When we began trying for our next baby I knew right away I wanted a home birth for so many reasons. I thought about attempting a natural childbirth in the hospital but the idea of fighting off rude nurses and doctors just made my stomach turn. Not to mention driving to the hospital while in labor, the chaos and stress of it all, putting my baby under those bright lights and fighting for them to put baby on my chest right away, fighting for them not to take off with baby for hours, being bothered every 2 hours at night for vitals when I need my precious sleep, waiting, waiting and more waiting to be discharged, putting my baby in a car for his/her first car ride at only a day or 2 old, having to get baby and myself used to being at home, and my list could easily be expanded. That was the SUPER short version. But in a nut shell, I hate the hospital. Everything I had ever experienced had driven me to that point.

So I started on my quest for a midwife. I knew, as we were trying, that we would be moving out of state in the next few months. So I searched in the new state of course for someone to attend my home birth. I googled and googled, and "asked a midwife" and searched through every state group, pregnancy group, natural birth group and midwife group I could. I thought "If there is no one on cafemom, there is no one anywhere. Someone must know something". But no one seemed to be able to tell me why I was not finding the information I was looking for. Finally, an answer...Not the answer I was looking for and certainly not what I wanted to hear, but at least I had an explanation. The state I was moving to had these...laws. It was not illegal to have a home birth but it was "illegal" for a midwife to attend a home birth. The midwife could be prosecuted. So naturally, none of them walked around advertising themselves or plastering it all over the Internet, I don't blame them. I had been informed that there were "underground" midwives that attended home births. But honestly, where do you look? I started asking around but with no luck. The months went by and of course, I became pregnant. We moved to the horrid state that did not allow midwives and I still continued to search with no luck.

Finally, I gave in. I knew I needed to get some prenatal care of some kind and I did not want to go too long without. After the advice of other mothers who had given birth in the area, I went to a local ob/gyn clinic where the doctors were supposedly wonderful. My first appointment actually went somewhat ok. There were MANY women in the waiting room, many of which were very...interesting to say the least. I sat and waited and wondered what was going on and twiddled my thumbs when I heard over the intercom "Dr.____ is at a delivery and is running approximately 90 minutes behind. Thank You". I then called my husband and asked if he thought I should stay and wait out the hour and a half or just come home. We both agreed that I should just stay and get it over with. So that is what I did. Surprisingly, only a half hour later they called me back. I was handed a cup, told to place the cup behind the little door and wait. So I peed in the cup like a lab rat and placed the cup behind the little silver door in the wall, waited a minute and then heard through the little hole "You can dump it now"...I was confused so I did nothing, thinking I did not hear correctly. But sure enough a repeated "You can dump it now" followed. So I grabbed my cup of urine and dumped it into the toilet and looked around for a bio-hazard waste basket or something. I peeked into the trash can and sure enough there were several empty plastic cups inside. I was disgusted and confused, having never seen anything like that before. I washed my hands thoroughly and stepped outside. The very friendly nurse directed me to the room where we could talk. She asked me many questions and engaged in conversation. I thought "Well at least they care". Finally, I was shown to a room where the doctor met me within 5 minutes. He was, just like they said, very nice. He talked to me for quite awhile even after having been running behind, he answered all my questions and even commended me on having successfully accomplished 2 VBACs. He made it clear that he would fully support my decision to have another VBAC and he thought it was great. He shook my hand and even walked me to the door. I walked out to my car very happy. I called my husband and told him he was great and I was on my way home.

