, did not have any desire to walk into the newly finished nursery awaiting the baby's arrival, and I dreaded the birth that was soon appraoching. At 36 weeks pregnant SuperDaddy and I decided it was time to do something about our situation. Why should we allow the hospital to rip away our dreams of a nice, calm, quiet, and peaceful birthing experience? We decided to switch our plans from going to a hospital to having a midwife deliver our baby at home. However, time was ticking away...because we were so far along and almost to our due date, we could not find a local traditional midwife available for our birth to stay local. We looked further into our options and found Birthwise Health and Birth Center...
After finding Birthwise, SuperDaddy and I knew this is what we wanted to do. We prayed for an option, looked at three birth centers, and God took us to Birthwise.Everything we had been dreaming for was here at birthwise. We toured the center at 36 weeks pregnant, we met with the midwife Jill (who is one of the sweetest ladies I've met), and we also found out the our health insurance would cover the birthing center! The environment was everything we hoped for. Nice calm, relaxing rooms with a private bathroom, and a waterbirthing tub! Yes, I waterbirthing tub! So the only downside to birthwise was the 2 hr drive to appleton, yikes! Could we do it? Well, we were praying about it and God kept all the doors open and we knew this is what we wanted. So we switched our care to Jill from our local hospital and starting seeing her once a week. (a whole 2 more times before giving birth to peanut) It was awesome to get to know Jill because even though I only saw her three times before giving birth, I saw her more than all my ob apts combined. Jill sees all her patients for 1 hr each week. She answers all your questions, examines you and the baby, and we got to listen to the heartbeat each time. Needless to say, I was no longer depressed and dreading little peanut's arrival. I was so excited that Jill was going to honor our birthplan. I mean for the most part she had no choice, for a lot of the stuff wasn't even available. Which was re-assuring to me. I was so excited that I was going to have a waterbirth!
So three weeks later (Feb 22, 2010) after switching to birthwise it was late monday night (11:30)when it all started. SuperDaddy and I were getting ready for bed, but then I decided I was hungry. I went into the kitchen to get a snack, but then I yelled, "Honey, I think I just wet myself." It was just a little trinkle. So we began to get excited. Maybe it was nothing, maybe it was something. It happened again and 30 mins later (midnight), the contractions began. So to make sure the contractions were real ones and not the "fake" ones, we laid in bed counting them and watching the clock for 2 hours. Yes, 2 hours, I laid in bed, hoping and praying this was really it! So once SuperDaddy and I finally decided it was the real thing, I decided I needed a shower before we needed to leave (remember a two hour drive is a head of us) So I get in the shower and SuperDaddy helps me shave my legs.