|Friends Sharing Birth Stories|
So, my friend had a c-section, and she did not feel good about that birth at all. She thought that it was probably possible to give birth to a breech baby vaginally, and she felt pushed into making a decision that did not feel right to her. She decided she didn't want to go back to the hospital again to give birth.
She became pregnant again, and decided to stay at home this time and give birth on her own terms. She looked for a homebirth midwife but at that time in Italy they were a rare breed, especially if you were living in the hills as all us organic subsistence farmers did. She prepared by reading about natural birth, and she made sure she had methergine in the house - they always had it on hand for the goats.
Labor started and she sent her husband and child out for the day. She didn't want her daughter present for what she knew was going to be an intense and possibly scary event.
This was before cell phones, and they didn't have a phone, so he planned to come back around suppertime. She labored on her own and late in the afternoon, gave birth to a healthy baby.
"Were you scared?"
"Yes, I really wanted to have someone else around. I remember when I started pushing, and I felt a cervical lip, and I gently pushed it out of the way - I really wanted someone to be there with me. But I knew everything would be okay - I had a feeling. And if it wasn't ok, then it wasn't. I did it my way."
There is a growing movement that promotes unassisted childbirth as a way to regain control over your own birth, and there are many valid reasons for not wanting anyone at all from outside your circle of family and loved ones to be present at the birth of your child. It is, after all, a natural event, more like lovemaking than like a medical procedure. The presence of a stranger, even a well-liked one, can change and disturb the process. Midwives can be regulated by laws that perhaps don't agree with a woman's perception of how she wants her birth to proceed. This site provides some interesting information about unassisted childbirth:UC
I often get calls from women who are planning to give birth without attendants. They want information, or they want to find someone to be a "fly on the wall" - who can be there "just in case". Most of these women are women who have not been able to find a registered midwife - either they didn't call early enough, or they live in the wrong area, or they are considered too high risk for a homebirth. They don't really want an unassisted birth, but they are committed to not wanting to go to the hospital unless they really have to, so they are left with unassisted birth as their only option. Because we Canadians are used to free health care, cost is also a consideration. Unregistered midwives charge around $2000 for prenatal, birth, and postpartum care (that works out to about $10.73 an hour, in case you're wondering). Many women do not feel that this amount is an option, and, again, make the choice to give birth "unassisted".
I firmly believe in a woman's right to choose what's best for her body, and for her life. If a woman chooses to give birth on her own, or just with her partner, or her sister, in her own home, then power to her! She is making an adult choice, and she is accepting responsibility. But I do feel sad when women want to have the care of a midwife and cannot.
No woman should have to give birth on her own if she doesn't want to. Midwifery care should be available, really available, to any woman. Homebirth should be an option for us all. Unassisted homebirth is only one option, but it should be an option that is actively chosen and not decided on for lack of other plans. Equally, hospital birth is only one option. Health women carrying healthy babies should not have to go to the hospital to give birth unless they actively want to. Informed choice should be a reality - it should be informed, that is, women should educate themselves and each other, and they should ask for informtaion from their care providers. And choice should be a real choice with real options - unassisted, home birth, midwifery care, hospital birth.
Let's work together to bring the woman and child back to the center of maternity care!