Thursday, July 10, 2008

Home Birth and the "What if's?"

What if something goes WRONG?? So many times we hear this. Women are made to feel "safe" only in a hospital, where if anything goes wrong, they can be saved. But what if something goes wrong at home? What happens then? What if the baby gets stuck? There are horror stories about shoulder dystocia. What if my baby is not healthy? What if it hurts way to bad? What if this happens to me?!

When I went into labor with my second son, things happened very fast. I got up around 12:40 am and used the bathroom, as I always did late in my pregnancy. But as I sat there half asleep, I realized my water broke. (pretty convenient place) My husband was still sleeping and I was having no contractions, so I kept quiet and let him sleep. I heard my 22 month old in his room talking. That was unusual. What was he doing awake? I got my husband and asked him to try to get him back to sleep. He went in and it was to no avail. The kid was wide awake. Contractions slowly started and we called our doula around 1:00am to tell her what was happening. I was talking to her through the contractions and told her to "take her time. things were just starting." She arrived about 1:30 am and things had changed! I was in intense labor. We called the midwife and grandma (to help with the 1 year old). I had managed to get into the warm shower for some relief. It was SO intense. I was thinking, "This is hard! I can't keep this up." As they intensified I knelt down on my hands and knees. I was trying all the breathing techniques I had learned. Nothing was helping. I just tried to keep my tones low.

The midwife walked in just as I began to push. She told my husband, who was running around trying to set up a birth pool, that their was no time! She asked him to take off the shower doors and come catch his baby. As I pushed the baby out I heard the midwife say to my husband very calmly, "I'm sorry, I have to take this away from you." Then I remember yelling at her to stop what she was doing. She stayed calm and the baby was out. 2:12 am. I was holding and loving my baby.

What had happened? Well, at the time I was unaware that the baby had shoulder dystocia. The midwife used some techniques that got the baby out quickly and without any damage. (read here to learn of the techniques used in shoulder dystocia.) So, what if I had been in the hospital? What if I had an epidural and was unable to be in the best position for a S.D. delivery? And with how quickly labor happened, what if I was still in route to the hospital when this delivery happened? What if I was NOT at home with a qualified midwife? I have read stories of S.D. deliveries and the stories in the hospital are the ones that scare me. I was grateful I was not there- doctors panicing, nurses pushing on bellies, large episiotomies, and calls for the NICU. After reading more I was so grateful for a calm midwife who handled the situation. I was able to hold my baby and bond right away, which was precious time!

As time progressed we were sad to learn our baby was born with a congenital birth defect in his brain. He had an MRI and there was no brain damage from his birth. He had a life of struggle. Struggle to eat, see,and progress at a normal rate. What if he was born in the hospital? Would they have saved him from his life of challenges? No. What if he had been whisked off to the NICU? The precious time together would have been limited and the huge struggle to nurse him would have been intensified. With persistence (both on my part AND my sweet baby) we were able to overcome and breastfeed. It was not easy! We had time to be together and he did receive the medical attention he needed at the time he needed it, while still being able to bond with his family.

My baby died in his sleep when he was 19 months old. What if things had been different? What if he had spent more time in the hospital? What a shame that would have been.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing... I agree 100%