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Thread: DIY Deliveries: More Women Go It Alone (US)

  1. #1

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    Default DIY Deliveries: More Women Go It Alone (US)

    More women are opting for do-it-yourself deliveries rather than dealing with the regulations, constrictions and rules they'd face if they gave birth in a hospital.

    Home births comprise about 1 percent of all U.S. births, and while no hard data exists to indicate how many of them take place without a midwife or doctor present, experts said the number of unassisted births is rising.

    More than 100 discussion groups about the subject have sprung up on Yahoo's Web site.

    One Woman's Story

    Christina Schafer is one mother who decided she wanted to take a different approach with her fourth child.

    She gave birth for the first time at home and didn't even have a nurse present. "Being at home, it's your domain. You're the one in charge, not the doctor," Schafer said.

    Giving birth to her son at home allowed Schafer the opportunity to move freely during labor. She monitored the baby's heartbeat herself and when she was ready, she pushed the infant out into a birthing pool, located in her bedroom.

    "I'm doing this because I think this is the safest option for him and the safest option for me and I'm not taking it lightly. It's not some kind of hippie decision," she said before her son was born.



    Schafer's latest childbearing experience, on Dec. 12, 2007, when she gave birth to a baby boy, differed vastly from her first birth.

    During her first pregnancy, Schafer gave birth in a hospital. After 16 hours of labor, she ended up having a Caesarean section.

    "I had planned on a natural childbirth, and I got completely the opposite. I just remember lying there in bed, cords coming out of everywhere," she said. "I really felt like I had failed, and I wanted the chance to do it the way I wanted to."

    Stringent hospital rules are just one reason more women are opting for unassisted births. Hospitals tend to support epidurals, fetal monitoring, inducements and C-sections, said author Jennifer Block.

    "Most hospital maternity wards are really stuck in a 1950s mentality. 'Just lie back, honey. We know what's best for you. You listen to us and you push when we tell you to push, or you have a C-section. And women who are going unassisted are -- they're rebeling against that. They're saying no," said Block, who wrote a book called "Pushed" on the topic.

    The type of women seeking unassisted births varies, Block said.

    "All sorts of women are choosing to give birth unassisted. I met lawyers, doctors even, professional people who choose home birth," said Block, who wrote a book about unassisted pregnancies.

    Delivery Dangers

    However, childbirth can also come with complications, and doctors said unassisted childbirths could be dangerous for mother and child.

    The baby could be born in a breach position, or with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck. The mother could suffer from significant tearing or from a maternal hemorrhage and bleed to death in as little as five minutes.

    "What women need to appreciate is that the few hours of labor are the most dangerous time during the entire lifetime of the soon-to-be-born child," said Dr. Frank Chervenak, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. "Because of this, I would argue ... all soon-to-be born children have a right to access immediate Caesarean delivery, and women who are denying this right are irresponsible."

    Deciding to deliver at home was not an easy decision for Schafer or her husband, Matt, especially since his mother is a nurse.

    "Just from a grandmother's perspective, she's worried about it. I think it's a concern, but they understand why we're doing it," Matt Schafer said. "We thought this was the safest for both her and the baby."

    Christina Schafer said a woman should trust herself no matter what birth method she chooses.

    "For me, the birth was just a reminder that no matter where you're giving birth -- whether it's at home or in a completely medicalized environment -- it's really the woman who is doing everything," Schafer said. "The woman [is the one who] should be calling the shots."
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  2. #2
    Matryoshka Guest

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    I find Freebirthing so interesting, wish i had the guts!!!

    Unfortunately they were critisizing this on The View saying how irresponsible it is.... hopefully the increase promotes more education.

  3. #3

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    It's a crack up all this bleeding to death at home business, its always brought up in homebirth discussions

    a) even at a homebirth, midwives have drugs with them to stop bleeding (intramuscular injection works fast - the same you have in a managed third stage)
    b) you'd be dead in 5 minutes in hospital too if you lost your entire blood volume!
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  4. #4

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    Doctors always say it's too dangerous, they are so big-headed they think women can only birth with them around!

    I am freebirthing next time and I agree with the early part of the article, hospitals are so restrictive they become dangerous to mother and baby.

  5. #5

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    I wanted to give birth at home when I was pg with Violet. I researched midwives and had one lined up if I was going to go ahead. I told my dr of my plans and he laughed!! He said I couldn't because I had had a significant bleed in 3rd stage!! Urgh!!

  6. #6
    s361768 Guest

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    I suffered birth trauma with my first two sons (2 different hospitals in Brisbane).
    3rd son was a healing process for me but still went to hospital at the last moment because of fear of bleeding to death or need for oxygen for baby etc.

    Fourth son due in 3 weeks, aiming for a freebirth at home with my doula. I asked my doc for script for syntocinon and have that in my fridge for peace of mind/safety etc.

