I also have a big issue with the medicalisation of pregnancy and childbirth. Humans would not have survived for so long if women's bodies had not been specifically design to bare children. I use the term 'birth' the baby because the generally used term delivery implies that you are delivered of your baby with the help of a third party.
Early in the pregnancy I thought about free birth, or unassisted child birth as it is some times called. I had considered it with my last baby but Peace did not feel confident at the time. Looking back during this pregnancy we discussed his reaction and he apologized for not having confidence in me or really in my body to do what it was designed to do.
I did visit a doctor early on to confirm the pregnancy and organise an anti body blood test. This was such a confronting experience. Firstly, the doctor implied that we would only know for sure I was pregnant when her results came back. She did not trust me to know that I was pregnant. When she tried to set me up for hospital appointments I calmly told her that I would be having the baby a home. She then launched into a tirade about how unsafe it was and she "hoped" I had a qualified mid-wife. Well at that stage I was still undecided if I would free-birth or have a mid wife and I didn't want her to have a seizure so I assured her I had a mid-wife in mind and left the surgery.
I did also have an ultra sound at about twenty two weeks as I convinced myself I needed to know if everything was all right. (what a vague phrase that is!)
It was quiet hard to stay positive and true with what I wanted because there is such a culture of fear surrounding birth. In the end I only told a few people that I wasn't seeing doctors or that I was planning on free birthing. I got sick of defending myself and listening to all their negativity. Most people asked the same question...what if something happens...Well when you have a homebirth there is always time to transfer to a hospital. And I educated myself on what to do in all sorts of senerios. Although I also tried not to focus on anything bd happening. Attitude has so much to do with chid birth.
forty weeks-with Rain,photography by Mr T
My labor came on very gradually. All morning I had a feeling that I was going to see my baby today. I sat in the winter sun and relaxed, did a load of washing and hung out with the kids. At about quater past eleven I got a painful contraction and asked Zan what the time was. I don't really know why keeping track of the time was important to me. I told Peace and the kids that this was it and soon we'd have another baby. The kids went off and started to play cricket out in the yard. Peace asked if I wanted him to make me a bath. (which is a long process here because it's an outside bath and you have to fill it up with the garden hose and light a fire under the tub to heat the water.) I said no not yet. I shouldn't have waited!Lol.
I walked around and swayed heaps. I tried chanting which felt good when I had Mr T but wasn't into it. At twelve I started to get some really full on contractions. So I asked Peace to run me a bath. He got the kids to go and clean the tub out and set a fire but then I called out that I needed him. I wanted a matress out on the door step to lie on between contractions. After about fifteen minutes I wanted to drag the matress inside. Even though it's totally private here I just wanted to be inside. We only got as far as the lounge room floor before I started having contractions so close I didn't feel I could move any further!
This was the only time I doubted my desicion. I asked Peace if he thought I had done the right thing in choosing not to have a mid-wife and he just really calmly said that I was wonderful and could do anything. Awww, shucks!
Then I just started feeling really good with it all and although it was still painful I was getting into the whole thing. I mean it's not everyday that you get to do this. I just started saying I love you over and over again. The urge to push came on really strong but I was trying not to push too hard. I wanted her to come out slowly. And then I felt her head. The most wonderful feeling in the world. I reached down and held her as she came out. I had talked about this beforehand. A doctor had caught Zan, the homebirth mid-wife had caught Rain, Peace had caught Mr T and now I was going to catch my own baby! It was such an empowering moment.
My beautiful Tui- about two minutes after she was born
The whole thing had taken less than an hour and a half. We were kind of speachless that it was all over so quickly with such little fuss.
It was so lovely having noone around after she was born. NO weighin or measureing or checking or cutting or injections. Just me and the family.
Mr T was the only child present when she was born. We'd talked about it previously andZan said he'd already seen two births and didn't feel like he needed to see another.Lol. Rain said she'd make her mind up on the day. But Mr T was pretty keen. We forgot to call him but he happened to walk into the room about two minutes before she was born. All he said was 'You did a good job mummy.'