Another month went by as I looked forward to going to the 12 week appointment. I needed to hear my baby's heartbeat so that I knew everything was ok. I was terrified and going alone. My husband was in training and I left my son (17 months) with a sitter for the first time in his life, so on top of being scared about the baby I was terrified that he wouldn't do well. I walked into the doctor's office and sat down in, once again, an incredibly full waiting room. I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, after an hour of sitting worried to death I was called back by the same nurse as last time. I thought to myself "Yay!"...but that was short lived. The nurse was terribly rude to me. She spoke to me like I was dirt and she wanted nothing to do with me. She had me pee in a cup again and dump it myself, again. I was taken to a room where she laid me down and stuck the doppler right on my belly. She found the heartbeat right away and let me listen for maybe 5 seconds, at the most without exaggerating. She then informed me to get undressed head to toe, still with a rude tone and attitude. I sat and waited for a good 20 minutes when the doctor walked in. He certainly was not his, what I thought, chipper self. He did not smile once or ask how I was doing. He told me he would be performing my exam at that time and so he did. As I lay there, he explained to me how I might have some spotting but if it became heavy or lasted more than 3 days to call and come in...blah, blah, blah. The exam lasted maybe 2-3 minutes, it was truly the quickest I've ever had. He stood up, I sat up and he said "So we'll see you in another 4 weeks then". I waited for him to follow with a "Do you have any questions for me" ATLEAST, but nothing. As he turned to walk out the door I stopped him and was able to ask only 1 of my questions before he practically dove out the room. I sat there confused as to what happened and quickly got myself dressed. I hesitantly and angrily made my next appointment. But as I walked out of the office that day all I could focus on was how angry I was. I was angry that they put on such a front at my first appointment, I was angry that they treated me like just another person in line, and I was angry that didn't care. What should have been a great moment was shattered, after having heard my healthy baby's heart beat and making it to that point that every pregnant woman can't wait to get to, none of it mattered. What mattered was that I was angry! 

I went straight home that day, sat down, placed my lap top on my lab and googled (lol). I searched for every option I could find and came across Unassisted Childbirth. I began reading birth stories. Amazing birth stories of women that had birthed Unassisted and suddenly that thought did not scare me any more. It became apparent to me that a women's body knows what it is doing. It isn't some medical emergency that needs to be afraid of. It was the miracle of life. I cried as I read the stories and I felt so blessed to be witnessing them in my mind. I told myself right then and there that I was having this baby at home, on my terms, with or without anyone's help. I began really diving into Unassisted Childbirth. I went to the library and got a dozen books, I watched videos and read stories, I talked to other women and began picturing myself in that situation. I felt confident that I could do it. But, an unexpected turn of events took me by surprise in the middle of my research. I received a phone call...a very interesting phone call from a woman that I had written during my search for a midwife. She was a fellow mother who had planned on a home birth in my local area and she wanted to meet. So that is what I did. I met with this woman and I was amazed with her. I watched her talk about her experience as she played with her beautiful 7 month old baby boy, with his little cloth diaper on, and amber necklace. I really connected with her and felt like she, of all people, understood me. She understood why I wanted to do this home birth and she supported me. Although, she ultimately chose to transfer to a hospital because of a complication late in labor, she still told me everything she knew. She gave me one simple piece of advice that neither of us knew would make all the difference. She recommended a natural mothering website and community to me for my search. I honestly didn't think it would happen. I thought that if I hadn't found a midwife by then, and I couldn't find one on cafemom, this website could not possibly be any different. So I went home, thankful, but still feeling like I was at square one.

After a few more days of doing my research and NOT visiting that website, I began to really enjoy the idea of birthing unassisted. At that point I did not even really want to visit that website because I actually preferred to birth alone at home. I couldn't really picture a strange woman in my home with me while I was having a private moment, naked or whatever, but doing my own thing. I did not like the idea anymore of having someone there with me. None the less, I decided to check the website out anyways. I knew it was more of just a "midwife search" website but it dealt with other natural subjects as well that I was interested in, such as breastfeeding, cloth diapering...Unassisted Childbirth...so I checked it out. As I browsed the site for a few days I really began to enjoy it. I don't know why but at one point I just said "What the heck. Let me just add a few most and we'll see what I get". Immediately, my phone started chiming at me informing me of emails. These emails were telling me people responded to my "Searching for a midwife in ______" post. I became very curious and rushed to see what these responses could possibly say. One response got my interest. "I am pm'ing you"...That's all it said. I knew that if this woman was pm'ing me it had to be some sort of secret. When I received the message she told me of a woman she used in her area but she knew she traveled or if anything maybe knew someone near me. I agreed to check out her website and I even emailed her, still thinking it was a lost cause. I had emailed and called and left messages for "midwives" before, but never got ANY responses. I just knew this woman would do the same. So, I went about my business thinking I would never hear from that woman when I heard the very familiar "Ding, da, DING!" of my phone. I had an email. As I opened the email I was amazed to see that it was actually this midwife I had emailed. She simply said "I am giving your phone number to one of my apprentices in your area". All of a sudden I became very excited thinking "This cannot be happening". I never thought I would find anyone and just like that, right there in front of my face was someone! I waited patiently for the phone call for a few days, trying not to get my hopes up too high.