    However it is terrible to walk around with such a fear and anxiety of childbirth. Cognitions I think we learn pick up even as little girls.

    Why is pregnany and childbirth not treated like a natural and instinctual process and treated like some nasty medical procedure?

    My first two births were the most dehumanising and brutal experiences of my life. I believe that freebirthing is the only option for me. There is not many choices with regards to this area of womens health and the more appealing options that may allow for a more natural birth are either not made easily accessible or are extremely costly.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BellyBelly View Post
    "What women need to appreciate is that the few hours of labor are the most dangerous time during the entire lifetime of the soon-to-be-born child," said Dr. Frank Chervenak, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. "Because of this, I would argue ... all soon-to-be born children have a right to access immediate Caesarean delivery, and women who are denying this right are irresponsible."
    Statements like this make me so angry..... I'm sick of arrogant doctors...

  8. #8

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    I personally think that freebirthing, as in birthing without any assistance, is a potentially dangerous thing to do. (and that is what the article is about - not homebirth)

    Postpartum haemorrhage DOES happen, and if it's just you and DH, and your baby, what are you going to do?
    A friend of mine has a five month old baby who was born by c-section after she pushed for an hour and he became distressed, because the cord was four times around his neck. (discovered after he was born) What if that happened with no one to help?
    Shoulder dystocia happens. Would your DH who loves you and your baby dearly be able to remember what he needs to do as you scream and pant and push and the baby doesn't budge?
    These circumstances are rare, to be sure, and there have certainly been many women who birthed alone and were fine, but it is these exceptions that would make me choose to birth with someone who knows what to do when things go wrong, and is not deeply emotionally involved.

    Now, realize, before you jump on me, , that I am NOT talking about homebirth as dangerous. I've done, and loved, homebirth, with a qualified, knowledgable, experienced midwife. I am all in favour of minimal intervention, and keeping things as normal and natural as possible. But there are circumstances where intervention is needed, and without someone to help, will you be able to get that intervention, when you are in the "heat of labour", so to speak, and your DH is trying to care for you, and possibly your distressed newborn?

    "I would argue ... all soon-to-be born children have a right to access immediate Caesarean delivery, and women who are denying this right are irresponsible."

    Do you hear what the doctor is saying? Not that all women should have c-sections, or even that all women should birth in hospital, but that they should be able to have a c-section in a hurry if needed. Now, his definition of when it is needed, and yours and mine might be different, but it is true that in some instances, c-sections have saved lives.

    Again, let me say that I don't think a healthy woman with a healthy baby needs to birth in hospital. In fact, I think more women end up in trouble because they went to the hospital than the other way around. But, I don't think that giving birth should be done without someone who knows what to do if something goes wrong. (You can decide who that someone is - OB, GP, midwife, experienced doula, whatever.)

    Birthing your baby with just you and your DH might be wonderfully empowering and bring you closer as a couple, and other great things, but how "empowering" would it be to have a birth go terribly wrong because no one was there to help?
    Last edited by Cricket; January 12th, 2008 at 05:35 AM.

  9. #9

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    Cricket, I agree with what you are saying, but I cannot trust anyone around me next time right now - not even my DH. I feel like if I have anyone trying to tell me what to do then that will be it, my labour will fail again and I will need all the crap that happened with DS.

    I'd have had midwives if I had the homebirth I wanted with DS, no problem, but I cannot trust anyone else now.

  10. #10
    chubbycheeks Guest

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    so wonderfully said cricket

  11. #11
    paradise lost Guest

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    Gotta share the love Cricket but hun i agree 100%. If women had access to proper midwifery care without stigma or huge costs, if midwives were able to get insurance for homebirth, if midwives were LEGAL in America (in several states they are not) then maybe more women would opt for homebirth.

    The choice between hospital or unassisted isn't one anyone should have to make.

    Ryn you believe (quite rightly) that you are perfectly capable of giving birth normally at home without assistance. You are also capable (though you might not believe it until you've done it) of getting that WITH a midwife, whatever your DH thinks. NO-ONE, as long as you are sane and conscious can make you go to hospital and wanting to homebirth is NOT insanity in the NHS's protocols. Have hope hun, you will get your next birth the way you REALLY want it, not the way you feel forced to have it.

    Bx

  12. #12

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    How about the fact that in labour I was told if I didn't sign - or refused to sign - a form for surgery they'd give it to DH, he said he would sign, and they'd do a section - a complicated one which may well result in a hysterectomy? I signed just for a feeling of control and so they would attempt turning and ventouse again. That's why I'm scared. I did not agree to an episiotomy, I said that pre-pushing, so they didn't even ask me, they just asked DH and cut up my body anyway. That's why I cannot trust "support". I know it should be different, but it wasn't and it has left me very wary.

