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What are your feelings about unaccompanied childbirth, or more "Terabith has a weird collection of friends?"


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So a friend of mine, whose wife who is 39 or 40 ish, decided to have their third child (after a 12 year gap) as a freebirth.  And, I'm all in favor of homebirths, but doing it with no doctor, no midwife???  That seems so scary!  And the placenta didn't come for 17 hours, but she "trusted her body."  And it turned out wonderfully.  Their son is gorgeous, and everyone is healthy.  But that seems so scary to me!  

So....freebirthing: a covid cautious sensible decision or too risky?  

Edited by Terabith
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I mean, many women did so in ages past. 

Mortality rates surrounding childbirth were also much higher. 

For me: unnecessary risk.  I had my kiddos at a midwife run, freestanding birth center...but completely unassisted is a hard pass for me. 

Edited by alisoncooks
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13 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Too risky...at least based on my five rounds of childbirth.

I am not anti-home birth, but I do think you should have a midwife on hand with pitocin, oxygen, and experience. 🙂

Yeah, as someone whose first child would have died if unaccompanied, the thought makes me incredibly anxious.  

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21 minutes ago, Terabith said:

So a friend of mine, who is an Episcopal priest in California, and has a wife who is 39 or 40 ish, decided to have their third child (after a 12 year gap) as a freebirth.  And, I'm all in favor of homebirths, but doing it with no doctor, no midwife???  That seems so scary!  And the placenta didn't come for 17 hours, but she "trusted her body."  And it turned out wonderfully.  Their son is gorgeous, and everyone is healthy.  But that seems so scary to me!  

So....freebirthing: a covid cautious sensible decision or too risky?  

I think it's very dangerous. I have so many issues with the idea of "trusting your body." Underlying that is the assumption of "bad things happen to bad people." No one wants to admit that but I think it's true. You can trust your body all you want but bad things happen that are outside of anyone's control. 

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Yeah I remember talk about this from way back when I was having babies. I am in the unnecessary risk category. I hemorrhaged badly with my second ( internally—so no one knew that it was happening except my pain kept them exploring). Third had a stuck shoulder, breathing problems and I hemorrhaged again. Now, dh’s mother and my best childhood friend had accidental births assisted only by their husbands and they turned out fine. But no to planning it. I can’t trust my body, but wouldn’t hav known that. 

Edited by freesia
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According to all the books I’ve read to try to allay my terror of childbirth, 5% of the time there are bad complications requiring assistance.  19 out of 20 is not high enough odds for me to risk it, but HMMV.  

Also, just anecdotally, the first birth kind of opens everything up so it’s hard and often long.  The second is usually pretty easy.  But according to my friends with larger families, the third gets harder and the rest are tough.  Something about loss of muscle tone in your uterus with many uses.  

So in summary, nuts.  Just saying.

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Just now, Katy said:

Not on purpose, no way. 

Yeah, I have one friend who has six kids and REALLY fast labors, and she's had a couple unaccompanied (one in an IKEA parking lot), but not deliberately.  That seems like a really different scenario, honestly.  

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I do have a couple friends who went this route. I find it too risky for my taste - home birth, sure, unattended, no.

Me? I had uterine surgery before my first pregnancy, so only planned c-sections for me. I didn't even have a contraction until baby #2. So, I can't really speak too much for birthing stories. 

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I would have been disfigured after my first (ETA), if unaccompanied, as he was coming out at an angle (and they knew that by the way I was listening to my body and needed to move but didn't really say so--just let me move). I had a relatively fast delivery for a first (less than six hours) in spite of that and a fairly quick pushing stage (2 contractions). Outside, I looked like I had an average tear, but I require 45 minutes of suturing inside. 

My second was easy-peasy labor, pushing was precipitous, I hemorrhaged, and it took them a long time to figure it out. It was all pooling up inside. By the time they figured it out, I was minutes away from being wheeled into emergency surgery. Baby had mild respiratory distress.

I had major BP drops after both labors, nearly passing out with the first and passing out at least once with second.

