An Open Discussion: Unassisted Childbirth

by Birth Without Fear on December 15, 2010

During the  comment discussions on Birth Without Fear’s blog post, A License to Rape, unassisted birth came up and a conversation started. I stopped the discussion for a few reasons. The most important being that it was taking away from the importance of the topic…birth rape.

I want to offer a place for a respectable conversation about unassisted pregnancy and childbirth (also referred to as unhindered birth or freebirth). There have recently been many questions about UP/UC on our Facebook page and I know many  mamas are interested in it, as it seems so different than the mainstream way of birthing. Please share your experiences, ask questions, share information, etc. Every mama is different, so every pregnancy and birth, even if unassisted is different. We can all learn a lot from one another, then do what is best for us.

Just remember to keep it respectful. Our blog has always had rules that include no personal attacking, name calling or use of foul language. If you want your comment posted, please keep that in mind. This can be a great resource and a wonderful discussion!

Unassisted birth is not for everyone. I personally never recommend UC, because I know it is a very personal decision that requires a lot of thought (prayer), working through fears, educating oneself, having the right support and taking complete responsibility. Every woman needs to birth where she feels comfortable and safe.

Enjoy!

*If you haven’t seen your comment come up, it’s just because I have not been on to approve it. Be patient as I am pregnant and taking care of 4 amazing, beautiful children during the day.

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{ 148 comments… read them below or add one }

lola December 23, 2010 at 11:40 am

Amber is right!childbirth isnt risk free. woman have been doing this for thousnads of year, and quite a few have died trying. I think it would be horrible to think that a woman lost her life or the baby’s life to a condittion/problem that was preventable with the presense of a trained proffesional! the most common mistake made by UC moms right after a water birth is to stay in the water, while it could be tricky for a midwife to evaluate blood loss in water, it is even trickier for an untrained person to do so, no matter how many kids you have!
It is everyone’s own choice, and opinion.I just hate to hear”he/she would have died no matter where the birth would have taken place” when my 19yrs of CNM tells me otherwise.

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Andrea December 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

@Amber. You are entitled to your opinion. May I ask do you have any children? And if so, who do you keep in your home at all times who could help in an emergency? We must admit, Amber, life is full of risk and subsequently requires us to be full of faith. We sit on chairs every day without inspecting the legs are sturdy. We drive down the road at 70 mph right beside cars coming towards us going 70 mph, and we are full of faith that they wouldn’t cross the center line and cause a head on crash.
We also need to remember that Mothers make the very best Mothers, and are designed to respond to the needs of their children in a unique and almost supernatural way. I personally believe that a mother in labor would know if she and her baby need help and would seek it out or prepare in advance with a back up plan that would include a care provider the MOTHER deems qualified. And finally, I believe that educated, realistic mothers are willing to exercise faith in the process of birthing and accept full responsibility of the outcomes. Isn’t that what life is really all about?

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Lisa January 6, 2011 at 11:18 am

@Andrea, you mention we need to just be full of faith. The first thing I thought of was all the tales to make the point that sometimes God sends us His help through others whether it be doctors, midwives, our spouses, etc. I don’t understand when you say a mother would know if her baby or her will need help. How if they aren’t monitoring their own heartrates and the baby’s, can’t look up themselves, etc., is that possible? I have a friend whose blood pressure would crash every time she went into labor. After their 2nd child and her almost dying with the 1st, her husband and her decided they were done because even being in the hospital, he almost lost her but thank God she WAS at the hospital. She probably wouldn’t have made it had she delivered at home and she had no way of knowing that was going to be a problem she was going to have. She had no indication before her first was born.

I don’t think the hospital is the evil entity some people are making it sound to be. I think, like with most things, it is lack of education.

I am all for women delivering however they want. I think midwives are a group of people who haven’t gotten the credit they deserve as much until recently and am thankful to have an OB/GYN office who staffs midwives in addition to their doctors and NPs so their patients have that choice.

I just think regardless of how many children anybody has had, things happen and the time it takes an ambulance to get to a person much less get them to a hospital may mean the difference between life and death sometimes. One of my first doctors once told me about a woman who had had 7 children. He said he let her labor as she felt comfortable, after all, she knew what she was doing but suddenly things started going wrong. Something happened where the baby got stuck, mom’s and baby’s heartrates began to plummet, and he said they had to quickly get her into the OR in order to save them both. I don’t see how an ambulance could have gotten them to the OR in time which would have meant their deaths.

I think this page is priceless for the EDUCATION it promotes. Ask questions of the hospital before you go to make sure they are going to be supportive of your choices. If you want to have a homebirth, make sure like one of the other mom’s posted that you have a midwife who educates about what to do “what if”.

Just as someone else posted, yes, women have been pregnant and having babies since the beginning of time. Many more of them also died in the process as did the babies. Personally I’m thankful I didn’t have to deliver my children as if I lived in a third world country without proper prenatal care and a trained professional to make sure my baby and I were as safe as any human could have a hand in because of course, if it’s our time it’s our time regardless of where we are. I just think it’s like saying, well I’m going to smoke because if I’m going to die I’m going to die. Yes, maybe I will at a younger age, but I’m not going to do anything to help it along. LOL

It’s interesting. One of the other parenting pages (a mom who is for a lot of what everyone here stands for) posted an article about a year ago I think it was about how long ago women used to get to stay in the hospital for 10 days after childbirth because there were so many things that could go wrong after birth…infections for example. They used to believe that if the mom was in the hospital they had a better chance of saving the mom if she was already right there and being monitored by a nurse/doctor. In the 60′s, the article said the length of stay was dropped to 5 days. Now you are out in 2 to 3 and that’s after major surgery sometimes. :(

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Sarah January 14, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Long ago women were admitted to the hospital, and birthed n their backs and HAD to stay in the hospital for 10 days. That has been proven to INCREASE the likelihood that a woman and/or baby experiences complications. IN fact it has been proven that people recover faster from all illnesses/surgeries while at home. Seniors ‘age’ slower at home, than they do in an institution. Women in North America are at greater risk of dying or having major complications than any other industrial nation – and even some non industrial nations. The difference is that American Drs are very fast to intervene.

Incidentally prenatal care is not actually very good at all. The time of greatest risk to baby is the first trimester (or even preconception) that is the time period when a woman needs the most support, to make healthy choices, to know what to expect int he next stage. Even second or third time moms will have questions, but most of the time those questions go unasked, and unanswered. The time that requires the LEAST intervention is the third trimester, yet most Drs have moms coming in biweekly and then weekly. Doing vag exams and increasing the likelihood of infection, rupture of membranes, and ultimately undermining a woman’s faith in herself and her body.

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Krista Arias May 16, 2011 at 11:23 am

This is such an interesting point… and one I will be taking into account as I design my prenatal care as an emergent undisturbed birth midwife! I have had similar thoughts, but they were just intuitions. Good to see this!