  13. #13
    paradise lost Guest

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    Midwives such as those who will be at your next delivery will not be able to perform surgical procedures even if they wanted to, which they will not because your body will do the job beautifully itself. The doula who will be with you will be advocating your needs and desires fully. You will be in your own safe home, where no-one can tell you what you have to do. If you had to go to hospital (which you won't) your doula will not allow anyone, including DH, to sign anything until there has been full consultation. You will have found people you can trust.

    Your next baby will be in a good position because they will not have forced you to have an induction or made you lie in one position so they can check bubs is ok, while ironically making him less ok with their checking. You will not have to deal with posterior labour pains, induction methods, the hand of doom, an episiotomy, ventouse, any of it.

    And after your next birth, when you have been allowed to enjoy the real power of your body without anyone stepping in with a spanner to disable bits of it, you will see as i already can just from our few exchanges that you are SO strong Ryn. A woman who can bear the birth you had and go on the way you have, can CERTAINLY get the birth she wants next time. When the time comes for you to arrange it you will smile sweetly and insist "i'm having a home birth" to anyone in earshot and that is what will happen. The opposition and horror stories and disapproval aren't easy to live with, but i can tell you right now that they are a hell of a lot easier to bear than what you've had to carry from your first birthing. In going through the birth you had and having to deal with what you have (unhelpful DH, non-sleeping bubs, don't even get me STARTED on your mother) you have shown SO MUCH grit Ryn. I'm positive that when you turn that grit onto the task of arranging a homebirth, well LOOK out medical establishment, Ryn's coming!



    Bx

  14. #14

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    Bec, you are such a wonderful person, thank you for that.

    I am still more scared of a midwife attending than giving birth though!

  15. #15
    paradise lost Guest

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    Just saying what i see hun

    LOL at you! You trust your pelvis can handle birth perfectly, well i don't know your pelvis, but i know YOU and believe me, you are MORE than capable of handling the journey to homebirth! Almost all of us have to face challenges in our path to bringing a new soul down to earth, and i'm confident that your next set will be all taken care of by the 8th month. By the time ctx begin your battles will be done, and your baby will ease and squeeze through the beautiful path to their birth and beginnings that you have laid out and this time NO-ONE will be able to force a diversion. You have climbed about 10 mountains in terms of personal challenge and development since the day you got in the car under duress to have your labour induced, and all this time you've been working so hard you haven't had time to glance down and SEE how far you've come. You're WAY stronger than you realise!

    Bx

  16. #16
    s361768 Guest

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    see post below I don't know why my post was duplicated, I apologise
    Last edited by s361768; January 12th, 2008 at 08:06 PM. Reason: post duplicated

  17. #17
    s361768 Guest

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    I DO NOT accept what you are saying. I do not consider myself an irresponsible person and I take offence to that.

    It is lovely that you can afford a midwife to come to your home and assist you in birthing your baby. I can not afford this luxury at the present. However I will not being backed into a corner. I do not want to have this baby in a hospital.

    With my second child I had a CS (despite reaching 8-9cm dilated after having my membranes ruptured) - which would have been ok had it been neccessary. I was told after the section by the midwife that it was not neccessary he was not in foetal distress afterall, he was fine and healthy. I will always remember this because of the horrible interventions I was subjected to prior to having him cut out of me.

    Anyway I did not deny my 2nd baby (who I thought needed it at the time) a CS, I gave in and consented. I let them give me a CS because I was told that my baby was in distress and needed it. And then I got a real slap in the face after, because I was told it had not been neccessary, I could have birthed him naturally. This same midwife told me prior to being prepped for surgery that 1 in 3 women that walk into the Mater Mothers Hospital have CS. As if this was to make me feel better at the time.

    I am not impressed by my hospital births at all. They were horrible experiences and I feel safer at home with my doula and my partner. I think birthing a baby in a hospital is irresponsible considering the interventions that I have had to go through.

    I don't see how denying my baby the chance of an unneccessary CS (my chances are higher considerng I am VBAC and always with be to the hospital) is irresponsible.

    Lots of medical professionals would consider you highly irresponsible for having a homebirth (even with a midwife) and would be saying directly to you, exactly what you put in the post about those women who choose to freebirth. Funny that!!!

    Do you consider yourself irresponsible for denying your baby quick access to an emergency CS? I would guess not because you had a midwife present at your home while you gave birth and that makes all the difference when it comes to providing you and baby with rapid life-saving surgery!!!

  18. #18

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    Actually, freebirth is dangerous because freebirth is no support from family, friends or doula - if you pass out then that's VERY dangerous. A doula or husband makes it an assisted birth so if there is danger you can go to a hospital without needing to be concious.

    I still feel, even knowing this, that I cannot bear to have so-called support around me and NO-ONE is EVER getting me to be a hospital in-patient again. It will not even be mentioned whilst in labour and to ensure that there will be no-one around but me and my baby. OK, DH can be there but with a gag on - he may at last give me the massage I wanted last time LOL.

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