Many women choose a hospital for their first birth and talk about a home or birth center birth for the NEXT birth. The slimmest thread firmly wound through a decades-long tapestry promoting hospital birth equates with a safe birth has effectively sewn up a veil of secrecy: home birth is not only safe, it is an inherited treasure. A hospital birth for the normal, healthy woman (of which most of us are) denies a woman her birthright, to welcome her new family among family.
I usually talk in my classes about how “this” is the *only* chance you’re going to get to birth *this* baby. Sure you may go on to have other babies, but you only get *THIS* chance to birth *THIS* baby. I also share with moms that because of this fact, the significance of this birth is infinitely greater than the significance of this birth is to your nurse, OB, midwife, etc. – Louise Delaney
So, what if our first birth is based on a myth: that hospital birth is ‘safer’?
I think there are some who choose to not deal with the reality that we tell them about, or choose not to believe that things can go so terribly awry iatrogenically because, after all, the doctors are only out to help us. When a traumatic birth does happen I think it is something of a shock for these folks. Many get angry. The survivors learn and grow from it – and these are the ones who become much more proactive the next time around, take control and do things differently “the next time.” ~ Melissa R. Bradley MethodTM Educator
OR what if our first birth is based on a friend’s outcome and not based on doing our own exploration and work for what we want?
My friend was due with her first child three months after I was due with my second. I emailed her a lot of documents from my birth classes, talked to her on the phone, bought her a few choice birth books etc. But whenever I tried to help her question some of what she told me about the midwives (medwives) that she was working with, she totally ignored me. We’ve talked about it since, and she basically told me – I knew your birth stories (two unmedicated, un-interfered with, empowering hospital births), and I figured, if you had a good hospital birth I could too. But she didn’t – I *gave* her a lot of information, which was a lot different that my own experience of taking Bradley classes and *seeking* the information I wanted/needed. For whatever reason, she had to have her own “before” birth & then learn/grow from it and have “the next time” happy, respectful, empowering birth (in a freestanding birth center, btw). ~ Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
It is a long, often solo journey a woman will take to find within herself evidence that the decision to birth at home is a good choice and that the burden to prove it is a good choice is not hers to bear. It is the physician who holds the burden to prove his/her advice and protocol is the safe choice. That is the crux of medical liability and is wholly relevant in the decision to choose a hospital birth.
In our society, women need to learn the hard way that fairy tales don’t happen, that no one can save you but yourself…and the people around birth should present their offerings (options) without judgement, for women to choose. Women should be empowered and not controlled by birth professionals/facilities. ~ Randi King in Norman OK
The first birth is the pivotal birth. Every birth experience that follows builds on that one. Our choices now are choices for the NEXT birth. The first birth doesn’t have to be either perfect or awful and earth shattering to make us think. We don’t have to choose differently than the first birth; but it’s the first one that gives us a place to begin experiencing not just birth but ourselves as mothers, women, people. We may not all have ground shaking, earth thundering thoughts but we have them. The experience belongs to us. We choose what to do with it. Choosing to do nothing different is still an influenced choice ~ made on that experience.
Let’s say a woman has a fast hospital birth and rather than choose to just stay home next time she chooses to go early to the hospital, possibly scheduling an elective induction. This scenario isn’t just welcomed by the state medical examining boards who have lobbied to ensure this is legal and protected under the audacity to call it an ‘option’ when in truth she has not been told home birth is a good option too! How likely is she to find a physician today who would assure her that her fast labor is not something to fear and that perhaps she should consider a home birth? That indeed he/she (the medical provider) may even have a home birth practitioner to refer her to?
We do not foresee the medical world embracing the challenge to be more knowledgeable about normal birth. The woman with the fast labors and whom the medical community embraces as having the ‘option’ of electing for a scheduled induction is more likely to end up with a cesarean even if she didn’t ‘plan on’ having one. Then she will find herself in a battle to VBAC for her NEXT birth. She may not have the luxury of choosing differently for her NEXT birth.
What will YOU do to have a first birth that leaves you with few regrets or changes for your NEXT birth? Why not have the birth of your choosing, rooted in truth and your ability to know yourself and your baby now?
I know my cesarean was really indicated. short short cord, knotted, every time he would begin to descend his heart rate dropped a bit lower. Breech was the only way he wasn’t pulling on it (the surgeon explained this to me in minute detail since he knew my background) which explains why he stayed breech on and off for the last few weeks. I really wanted him to turn head down, and he complied (which fits his personality so far too! so cool… anyway… back to the story). But by complying with my need/desire for a head-down birth, he put himself in a position that pulled on the cord/knot. I saw the knot – I’d call it a double knot… one on top of another… He never did crash, and I never did establish a labor pattern. I just KNEW something was up. So I called in and had the surgery. That was a leap, for sure… to lay myself up on that table without a KNOWN reason. I just knew. Knew it all along really…So yeah. I trust the process more… I had a cesarean with my first baby – 15 years ago – and now again with my 5th – 3 VBACS in between. Seems I’ve come full circle in alot of ways. I trust moms more too – when someone says to me, “something doesn’t feel right” I will NEVER brush that off even for a second. Not even in my head. I don’t think I did it before, but for sure I won’t do it now. But yeah… it wasn’t a failure, just… I still ***wish*** for my homebirth. Maybe someday. ~ Kelly
The first birth is ‘herstory’. It is a myth that women who seek a home birth are willfully putting themselves at risk. Women are fully capable of considering their options and choosing how to care for themselves. It is not rational to say home birth is never safe; saying so is the product of hysteria. Protecting choice, not limiting choice, is good, no, GREAT health care. Tell a friend, tell your state government, tell the White House, the NEXT birth is now.