Both of my births were ones where I had a doula and listened to my body. The doula said if she'd taken video for her classes, she couldn't use any of it with me--everything was either unnaturally perfect (quick pushing, only felt overwhelmed briefly and during transition) or something too scary for class, lol! 

Edited by kbutton
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No. 

I unfortunately learned experientially that things can go horribly wrong at the 11th hour, even in healthy women with a so-called “proven” uterus. 

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I am a homebirth midwife, apprentice trained not CNM.  By virtue of that I know plenty of unassisted birthers.  They are both very well educated AND very in tune with their own intuition.  It's not a choice I made for any of my own 7 home births but I do understand it.

Complications aside, the vast majority of births go best when left completely alone. The unassisted birthers are often reacting to a maternity care system in which it is nearly impossible to find an attendant who will truly not interfer with the natural process.    We understand this in our society for pet cats or horses or cows but somehow forget that human birth is the same way. 

Edited by busymama7
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I have considered it in the past and I would seriously consider it if we had another (very unlikely). I've had 6 hospital births and 1 home birth (on purpose and attended by a midwife and her apprentice). Based on my experiences, both the good and the bad, I would be fine with it. My degree of comfort with the process and the things that can and do go wrong are based on my personal experience. One of my 6 hospital births was a stillbirth, another of my hospital births had a 0 APGAR at 1 minute and was born oxygen deprived from placental abruption, yet a different birth experience I hemorrhaged. Just sharing that I have experienced things going wrong. And I have had things go smoothly and no complications at all.

But my personal experience has no value for anyone else and that is why, even though I would and have seriously consider unattended home birth, I would not recommend anyone else do the same. I know the the risks intimately. I know the process and how my body handles things and what it feels like when things aren't right. FOR ME, I'm comfortable with the risk and possible outcomes. However, if my daughter or anyone else for that matter came up to me and asked for advice on an unattended home birth, I would recommend against it. It is such a personal decision with literal life or death outcomes. I don't feel like I could in good faith advise anyone on such a high stakes personal decision. 

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I would want someone with experience on hand. If I was to give birth at home, I’d want a midwife with me.

I chose to use a midwife in a hospital and I carefully chose a midwife group who were not associated with an MD so that I was guaranteed that my attending provider would be a midwife and not “one of the MDs on call at the time”. Some midwives are so heavily controlled by the doctors in the group that you might as well go to the doctor, and there’s a good chance that instead of having the midwives in the group assist you, you’ll get a doctor. I wanted someone fully invested in the idea that they would Leave Me Alone while I labored and let it happen naturally. 

But at the same time, I personally didn’t want to be at home. If something went wrong, I wanted to be in a hospital, or at the very least in a birthing center next to a hospital, but my midwife only delivered in a hospital without a birthing center.

For my first, something did go wrong and he breathed in a lot of meconium. This was with a midwife and she immediately saw the problem and whisked him off to the NICU for me. He needed to be on oxygen for a while, so I was pretty pleased that we were there in a hospital. 

If someone else is ok with a homebirth, I can understand why, but I’m naturally very risk adverse. For myself, a homebirth deliberately chosen without anyone to assist would be terrifying to me. I can’t handle that much risk.

Edited by Garga
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26 minutes ago, busymama7 said:

I am a homebirth midwife, apprentice trained not CNM.  By virtue of that I know plenty of unassisted birthers.  They are both very well educated AND very in tune with their own intuition.  It's not a choice I made for any of my own 7 home births but I do understand it.

Complications aside, the vast majority of births go best when left completely alone. The unassisted birthers are often reacting to a maternity care system in which it is nearly impossible to find an attendant who will truly not interfer with the natural process.    We understand this in our society for pet cats or horses or cows but somehow forget that human birth is the same way. 

We generally have a higher standard of preservation of life with humans than with cats and horses. And there are still many domesticated animal births intervened upon so the baby/babies and/or animal mama does not die. Shoulders get stuck. Babies are breech or transverse or posterior. Membranes rupture prematurely. Cords are entangled. Meconium is aspirated. Mama hemorrhages. Lots of bad stuff can go wrong and there is really just no good reason not to have medical care at the ready. 

I realize my opinion is strong on this point but I would tell my dreadful story to anyone close to me considering a planned unassisted birth.