I think this is also true of early labor… I suspect that if we are celebrated and supported lavishly at the earliest onset of labor, the yumminess reaches into later stages and we are more able to step into our power and intuitive knowing and maybe not even need a midwife there.

Thanks,
Krista

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Andrea January 15, 2011 at 1:29 am

@Lisa, sorry it too me so long to respond. Do you have any children?

I will also ask, did your friend’s bp drop in labor after an epidural?

I have attended about 50 births (not many) and about 1/2 at home births. My experience, while limited, as well as my training as a doula has helped me educate myself about process of normal birth. I have also seen too many women, with no confidence in their body’s design and a weird affection for their care provider, end up with a c section they didn’t need, a baby they couldn’t bond with, and a deep fear that something is desperately wrong with them.

You should do more reading and investigation into the subject of home birth. Look up Ina May Gaskin’s quilt project and also the rates of maternal and infant mortality in the US compared with other countries. Hospitals are not the safest place to have a baby if the mother is healthy and educated. That, is not something ” I think.” THAT is a FACT.

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Elisabeth August 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm

“I don’t think the hospital is the evil entity some people are making it sound to be. I think, like with most things, it is lack of education. ”

I know there are great hospitals and OB’s out there, and it sounds like you have not heard firsthand the stories I have heard and witnessed. I agree that not ALL hospitals are evil, just like not all OB’s are “just surgeons” and not all midwives are the supportive birth attendents you expected. But our culture accepts hospitals as the normal place to give birth, which is why there is a community of people sharing their scary birth stories in the hopes that they CAN educate women not to assume everything is going to be OK by just going along with doctors. I have friends who had good hospital/OB experiences, even if I would not have seen that same experience as good for me (an example: a friend who delivered naturally on her back with her OB because her OB said it would be easier for her to assist her birth if she were on her back. I would not have agreed to that, but she did and was fine, she is still planning to use same OB and go natural again). I have friends who at the same hospital have awful experiences. Women are not choosing to be ignorant, they are doing what is “expected” of them, to give birth in the hospital and listen to their doctors. Then sometimes they are traumatized and personally I cannot blame these women for going with a home birth, assisted or not. In the end I believe in my heart no mother would knowingly risk the life of their child, and in my experience so far home birth mommas are actually very educated. What else can I do? To go unnassisted might say something about our hospital system, and how it is not meeting the needs of women. In Holland, hospitals, OBs, and Midwives work together, and they have better mortality rates than we do. I do not think it is only because a third of women have their babies at home, I think it is the “working together” that makes a difference.

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Kimberlee T December 23, 2010 at 11:47 am

I can’t get to anything but simple status’s and wall posts from my phone, so I’ll post it here. Feel free to repost my comment. I have 4 children, 2 birthed at home. With my last pg, my Midwife just knew I would have an instant ‘holy CRAP’ …labor, and she was right! I already knew what to do had I been w/o ‘medical professional training’, but she spent the last 2 months of my pregnancy ‘educating’ DH and I on UC. This includes teaching DH how to deliver breech, since my complete recti diastasis wouldn’t hold baby head down. Also, teaching him about shoulder dystocia, since my severe pubic symphisis could’ve resulted in stuck shoulders. Even w/these possible complications (that would often result in unnecesarean had I been in a hospital) my Midwife, DH, and myself are confident in our abilities. Neither 1 of us are ‘professionally’ trained, have no medical degress, but we can birth UC. UC can be dangerous for a 1st time mom, not knowing what will arise. However, in someone who has experience w/childbirth, The REAL danger is going to the hospital to begin with.

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R. December 23, 2010 at 11:50 am

Lola –
Once again women educate themselves. I’ve seen it recommended on several UC sites to go to the hospital/blood bank/butcher to see if you can get blood, measure out what is a “safe” and “unsafe” amount of blood and dump it places and study it.

Childbirth isn’t risk free in with a provider either. How many women have died from infections related to interventions? How many premature babies have been caused and passed due to early inductions for convienence ? How many women have emotionally and mentally suffered because of their provider? How many fathers are raising their babies alone because of risks related to c-sections?

There are two sides to this coin — both with a provider and alone have their risks. To downplay one or the other isn’t professional IMO. Every woman has the right to be fully educated and informed, no matter which route she chooses.

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lola December 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

Amy said : If birth was dangerous our species wouldn’t be here.
I have to respectfully disagree with you on that one. the ensure a specie survival a couple needs to have at least 3 kids that survive to reproductive maturity. 200 yrs ago what was the numbers of pregnancy the average woman had?? around 10. she could very well have 10 pregnancy and yet only need 3 children to survive birth and childhood to sustain our specie. that doesnt make birth safe, or risky it is just that ,…birth!
Before woman didn’t have any reliable contraception so most of them will spend most of their lives pregnant/nursing…ect.
Also when you think that 20% of pregnancy miscarry, that is hardly a safe process!

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D'Anne February 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Actually 200 years ago birth went quite well, as it historically has. Childhood mortality due to other (usually socio-economic, farming, pioneering accidents and realities) causes was high. My great-grandmother had 9, only 2 survived. The others all died in their first year having nothing to do with their birth.

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Elisabeth August 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Improved diet and an understanding of, and treatment for, infection has contributed enormously to better mortality rates. Rickets was caused by a vitamin c deficiency, which made it practically impossible for a large baby to get out of the birth canal, but we don’t have rickets anymore. Doctors would handle a dead body then deliver a baby without washing their hands. And that 20% of pregnancies miscarry, a majority is in the first trimester likely due to an unviable pregnancy to begin with. Some women “miscarry” and don’t even know it because it all happens before they miss a period, but it isn’t dangerous, and doesn’t mean that birth is dangerous.
In spite of worse mortality rates in this country than other developed countries, and it having risen since an all time low in the 70′s, death in childbirth be it at home or in the hospital is very low.

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Melissa July 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Actually America has earned the status of one of the worst 1st world countries to birth in. There were two (maybe more) articles last year (2012) about, one in the New York Times, and one in the L.A. Times. WHO has even made statements on it. I know you posted this in 2011, but here in 2013 these are the facts.

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Brittney December 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

I don’t disagree with Lola. I am in full support of home birth and even UC, but I think if you haven’t done the research, if you have never birthed before…so on and so forth, there are certain risks that would come with not having any kind of educated presence in the room. My personal opinion is that you can still have an unassited birth at home, with a midwife standing in the corner. I am not saying at all that UC’s are “dangerous”, that you should not have them or that they aren’t often successfull and beautiful. I just think that it is a wise choice to have someone there who is able to help you if you are in a situation that requires assistance and that if you are not going to do that, you need to make sure you have fully educated yourself on how to recognize a problem with yourself and your baby. There truly are some problems that require help that you may not see coming, that a midwife can because they are trained to see it (even if she is just in the corner). I agree that is the minority, I believe that most UC’s are successfull, I just am not fully comfortable with it for myself. For me, the “what if’s” are to big of a concern and would become a huge distraction.

