Homebirth Video & Interview with Carol, a Homebirth Mother.
1) Was this your first homebirth?
The birth of my daughter was a first in many ways, including the first time I birthed at home, the first time I birthed vaginally, the first time I was allowed to experience unhindered labor.
With my first son, Patrick, I was young and very uneducated about birth. His birth story is the story of so many others. At a prenatal appointment, I was found to be in labor. I was admitted, induced, didn’t dilate… emergency cesarean surgery. The anesthesia didn’t work, and I felt the physical pain of being cut open. I was devastated, but trusted that the doctors did what was best for me and my baby. However, I was sure that there was another way to birth, and if there was a next time my birth wouldn’t be the same.
Shortly after Patrick’s birth, I found out I was pregnant. I was so very frightened to go through the birth process again. I hadn’t completely recovered (physically or mentally) from his birth, and finding out I was pregnant brought up all of the feelings I was trying so hard to repress – anger, resentment, failure,and fear. I wasn’t sure about giving birth vaginally, but knew I couldn’t willingly lie on the operating table again. I read all the right books, ate all the right foods, I found the right care provider. I was on my way to birthing vaginally after my disastrous surgical birth.
At the time, I was active duty military. The care provider I found was a kind midwife, who encouraged all women to attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). She was supportive through my entire pregnancy, and assured me many times that I would do a wonderful job giving birth the way nature intended. When I was 38 weeks pregnant, I tried to make an appointment with the midwife I had grown to like, but she had transferred. Begrudgingly, I made my appointment with the doctor that was taking her place. At my first and only appointment with him, he informed me he didn’t generally “allow VBAC’s” but if I went into labor before my due date I could try, otherwise my c-section had already been scheduled.
I didn’t want another cesarean surgery,especially for a non-medical reason. I wasn’t willing to give up my plans for a vaginal birth so easily. I informed him I wouldn’t be showing up for the surgery he scheduled. He happily informed me that he was my superior and that if I didn’t show up, I would be charged with “Failure to obey a direct order.” Again, I was devastated. I had physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared my entire pregnancy for the vaginal birth I longed for. I tried going to the commanding officer of the hospital and pleading with her. She suggested that I listen to my doctor and used the line “As long as you have a healthy baby, that’s all that matters.” I couldn’t believe that my dreams for a vaginal birth were being crushed by one heartless man. I consulted Navy legal and asked them what I could do, but they had no advice. My time was running out, so I tried everything to force my body into labor. It didn’t work, I just wasn’t ready. My husband was deployed, and I was so afraid that charges would be brought up against me and my children would be taken away that I just gave in. So, on my due date, I walked into the hospital, laid on the operating table and cried my eyes out.
2) Why did you choose to birth your baby at home?
I didn’t want a repeat of my other two births. I wanted to be listened to. I wanted to be respected. I wanted to birth my baby without intervention or interference. I knew that since I had already had two cesarean surgeries, the only way to get what I wanted was to birth my child at home.
3) Were you ever scared? What did you do to reduce your fears?
I spent over four years researching homebirth, so by the time I became pregnant, I had worked out all of my fears. I think the biggest thing you can do to overcome fears is to learn all you can about the natural, normal process of birth. Its such an amazing, perfectly orchestrated event that generally needs very little outside intervention.
4) Were the people around you scared? What did you do to reduce their fears?
My grandmother was scared. She lived hundreds of miles away and called me every day after my due date because she was so scared I was going to die. The ironic thing about it was that she was born at home as were all of her brothers and sisters. She had fed into this media (and medical) driven fear that birth was scary, so I can’t blame her one bit. She didn’t fully get over her fear until the baby was born. I am not really sure if my husband was afraid, he may have been but he never really expressed it to me.
5) For women considering homebirth, what advice or words of wisdom can you offer?
Research. Find a great support team, and be ready to defend your choice to others. But, look inside yourself, and stand your ground! It can be one of the most amazing experiences you will ever have the pleasure to experience.
This video shows Carol giving birth to her baby at home. Please note that Carol has graciously opened her heart and voice to share with you in order to create understanding and awareness of homebirth. You may leave a comment below that honors Carol and her family as well as the gift she has given to all of us to witness her beautiful experience.
Would you like to help normalize homebirth?
The Normalizing Homebirth Project Inc has been formed in order to meet the needs of women who are choosing to birth at home and/or would like to birth at home. Our mission is to support families with one-to-one mentoring, homebirth circles for social and emotional support as well as need-based financial assistance for families who need it. Join today! It is only together, uniting our voice and hearts, that positive change can be made so that all choices in childbirth are honored and supported.
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