Monday, June 23, 2008

What's your idea of the perfect birth?

Since birth is on my mind. :p If you could be guaranteed that everything goes exactly as planned, what would be your ideal birth? Comment if you like. :o)

ETA: Make sure you vote in the poll, too! :D


Science Teacher Mommy said...

Birth center birth.

The thing is that the guaranteed nothing goes wrong bit is the trick--in ANY kind of birth.

Here is my example; I apologize in advance for the length. I was ready to do the birth center thing with my #1. Scared, but prepared. My mother and sister are nurses and did their best to disuade/freak me out. I prayed: I told God that my plan was to deliver at the birth center and that if that was the wrong choice I needed something to happen to deter me.

Within days of that prayer, I began having strange heart palpitations during my Braxton Hicks contractions, and sometimes when I would lay down. My pulse felt like it was racig, but it was normal. My midwife sent me to a (female) cardiologist. She diagnosed non-regurgitating mitral valve prolapse. A mild heart murmur, which is common to many women. I had lived my whole life without knowing it. She insisted on prophylactic antibiotics and absolutely NO birth center. I was three weeks from my due date.

I cried my eyes out to my midwife who said that it was possible for her to do the antibiotics there, but as for the other, well, she didn't feel like a responsible practioner if she referred me to a doctor and then went against her advice. I was devastated.

In the end, however, it was definitely for the best. As awful as I felt initially, I realized that mvp was an answer to my prayers. After 8 hours of hard labor, I had done what I could and only dialated from a 4 to a 7. By the time my epidural kicked in I was at an 8. He was still five hours from birth. When I began pushing, he was seriously stressed. In fact, he was seriously stressed unless I lay very still on my left side. My midwife called her back up physician and he delivered Scallywag with forceps.

Why the long and boring story? The birth didn't happen how I wanted, but I think I had the best possible outcome. Looking back 150 years, with just a midwife, and no "medical" intervention possible, this would have been the kind of birth that resulted in the death of the baby or a birth defect. On the other hand, had I just gone to an OB, especially a Texan OB, I would have been induced before he was ready (he was 10 days late), given an epidural before I was dialated to a 3 and ended up in a C-section when my labor didn't progress and he was stressed.

My midwife was there all night long and held my hand. She defended my interests at the hospital when I was too weak to be assertive. She taught me that birth is hard and wonderful all at the same time. I love her. Was Scallywag's birth ideal? Maybe as ideal as it could have been.

I debated a long time about where to have baby #2 and didn't see a doctor until I was almost 16 weeks. Eventually we went to the closer hospital where insurance made it cheaper (ironic, eh?), but that was such a wonderful birth with a fantastic, supportive friend that I know I could have done it at a birth center. I wish I had. The heart thing didn't bother me more than a couple of times my whole pregnancy--another testimony that it was sent to get me in a hospital the first time around.

And #3, well, you know that story. It was poorly planned start to finish; and I spent part of my labor alone, which I'll never to again. However, when my five days overdue baby turned himself the wrong way and then I went into labor spontaneously, a lot of our options were taken off the table.

Hm . . . I wish I could have that guarantee. If there is a #4, I'd love to find that perfect midwife, clinic and doula.

Doreen said...

STM, thanks for sharing those stories. You're right, when it comes to birth, there are no guarantees. That's why I think it's crucial to have a good care provider, whom you can trust. I think there's a fine line between "trusting your body/trusting birth" and respecting birth. I think that's really what it's all about, respecting birth, and respecting the birthing woman. And hey, if you decide to have #4 and you're still in Oregon, you should be set, no? Of course, I'm not entirely sure what the birthing climate is like there, but I'd be surprised if there isn't a birth center somewhere near you. And definitely don't be alone! :o)

Sabrina said...

Healthy mommy and baby with midwife-doula-birthing center. We had such a perfect birthing center experience with #1 we're almost afraid to have #2 lest we temp fate. Or maybe it's because the Z-man still doesn't sleep a lot a night. . .my DH really wants a home birth next time. ..we'll see!!!

denedu said...

I was very lucky with all three births to have an absolutely awesome OB/GYN whom I loved! I hate going to the doctor for anything, but these two doctors made me excited to go to my appointments. I loved it!

For numbers 1 and 2 he knew what I wanted and what I expected from the births. They both turned out great! Not alot of pushing and the babies got to come in their own time. With #3 I was lucky to find another doctor that I loved. He was great! I find that in all three births the doctors listened to what I wanted and needed. I feel very fortunate in that. I feel very blessed to have had three wonderful births without complications...and...that we were all o.k. through it all. :)

tearese said...