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lola December 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm

To make clear, a woman could have 10 pregnancies loose 7 and still contribute to the species survival.I am sorry, I am italian and english is my second language.

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lola December 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm

R said “To downplay one or the other isn’t professional IMO. Every woman has the right to be fully educated and informed, no matter which route she chooses.”
I am not down playing anything,and I am respecting woman choices. I just said I hate to hear the “this would have happen anywhere no matter who would have attended”, When I know for a fact that the odds would have been tremendously different if a trained person would have been present., that’s all, that’s just me. I am not advocating hospital early induction followed by a c section birth!AT ALL!! please read again my message you obviously read too quick!

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Mary Bennefield December 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Education is key as is immediate acces to medical care if it should be needed. I respect what Lola is saying as a CNM but I also know that all of us “medical preofessionals” were not born with the knowledge … we had to learn it. That means that others have the ability to learn as well. If someone has been properly educated and is prepared to the best of their abilities AND has a plan in place if an emergency should arise then by all means I support their decision to UC. (As a L&D nurse I personally feel more comfortable having someone actually there with me, but again … that is just MY personal choice.) It boils down to this: Women have the right to choose whatever they feel is best for themselves and their baby. With that right comes the responsibility to accept any, and all, consequences that come with their actions. I believe that with proper education and planning, a UC can be successful. After all, women have been doing it for thousands of years. Yes, many have died. But millions have not. We have an advantage today that we live in a world in which we typically are only a phone call away from immediate medical assistance. That does not completely eliminate the risks but it certainly increases the odds of a favorable outcome. Best wishes to all of the expectant Mom’s out there ….. my advice is to follow your heart, educate yourselves and always ALWAYS have a back-up plan in the unlikely event of an emergency. :)

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Kim December 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I am going to be delivering for the first time and at home..most likely a UC. I have not taken this lightly either, as this has been years in the making for me and have done much homework on the subject. For ME, it feels riskier going to a hospital and getting whatever intervention they throw at you. My hubby felt more comfortable having a midwife present at our house and we found one that was willing to be as stand-off as we wish but she cost too much for us, and insurance will not cover midwives in our state. So while i’m left w/out an option of a midwife at my home that doesn’t change my mind that it’s safer for me and my baby to birth there. I do have an OB backup at one of the 10 hospitals w/in 15mins of me.
I personally think it’s going to take several generations of home birthers again, before our culture here in the US sees birth as a non-medical emergency. Too many have seen way too many tv scenarios or interventionist births to think otherwise, whether they want to or not.

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Amber W December 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I just wondered if you had checked to see if you were eligible for medicaid. Medicaid in a lot of states pays for midwife attended home births. You would just have to see if you were eligible, and what the statutes are in your state. If you don’t mind sharing your state, I could even let you know the info. I was curious recently if midwives were paid for in my state (FL), and was very happy to know that whether I choose to give birth in a hospital, birth center, or at home, no insurance company can deny to pay for a midwife attended birth, that includes medicaid.

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Mychel December 23, 2010 at 1:24 pm

I think one point that is missed here is the assumption that all people have access to home birth midwifery care… in some states it’s illegal. Now I know there are those that operate under the table but they are not always easy to find and then because of secrecy, you don’t have good references etc. and aren’t really sure of their training. This in no way means they are unqualified but how do you know at that point? So what you are essentially saying is that I would be safer agreeing to a RCS just so I would have a medically trained provider present who doesn’t “allow” VBAC’s or be strapped down to monitors and IV’s, ROM and internal monitors, “a little Pit is OK” and all those “just in case” interventions just so I would have a medically trained provider attend my birth when they are the ones that are making my risk of rupture and other complications higher. No thank you. I have found that trusting myself and my husband is the only thing I can be sure of. I know my training and my medical history and how invested I am in a good outcome for me and my child; all things considered. I know I could have birthed my c-section baby but instead I thought I needed a medically trained professional to attend my birth and he hijacked it and left me traumatized. That’s my experience with medically trained professionals, and yes it’s more than the one. I agree with the other poster that I am capable of being as informed as any midwife can be when I take the time to educate myself. It is easily accessible information. UCer’s are not fly by the seat of their pants people, they are meticulous with every bit of information they get. I read 100′s of articles, about 40 birth books, watched videos on anything I could find to be prepared. I even found home birth videos in water to see what an acceptable blood amount in water looked like but upon more research found out that that is irrelevant because the blood is made up of many things that can change the consistency and color etc. so look alone is not good enough. We learned how to spot early signs of shock and had herbs and other natural remedies to deal with those things. I considered everything and knew what we would do in every situation and what ones we would transfer for. So yes there are risks but to say a natural process is unsafe is bull. The idea that natural birth is unsafe and has to be attended which leads to some form of intervention, if only by suggestion is what is wrong and has led to the ever rising rate of c-sections we see today. To clarify, I’m not saying anything against anyone who has a provider present, if you have found one that respects birth and you, great. I am saying that it starts with the mentality that birth is unsafe that makes it become unsafe.

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Amber December 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Natalie, I may have come across more one sided than I really am. I’m sorry for that. I support homebirth 100%! I had one. I also know that in many places it is almost, if not fully, impossible to find a midwife, much less one who is willing to allow you to labor without intervening. And if that is what a mother is really looking for, and she and her partner are willing to spend the time needed to educate themselves on how to handle all possible situations, then yes, UC may be the best choice for them. I am mostly saying that I do not think it should be the first thing certain women jump to. I just think it is the most responsible choice to at least try to find someone who agrees with, supports, and encourages your choices, before assuming they don’t exist. And after that at least do all you can to educate yourself and your partner. Trusting insticts is wonderful! I just want women to be careful as well.

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Free December 24, 2010 at 1:44 am

I can’t imagine woman looking to freebirth as a first choice. I do know of a few instances of women regretting the decision to have an unassisted birth but may this show that we have to own our decisions and take responsibility. I don’t feel like I chose my hospital births yet they happened and I am still dealing with it all.

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lola December 24, 2010 at 8:13 am

Don’t chiken out Amber!! they won’t eat you! you are perfectly entitle to your opinion and don’t need to justify anything. Just like UC mom don’t need to justify their choices……
I personally doubt you can aquire the same knowledge, experience, wisdom a midwife has in a few months. Reading about a complication and actually living it is quite different! I remenber my first PPH, it was hard to think straight, remain calm,act fast!! and it wasn’t a person I was emotionally attached to, it was a client. I would imagine it would be much harder to deal with if the life of a loved one was in the balance!
I can read all the book ever written about birth rape, but I would never trully understand it because I have never experienced it, it a bit the same.

