Giving birth unassisted, having an unassisted pregnancy and labour is a decision that can be hard to make, and many women have their own reasons for doing so.
Some women have their first babies unassisted, for some it is after many births, for some it for religious reasons and for some it is the only choice, for many it is their past experiences that bring them to the decision.
For me, the reason has evolved.
My labour with Xavier was far from perfect, he was posterior and after 38 hours of labour at the birthing centre I was transfered being only 3cm. I was given an epidural, a pit drip and a catheter. I was poked and prodded and checked too often by complete strangers that could have been a random person waking the hallways. I was told that I would need a c/s, that the baby was too big, that my pelvis was too small, that I could never give birth, that the baby was in peril when it was the monitor that kept slipping, my water was broken “accidentally” and an internal monitor was placed on Xavier’s head. I was asked why I didn’t want to hold my baby, and told that there was virtually no risk with a c-section…
I was then given a deadline that after which I would have “no choice”.
I was then left alone… until a few minutes before the deadline when the doctor came to see if I had progressed… with one gloved hand she went to check and his head was already half way out… they screamed at me not to push and he was born as they were still scrambling to get ready.
After being in labour for 49 hours, I left the hospital 2 hours later and vowed never to go back.
With Colin, I was almost ready to give birth unassisted if labour had come differently, though in hindsight, I don’t think I would have been that prepared. I knew though, that it would take at least 3 hours to get to the birthing centre because Simon doesn’t drive and it wouldn’t be right to drive in labour, which meant I would have to wait for a friend to come get me from Montreal, and then bring me back to Montreal. As it happened though, my water broke and it allowed me the time to get to the birthing centre without too much labouring on the road.
Another posterior baby, another long labour, and the stress that I would have to birth in one of the offices downstairs because of the centre’s policy of weight limitations for birthing upstairs where the birthing rooms where (a policy that was abolished soon after)…
I was brought downstairs at one point when labour was strong and my body just didn’t want to labour anymore… and then the threats of a transfer started to come around. In the morning, my midwife went to rest a bit and another midwife came in and started to talk to me. I was breaking down, I didn’t want to birth downstairs during office hours, I didn’t want to be transfered, I just wanted to give birth the way I knew I could.
The new midwife talked to me, she gave me my confidence back, she gave me new ideas and positions that may help turn him, she asked me what “I” needed, (which was to rest), and then she helped me get into a better position so that I could rest as I hadn’t slept all night… I was able to sleep between contractions, through transition and I even had the courage to tell another midwife to leave me alone… and when they came to see if things had progressed, as I turned over, Colin turned and was ready to come out. He was born a few minutes later, after 22 hours of labour. A student midwife that was there put tension on the cord and I started to hemorrhage, something that could have easily been avoided if she hadn’t been there or would have just let things alone, I left there with angry at the centre and their policies and time limits, and at people who didn’t really help me, but instead hindered the whole process and even created problems.
18 months later, I was pregnant again. My first reflex was to call the birthing centre. I gave my info on the phone and because I had already given birth there I would usually be in right away. I was told however, that they wouldn’t take me because of the distance and told me to call another birthing centre the same distance from me but in the opposite direction. I panicked for a bit, I did call the other birthing centre, but I also felt a great bit of relief.
I told Simon that I would rather UC this time, being refused a place again because of policy was what gave me the nudge. But, my journey began and there was no turning back and though I did get into another birthing centre, I declined when I got called and told them that I had made my choice to UC.
Though it was policy that pushed me, my reasons for UC changed quite quickly.
The relief that I felt when I was told that I didn’t have a space was because I knew that the birthing centre was no longer for me. That there was too much intervention even in that setting. That I would be better birthing unhindered… unobserved. I had understood that my body shuts down when I am nervous and the presence of doctors or midwives, schedules and expectations makes that happen.
My choice to UC is because I believe that the safest place for my child to be born in at home unhindered, that the safest place for me to have a child is at home. I believe that my body functions best when I am able to go into myself and work with my body to give birth in the best and easiest way possible. I feel confident that birth is a natural process that when intervened with only causes more problems than it is supposed to help.
My UC with Khéna was the fastest and easiest birth I have had and the biggest baby I have had, I was able to go inside myself and go through labour and birth in the way that I needed and there is no question that I would not birth in the same way way again…
I’m in awe of your strength and I think often of your journey as I ponder the path I took. I know everyone is different and I don’t know if I would ever UC but I think it is fantastic that you came to realize what you ultimately wanted, and stuck by it. Thank you for the strength and knowledge you have passed on to me! 🙂
I really enjoyed reading that, Pax! I wish you didn’t have to come to UC because of choice being taken away but such is life at times…
Can’t wait to meet your newest uc baby within the year… ha ha… whenever they do make an unhindered appearance….
Wow! thanks for sharing this. Your experience gives me strength.
(and, am I wrong in wishing you a happy birthday?)