It is one of the things I have done in my life that I am the most proud of. I know that it is probably difficult to understand, but it is how I feel. We were planning on having our first birth at home, but it turned out that I was carrying twins the whole time, even though I was only measuring on for one baby for the majority of my pregnancy. In the end, due to our distance from the hospital where my midwife’s back up doctor was in residence, and the fact that my daughter was severely footling breech, we decided to have a c-section at thirty-nine weeks.
When I became pregnant the second time, I did have an ultrasound to be sure that I was only carrying one baby. I was even more nauseous than I had been the first time around, so we were worried for a while there. It turned out that she was a single rider, and so, three days before she was due we had a perfect delivery at home. The medical group that I had chosen had seven doctors in it, and six of them performed VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). They, of course believed that I planned to have the baby at the hospital or they would have refused me treatment. Ironically, on the afternoon that I delivered my daughter the one doctor who refused to preform VBAC was on call. If I had gone to the hospital I would have been given a completely unnecessary surgery. My daughter would have missed out on all of the wonderful hormones that she gathered traveling through the birth canal, and we both would have been exposed to an awful amount of germs and drugs unnecessarily.
Everyone has different opinions on the best way to give birth. I have heard gobs of success stories, and just as many horror stories. My husband and I made the choices that we did about giving birth after doing some pretty extensive research. Along with our choices, came a great deal of fear and disapproval from the extended family that we relied on for support, which made it even harder to stick to our guns and do what we believed was best for the health of our children. In the end, it is probably why I am so proud of giving birth to my very healthy daughter, safely at home. It was an uphill battle to get there.
I gave birth on an afternoon in February in my bedroom at my mother’s house on our farm in southern Indiana. Our twins were a year and a half old, and my mother entertained them in the playroom in the basement while I gave birth upstairs. We tried putting me in the bathtub for the labor pains but I could not tolerate sitting still. For most of my labor I did squats with the support of the kitchen counter or ran up and down the stairs. I cannot imagine how I would have tolerated being instructed to lie in a bed motionless through that pain, and I have deep sympathy for all of the women who have.
The labor went quickly and easily for me. The delivery was trickier, I had not expected for it to go on so long. I did get frightened that the baby wasn’t making progress, and my wonderful and very talented midwife talked me through it beautifully. I did yell at my husband at a point and we still laugh about it today. When I finally delivered my daughter and her thirteen-inch head, which she will forever hear about, I was exhausted and shaky but very happy. Aurora was a girl; as I had known, though we didn’t know for sure until she was delivered. She was exactly eight pounds, and very pink with gobs of brown hair. I could actually relax, because we were safe at home, and I wasn’t worried that some nurse was going to carry my baby off and inject her with something. I was really grateful. I also remember sitting on my couch that evening eating the best meal that I have ever had in my life. It was just a simple casserole that my grandmother had put together while I was in labor earlier in the day, but it was absolutely perfect.