Sunday, August 15, 2010

Homebirth, the ongoing exploration

Still pondering, praying, researching, and investigating doing a home birth. Yes, I know, I should've thought about all this before 26 weeks! But for some reason it didn't land on my heart until about 23 weeks.....so here I am. I've contacted 4 midwives so far and 2 are available. The problem is that one is in Federal Way and the other doesn't take insurance. I'm still working on things obviously. Craig and I are discussing and praying about things and want to make the right decision for us. I really don't think it's a black and white issue for most families. Some people should not do a home birth and that's totally ok. Some people are good candidates and then you still have to decide if it's for you.

Last night I started remembering so much of what happened in the hospital that I hated. Having to wear the fetal moniter and lay in bed for 2 1/2 days even though Eliana not even once showed any signs of distress. Being woken up every 2 hours at night by the nurses once she born so she could be stripped down and weighed (was she going to lose 3lbs in a hour? I didn't understand the purpose). The almost dozen heel pricks she received for jaundice (which when the numbers are fairly low typically resolves itself once your breastmilk is in, but that doesn't happen the first night!). The fact that my dr didn't deliver her and then also took 2 days just to stop in and 'say hi'. How attentive! The nurses bringing in formula and pacifiers and saying we should give them to her 'just until my milk comes in'. The nurse who mixed up my chart and thought I was scheduled for a tubal ligation. I could go on and on and on.

Let's just say that I don't agree with 'blanket treatment' of newborns. Just because one mother may have ghonnorea or chlamydia and therefore her baby may need the eye medication after birth does not for a second mean that all babies need it. I understand it's purpose and frankly it's sad that STD's exist and babies can be very harmed from coming in contact with them. But I would bet my house, my cars, everything I have that I do not have either of the STD's that they give the babies eye gunk for. Nevermind the fact that most OB's test their patients nearly 3 times for STD's during pregnancy. The eye treatment burns and causes blurry vision- for who knows how long. There's a lot of info available about this subject, definitely look into it more if you're interested. We were never even told about the eye gunk (other than maybe signing a form real quick? I have no idea) at the hospital and frankly had no idea what it was until we looked into more ourselves. Poor little Eliana, if only I'd known.

I mean, picture this, you're in a warm safe bubble inside your mommy for the most heavenly 40ish weeks of your life and then you pass through the birth canal in a triathlon of sorts and the second you come out although you just need to feel and smell the warmth of your mother you are instead passed to a cold, hard scale then given a bath to wash off the 'ickyness' of the sanitary environment you just lived in for almost 10 months (Side note- but vernix is actually shown to have great benefits for newborn skin when not immediately scrubbed off. Again, look into it if you want more info). Then a burning goo is put on your eyes and your already poor vision becomes even worse. Then you get a heel prick, Hep B injection, Vitamin K shot...and finally if you're lucky- you get to go to your mom, whom you cannot actually see because your eyes are burning. And whom you cannot actually feel because you are swaddled so tightly that no part of your skin is touching hers.

This is not the experience that all women experience, but it's exactly what Eliana and I did. It's basic hospital protocol and seen as normal and 'necessary' by the ACOG and most parents who don't know any better. Call me a hippy mom or whatever, that's truly fine, but one can't help but wonder if there is a connection between all these hospital protocols and the embarrassing rates of induction and C-Sects in the United States.

Here are some interesting birth statistics from BabyCenter.com:

Birth and delivery


•Doctors remain top choice: In 2006, the vast majority of moms in the United States gave birth in hospitals (99 percent) with the help of a physician (91.5 percent). Midwives attended about 8 percent of all births (most midwife-attended births are in hospitals), up from less than 1 percent in the mid-1970s.


Of the 1 percent of births outside the hospital in 2006, 65 percent were in homes, and 28 percent were in birth centers, numbers that have remained largely the same since 1989. Midwives attended 61 percent of home births, and physicians attended 7.6 percent of home births in 2006. In all, 38,568 births happened outside of hospitals in 2006.


•C-sections soar: The number of cesarean deliveries in 2006 rose to 31.1 percent of all births, a 3 percent rise from 2005 and another record high. [It rose to 31.8 in 2007, I can't find more recent numbers] The c-section rate has climbed 50 percent in the United States over the last decade.



•Labor gets a push: The number of women whose labor is induced has more than doubled since 1990. In 2006, it rose 1 percent above the previous year, to about 22.5 percent of births. Sixteen percent of preterm and 24 percent of term and higher deliveries were induced in 2006.



•Boys outnumber girls: With about 1,049 male babies for every 1,000 female babies in 2006, boys are keeping the edge in a ratio that's stayed about the same over the past 60 years.



•Twins level off: The number of twins born in the United States was roughly the same in 2006 as in 2005, with 32.1 pairs of twins born for every 1,000 births. While leveling now, the rate skyrocketed 70 percent between 1980 and 2004.

The rate of triplets and higher multiple births declined in 2006 for the eighth consecutive year to 153 triplets per 100,000 births. The rates shot up by more than 400 percent between 1980 and 1998 but then started to drop, in part because of improvements in fertility treatments.

Doesn't it look like a direct correlation between induction (and medical interventions) and C-sects?  This is exactly what proponents of natural birthing and midwifery are saying. Ricki Lake's movie The Business of Being Born is a very interesting watch. I'll admit that when I watched it during my pregnancy with Eliana I thought it was a weirdo conspiracy theory group of people. Then, I went through it myself. I had no idea that all the craziness talked about in the movie actually happens to real people! If you have Netflix, the movie is available there or you can purchase it on Amazon or Ebay.
A few statistics cited in The Business of Being Born:


• The U.S. has one of the highest maternity death rates in the world

• The U.S. has the 2nd worse death rate for newborns in the world

• In Europe and Japan, midwives deliver 70 percent of all births; in the U.S. midwives delivery a mere 8 percent of births

• In the U.S., as of 1900, midwives delivered 95 percent of all babies; by 1938, midwives delivered 50 percent of all babies and; by1955, less than 1 percent of all babies born were delivered by midwives.

So anyway, I'm not sayng 100% I'm doing a homebirth, but I'm also not saying 100% I'm doing a hospital birth. I have more work to do. I feel like I'm cheating on my OB even thinking/talking about all this, but I have to do what is best for me and my family- not a surgeon. And I will add that my OB has done nothing wrong. I'm not flipping the switch because of an issue with her. I really like her and almost think that because of her kindness and humanness towards me I feel more free to do what I need to do. I only wish I'd had her when I was pregnant with Eliana- maybe my experience would've been a little better.

Resources-
 I love this website- http://bringbirthhome.com/home-birth-advocacy/a-guide-to-home-birth-for-first-time-moms/
I found this grading system to determine if you are considered 'high risk' or not. Thankfully, I am not! -http://www.obfocus.com/questions/qanda13.htm
Great resource for changing care providers- http://www.injoyvideos.com/mothersadvocate/pdf/hbyw-ChangingProviders.pdf
Helpful website for creating a birth plan. Even emails it to you when finished :) -  http://birthplan.com/

3 comments:

  1. Good thoughts. Good to see you researching and advocating for yourself and your family. I'm proud of you.

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  2. Good to see you researching and advocating for yourself and your family. God will give you clarity. I'm proud of you!

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  3. I SO would have done a home birth if 1)I could have actually gone into labor. 2)Josh was all for baby "goo" on his bed ;) LOL You do what's best and we will support you!!!

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