One day, I was still on my computer, as usual, doing my research and came across an intriguing movie, The Business of Being Born. I pressed play and began watching in amazement and horror and love and hate and confidence and fear. Atleast every 5 minutes (yes, even the after the first 5 minutes) I teared up and choked. I cried over statistics, I cried over interviews with doctors, I cried over women in labor. I was just so emotional and torn up about the whole thing I couldn't help it. As I sat there and watched all of a sudden I heard my ring tone. I did not recognize the number (which I hate) and I hesitantly answered the phone with a suspicious "Hello". But, what I heard from the other end was not what I was expecting. It was her. She actually called. I was REALLY speaking to a woman that could make all of my dreams come true. And as I spoke to her all of my "plans" for an unassisted birth drifted away. I did not need one and I knew that wasn't what I really wanted as I spoke to her. She was so professional, and trustworthy, and knowing, and wise, and caring. Everything that a midwife, that a person who is going to catch your baby, should be! She answered all of my questions, she explained in ellaborate detail what she does, how it works, and most of all she listened. I LOVED her. She was my dream come true. All of a sudden I was on a happy high and didn't know what to do with myself. I thought of my husband, and my children, and my family, friends, and most of all my baby. My baby that would be born into a beautiful, unfrightening, comforting, wonderful place, with his mommy and daddy and no one poking and prodding him and tossing him around under bright lights. A place where he could lay on his mommy's chest and listen to her heartbeat for as long as he wanted and he could suckle at my breast as long as he wanted. He wouldn't have to be taken down to any nursery away from his home and comfort of nine months. It was a surreal moment in my life and a life changing one at that. I knew at that point everything would be ok. Even if we did end up having to transfer to a hospital in the end of a TRUE emergency, it would be ok, because atleast we tried. I didn't give up and I did what was best for me, for my family and for my baby.

As I sat and finished watching the movie, I bawled my eyes out. I especially bawled my eyes out when little Matteo was born and no one had known he was not receiving the nutrients he needed, even after she had several ultra sounds and was seeing an ob/gyn. An ob/gyn that surprisingly looked at her and said "Absolutely, do the home birth, I will be your back up". Now that is the way it should be. Ob/gyn's should be happy to be a "back up" and to be supportive and be there for the women that NEED them. You would not find that here. You would especially not find that in the clinic I ran out of in anger. The movie inspired me. Not only did it intrigue me for my own birth but even made me think about going into midwifery myself. So of course, here I am, still doing my research. I am doing my research on home birthing AND midwifery. I feel like this is a new beginning. I feel like this whole process has changed me somehow, has made me a better person and has made me a woman....and I haven't even given birth yet! This has truly been a wonderful journey and it isn't even finished. There is so much more to come and I have never been more excited to push a baby out of my vagina! big smile mini

To be continued........

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Apr. 23, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Just wanted you to know that EVERYTHING you described I have felt,including the crying for other women and unborn children who are not my own.I am older than you and won't be birthing any more babies but if I had a chance to pick my career all over again,it would absolutely be midwifery on my terms.This series was very well written.Please let me know what happens.

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Apr. 23, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Thank you for your kinds words. I am flattered that you enjoyed my story. It would be wonderful if one day I could share it with the world and perhaps make a change :) I will most certainly keep you updated! Thank you again. It truly means a lot to me!

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