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1 hour ago, Carol in Cal. said:

 

Also, just anecdotally, the first birth kind of opens everything up so it’s hard and often long.  The second is usually pretty easy.  But according to my friends with larger families, the third gets harder and the rest are tough.  Something about loss of muscle tone in your uterus with many uses.  

 

I giggled at this because it was the exact opposite for me: super fast and easy labor for number 1, most difficult birth for number 2, number 3 was born at 41+6 but was then quick and easy, and 4 was fast and pretty easy, but not nearly as much as 1 or 3. I'm pretty sure what you said is more typical, though.

I had home births with a very experienced midwife for 2-4, largely because my first birth was so quick and I figured that an assisted homebirth was safer than an unassisted birth in the car on the side of the road. I think it was a good decision for me, but I wouldn't advise anyone to do it, just like I don't advise anyone to homeschool. Those who really want to do either, I'll share my thoughts and say I think they have a good plan, but either one is taking an extreme amount of responsibility which shouldn't be taken lightly. I can't imagine going unassisted on purpose. If anyone is doing it because they can't afford care or doesn't feel safe in a hospital, that makes me very sad.

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Unnecessary risk as others have said.  I did know a girl on another board several years back who lost a baby during an unassisted (by choice) birth.  It was not her first baby; IIRC, she had a large family and had birthed unassisted before.  I'm not anti-homebirth by any means. I had two water births with midwives in the hospital and would have considered a homebirth with a midwife if we had a third. 

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I would have at least wanted a midwife.  But I am also someone who had complicated births and likely would have died if I had been birthing 100 years ago.

I think it is an unnecessary risk, but I can understand why some women go that route.  My SIL wanted an un-medicated birth, but ended up with the birth center not cooperating and making things harder for her.  She was seriously considering a homebirth for her second.  Giving birth puts women in a very vulnerable situation, and some people would rather be in their "safe place" at home, than have to worry about unnecessary and/or unwanted interventions.

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13 minutes ago, Quill said:

We generally have a higher standard of preservation of life with humans than with cats and horses. And there are still many domesticated animal births intervened upon so the baby/babies and/or animal mama does not die. Shoulders get stuck. Babies are breech or transverse or posterior. Membranes rupture prematurely. Cords are entangled. Meconium is aspirated. Mama hemorrhages. Lots of bad stuff can go wrong and there is really just no good reason not to have medical care at the ready. 

I realize my opinion is strong on this point but I would tell my dreadful story to anyone close to me considering a planned unassisted birth.

Yes of course.  But the standard of care for birthing women in the US is NOT an birth that is only intervened in when it is necessary.  They have done to them the exact opposite of what we are told to do with other birthing mammals (removed from nest, bright lights, routine vaginal exams, strangers in and out, strapped to the bed with the monitors so they can't move around as their body is telling them etc)

 

  I, of course believe in midwives and fully understand why someone knowledgeable could become necessary. But many complications we currently have are caused by the way birthing women are treated and the system in which they give birth. Not ALL, but many.   As women learn more about the mechanics of birth and the cascade of hormones necessary for a successful birth and 3rd stage, they realize how they will not get that with a regular hospital birth.  So some seek midwives and some can't find one who is a good match so they opt to go it alone.  

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I know two people who did this. In one case, it seemed like it was pretty well reasoned. The person giving birth was young but had experience - not her first baby. There were some background reasons and some financial ones that made it make some sense. There was a backup plan and she was not anywhere isolated. I was like, eek, but the conversation made it feel... pretty sane, I guess.

The other case. Oy. Why, friend, why. Too many risk factors. Reasons seemed pretty wild. I just... nope.

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Mine were planned homebirths.  The first went off without a hitch because the midwife had oxygen with her and the second was a hospital transfer after a few hours of early labor for a crash c-section.  We knew it was a possibility and the midwife and back up OB had it all worked out and the system worked the way it was supposed to. 