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Brittney December 25, 2010 at 2:18 pm

After reading all the many comments, I think it comes down to an educated decision. I am not comfortable, at least at this point in my life, with a completely unassisted birth. That is MY educated decision. I have selected a CNM that I really feel safe and comfortable with. I am confident in my decision and am prepared to “deal with the consequences” if it is not everything I hope it to be. That does not make my decision the right one for everyone. It does however, make it the right choice for me and my husband.

This has been such an educational discussion for me! I have been learning about natural birthing for the last few years and it wasn’t until I started read BWF that I even heard of UC! It is really easy to make a snap judgement/decision on your feelings toward it. I wont even try to deny that my first thought was “That can’t be safe”. The more I have read what UC moms have to say and the more I have learned about what the experience is really about, I think my opinion is changing. Again, it’s not for me, but I completely understand why some women choose it. I had no idea there was so much info out there that will help you to prepare for emergencies that come up, nor was I aware that there were health care providers that would support you and be your “back up plan”.

Anyway, that got really long! I really just wanted to say thank you to all of you who are willing to share and educate newbies like me :)

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Mary Bennefield December 26, 2010 at 2:43 am

I support EVERY woman’s choice …. I completely agree that UC can be safe and successful. I wish each and every one of you the best of luck and can not wait to hear your birth stories. (Mychel …. I can literally feel your pain and anger at the experience you’ve had. I know this won’t make you feel any better but the reason I am such an advocate now and support y’all is because I too fell into the same trap and had bad experiences. I want to take those experiences and my professional knowledge and help others achieve the birth that they desire. I participate in this blog / FB page to broaden my views and continue learning. I can totally relate to what you are saying … it brought tears to my eyes because it has taken me a long time to come to terms with my own wounds that were much like yours.) (((Hugs to all)))

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lola December 26, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Why was my comment deleted?

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Mrs. BWF December 27, 2010 at 11:47 am

Lola, I checked and I have approved all your comments and have not deleted any of your comments.

Mrs. BWF

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lola December 28, 2010 at 9:58 pm

oups my mistake, I have a hard time seeing which message are the new ones.

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Danielle January 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Deciding to UC is a journey for mother and father alike. Trust and education become a new foundation for birthing. However the crux of the issue is that UC’ers have taken the ultimate step in declaring their full responsibility for the outcomes of the birth. Many who homebirth with MW and some who birth in other venues are also able to come to this place of accepting responsibility for their pregnancy and birth.
I’m going to attempt some intelligent input rather late in this discussion. What first comes to mind in reading some responses is risk. It looks like some of the other ladies have mentioned that life is about taking risks. I agree. There is a level of risk associated with crossing the street, as is getting in to a several ton flying machine, as is with birthing, as is with breathing and having a bowel movement. It becomes a question of whether we evaluate each action as having an acceptable risk level.
Is it our expectation to have a perfect outcome each and every time?
Are we looking for someone to blame if the desirable outcome doesn’t occur?

The thing about having little to no intervention nor interference during a birth is that the body , mind and spirit are freed works the way it is supposed to and the “problems” actually decrease. IE: a mother’s risk of bleeding significantly decreases when nobody performs cord traction, when she is left to push spontaneously and when bonding is not interferred with nor interrupted.
Don’t get me wrong, a good midwife becomes an expert at becoming invisible to minimize interference (and intervention). On the other hand, even a loving, well intentioned father can interfere during an UC.

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Bobbie Jo Hardy January 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

my unassisted birth story is in the BWF discussions tab. It is a personal choice….and for us the right one!

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Sarah January 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm

In some cases a UP/UC would not be a good idea, but I’d say the only time would be for a woman/family who either chooses not to get educated, or who has major complications and chooses to ignore them. I have known women who fall into both categories – one had a midwife friend who showed up at her place and who insisted she go to the hosp – she survived, but her baby didn’t. I have known others who researched and followed their hearts and had amazing experiences – with completely healthy outcomes.

I’ve had 2 hosp births – the first was not a great experience, the second was amazing. Our dd was with us as she choose – otherwise playing in the playroom, dh and I were alone in the shower until I decided to get out. The nurses never came in unless called, and the OB was there long enough to catch our baby, hand her to me to see we had a girl, and write the order to let me go home.

As I await a Jan/Feb arrival I am preparing for a UC – though i am being seen by an OB (I was seeing a midwife and planning a homebirth, but as we got to know her we realized she’d likely be way more hands on than we wanted.) So we are ‘planning’ a hospital birth, but preparing for a UC. I have VERY fast L&Ds and my OB agrees that we are safer delivering alone at home than risking only making it halfway to the hospital and delivering on the highway. So our OB is getting us what we need, and giving dh tips and info for delivering on his own. We ‘discussed’ elective induction – as in she said she’d only do it if I was 42 weeks and still not in labour – though she has given me the go ahead to have acupuncture if I wanted after I was 38 weeks. In otherwords I feel that we are able to do what we’d do even if we were without a care provider.

I personally would be comfortable with a planned UP/UC however, dh is not. He would feel personally responsible if anything happened – so we are planning based on what we are each comfortable with and each decision is based on risk analysis – which is riskier? delivering in the van, on the highway, in -30 weather, 30+min from help, or at home with an ambulance bay 5 min away if we need it?

But our choices are personal. With my first I wouldn’t have felt comfortable with a UC, but things have changed, my knowledge has changed, and our needs have changed.

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Lisa January 18, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I love your OB! How nice for you to have found someone so open minded. I am so happy for you!
Lisa

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Alice January 15, 2011 at 2:06 am

In my opinion it is wise for every woman to understand UC just in case she doesn’t make it to hospital or the midwife doesn’t arrive in time. There are more babies born accidentally before arrival to hospital compared to planned homebirths.

At the end of the day everyone has the birth they are meant to have, and ideally the best space we could enter is one of love, compassion and acceptance of everyone’s choices. As for death, that is also something to learn to accept. Birth and death are part of the cycle of life and even in nature not everything survives all the time, that is perfectly natural too. I think people get a bit obsessive about avoiding death at all costs, rather than accepting the natural cycle. It doesn’t mean that something went ‘wrong’. People are so quick to judge and blame when death occurs rather than see the higher perspective and embrace the journey, no matter the outcome.

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Alice January 15, 2011 at 3:29 am

…just to clarify, of course we want a healthy outcome for all involved and do what we can for this to happen, but for the rare times when there is a true tragedy, it does not always mean there is someone to blame or something went wrong.

