I feel like I should preface this post with a bit of past history. I’ve always been a big proponent of natural birth because it’s what feels right to me. I had my first son when I was 15 years old and had a rather cold and insensitive doctor who placed all sorts of judgments on my situation without fully knowing. He decided to induce 8 other women the day he induced me and we all crowned within minutes of each other… so started my traumatic birthing experiences. My next 3 babies were also induced though their deliveries were slightly less traumatic. I truly feel that my first birth set the stage psychologically speaking for the rest of my births. By the time I made it to my 4th I was determined to stay pregnant as long as possible to go into labor on my own. I did not expect that her pregnancy would be so uncomfortable from the get go and that by the time I hit 42 weeks by my figuring I would be miserably crazy, mainly I just wanted her OUT.
I decided to do things differently with my 5th. I made the decision to have what’s called in online circles as a UP or unassisted pregnancy, meaning I didn’t see a traditional care provider for prenatal care. I did my own. I took my blood pressure, measured my fundal height, bought a doppler to listen to fetal heart tones, amongst some other stuff. I have to say it was a very peaceful pregnancy all around. I was healthy and felt great. At 40weeks 6days I went into labor on my own. I had broken the cycle and I was GOING to do this on my own. I labored for 24 hours naturally, without pain meds only the love and support of my amazing husband. He massaged me for a good portion of my labor, his hands instinctively going to the places on my body that were the most helpful. I felt so connected and empowered. There were times when I said to him I can’t, I’m tired and he would calmly hold me and told me I could and that THIS was what I wanted and I was doing it. Around the 23 hour mark I started to feel more pressure and pushy, I was standing up rocking through a contraction when I had some blood squirt down my legs. It was a little alarming and it was also on my ‘list’ of things to seek assistance for… so we got in the car and drove to the closest hospital.
We get there and there’s a flurry of activity, a lot of disapproving comments about my lack of prenatal care and another insensitive OB. I was made to get onto my back and had a myriad of things done to my body that I didn’t consent to. I wasn’t able to consent because I presented under emergency circumstances, essentially the OB on call was able to do whatever he wanted to my body and I had no say. I really despise the term birth rape. I do. I think it’s overused and abused in some of the circles I travel in. I don’t say that to invalidate a woman’s birth experience, I just really feel it’s an overused term in the natural childbirth community as a whole… That said, I have definitely equated my last birth to birth rape. I felt violated and damaged. I have never regretted the decision to seek medical care at that time, though, it was the right decision. I was never told the cause of the bleeding and it stopped, I didn’t hemorrhage or having any other bleeding issues afterward.
When I found myself unexpectedly pregnant so soon after that birth I’m sure many of you can imagine how difficult it was for me to decide how exactly I wanted to deliver. I really felt I could not trust an OB and the very idea of finding a new provider (my doctor stopped delivering babies after my 4th) made me feel ill. I really didn’t want anybody touching me or doing anything to my body without my EXPRESS permission. It took 20 weeks to come to the conclusion that I wanted to seek a midwife’s care. I knew it would cost us out of pocket and that kind of held me back at first but ultimately I knew I needed to find a legal provider, to establish myself as a patient so that on the off chance that a homebirth didn’t work out I wasn’t going to be left in the same position I was last time.
Last Tuesday I went in for a group consultation with a midwife in my area. I immediately liked her and loved the way she handled herself with some of the questions being thrown at her. She was compassionate and understanding while being informative and educated. This past Thursday I had my very first appointment and she didn’t disappoint me. She conducted herself with the same demeanor while also being friendly and warm. She agreed with me on several key points to my care and was very thorough. I thought she was more thorough in some ways than an OB. I’ve never seen a midwife before but this feels right. I’m glad I moved past my fear to reach out to her and I really look forward to continuing my care and our relationship. This coming Friday I have another ultrasound, this one an anatomy scan and I honestly can’t wait to catch another peek at this little one!