My homebirth midwife had a client who wanted her to attend the birth but not do anything to intervene, no matter what happened. Midwife calmly explained that under no circumstances would she consider attend a birth where she wasn't in the lead making medical decisions and she recommended they get a homebirth midwife to take the lead or have the baby in a hospital, but she wasn't interested in taking them on as clients.   When that client did her unattended homebirth months later the husband called my homebirth midwife asking what to do because his wife was hemorrhaging. She said, "Take her to the closest hospital NOW!" We don't know how it turned out.

And people who insist on unattended births (and those forced into unattended homebirths during blizzards and hurricanes or whatever) cause problems for those of us choosing to have qualified midwives at home attending our births.  News is sensationalistic, so stories of "homebirths" gone wrong get lumped into all homebirth statistics.  I doubt I have to explain that problem to a bunch of homeschoolers who have seen "homeschool" horror stories that involve parents doing no schooling at all. The result is unfair legislation about attended homebirths in many states and medical insurance companies that won't cover legitimate homebirth midwives.

So what do I think about intentional unattended births? I think those who choose them are wildly unrealistic and I resent them because they are a contributing factor to why women have fewer options about birth in the US. 

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Eeek. No way, no how. 

We thought about a homebirth, but even that seemed a bit too risky to me, although I could absolutely see the appeal. But this... a hard no. 

 

10 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

When that client did her unattended homebirth months later the husband called my homebirth midwife asking what to do because his wife was hemorrhaging. She said, "Take her to the closest hospital NOW!" We don't know how it turned out.

Oh, that's scary 😞 . 

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For me? Oh hell no. 

For someone else? Still hell no but that’s their choice.

I get why they would though.  Honestly I hated the modern American delivery process for all my babies, even the so called relatively great deliveries.  For ME, it was a lot of people being seeming like jerks to me in the name of power tripping and bad science protocols with a bit of thank God someone had a clean knife on hand when I needed one for babies that needed cut out.  A less pragmatic more screw that crap personality who has never had to have a cesarean without an anesthesiologist might be more inclined than me to risk not making sure they have backup emergency help.😂

ETA: My husband can’t handle the sight of blood and never looked below my neck during my deliveries - so my husband says a hearty white-faced at the idea epithet filled hell no too.  LOL

Edited by Murphy101
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2 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Also, just anecdotally, the first birth kind of opens everything up so it’s hard and often long.  The second is usually pretty easy.  But according to my friends with larger families, the third gets harder and the rest are tough. Something about loss of muscle tone in your uterus with many uses.

Like @Xahm, my first was super easy. Like, stomach ache around 8:30 pm, DH calls the hospital around 9:30 pm saying I'm having contractions but they don't think I should come in because contractions are still 3 minutes apart & I can talk nicely through them. I arrive at the hospital around 10:30 pm after going through transition on the 30 min drive. My water breaks as I get out of the car. DD is born before they even call the doctor on call up to my hospital room.

My second was a pitocin birth. Cord around the neck. Horrible.

Third wasn't bad. Fourth was a water birth. Cord around the neck twice. They gave him oxygen. Doc who'd delivered thousands of babies said I had a "uterus of steel." He was mystified. Fifth was another where I went through transition on the drive. Gave birth less than 15 minutes after pulling up to the hospital. Biggest problem was my water didn't break on its own. Four & five were overdue. One and three were right on time. Two was early.

1 hour ago, Xahm said:

I giggled at this because it was the exact opposite for me: super fast and easy labor for number 1, most difficult birth for number 2, number 3 was born at 41+6 but was then quick and easy, and 4 was fast and pretty easy, but not nearly as much as 1 or 3.

Easiest labor = #1. Followed by #5, I guess. But I hated going through transition in the car.

Unassisted homebirth by plan? Tempting but not tempting enough to risk my baby's life.

Edited by RootAnn
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I'd consider it very risky. 

I'd like to know whose idea it was?  mom's?  or her husband's?

there's a reason childbearing was seen as risky for millenia. a lot of things can go wrong.  Modern medicine and interventions has done away with a lot of that, and those who don't know history are lulled into a false sense of complacency.

 

eta: the reason I ask whose idea it was, my sil had an acquittance that was going to do that.  It was the husband's idea, because they didn't have medical insurance.  However - even then, pregnant women who didn't have/couldn't afford health insurance qualified for medicaid.  Sil did cough suggest cough her midwife friend "drop in".

