Wednesday, June 5

What Tristian's Birth Taught Us

Tomorrow is International Homebirth Day. So I'm posting our homebirth story with Trace, tomorrow. But there is much more to that story then just the birth itself. Trace's homebirth story truly starts with his brother's hospital birth. So I thought I would post some of the rest of our story today.

My oldest son's birth was a scarey experience. Months of bed rest, pre-eclampsia, induction, blood pressure 235/170. Tris was born premature, dropped below 4lbs after the shed water weight from the pre-e and the hearing test showed no brain response to sound. We were in the hospital a week, and he was 5 days old before the first time we breastfed and 2 months old when he passed the hearing test (been fine with sound since).

I was not doing that again. Lots of research, found out that an out of date treatment practice had likely resulted in much (MUCH!) higher bp from pre-e. Made me angry at the doctor and a system that risked my and my child's lives because it doesn't want to change. I did everything in my power to have the healthiest ever pregnancy with my second son.... and God laughed ;-p

Several rounds of antibiotics later our primary doctor realized it wasn't a respiratory infection I had, but severe gestational asthma (I hadn't had an asthmatic symptom to speak of for YEARS)- so much for jogging throughout the pregnancy. But I was determined we were NOT having a repeat, be it under a different name or not. I found a pulminologist that agreed to treat me like any other asthmatic patient rather then saying it will go away after the pregnancy, nothing we can do (luckily, since it did not go away with the pregnancy). I worked with a wonderful nurse midwife that felt confident in helping us get our home water birth as long as the pulminologist could get my lung function into more normal zones. We weren't sure it was going to happen, ended up on prednisone for the last three months of the pregnancy, but my lungs were working when I went into labor. My youngest son was born full term at home, in our garden tub (hot tub without the jets) in a wonderful, natural birthing experience.

I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't absolutely TERRIFIED of Trace's birth. I once told my midwife that I wanted a home birth because the only thing that scared me more then the idea that something 'might' go wrong at home (minutes from the nearest hospital) was the thought of ANY hospital birth. Tristian's pregnancy and birth had pushed mortality on me in a way I had not faced before. Finding out that it could have possibly been avoided with better treatment practices (from who is still one of the top at risk doctor's in the area- who unfortunately has a history of giving below par treatment to the non hospital birthers that come his way. We had noticed that he seemed to have an ingrained dislike of us coming from the midwifes, but we never expected that it would mean he didn't treat us medically the same as patients that came to him from other doctors). That fact and the research I did later on the US maternal practices left me certain that another hospital birth was a last resort only. Granted the first one had been too, we originally planned a birthing center water birth with the midwife that later referred us to our wonderful nurse midwife who helped with Trace's birth. 

When I told our midwife about my fear of a hospital birth she pointed out that fear releases a hormone that halts even active labor and will prevent labor from beginning. All those scarey movies were the terrified woman goes into labor... uh-uh, not going to happen. God was smarter then that when he created us. So considering my very ingrained fear of another hospital birth. It was nearly impossible that I would have had the smooth delivery in a hospital that I did at home. The US has an extremely high failure to progress rate in hospital births. I've more then once wondered how much of that is from the fear hormone halting labor because you are in an environment that many automatically associate with stress, grief and fear- a hospital.

The two birth experiences were night and day, and the second one helped to heal many wounds from the first. I wish I could say I've come to terms with Tristian's pregnancy and birth, but I haven't. It still angers me very much that it was a lesson that never needed learning in quite that way. The experiences did teach me to do my own research and trust my own instincts. To be an active part in my medical care and treatment. That was an invaluable lesson... especially considering what was to come with the boys and my health. For every cloud there is a silver lining... you know, besides the amazing sons we got out of the deal ;-)

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