I spent a wonderful morning with a good friend of mine the other day.  She and I have a few things in common.  We have nearly 3 year-old boys who are just a few weeks apart, a similar desire to keep a few chickens in the backyard, and, coincidentally, we are are both pregnant – our due dates just two days apart.  She also had a turbulent pregnancy with her little boy, although none of her troubles were directly related to the pregnancy.  But her son’s birth itself, or at least the telling of it, is the stuff of reverie.  He was born at home, in the company of loved-ones and supportive midwives.  Acceptable pain and no complications.  No monitors or tubes.  No hospital gown.  No NICU team.

I have several friends who have made the decision to give birth in the comfort of their own homes, a choice that seems to be rapidly gaining in popularity, at least among us neo bohemian types.   By quick count I can identify 10 babies born, only a single birth transferred to the hospital due to complications.

I’ve enjoyed hearing these birth stories.  Without resorting to terms like “natural” or “meant to be” that are commonly thrown around in reference to birth, it is obvious that all of the women I know came away from their home birth experiences with positive memories, which is something that every mother-to-be hopes for.

I, however, am not planning a home birth.

Personally, I haven’t managed to lose sight of the fact that things like disease and death are also perfectly “natural” and “meant to be”.  I am grateful to those advances in modern medicine that have succeeded in nudging those parts of the biological process a little closer to the margins.  But there is one aspect of the decision to choose a home birth that truly inspires me: the trust.  A pregnant woman chooses this option because she has complete faith in her body’s abilities.  It is a trust that those of us whose bodies have met with failure, sometimes repeatedly, will never know.  And I suspect that it may even be a powerful force in determining outcome.

As I come closer to acknowledging the reality that I will be giving birth in the near future, I realize that I may have some decisions to make about the process.  This is new territory and I don’t really know how to approach it.  While I know enough to avoid developing things like expectations or hopes (beyond the safe delivery of both of us to the other side), I’m beginning to think that I should formulate something resembling a birth plan.

I may never know the kind of trust that allows one to convert a bath tub into a birthing center but it may be time to prepare a little, just in case….


11 thoughts on “Trust

  1. I had heard the home birthing movement was spreading all over the liberal university town 🙂 Here’s it’s not as prevalent.

    Definitely do what’s right for you 🙂

  2. I know what you mean. My hypnobirthing teacher kept telling us to trust that our bodies were capable of doing what needed to be done … and it was hard to do that. Most of the people in the class were first timers. You need to do what is right for you, but also know that if you *can* try to trust your body, to know that this time is it’s own experience, it may help … I was finally able to give up some control on the morning of N’s birth, and she arrived in 3 hours, in perfect condition (at the hospital, I might add)!

  3. I can’t imagine that level of trust, either. Both of my pregnancies were lived “just in case.” In fact, I just finished putting up a crib for baby E, and she’s 6 months old–I couldn’t imagine putting it together while pregnant, and while I’ve been fairly at peace that she’s here and she’s healthy, it’s hard to break the habits of living “just in case.” I totally get it.

    In a different world, maybe a home birth would have been lovely. My sister in law has had two beautiful home births (one in a house where there was no electricity or running water)! My neo hippie self envies those experiences, but sadly, they’re just not for me.

    My entire birth plan for baby E was “get her out alive and keep me safe and healthy in the process.” And you know, the experience was unexpected (c-section and all) but relatively peaceful because my expectations were so simple and straightforward. I even felt less pain after the fact with the surgery than I did after natural childbirth the first time around.

    Always good to hear from you. Wishing you continued peace in this journey…. Do remember that I and many others are walking with you in spirit.

  4. No, complete trust is for those that don’t know otherwise…the blissfully ignorant. But it definitely seems that your level of trust (or is it optimism?) is rising—I so hope you have some time to enjoy the process. Home birth? Not for me. Big believer in western medicine. Also, who exactly is going to clean up afterwards???

  5. All my birth plans and preparations went out the window when I got the pre-eclampsia diagnosis. My sister urged me to leave the hospital AMA – she has had 2 home births and was preparing to have the second one unattended since the state she lives in doesn’t license direct entry midwives. She found someone who was willing to cross state lines and attend the birth under the radar, as it were, which made ME feel a lot better! I think her whole-hearted embrace of the “natural birth” culture has given me a lot to think about. I agree with you that death and disease are also “natural” and “meant to be,” and that at the heart of the home-birth movement is trust in your body (and trust in your birth attendants). In any case, I hope all goes smoothly with no complications and minimum of difficulty for you!

  6. In Norwegian, the birth plan is called the ønskerbrev–the wish letter. Maybe a better term than “plan?”

    I loved this post. I too wanted a “natural” birth and ended up deeply grateful for modern medicine. As you say, death and disease are natural too, and either I or L might not have made it without some heavy intervention. But who knows? That’s the other piece–all the what ifs.

  7. Having never given birth, all I can say is do what feels right to you, for your body and baby. And the great thing about a birth plan is you can also have a back-up plan built in. Things rarely go the way we envision them, and we often have to let go of expectation when plans change. Like you said, the important thing isn’t so much how your baby arrives, but that both you and baby get through the delivery safely.

  8. I would have loved to have given birth at home, but I just couldn’t get over the fear. Not the fear of actually doing it, or the pain, or even the ‘at home’ part. It was the “just in case” part like you say, absolutely. I made so many excuses and lamented about all the midwives in the city being booked up…and I never even made the call. In the long run, I wish I had. I should have gone with my gut as my hospital birth totally sucked, but hindsight is 20/20. However, our birth experiences are very, very different. I think it’s very brave of you to start entertaining your new birth wishes. 🙂

  9. Lesley

    I was just thinking these things– an old friend of mine (who I am not really in touch with, but followed the story on fb) recently had an “empowering” home birth– and while I am super happy for her, I also had to smile wryly to myself– it’s great that she and most women never have to face death and tragedy. It’s also very deeply frustrating that these women don’t understand the possibility of such a thing. I very much envy this whole ‘trust in your body’ thing, but I don’t have it. And to be honest, I really never did. Even before I tried to get pregnant, I feared that I wouldn’t be able to. I never figured on loss, but I don’t find it surprising. I know the stats on natural selection associated with childbirth, and I don’t honestly find there to be any reason to ‘trust’ our bodies, when childbirth has always been such a significant cause of death for women and babies. The women who do feel that trust? Well, I marvel and envy. The same way I marvel and envy people who have a ‘personal God’ rather than being alone in a meaningless universe… but let’s stop these metaphysical thoughts now! You definitely deserve to have your “wish letter” (love the Norwegians!) come true for this birth, and there’s every likelihood that it will.

  10. I had planned to go to hypnobirthing classes and was thinking about joining a home-birth-support-group where I live to gather some more information and see if it was something for us. Now, if getting pregnant again there’s no chance I would consider it even if I really would like to have that experience. The innocence is taken away.

  11. I am not a fan of the whole home birth movement. Women all over the world sacrifice so much to get good medical care to keep themselves and their babies alive. There’s a reason that direct entry midwives aren’t allowed in so many places — they’re not medical providers. And when things can go so wrong, so fast you really need a trained medical provider with the proper tools and facilities to get everybody out alive and healthy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s