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I've had six completely uncomplicated home births, including two surprise breeches, needing no more assistance than someone to catch the baby and help me to the bed afterwards.  Unassisted births are still outside my comfort zone.  Though if I had to choose between a hospital birth (for a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy) and an unassisted birth, I might choose an unassisted birth.

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1 hour ago, Murphy101 said:

For me? Oh hell no. 

For someone else? Still hell no but that’s their choice.

I get why they would though.  Honestly I hated the modern American delivery process for all my babies, even the so called relatively great deliveries.  For ME, it was a lot of people being seeming like jerks to me in the name of power tripping and bad science protocols with a bit of thank God someone had a clean knife on hand when I needed one for babies that needed cut out.  A less pragmatic more screw that crap personality who has never had to have a cesarean without an anesthesiologist might be more inclined than me to risk not making sure they have backup emergency help.😂

ETA: My husband can’t handle the sight of blood and never looked below my neck during my deliveries - so my husband says a hearty white-faced at the idea epithet filled hell no too.  LOL

I always think of your horrific experience when this subject is discussed. I have only known one other person who had that type of emergency c-section. 

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I remember a midwife doing research (maybe her doctorate) on why women chose freebirths in Australia. It was almost always linked to previous medical trauma. In many cases, the women would have made a different choice if one had been available (eg if a midwife have been available or within their price range). It isn't something most people would do lightly, and the best way to reduce freebirths is to increase access to women-centred birth. 

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16 minutes ago, bookbard said:

I remember a midwife doing research (maybe her doctorate) on why women chose freebirths in Australia. It was almost always linked to previous medical trauma. In many cases, the women would have made a different choice if one had been available (eg if a midwife have been available or within their price range). It isn't something most people would do lightly, and the best way to reduce freebirths is to increase access to women-centred birth. 

That’s what I would think too. 

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20 minutes ago, Quill said:

I always think of your horrific experience when this subject is discussed. I have only known one other person who had that type of emergency c-section. 

Guess I’m glad to be a good example of something, even if it’s only as a cautionary tale. 😆

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16 minutes ago, bookbard said:

I remember a midwife doing research (maybe her doctorate) on why women chose freebirths in Australia. It was almost always linked to previous medical trauma. In many cases, the women would have made a different choice if one had been available (eg if a midwife have been available or within their price range). It isn't something most people would do lightly, and the best way to reduce freebirths is to increase access to women-centred birth. 

Quite possibly it is just that home-birth midwifes cannot get insurance so they don’t really exist here in Australia.

 

I know several women who have had unassisted home births. One of them doesn’t believe in  modern medicine and thinks as long as she is praying she will be fine. Another 2 that have a fanatical religious dh that told her the wife she had to have home births otherwise she would not be showing faith ?????

 

my mother had a partially assisted home births I was 10 (a person who had assisted a midwife once before). she gave me the job of cleaning up the mess afterwards. What a huge mess. I never sat on the couch ever again. It was so so disgusting.

 

if it wasn’t for having my babies in hospital I wouldnot be alive, neither would 2 of my children

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I've had 3 homebirths with licensed midwives. I would NEVER have a free birth on purpose. Almost did accidentally last time though...midwife got there only 20 minutes before pushing. The differnce is that a fast birth is almost always an easy, uncomplicated one. Plus, not on purpose, lol. 

But having someone there to monitor heartrate of baby and blood pressure and temperature of mom seems the least you can do. And it shouldn't be mom doing it herself - if things get dicey she will not be able to focus on that. Could it be a non professional who has experience and the right persona? Maybe. But that's not ideal. But SOMEONE should be there to monitor and provide emergency care if need be. 

I also think that I trust my body to do many things, when it goes well. When it goes poorly, outside of the norm, like a 12 hour gap before placenta delivery or say, an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours, SEE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL! My midwife carried medications to stop bleeding, IV lines, resucitation equipment, etc. And had he ability to know what was within the bounds of normal and what was not. 