On the survey I put unmedicated hospital birth, because thats what we wanted to do with E. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
Our hospital was really nice and the rooms were like a birthing center, where you don't have to ever leave the room or bed.. if things go normally.
I was a 5 when we got there, a 10 by the time we were in the room so I began pushing right away. After two hours, she had failed to descend at all. If that was the only problem the attending dr. (not mine I'd been seeing!) would have let me continue pushing.
But she was also in extreme distress. Through all the pushing, her heart was dropping to like 20-40 beats per minute, and at the end it was taking longer to start again after each push.
The c-section surgery room was like a completely different hospital, very cold and impersonal,and I hated it.
I was angry at the doctor for telling me to have a c-section, but in retrospect I think it was best for my baby.
My doctor was very supportive of my having a VBAC with #2, J. Other professionals in her office questioned the wisdom of it, but she was always very understanding of my wants.
With J I progressed from a 5 to a 9 very fast again. This time, they insisted I have an epidural because if I ended up in an emergency c-section at the last minute without medication, they would have to put me under with Narcotics ...and there was NO WAY I was doing that! So I agreed.
This slowed things down from 9-10, naturally. Then after pushing for a while, he started to show distress too, and they determined that my anatomy may be inhibiting him coming out.
The doctor (again, not mine) had me prepped for a c-section again. But he agreed to try the vacuum first, and luckily we got him out of there!
He said I will probably have complications every time and recommended I have c-sections in the future, but I'm not going to unless its necessary again.

Anonymous said...

Perfect birth: Healthy mom, Healthy baby, Respectful doctor/nurses/midwife/assistant who listens to the mother, and no post-partum depression afterward! Babies 1-5 were born at home. #6 at the hospital, and #7 at the hospital all vaginally and all without pain meds. The births themselves were all unique in one way or another, but the best memories were of the ones after I'd learned about hypnobirthing, and also after i'd become more comfortable and more in tune with my body and confident enough to tell them how it would be instead of everyone else tell me how it would be.

Hypnobirthing is awesome and for anyone whose never heard of it before automatically forms misconceptions in their mind simply by the name. In reality, nobody "hypnotizes" you. You are completely awake and aware, and completely relaxed and letting your body do what it was made to do -- give birth!

My first birthing experience with it went something like this -- and I loved it! I woke up about 1:30 with surges (commonly called contractions by others). I layed there and breathed deeply as I'd been taught to give the muscles and blood vessels the oxygen needed while I decide whether it was the "real" thing or not. Decided it was and woke my husband up to call the midwife. He didn't think I would go as quickly as I did since all other births had been at least 7 hours of active labor - so he didn't call her even after I told him he needed to. I went into the shower and let the warm water fall on my belly while I sat on the big exercise ball and peacefully relaxed. (He started gathering things for the 3 older kids to go to their aunts house and was not in there with me -- which was fine as I didn't need him.) By about 3:00 I decided I should get up to go the bathroom. I did, and my water must have broken at the same time because I didn't notice. I got up from the toilet and decided to brush my teeth so the midwife didn't have to smell bad breath when she came. (He had finally called her 20 minutes prior to this.) After I got done brushing my teeth, I had another surge and thought "Hmm... that was pretty strong. Maybe I am too unrelaxed. I'd better hurry and get relaxed again. My husband walked in the bathroom right then and I said, "Ryan, I think the baby's coming." He said "Now?" I said, "Right now." I squatted, grunted once, and he caught the baby's as she shot out. The midwife ran in the door 5 minutes later. Total time was less than 2 hours from when I woke up with the first surges.

So, why the whole story? It was amazing. I could sit on the ball in the shower with no pain, completely relaxed, and feel the baby advancing down little by little. It was the beautiful side of birth that is completely miraculous, without a single bit of the pain and agony that had come with the first 3 long and arduous births. The one surge I had after brushing my teeth was when I was going through transition. Previously, transition for me would have been complete with dry heaving, complete hysterics of "I can't do this" and "God help me" prayers. Granted, I wished he had called the midwife when I told him too -- just in case... but he'll never hesitate again when I tell him it's time.

Baby #5 was just as neat... only she decided to flip breech at the last minute and labor was stopping. Because I was able to stay completely relaxed, the midwife was able to safely help her turn, labor began progressing again, and all was well.

Baby # 6 I had had surges on and off for two weeks, (I have never had regularly timed surges for any birth) and when I finally really went into labor, I didn't think I was because it was so easy to relax through them. I finally decided they were going longer than an hour with the longest break being 15 minutes, so I was probably definitely in labor. I called my husband home, and by the time he flew into the driveway and started speeding to the hospital, I had to start telling the baby to slow down and not come quite yet. I was so relaxed and the baby was working so well with my body, that we got to the hospital 10 minutes before the baby was born. I was completely unrelaxed by then since this was my first hospital experience (we moved too far away from any midwives) and yelled at the nurse that I wanted to sit in the shower. She didn't listen, then I said, "the baby is coming" she peeked and said "no, that's just your water" and about 10 seconds later Ryan caught again as the baby and the water came at the same time. The doctor came about 15 minutes later and wanted to know why he'd missed the party.

I completely attribute the difference from my 7+ hours of active labor before, to 2 hours from start to finish, to the mindset and techniques hypnobirthing taught us. I recommend it to anyone and everyone, whether they are birthing at home, hospital, c-section or anything else.

Wish me luck, I am 17 weeks along with #7 right now, and still no midwife around to do a home birth, so we're back to the hospital... which is fine. This time, the doctor is giving me his pager number to meet us at the hospital, and the nurses will listen a little better when I say the baby is coming.