It would be nice to see women sharing information with each other, trusting each other and supporting each other to birth in whichever way intuitively feels right for each woman, rather than judging other people’s choices. I personally know that I can birth totally alone, without anyone to guide me. My body knows what to do and I fully trust that. I have no fear of something going wrong. Ultimately, we all birth alone. No one else can do it for us. And to have a carer by our side is just as valid a choice as the choice not to.

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Rebecca February 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I can understand people having strong feelings about UC. However, I think we all need to be clear that there are risks (and benefits) attached to any childbirth choices. The bottom line to me is we cannot choose for anyone other than ourselves – and even then, our choice is often influenced or utterly transformed by circumstances or necessity. My own third birth was an unplanned UC.

For those that condemn UC as introducing unnecessary risks, how can we disregard the risk of birthing in hospital? Or the risk at home of introducing a midwife with whom a mother does not feel confident or comfortable? Each of these elements changes the birth – they are not neutral. Yes, there are instances where mothers and babies might have done better had their been a caregiver present – there are also plenty of instances where mothers and babies might have done better without care provided (ie, babies injured or killed…and mothers too). I don’t judge anyone’s birth choices – nor do I blame the mother if things don’t go according to plan. Birth is unpredictable. Loss, even tragic loss, is sometimes a part of it. But none of us can predict what will happen – we can only make the choices that seem best to us at the time and go forward with with life brings us. No one can control birth – and no one can guarantee anyone a perfect outcome.

It is interesting to see some discounting the mother’s gut feeling of whether or not things are okay – my own midwife (independent CNM in the UK, who is very experienced., in particular with undisturbed home birth) has said to me that she has never seen a drug-free woman amongst her clients not *know* if things were basically okay or not in their births.

I have the impression that the majority of women who plan UCs educate themselves very well in advance – and there are amazing midwives like Lisa Barrett who offer up freely information to women planning UC (via her blog).

I’ve written about some of my reflections on UC as well here: http://durhamdoula.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/some-reflections-on-uc/

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Vanessa April 1, 2011 at 12:52 am

Having had a UC myself, I am in complete support of it if everyone present is in agreement and informed/educated. I think it is a woman’s choice where to birth her baby. Women do not go into UC lightly. Like others stated above, I spent most of my pregnancy educating myself on every possible detail and emergency situation, watching birth videos, gathering supplies, etc. My husband and I both studied acceptable fourth stage blood loss, signs of shock, how to prevent shock, herbs to control bleeding, how to resuscitate a newborn, how to handle a breech birth, etc. We also had an emergency plan in place in case of complications with the birth or immediately following the birth. My husband was well prepared as well. He had CPR training, and is an ex-marine so he also had training in treating shock, and was able to check my dilation. When it came down to it, I had a waterbirth and baby was a surprise breech. I knew exactly what to do (hands off the breech) and he was birthed perfectly.

My decision to UC was because of my deep trust in my body’s ability to give birth. I had give birth twice before, and each time the doctors and nurses had made it extremely difficult to have a physiological childbirth and prevented me from doing so. I knew that with my third birth, I could not have anyone in the room who did not completely trust my ability to have a safe and gentle physiological childbirth.

If I knew that a midwife could sit in the corner and not do anything, I would have had her do that. But the problem is it’s very hard for midwives to do, because that’s not their job. Not that they can’t do it, just that many won’t.

I needed to be in charge of my own body and my own birth, and I have a confidence now in women’s ability to give birth safely now more than ever. I am very much a believer in Privacy during labor and birth. All animals in the wild need it. Animals will literally stop giving birth if their privacy is interrupted (read Ina May :) I truly believe that if a woman is confident, the safest place for her to give birth is only in intimacy with people that she completely trusts. Anybody who does not completely trust birth will hinder the process and make it more dangerous.

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V.S. May 14, 2011 at 3:29 am

We chose UA for our 2nd child. Here’s a brief story of how I made that decision. I had my 1st in the hospital and it was a horrible experience. I decided there was no way I would give birth in a hospital again, and would choose the local birthing center next time.

So when I got pregnant, I went to their orientation, and I just didn’t feel like this was the place for me, but I knew I had no other option besides the hospital, so I figured I’d try it. I had a few visits and really disliked the midwives and honestly I felt there was a good chance I’d end up in the hospital if I went there, since nearly 70% of their patients did. I felt like the hospital & I are on different pages. This birthing center and I were on different planets.

I was having daily anxiety attacks, I didn’t know what to do, and one night I was trying to weigh the 2 options for the millionth time and I thought it’s not like I can give birth at home. And I thought wait. Sure I can. And I don’t need a midwife either, women have been doing tis for millions of years, and the only way I could see getting the birth I wanted was to be left alone with my husband.

I talked with him and he was on board quickly, knowing this was right for us. I did interview 2 homebirth midwives but decided they would not provide what I needed. I had no reservations about this. I felt confident we could recognize any need for a non urgent transport and head to the hospital 7 blocks away. And in a true emergency we could call 911.

The labor and birth went perfectly and our son was so obviously perfect and healthy from the second I saw him. We did end up going to teh hospital a few hours after birth because the placenta had still not delivered and I was concerned. They helped me deliver it, we headed back home a few hours later. I gave birth around 2pm, went to the hospital at 5:30pm, were home by 10pm. And they were wonderful at the hospital and didn’t give me any trouble about the homebirth.

I would definitely do it again, although we are done having babies. There was a lot of research and soul searching though the pregnancy, and if at any time I felt I would be safer at the hospital, I would have gone (and I did when concern arised after the birth) I truly felt being at home was much safer than being in a hospital, and no monitoring or interventions were the safest sanest way to birth for our family.

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MelissaN May 16, 2011 at 12:52 am

My main concern with Unassisted has always been the people that are with you. Very few women actually are “unassisted”, as in ‘all by themselves.’ There is usually a friend or husband or partner with them. To me, you are placing a horrible burden on this person. Even though they are choosing to be there, and think they understand the risks, they are still not trained to understand those risks. If anything did actually happen, they would bear the guilt for the rest of their lives – and since they are not midwives or doctors, they are not “trained” in how to deal with this type of loss. And a personal loss is still much more potent than a loss of a stranger by a doctor/midwife. I just don’t believe that it is “fair” or honest or even nice to put a loved one through the burden of this – to even ask to make this type of choice. For if you ask a loved one, they are almost obligated to say yes, even if they might not truly be comfortable with the concept. If they say no, it would cause great contention and “you don’t love me enoughs” type of mentality. Even if they were completely ok with the concept, is it still not extremely selfish of you to put them through this situation? Even though the risks might be low, they are still there. I still feel that, for me, if anything happened to me, at least my loved one would know that the midwife/doctor did everything possible to help me. If the burden was entirely on my loved one, I just don’t see how they could bear the guilt.