That said, I do get why women who have been traumatized by medical deliveries, have PTSD from them, and do not have a legal safe option for a home birth, might choose unattended for their own sanity. But that's an argument to provide more options for birthing women, not an argument for unattended births. 

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I totally agree that I think the best way to lower people choosing freebirths is by a) having medical care that is affordable and available (because I've known a number of people who thought about it because of cost) and b) allowing less "medicalized" birth options.  Both of my kids were born in military hospitals, and while I was super glad we were there for child number one (for whom lots did go wrong), I wonder if so many things would have gone wrong if they hadn't started a cascade of interventions from the beginning.  Child number 2, for whose birth the doctor on call was an intern who also kept getting distracted by staff meetings and who pretty much forgot about us, was such a dramatically more wonderful birth, where I was left alone until the very very end except for a couple of times of people popping in to listen to the baby's heart rate.  

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4 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

According to all the books I’ve read to try to allay my terror of childbirth, 5% of the time there are bad complications requiring assistance.  19 out of 20 is not high enough odds for me to risk it, but HMMV.  

Also, just anecdotally, the first birth kind of opens everything up so it’s hard and often long.  The second is usually pretty easy.  But according to my friends with larger families, the third gets harder and the rest are tough.  Something about loss of muscle tone in your uterus with many uses.  

So in summary, nuts.  Just saying.

This was not the case with me at all. 

1st kid  back labor but still pretty short labor maybe 6 or 7 hours of real wake me up labor

2nd kid   We both almost died.  Almost had an emergency c-section.  The doctor was able to get the baby out after suction and forceps.  I had the worst recovery.  Couldn't sit for a month, I was in such horrible pain.  Passed out any time I stood up.  Again a short labor of 5-6 hours

3rd kid.  Born at home on accident.  Labor other than mild contractions happened in less than 10 mins.  Dh and a police officer were my only help.  Amazing recovery and no issues at delivery.  If this would have happened at home with number 2 we would have both died.  I was ready to leave the hospital a few hours later.  Was on a few miles walk the day I got home. 

4th kid  Easy fast labor.  Super short labor less than 3 hours.  Baby came out when I wasn't even pushing.

5th kid   Easy fast labor.  Less than 3 hours.  A few pushes.

 

I would never do a birth not in a hospital by choice.  Never. 

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What is really bothersome in that story is that while I can ALMOST sort of understand someone saying, "ok, we try at home, but if something goes wonky, we hightail it to the hospital". But If you think EVERYTHING is normal and natural and good, you won't go when there is too much bleeding or some other problem, because you "trust your body". Bodies fuck up some times!!!!  I had homebirths, but my midwife was there to call 911 or transfer me by car at the first sign something MIGHT be heading south, plus with gear if there was a faster problem to resucitate me, stop bleeding, etc. not sit and watch me die and say "trust your body"!

1 hour ago, Murphy101 said:

 

ETA: My husband can’t handle the sight of blood and never looked below my neck during my deliveries - so my husband says a hearty white-faced at the idea epithet filled hell no too.  LOL

My poor husband, thank goodness he has NO IDEA how quickly my last labor was going! He was all "I should put out snacks" and my friend and doula was like, "Um, get the bed ready". He couldn't figure out why that was so important to be done right away. 15 minutes later baby came, lol. He later revealed he was REALLY glad he had no idea how close we came to not having the midwife there. Not that he would have helped - I had a friend there who would have caught baby if midwife was 20 minutes later. (her assistant didn't make it)

33 minutes ago, bookbard said:

I remember a midwife doing research (maybe her doctorate) on why women chose freebirths in Australia. It was almost always linked to previous medical trauma. In many cases, the women would have made a different choice if one had been available (eg if a midwife have been available or within their price range). It isn't something most people would do lightly, and the best way to reduce freebirths is to increase access to women-centred birth. 

Yup. Don't force women into bad options. I have PTSD from my first birth, complete with flashbacks and panic attacks when my sister gave birth. And mine wasn' "that bad" compared to some. I can see a women with severe PTSD making the choice to free birth if the only other option is typical hospital birth. 

8 minutes ago, Melissa in Australia said:

my mother had a partially assisted home births I was 10 (a person who had assisted a midwife once before). she gave me the job of cleaning up the mess afterwards. What a huge mess. I never sat on the couch ever again. It was so so disgusting.

