How The Homebirth Movement Failed Me

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172855684A home birth made perfect sense to me. I never even considered a hospital. More than anything, it just seemed convenient as hell. And it was. For my entire pregnancy I had the luxury of having all my prenatal visits at home. I followed the doctrine of “natural” childbirth closely. I read everything written by Ina May Gaskin, took childbirth education classes using the Bradley Method, I ate right, I did prenatal yoga. Not only was I going to have a natural birth at home, but I was pretty convinced it would be orgasmic. I would push out my baby at home while moaning loudly in my husbands loving arms. I crafted the story of my perfect labor and repeated it to myself and others like a mantra. A C-section was the worst case scenario and I never let the possibility enter my mind. Within the natural birthing movement, nobody mentions the “C” word except to demonize women who get them and the doctors who rush them into it. My midwife spoke of hospital transfers and C-sections as if they were something rare and foreign that happened to those “other” women and I eagerly accepted this narrative.

The night I went into labor I was prepared for everything except what was about to happen. I  labored all night long. My midwife, present and compassionate during my prenatal care, checked out during my labor. Between contractions, I saw her laid out on my couch. Thank goddess, my good friend who is also a student midwife was there with me. After hours without progress, my midwife broke my waters. Nothing. Hours later, exhausted and in pain, she suggested we transfer to a hospital and because she was a “midwife” and not an “doctor”, I put my trust in her 100%. I didn’t question or challenge her the way I know I would’ve done had she been an OB. I regret that.

A painfully long car ride brought us to the hospital where, after a series of interventions yielded no progress in my labor, a C-section was recommended. By this point, my midwife was long gone. Her “work” was done. See, she was a home birth midwife, and what good was I to her anymore? If anything, I was a negative tick on her track record.

Everything that followed happened too quickly. The anesthesiologist injected shots into my abdomen and then kept asking if I could feel him pinching me, “Yes”, I kept saying, “yes, I can feel it.” They sliced me open. “You’re going to feel some pulling” the nurse said… and then I screamed in pain as they yanked my baby out of me. I watched from a spiritual distance as my mother and husband held their breath while the doctors worked to get my son to inhale. And as he cried out, I trembled uncontrollably from head to toe, completely detached from the moment. This was the part where they were supposed to rest my baby on my chest, where we were supposed to bond. Supposed to, supposed to, supposed to…

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