Sunday, June 26, 2011

Giving Birth at Home

I'm coming up on 28 weeks pregnant, friends! I'm apparently in the 3rd trimester. I actually had to go do a little reading here for a second to see where I'm at. I'm in the home stretch, wow! It's flying by. And I have a lot on my mind but will save it for other posts. Right now I want to talk about something I'm super excited about!

The other week we went to meet a midwife and we think we have a birth plan (and not the kind you write down and hand to your doctor!). I am excited to say that it looks like we'll be having a home birth! I know that when I was pregnant with Elaina the thought of a water birth or home birth was extremely weird. I thought I could never do something like that! And here I am vying for both a water birth IN my home. Of course I didn't do any research on the safety of home birth or the benefits of water birth and I don't know that if I had, during that time, that it would have made a difference. I was just so scared of birth, of what I saw on TV and in movies, of what people would tell me, of the inevitable pain. I feel more confident as the years have zoomed by and am very peaceful with our choice for Izaria's birth!

Now I have other choices to make, such as which room to set up the birth tub. This midwife has a 95% rate for water births. Her last hospital transfer was in August 2010 (that includes post partum). She doesn't do any sort of low-risk induction techniques like sweeping the membranes or breaking water. I had always wondered HOW women get out of the birth tub after birth and she explained it all before I could ask. They use vinyl tablecloths with the fuzzy side up and cover the floor and bed with them to catch all the fluids (they also use Chux pads). Neat!

Reasons I Choose Home Birth:
-There's no guessing when it's "time to go in" because you're already there! 
-The car ride and change of atmosphere from your own home to a bright, high energy hospital can stop or slow labor which can result in being sent back home, discouraged (happened to me with Elaina!)
-Your older children can be present if they want!
-My care will come to me. This is important to me! To get anywhere I have to get on the highway and I can be a very nervous car passenger.
-However despite the above IF an emergency were to arise the ambulance and hospitals are VERY close by!
-Lower risk of needing a cesarean or intervention. The most common problems that can arise at a home birth are well-prepared for (Pitocin for hemorrhage, IV for dehydration, etc.).
-My health care provider is a very educated and licensed professional in one area and that is birth. Our birth philosophies line up perfectly so I don't feel like I'm going into my birth with a fight on my hands in regards to breast/bottle, vaccinations, to give Vitamin K injection or not, to put eye drops in baby's eyes, to delay cord clamping, to suction or not, etc.
-I will have my own smells, visuals and sounds that comfort me in my home. If I want to light my favorite candle I will. If I want my husband to play music I love he will. If I want to stare at pictures of my loved ones they're all here.
-We'll avoid the germs and pathogens in a hospital and instead be only exposed to germs we're already accustomed to in our own home. I'm not saying this one correctly but it does make sense and has been studied; your germs in your own home are not as seriously scary as the ones in the hospital! Plus if the midwife does require to use an IV or something in her 'bag of tricks' they're all sterilized and individually sealed.
-I can eat and drink if I want; birth requires energy!
-I can be as loud or as quiet as I want without fear of reprimand from a nurse or feel as though I'm bothering other laboring women.

And so much more but I'm probably boring you all to tears! I just had to get all this down. I try to keep a pregnancy journal but I've been so tired that I haven't blogged or written as much in Izzy's journal.

When you are going to have your baby, no matter where you choose to go, remember to pamper yourself and allow yourself to be pampered. This isn't about doing it one way over another. Massage, lovely smells, lotions, dim lighting or darkness, curling up in a ball or swaying your hips, getting in the water or bouncing on a ball or whatever - do what feels right to you!

It was so important to me before Zoë came to tell my husband what I might or might not like while in labor because I knew once I was in labor I wouldn't be able to tell him. Contractions require focus if you're not going to have drugs and sometimes you can't get more than a syllable out. Being asked, "What do you want me to do?" is not going to be something you can handle, especially in transition (the phase right before you push; hardest but shortest part of labor). You may get frustrated, overwhelmed and just yell "I don't know - just DO something!"

Instead, before birth, continually instruct your partner(s) to offer you things. It'll be much easier to deny or accept that sip of water than to figure out, in the midst of your concentration, that you need or want water. They can apply a cool cloth to your forehead and by your reaction gauge if it is something you're liking or not. For instance I chucked the washcloth clear across the room even after enjoying it previously because I was in transition and the contraction was so intense I couldn't handle the sensation of the cool cloth! Ha ha!
Before Zoë's birth I also told him specific things to try as ideas so he wasn't trying to figure it all out on his own. I love counter pressure on my lower back and hips! I told him he needed to push as hard as he could on my lower back during a contraction. He didn't end up doing it but the midwife did and oh my word! It helped relieve a lot of the intensity.

I'm starting to get excited and a little nervous. I'm not made of steel. I have had moments of doubt, moments of fear, moments where I wonder how I am going to give birth again and just a general sense of panic. Most of the time I am peaceful and I know that when the time comes I'll be fine. It's just the anticipation and built-up adrenaline that gets me going with the What-If's and post partum recovery. More posts to come on that later; this one is already a novel!

Three months and we'll meet Izzy face-to-face. Speaking of her face... our 3D sonogram is in 2 weeks or so! I can't wait and am excited to post pictures of her! I think all of my girls look so different and I can't imagine Izaria's face. I wonder if she'll be our dark-haired baby. Daniel has black hair and yet we have two brown haired girls and one blonde-red haired girl.

I leave you with a pic of my big girls on Memorial Day!


Kristin said...

Congrats on deciding what you want to do this time. I know how you feel....if I think too much about labor, I start getting anxious too. I'm just planning to try not to think about it until a couple of weeks before. Haha!

Susan Sene said...

I am SOOOOOO excited for you!! And I will live vicariously through this upcoming birth..haha! I want SO badly to have a home birth but legally, at this point, I can't (don't get me started on how ridiculous I think that is).

I wish so badly Ri could be with me during labor. I am planning for my doula to come to my house and we plan to stay there as long as possible because I wanna be in the most comfortable environment I can be in! And I agree about all the germs and not having to worry about them taking your baby for shots or a bottle or a bath.

Even though I want a home birth, I'm still looking forward to this one because with my last, I didn't work WITH my body and I'm excited to be able to do that this time. I know there may be some bumps in the road, but I'm still excited to be able to have the chance to work with how my body was designed to work and see labor as more than just a means to get the baby out.

Yay!!! I really am SO excited for you!!! Can't wait to hear how much you loved your home birth!!

Kahla said...

28 weeks already, time is flying! The girls are just precious and I'm so glad it's turning out how you want. You sound so excited!

The Mommy said...

Congratulations on making such a big decision! I can't believe you are at 28 weeks! And OH MY, those girls are getting so big!!