 

See! That right there is enough reason to have a professional birth attendant! They clean everything up before they leave! At all 3 births, they cleaned up any and all blood (and came prepared with evrything from chux pads to tarps), and washed all the linens/towels/etc. House was cleaner than when they got there. 

Plus they give me a sponge bath! (I'm always shakey after birth so no shower right away, until I eat and feel normal)

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Not in favour.

Am in favour of home births with a midwife in attendance.

Also a fan of birthing centres, which allow for a midwife assisted birth close to hospital if intervention needed. 

I don't think free birthing is a major social problem, so I'm not spending any time trying to ban it or anything, but yeah, not in favour.

 

 

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Clarifying that not only do trained labor attendants need to be able to handle an emergency on the way to the hospital, they need to be trained to identify when things are going wonky BEFORE they are an emergency, and be ready and WILLING to call 911 if things go wonky really fast. A transfer plan is one of the things that needs to be in place, and I don't see that with free birth folks. They are not saying, "we will use a doppler and monitor heart rate and if it is doing XYZ we will call 911. We will not wait until it is BAD, we will call if it is even sort of not great. 

Instead, they sit home and wait 17 hours for the placenta. Women can DIE from that! Wait an hour? Sure, if everything else is good, uterus is palpated by the midwife, blood pressure is good, etc etc. Wait 17 hours? Nope. Give me a nice shot of pitocin please. I don't want one without reason, and I don't want to go without when there is reason. I want a middle ground. I think some women would choose that middle ground if it was an option, but women who want to go 17 hours without medical care and a retained placenta? That's not middle ground. 

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14 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I totally agree that I think the best way to lower people choosing freebirths is by a) having medical care that is affordable and available (because I've known a number of people who thought about it because of cost) and b) allowing less "medicalized" birth options.  Both of my kids were born in military hospitals, and while I was super glad we were there for child number one (for whom lots did go wrong), I wonder if so many things would have gone wrong if they hadn't started a cascade of interventions from the beginning.  Child number 2, for whose birth the doctor on call was an intern who also kept getting distracted by staff meetings and who pretty much forgot about us, was such a dramatically more wonderful birth, where I was left alone until the very very end except for a couple of times of people popping in to listen to the baby's heart rate.  

Free births went way up in the UK, because pregnant women were denied midwife care and an attendee home birth due to Covid.

Added to the fear of getting Covid in hospital, and being left one in hospital after the birth (no partners could stay), it makes sense some decided to free birth who otherwise wouldn't have. 

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Just now, ktgrok said:

Instead, they sit home and wait 17 hours for the placenta. Women can DIE from that! Wait an hour? Sure, if everything else is good, uterus is palpated by the midwife, blood pressure is good, etc etc. Wait 17 hours? Nope. Give me a nice shot of pitocin please. I don't want one without reason, and I don't want to go without when there is reason. I want a middle ground. I think some women would choose that middle ground if it was an option, but women who want to go 17 hours without medical care and a retained placenta? That's not middle ground. 

The "trust your body" people just annoy me. Bodies are NOT innately trustworthy, lol. They can screw up in all sorts of ways! 

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51 minutes ago, bookbard said:

I remember a midwife doing research (maybe her doctorate) on why women chose freebirths in Australia. It was almost always linked to previous medical trauma. In many cases, the women would have made a different choice if one had been available (eg if a midwife have been available or within their price range). It isn't something most people would do lightly, and the best way to reduce freebirths is to increase access to women-centred birth. 

So true. 

I'm forever grateful I could use a birth center for all mine.

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I think the “trust your body, everything will be fine” thing works when you don’t actually comprehend the medical concerns women are in during childbirth, and what it’s like when such care is inadequate. Not unlike many teenagers who say, “what’s the worse that could happen?” as they do something horribly dangerous.

There is a vast realm between “medicalized birth” (with or without humiliation....I have elderly relatives who gave birth under twilight sleep and seemed to be fine about it) and DIY. Not to be ridiculous, but where does all this homegrown medical expertise end?

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