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my letter: "concerns before birth" - Bleeding Heart

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February 3rd, 2008

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05:21 pm - my letter: "concerns before birth"

Hi, Laura!  I somehow stumbled across your site well before I became pregnant and it inspired me to plan an unassisted birth, still oblivious to when I would bcome pregnant.  Well, I'm about 37 weeks along now, and I have heard many different concerns from many different people after I tell them of my desires.  At the behest of my mother, who shares many of your philosphies but nevertheless fears for my well-being, I spoke with a midwife in the area.  She had a couple of good points on which I hoped to get your perspective, seeing as how you have gained much valuable knowledge because of your devotion to unassisted birth.  One of these points was that most of the people she has encountered who desire an unassisted birth desire first and foremost a homebirth over a hospital birth but that, ironically enough, they often end up in the hospital because of complications that arise and scare them.  It is true that I would rather have a midwife-assisted birth over a hospital birth, but I really identified with the section of your site that discussed the need for privacy in order to be "in" the birth, a feeling that is more difficult to achieve when strange eyes are observing the laboring mother.  I know how I am, and I can see my own power diminishing due to the presence of a stranger about whom I would have to worry.  But how do I avoid the least pleasant of my options: rushing to the hospital?  First and foremost, I want my baby to be safe.  I am only 23; I have a million voices in my head telling me why I'm wrong, why I can't; I tend to overanalyze; I don't know how I will react to the birth, because I don't yet fully know who I am.  In short, what if I end up not being able to listen to my own deepest truths at the price of a bad birth experience for both myself and my newborn?  The women about whom I have read seem so confident, and while I have known that this is what I want for some time now, my nature won't seem to allow me to accept confidence in my abilities and my beliefs.  I trust my husband, but from a logical standpoint, he doesn't remember ever witnessing a birth in real life--how will he react, I wonder.  Is my deeper faith reckless?  The second point the midwife made was that complications, or variations, as you call them, arise often and it could put us in a very stressful situation.  She mentioned hemorrhaging and lack of resposiveness from the newborn, the latter of which would entail a need to resuscitate the baby.  I have taken two CPR/first aid classes, but I have never had to practice what I've learned.  I have had to try to save many animals in the past, but with little luck; once a living creature is on its way, it seems I am powerless to bring it back to the other side, whereas a vet is able to do much more.  Am I not a natural nuturer?  Brian is, but he has never taken infant CPR/first aid classes, though I gave him some material to review.  Do you ever get stories of unassisted births gone wrong?  I know that fear is generally the primary contributing factor when it comes to complications, but what if I'm one of the few who encounter a bad situation my husband and I can't handle, in spite of a so-far smooth pregnancy?  My mother told me she had a great pregnancy with my brother, but he was born with the cord around his neck and had to be revived.  She said she was afraid she had lost him at first.  I can begin to imagine how scared she really must have been; to see a limp animal is one thing, to see your limp child is quite another.  I know it seems I am really unsure of myself, but there is still a part of me that just feels unassited birth is right for me.  How do I ease the discrepancy between this part and the more doubtful part?  I do not want a hospital birth--I have heard too many horror stories, I don't want to be in a place of sickness when I'm giving birth, and I don't want to be bossed around.  I also don't want anyone but my husband, my baby and I to be present at the birth; it really is an incredibly intimate experience.  I say it's personal, my mother says it's not: history shows three people besides the baby being involved in labor and birth, not one or two.  People tell me that I'm too frail, that I'm reckless/irresponsible, that anything could go wrong, etc. etc.  I would never forgive myself if something bad happened to my family because of this.  What is your take on unassisted births gone wrong?  How do I fulfill this long-held dream of mine (which may not happen if I'm full of doubt)?  Sorry this is so long, but it's been a long time coming.  I hope to hear from you, though I understand that you are very busy, so if I don't hear back from you, at least I got all of this off my chest.





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