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V.S. April 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I agree with you. It’s a valid concern, and that was my husband’s only reservation. He didn’t think he could live with the guilt if something went wrong and he couldn’t handle it or did something wrong.

However, I firmly believe the mother knows best. I had very strong feelings that something awful would happen to us if I gave birth in a hospital, and even stronger feelings that the birthing center was not the place for us (and they have since closed and there’s a lot of scandal surrounding that)

So I wasn’t going to be pressured by my husband to give birth somewhere that felt so wrong. And my husband didn’t want me to be in the hospital either. He was there for my 1st birth and he was quite traumatized by the whole ordeal, as was I. So it was pretty simple for him to agree that home was the best place. I gave birth in 2010. We were just discussing it yesterday (19 months later) and he says we definitely did the right thing, and if he could do it all over, he’d do the exact same thing. And if we were to have more children, he’d want me to be wherever I felt safest, which would likely be at home again.

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Elizabeth July 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm

My husband was present at my unassisted birth. We were both educated on what normal physiological birth was, and on variations of normal, and on what to do in certain emergency scenarios, etc. WE TOOK THE RESPONSIBILITY UPON OURSELVES. That’s powerful. We didn’t expect other people to shoulder our responsibility (“burden”) for us. They failed that miserably in the past, anyway, so it was up to us.

What we can never forgive ourselves for in REALITY, is the consequences of letting these so-called “trained” “professionals” interfere with our births. That was far more damaging and detrimental to my body and our babies than the peace and serenity of birthing unassisted.

So, the burden we are placing on our mates is an illusion, because that any of us ever lacked that ultimate responsibility in the first place was an illusion. It’s not a burden. It’s a liberation. If he were NOT educated in birth and supportive of what I needed to do (birth unassisted), if he INSISTED I see a trained professional even after the birth traumas I faced, that WOULD be a situation where I would know his feelings for me and my safety were not strong enough or informed enough. And it would hurt our relationship. You can’t tell a victim of torture or abuse to go back and trust the abuser. He would never ask me to do that.

Luckily he learned along with me, and we both understood that birth is not as dangerous as medical pros want us to think. He wanted me and baby to be safer, so he chose for us to DO safer. That’s not a burden, it’s a healthy choice and a liberation.

I know if he had made me go to the hospital despite my new feelings and knowledge, he wouldn’t have been able to bear THAT guilt when whatever “went wrong” inevitably did. Just like in our births before.

Like Vanessa said, women do NOT go into UC lightly. We aren’t ignorant trend followers or stunt birthers. Do the research.

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Sara July 12, 2011 at 10:20 pm

This is where the difference is: Some women believe they are safer with a “professional” able to “do” things. Some women, like me, believe birth is safest when there is non interference.

The discussion of “what if” does not go away with a midwife or doctor; the “what ifs” increase. Why? Because it is proven that interference of labor monitoring raises risks (and does not provide much measurable benefit, but perceived benefit), when done routinely. A midwife telling you what to do, how to labor, increases risks. Birth is not designed to be done by anyone but the mother. There is a difference between having a support person to encourage you and someone that is waiting to save you from their perceived dangers of birth.

Birthing unassisted (without someone else being in charge of your birth, ie., midwife/doctor) isn’t about women having to be educated; it is about un-learning all the junk information surrounding birth. By the time my daughters are grown, they will believe in the safety of birth. They will understand the complex science of birth and also know there is WAY too much that we don’t understand, which is another good reason not to mess with birth. There is so much fear that has come about from the medicalized view of birth.

Birth, like life, cannot guarantee us anything. We do not own tomorrow, as much as we may plan and prepare. We live and we die. Babies will die in homebirth and in the hospital. We live making what we feel are a balance between living safely and risk taking. We drive cars, eat food, go for a hike in the woods, cross the street. Are these irresponsible decisions? The list goes on for living life normally that is potentially harmful or fatal. Why is birth so different? I believe birth is one of the least risky activities compared to our daily routines.

For me, I believe having someone telling me what to do and managing me makes my birth unsafe. For you, maybe you don’t believe that. Let none of us claim the facts that birth needs an attendant there to be safe/less dangerous, because they aren’t.

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Ceej July 13, 2011 at 4:10 am

I birthed my child at home, autonomously.

It was my first birth. I wasn’t seasoned or experienced. I’ve seen my cats/ dogs give birth. They moan a little, bleed, out come a few babies, they lick ‘em up, chew down the placenta, everyone has a little milk and then they all sleep. It’s awesome.

I don’t believe that the building you birth in is unsafe but you should definitely consider those that surround you, everyone has their own agenda.What I do believe is that there’s a lot of fear circling around the subject of birth. Plus, the fact that we are all (respectively) pretty disconnected from those who lovingly birth solo before us.

In reality everyone of us is an experienced birther, we were once born. No one told us how to do it, we just did it. In a perfect world I would have turned to my circle of autonomously birthing mothers and asked what I should expect while I’m expecting and what to do if something goes awry. Sadly, I don’t have that wonderful group of baby catching mamas, I have google, the internet and tons of books, manuals, and emergency childbirth handbooks.
I am not Ignorant, irresponsible nor radical. I just gave birth.

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Mindy July 16, 2011 at 12:57 am

Regardless of where/how you choose to birth, bad things can happen. Since early in this pregnancy (I’m “due” in 3 days), God has been whispering in my ear — “I can take it from you — any of it, all of it, any time.” My personal experience was a few spots of blood early on, triggering miscarriage fears. And then there was the Japanese earthquake, and the record setting deadly tornadoes. After much fear and shakeups, I’ve decided to have this baby at home w/ a pretty “hands-off” midwife.

I personally would not choose to go the UC/UA route, because I remember my first birth. There was a significant amount of time where I was in pure animal mode, and my brain was just not there. Also, I think that having an experienced person with you — someone who has personally witnessed a lot of births — gives you an edge over having experience only a few births or having just read about them. But in the end, it is the woman and her family who have to deal with the ramifications of their choices, regardless of who else was involved.
Personally, I also wouldn’t leave an animal I cared about alone to birth if I had the choice. My mom had to be midwife to a guinea pig and extract a stuck baby, and my father did a pocket knife c-section on another after it was clear that she had died with her babies stuck inside her. He did hours of cpr on the one baby that was still alive, but it was never able to breath on its own.

Live birth — on the whole — is a VERY successful endeavor. That’s why all mammals do it. But there’s always the chance that, like conception, your particular case may be some of the genes that are being excluded. “Nature” cuts both ways, and there are a lot of times when we WANT to go against what is “natural”.

