"We can have excuses, or we can have health, love, longevity, understanding, adventure, money, happiness. We design our lives through the power of our choices."
We do have a choice for birth and that choice is ours to make. You are your babies’ advocate so making an informed choice about any journey can make a difference to your outcome. However, society, media and our cultural beliefs play a huge influential factor on our choices. Bare in mind that sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances, complications that arise during pregnancy will need to be treated by the medical model to keep mother and baby safe.
So for my first blog, I just want to make you aware that there are other options for birth. Unnecessary interventions, such as, being induced because the obstetrician is going away to play golf or a doctor’s refusal to allow a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian) with a perfectly healthy, low risk baby and mother, do not need to be forced upon us. Giving birth to a breech baby or twins is possible naturally without intervention. However, many women have not been given any other options and feel very unsupported with what their intuition is telling them.
Homebirth may not be for everyone and I am not wishing to push homebirth in anyway, merely telling my journey of how I got here, after previously going down the path of hospital births, this was MY choice and I made an informed choice.
My mother had birthed her babies naturally in a hospital under an obstetrician so modelling my mother’s beliefs I followed the same path. I am blessed that I found an obstetrician that supported my natural, intervention free Calmbirth plan and have had two beautiful calm births within a hospital setting, however, there were a few things that just didn’t feel right.
Why was I told to move into different positions throughout labour?
Surely I will go into whatever position is good for me.
Why did they pull the plug in the bath, when I was comfortable and relaxed, and tell me to move onto my back on the bed?
On your back is the most un-natural position you can be in; pushing against gravity, especially when I had posterior babies causing back labour pain. An active labour is far better and puts you into a position that is optimal for birth and the physiological third stage for delivering the placenta. Pushing against gravity with your legs up in the air can also lead to a cascade of unnecessary interventions.
Why was I told to clench and hold my breath when birthing my baby?
Next time you’re doing a number two, see what happens to the muscles when you clench and tell me if it feels completely natural. Luckily I didn't tear or end up with an unnecessary episiotomy. I have heard many horror stories where doctors have just proceeded to do an episiotomy without warning. When interviewing your caregivers, please check if they perform this procedure without a choice.
Why was I about to be given syntocinon to expel the placenta without notice?
Many midwives give syntocinon as standard procedure, thankfully my obstetrician who had actually read my birth plan stopped them. My baby and I are completely emerged in our own natural oxytocin thank you. The oxytocin rush between mother and baby as they connect is far better than any drug, no side effects, it is free, there are no preservatives and additives and completely natural (that is my opinion though!)
Why did they take my baby, straight away to clean and weigh?
Immediate bonding with skin to skin is crucial for the love hormones to work their magic and to keep connected to regulate bubs temperature with your own. That amazing moment when you look into each others eyes for the first time only happens once! You have been connected for 9 months, your baby wants to stay connected and come into a darkened warm and nurturing environment not be removed into a stranger’s arms and look straight into bright lights!
Why did they cut the cord straight away?
From Sarah Buckley’s Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering -’It is estimated that early clamping deprives the baby of 54 to 160 ml of blood, which represents up to half of a baby’s total blood volume at birth.’ Allowing the cord to stay intact until it stops pulsing, increases oxygen levels and many more benefits for both the mother and baby.
Why was breastfeeding forced to happen straight away rather than naturally?
I guess time plays a role in this, the need for the delivery of another baby perhaps? Babies are amazing, they can even read maps and find treasure at the end. Self attaching to their mummy’s breast, if given the time and space, is a beautiful sight to watch unfold.
Most of these questions come under hospital protocol and doctor time yet why couldn't I have the choice. Because the medical model says so and home birth has been deemed dangerous!
Ok, so if I am classified as low risk (depending on who you ask) and have tools and resources to use and I know what to do because I am following my intuition, trusting in my ability that birth is a normal process, then surely I could have a choice where and how I give birth. Why had I not discovered this earlier? Perhaps both my husband and I felt safer and more comfortable giving birth in a hospital under an obstetrician at that time and weren’t aware of our choices and didn't ask questions! You trust and put your faith in medical specialists and given that is what they trained to do however we also need to place trust in our own decisions, make informed choices and be comfortable with our support from our caregivers.
The Face of Birth opened my eyes to a whole new world. We have a choice in birth! I didn't have to birth a posterior baby on my back on a hospital bed. I could birth into water without someone pulling the bath plug and telling me to change positions, we could have all the time in the world for our baby to follow the map (my darkened areola’s and sometimes the linea nigra) and self attach to it’s treasure. We can make our own decisions and look into other alternatives, maybe in a birthing centre or under a midwifery model of care and even home birth. It is your choice and based on where you feel safest and most comfortable.
A helpful tool I came across that I now use for most decisions regarding birth is the BRAIN acronym
B - what are the benefits
R- what are the risks
A - what are the alternatives
I - am I making an informed choice and using my intuition
N - What if we do nothing or get a second opinion
I was at a point in my life, where if we had another child I would love to have a home birth. So using the above acronym this is what I decided.
Benefits - I’d be in the comfort of my own home, no need to move into the car whilst in labour, I can have a water birth and I can labour and birth in any position I want for as long as I want. Baby is born into a calm, loving and nurtured environment rather than a hospital room with all sorts of bacteria and viruses running through the air conditioning - an undisturbed birth where time is irrelevant. Breast feeding can take as long or as little as the baby needs and 6 weeks of postpartum advice and help from one source rather than each different midwife during your stay at a hospital telling you conflicting advice. Physiological third stage can take as long as needed with no pressure to move anywhere just allowing it to happen.
Risks - I would have two qualified private midwives present in the event that anything went wrong. I have formed a very close relationship with my head midwife, we understand each other and she has shared in our journey and become a lifelong family member.(The Midwife Clinic) In the event that mother and baby are in danger midwives to do everything possible to keep them safe including transfer to hospital by ambulance. I was assured that there are vital signs to look for if danger presents and time to transfer. I was aware that it takes 30 min to set up theatre if I needed an emergency c section
Alternatives - birthing centre, midwife care program run through the hospital, private hospital with obstetrician
Informed choice and using intuition - absolutely felt very comfortable with my choice
Nothing - well I kinda need to have a baby so it has to be somewhere!
For my family the benefits for a Homebirth far outweighed the risks. I will never go back to a hospital for birth unless necessary. Furthering my decision a home birthing friend and Calmbirth practitioner recommended to watch Birth into Being and Ricky Lakes Business of Being Born. I also went onto youtube and cried over these beautiful home recorded births that unfolded with so much love and ease.
And so I had obviously put my wishes out into the universe, a new journey was about to unfold. I had just signed my franchise agreement as a Calmbirth practitioner and in that same week I found out I was pregnant, it was a welcomed surprise and possibly a sign it was meant to happen. I do go by the motto “Everything happens for a reason”, now I would find out for what purpose.
Having a choice in birth allowed me to meet my ideals and feel truly empowered with my decisions. Would you like to create your ideal birth too? Birthcoach would love to hear from you.