I could never have had a unassisted birth (UC) without the help of others. Most of the people who helped me were people I never actually met. Some of them rubbed me very much the wrong way. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t help me!
The most important resource was the C-Birth yahoo group. It was through online discussions that I was able to process concerns and finalize my plan for birth.
I am such a strong believer that we create our own realities that my plan did not include hospital as backup plan. While that might seem irresponsible to some, it goes according to my beliefs. My midwife was my backup plan. (I later learned that my husband had scoped out routes to the nearest hospitals. That was something he needed to do in order to be comfortable, just as it was something I needed not to do!)
When I first joined the C-Birth yahoo group, I just lurked. They were so deep in it that I couldn’t even figure out where I might fit in. As the players and plots started to unfold, it became clear that this was a group of people who got straight to the point. Perhaps I am more accustomed to sugar coated messages so it took me a while to decide if I could handle this place.
I am so glad I stayed! Birth isn’t exactly one of those things in life that is sugar coated, and neither is having a newborn. Having it told like it really is and directly to the point helped me shed some layers of baggage I still carried from before my first birth.
I came to understand that not all that many things were likely to go wrong, and for most of the possible scenarios, there was time.
We are led to believe that birth is some kind of a crisis and that it starts with water breaking out of the blue and leads to pushing a baby out within 15 minutes. I was still under that impression to some degree after my first birth. I still had not fully come to understand that birth can take days, and that is normal. And that there are purposes for birth going on for days such as getting the muscles in shape for an easier birth. When we learn to trust our bodies and the process, fully baked babies come out. I also learned that fully baked is not exactly 40 weeks, but rather a range. And that there were a whole lot of underground moms who’d been pregnant well over ten months and had gone on to give birth naturally to normal babies.
So much of the so-called science of birth according to medicos is not science at all! In fact, it is more superstition than you would want to believe
For example, ultra sounds are total crap. Not only do they subject both the mom and the baby to unnecessary and harmful radiation, they serve no purpose except to entertain. There isn’t anything you are going to find out from an ultrasound that is not something you could not find out another way or find out later. Is the baby moving? Well that’s easy to feel. Is there a heartbeat? Use a fetoscope if you must. What gender? Why do you need to know that? Are you planning to abort the wrong gender? Must you have all pink or all blue or must you have a name in advance? And how big is the baby? Don’t get me started! Not only do they make up numbers that are hugely innacurate, but they then use this information as yet another reason to induce birth because the baby is “too big” and could not possibly fit through your pelvis. Because, you know, women nowadays somehow got strangely wired with tiny pelvises. Perhaps this theory is based on the size of the pelvis when the mom is not giving birth? Um, dudes, it all opens up! And one last thing about the baby’s weight and how stupid that is as a measure of whether or not a mom can fit a baby through her pelvis. My babies were both the same weight at birth. But one had a huge head and one had a small head. And I could totally feel the difference during birth.
After my first birth, I was kind of a proud warrior, bemoaning the fact that my birth had taken 36 hours. This information was always met with impressed, “Wow”s and often with people sharing that they were not allowed to labor past 8 or 10 or 12 hours. How utterly ridiculous! What is the fear there? Not making it to dinner on time? Yes, that turns out to be exactly right; most unplanned cesareans are performed just before dinner or just before bedtime. How disgusting. Missing dinner now qualifies as a “medical emergency”?
I am not sure where you start timing the process, but my second birth, once things started heating up for real, progressed very quickly. I never felt it slow down at all. I am certain this is because I was fully comfortable in my own space and had no fear. No fear of anyone telling me I was taking too long nor pooping too much nor not pushing hard enough.
In the end, my plan was simple enough. My midwife knew when I was due, roughly speaking. I did not inform her that labor had started. We bought an inflatable kiddy pool which worked out so much better than the hard rental birthing pools. It only cost around $20! We used a hose with an adaptor to fill the tub. We got a lot of towels and sheets from a thrift store so we could toss them out after the birth instead of being faced with tons of laundry. I know this is wasteful but it really felt like a blessing to be extravagant in this way. I prepared and froze meals for at least a month and kept the refrigerator well stocked. We also were lucky enough to have many friends drop off meals which meant that our stash lasted much longer.
My midwife must have intuitively known what was going on with us because when we called her after the birth, she was over within 30 minutes. It was a relief to have all our paperwork properly handled. I am not sure if she said she was there for the actual birth or not. We did show her video of what she’d just missed!