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Milla December 20, 2013 at 8:24 am

I’m intrigued and a little saddened by your perception of God. Your God seems vindictive, petulant, manipulative and cruel. My unsolicited advice is to pray honestly to Him and ask Him to show you why you feel that He is against you, rather than for you. Even those who do not believe in God at all can find it in themselves to trust nature, or evolution, or the “universe” or their own bodies, how much more trust should you have if your core belief is that the all-powerful supreme being, the designer of bodies, babies and all other things, seen and unseen, that this Being is with you and in you, loves you and protects you at every moment?

Another important point to raise is that observing or intervening in any way in the birth of an animal immediately makes the birth less safe. Animals do not rationalize, their hormones and instincts control everything, and more often than not the reason they have trouble is because some well-meaning human is sitting there watching over them. This is the great paradox of birth today. If someone tells you that watermelons are blue inside until you cut them open, how can you prove them wrong? Similarly, if someone tells you that birth is safest when no one is observing, managing, monitoring and intervening, how will you test this theory? You can’t observe the freebirthing mother to see if that is really the case because the fact that she is being observed changes the whole outcome.

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staci January 26, 2012 at 6:47 am

Who was it that did the painting you used in the above post? Thank you

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Susan February 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I’m planning a UC and unclear about the focus of this forum. Lola seems to be afraid of water births, and there are some that are little religious on here…
@Lola, what are the facts related to postpartum bleeding and what is the medical standard for assessing too much blood loss? Also, since you are a professional with 19 years of experience, I hope I am correct in assuming you are familiar with over the counter products available to stop hemorrhaging. Please list them by name. As you are Italian, and as Italy has a long history of natural medicine, you must be extensively familiar with natural medicine. Please list the herbs, wraps and other treatments that are useful to birthing and postpartum mothers (pref. Latin but Italian is fine if you don’t know the Latin plant names.) Also, please provide a list of medical books that you find useful.
@ Everyone out there. What have been some resources that you found helpful for your UC? Anyone use Hypnobirthing? Any other books to recommend? What helped you over come transition and the irrational phase? Where did you draw your strength from?
Thanks.

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Sherry April 4, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I think this is what I will do if I ever have another baby. However, I’m going to be 38 this year, so chances are I probably never will have another one. I’m glad I had a midwife the last time, because I gave birth to identical twins, and you know, things can go wrong quickly with a twin birth… But in fact nothing did go wrong. The midwife really was only sort of there in the background. Even with her in attendance, I was pretty much doing it on my own. It was nice to have her there to give me oxygen when I passed out and a shot of Pitocin to quell the bleeding after the placenta. You bleed more with twins, no getting around that. All in all I have total faith in my body’s ability to birth, even if I am on the verge of being an “old woman” when it comes to childbirth.

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Kimberly April 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I’ve had two hospital births, my second being pretty damn speedy (she was born an hour and a half-ish after we got to the hospital and we hadn’t even been admitted yet because my attending OB didn’t believe that I was in active labor).
I considered from the beginning of my third pregnancy having a UC birth. I was an educated mother of two and a birth doula, so I knew my stuff so to speak. With the quickness of my second birth, I was expecting my third labor to go even quicker than my second. While I was seeing my midwives, I point blank asked two of them “what can I do to be prepared for an unassisted birth?”

And their responses were astounding. It was to come in at the very first contraction. Well, I was not about to do that…ESPECIALLY considering the fact that I started having contractions a good week before my third baby arrived. Anyway, at my 39 week appointment, I had my midwife check me (she offered to strip my membranes, but I declined) and I was at a 4.5-5. Her advise was to walk and go to L&D. I wasn’t having that…I didn’t want to be hooked up to monitors or sent home, which is where I was headed anyway, so my husband and I just went home. Throughout my pregnancy we had discussed what we would do in the event of a quick delivery and we decided that we would stay at home, have the baby, and then go to the hospital (we’re military and I didn’t do any research on how to get a birth certificate or anything, so going to the hospital was the best thing to do in my mind).

I was pleading with my unborn little boy to come quick and secretly wishing he would come unassisted. The day after my 39 week appointment, I started active labor at 530 in the morning…while we were busy trying to get the kids off to a friends house, I was laboring mostly in a dark bathroom. By the time my husband got back to get me, I was close to pushing. He called 911 and an ambulance arrived quickly (way quicker than I imagined it would) and minutes after they arrived, my son was caught by his daddy in our bathroom. While there were other people in my house….EMTs who got yelled at to leave me alone because I knew what I was doing…my husband and I birthed and caught our son in our bathroom, ALONE.

It was the most amazing experience of my entire life. And IF we were to ever have another baby (that one is supposed to be our last, but we’ll see), I fully expect us to have another unassisted birth (with more research this time). Even my husband was totally on board during my pregnancy, and he told me later that even he was on a birth high, even though he didn’t give birth. It was an amazing experience for both of us.

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Emily April 4, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I don’t know if I would do an unassisted birth, but I would love to have a homebirth someday. Sadly, my husband won’t let me. He doesn’t think it’s practical. He doesn’t agree with hospitals, how they handle things, and also at how unclean they really are, but he doesn’t want me to have a homebirth. Might I add, I’m battling a serious skin infection that happened right after I came home from the hospital after having my daughter almost a year ago…

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Melissa July 13, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Try eating liver. Seriously sounds weird, but it is amazingly medicinal for skin issues. True story.

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Kat April 5, 2012 at 4:23 am

Hey Emily, who says your husband gets the final word on your birth? And if he doesn’t like hospitals or home, what does he like? I say do what you feel safest and happiest doing, he’ll just have to deal with it.
Personally I’m not sure I’d set out to birth unassisted but if it happened I think I’d know what do – I wouldn’t panic anyway. I had my son at home with a midwife, twas awesome, and I’d do it again tomorrow. Never going to hospital in my life if I can help it. More power to the unassisted birthers, I say!

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Eva May 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm

My second was an unassisted home birth, which I was totally prepared for considering my midwife would be traveling almost 3 hours to get to me. Needless to say, the discussion of her not making it came up. I didn’t realize I was in labor until it was nearing the end. We had my baby boy at home within half an hour of my water breaking. My midwife arrived two hours later. My question to everyone that did plan t go Unassisted from the beginning is, did you still get prenatal care? Did you have the baby checked after? Or do you just do everything yourself from beginning to end? If we do have another, I think UC is what I would want to do again.

