Monday, May 26, 2008

The definition of brave...

Hmmm, what a funny thought, that a woman who chooses to homebirth should be a brave woman... I read this today, that is, someone being told they must be brave for having a homebirth, and it made me laugh - at first - because, having had three hospital births (none of which were particularly "bad"), I would say I needed to be much braver then than I've needed to be this time around...

With my first birth, I knew very little about anything pregnancy and birth related and I fully trusted the hospital staff to take care of all that was needed to safely see my baby in my arms. I started begging for an induction when I was 10 days past my EDD, and was granted one four days later. When the massive pains of the induced labour hit, I soldiered on for two hours then asked for gas and sucked it like no tomorrow for a further two hours because saying I was ready for an epidural (kind of like, "Waiter, we're ready for coffees now...")... I was advised to try the pethidine before the gas, and even though I LOATHE needles beyond description I allowed myself to be administered with a peth shot. It did bugger all, didn't even hit the sides, LOL. I guess I was lucky actually because it really makes some women feel out of it, but didn't have that affect on me at all... So, after 1/2 hour of waiting (impatiently) I had an epidural inserted. This led to partial pain relief of the right side of my belly from just below my boob down to my hip... Anyway, the epidural, and resulting inactivity (I was actually quite active, getting up on my knees and turning side to side every now and then without assistance) led to two hours of active pushing (after two hours of resisting the strong urge to push), before they tried to vacuum extract Erik. The vacuum sucked, actually it DIDN'T suck, and that's what sucked about the vacuum... So, the registrar (who I thought was some sort head obstetrician, pmsl) perform a L A R G E episiotomy and extracted my DS with low forceps, while I thought to myself, FINALLY, thank god that's over!!!

By the tiem I had Luey two years later, I was quite a bit better informed and wanted much less interference, but I still acquiesced to the blood tests, Strep B, GCT and pee tests every appointment. I begged for an induction early, thinking he would be bigger than Erik and I might end up with a c/s thanks to how much intervention was need to get Erik out... Had ARM, then Luey canonballed out of me two hours later after 30 minutes of active labour...

By the time I had Bryn, I was determined to have "none of that medical crap", and this is where the bravery comes in... First I had to stare down the OB who insisted I should have some kind of testing, AT LEAST the 20 week scan (because I wasn't having the NT scan), then I had to convince my midwife I didn't need to pee in a cup at EVERY appointment, then I had to convince the hospital my baby wasn't going to die if I went over 41 or 42 weeks, and that it was ok for me to go home again after some spurious labour at 41+4... Bryn finally arrive made his way at 41+5, but not without me having to stand a lot of ground in the nine months leading up to his birth...

I think I was much braver having Bryn in hospital than I ever need to be to have Leo at home...

2 comments:

Stitch Sista said...

I hear ya! I'm not brave enough for hospy LOL.

Had an appt today and m/w wants to know things I want...I don't want anything. There is nothing to be done at home yk. Really I've done it before, I'll go into labour and do it again...end of story. Homebirth is so uncomplicated if you want it to be...(and of course providing nothing goes wrong!)

I think when I've had people say the same stuff to me it all gets down to not having that epidural there if you want it. Some people can not fathom the possibility of birth without availability of pain relief...and I think that's what a lot of them mean when they call it 'brave'.

HipbubbyMama said...

What you say makes a lot of sense-to anyone who's read up on the physiology of birth, and esp natural birth. Most people dont think like that though, such is the all pervasiveness of the medicalisation of childbirth. I'm doing a short 4 week journalism course and tonight we had to pitch our story ideas(the idea is we're all going to get published in this local community mag)and my story is going to be on home birth-of course a couple of people had to ask me if I was going to write about the *risks* involved. One woman was chatting to me about doulas, and how she'd just heard about them and how interesting it all is-I forget this stuff is so alien to some people.It's weird to contemplate that for many, even those of us who are mothers, natural birth, home birth, doulas, independent midwifery care is not the norm..

meanwhile for me to birth ANYWHERE ever again would take a lot of bravery LOL.

Teenagers and the failing parent...