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EvolutionDoula May 23, 2012 at 1:09 am

Surely then, according to some peoples opinions, we should be hospitalised for flu. O, wait some people are because they are at higher risk. Every year vulnerable people die from everyday natural things, that is not to say they are weak or anything remotely on that scale, just that they may not deal with things the same as others. By hospitalising the vulnerable we can help them better, by leaving others in their homes to self medicate we can help them better. It is all a choice and i am greatful to have the right to such a choice. X

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Christy May 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I had one semi-accidental UC in which I was very drawn to UC, and a fast labor resulted in birth about 45 minutes before the midwife’s arrival. We loved it, so the next pregnancy was intentionally unassisted, and unassisted prenatal as well. That was my fourth baby, who is now eight months old. My first birth was in a birth center, and my second at home with a hands-off midwife, but UC is our favorite. We have access to excellent midwives, yet still prefer to birth alone. I have studied midwifery as a hobby for over ten years, but I really studied in preparation for my planned UC. I knew it was all on me if we had a complication or emergency, although I do consider myself very low risk, so I felt comfortable UCing, and I am close to hospitals. Regarding Eva’s questions, prenatal care was easy, since it basically involved just taking good care of myself, which I do anyway, especially when pregnant. I dd a little non-invasive monitoring of various types, such as check blood pressure sometimes and feel my fundus, etc. I’ve never taken this baby to a doctor, but I did have my former midwife check him over when I hired her to give me a rhogam shot a couple of days after the birth. I could write a lot more, but I’ll just post a link to that birth story if anyone is interested. http://orderoursteps.blogspot.com/2011/12/our-fourth-birth-intentional-unassisted.html

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Bri January 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm

As Mrs. BWF said in the introduction to this thread, unassisted childbirth is not for those who cannot work through their fears. I have heard a lot of fear-mongering in these comments… What I feel is lacking in the understanding of our culture and American women in general is that NO assistant, husband, midwife, doctor or any other human being can give you the assurance of safety. Nor can they create your birth experience. Our culture has lost sight of the fact that the person giving birth IS the mother, and no one else. She is in control of her state of mind and spirit, and thus her physical experience. To say that a women who births in a hospital is a victim, for example, is ridiculous. Who made this choice? Or, in some cases, who gave away their freedom?

The only source of assurance is God. He was with me through both of my pregnancies and births. He was my “prenatal care provider” and my “doula”. I did not lean on my husband and put the weight of my decision on him, though he is a wonderful, loving presence. I relied on God, and He supported me. I had very different experiences with both births, and with the second I became convinced that the difference was created by ME. Any resistance, any hesitation in myself affected, moment to moment, the outcome of my birth. The source of this resistance came from the very belief that I mentioned above: that someone else (or a team of people) could somehow do this for me, tell me what my body was doing, tell me what I should do. In my second birth I found that I could be this person for myself, and I had the most unbelievable experience. My first thought after delivery was, “I wish every woman in the world could experience birth like this!” Sisters, to be in your power as Woman and to bring new life that way is the most beautiful thing you could ever do for this planet and for God. Come into your knowingness, and realize that you ARE the answer! You are capable of so much more than they give you credit for. Stop waiting for an advocate, someone to speak for you and tell you that you can do it. It is time to Be Your Own VOICE.

I thank God for all the women who are willing to allow themselves and their bodies a chance to do what they were created to do. Also, my appreciation to Mrs. BWF for creating this site. I have so enjoyed your voice in my Facebook feed. :)

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Melissa July 13, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Isn’t “who gave away their freedom” a little bit of a harsh way to see those women who have been wounded? I love most of what you had to say, but I do feel that is harsh. People are literally doing what they think is best for their child, and in that most vulnerable of moments they are taken over. Because someone hasn’t been brought to the point of feeling powerful enough to be their own voice does not mean they willingly became a victim. There are women out there who are literally forced into medical procedures, who are given shots without their consent, or as my friend told me, had a doctor insert his hands into her vagina, pull his hands apart to rip her, and manually extracted her baby because she was taking too long in stage two. They chose to go to the hospital because they believed they were safe there, not choosing to give up their freedom.

I’m just asking you to have compassion. There are people whose choices are stripped from them in the midst of them trying to do good for their families.

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Cheryll Leiser March 18, 2013 at 11:51 pm

This will be my third natural birth, but my first at home birth. My first two were born within an hour of the membrane rupturing. The nearest hospital is an hour away and home birthing is illegal in my state. Anyone with a license that is caught assisting in a home birth in Al loses their license to practice. That being said, I am limited with what resources are available to me. I do see an OB for prenatal care, but I don’t see any way around having this baby at home. I would like to be prepared to have this baby at home, but am not sure where to start. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Melissa July 13, 2013 at 11:31 pm

I have felt very strong impressions from God that should I need to (my midwife lives an hour away) I could birth my baby alone, (my coming baby is my third). But the honest truth for me is, I loved how another writer said earlier, about loving the atmosphere of having loving people around you at that most amazing moment of life. My midwife could be my sister, I love her that much. And having labor/giving birth, though intense, was like a birth party. I feel so blessed to know her!! I don’t feel, for me, like I was giving up any of my potential as a woman by having her there. She was just another fun person to have there at my son’s birthday party. :)

Some people are more private than that, and that is great too. We are different, that is all. I don’t feel one is better than the other. I pray for blessings upon all mothers globally who are giving birth, and who will be. I hope they are as fortunate as I have been to come away feeling so full.

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Lori December 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

I am in need of advice. I am in Alberta Canada expecting our 7th child. All but my first were fast labor and births 1 and a half hours to 2 hours long. Our last baby labor started as usual with a sudden start, no warning, I think I walk around dialated! lol! My water broke, we had to wait 10 mins for my mom to get to house. 30 mins later my husband had to pull the van over for me to start pushing. We were 20 mins away from the hospital. He called the ambulance, baby was one push away from crowning when they got there. Had him in the ambulance. Still was the best birth I ever had. We were calm, we had planned for the what ifs. We had a midwife for that pregnancy, it was great! This time though my husband thinks that we should not go anywhere. He says I should not have to labor in the seat of a van, I have earned my stripes and should be able to be comfortable. Because we are more than 30 mins from the Hospital though, the Midwives will not do a home birth. Hubby says that if my water breaks we are going no where! If we are in the area of a hospital we will go, or get a room. I like the way he thinks! But what can we do for emergency prep? I have never had birth issues, but I do wonder how long it would take for an ambulance o get here if I started to bleed too much after placenta is birthed. So here are the questions 1. is there a way for me to let the midwife know that we will not be going anywhere for the birth, want to be prepared for an unassisted home birth and that we really would like her to at least come after the birth? 2. If the MW will not come, what do we do for incase of bleeding? eg. can we have an ambulance on route as a backup, maybe we would call after baby comes??Would they have to take us in to the Hospital if we called them? 3.Do we have to take baby and me in to the hospital after if the midwife cant come to the home? I was thinking we could switch homes with the in laws after, the MW will go there, they are close enough.

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Lori December 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm

So the plot thickens. Had clots and bleeding, put myself on bedrest, slowed it down. Midwife set up an ultrasound for us. IT’S TWINS! They both have a heartbeat still. Twins are common in my family, so I am not worried, it always goes well. Do not think this will help my chances of getting my homebirth with midwife!

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