A lot of people have asked me if I'll do another home birth after how hard the first one was. (Some people seem to think that the obvious answer is "No" as they seem kinda smug when they ask, as they just knew I'd be begging for an epidural when things got hard.)
But I intend to plan a home birth for my second child just like I did for L.
After 5 weeks of reflection this is what I've come to see:
- I am still glad I never had to transition from home to hospital and back again.
- I would not want to have changed anything that would have changed the role Travis played at the birth.
- From 11am-1pm on Saturday (the day L was born) I was in a lot of pain and I did tell Travis I wanted an epidural, hell - I wanted that baby cut out of me - I didn't care - just end the pain. But that was during the stage of labor called the transition, the hardest part for every woman. It is at that point that many women will cry, say they can't do it, ask for an epidural, and just want it to all be over with. This is not a sign of weakness in me or any other woman - it's just the way it is.
- I went into labor Friday night at 7, yet 12 hours of intense contractions later I had not dilated. Also, any labor over 20 hours is considered a complicated labor (and mine was 21). Travis and I chose a home birth because we didn't want to be in a hospital setting where they might want to intervene with drugs, which always increases your chances of fetal distress and c-sections. Based on what I've read and heard, I believe it's very likely hospital staff would have wanted to give me drugs to speed up my labor. I'm glad I did not have to make decisions or face any kind of pressure.
- The care I have received from the women who attended my home birth has been amazing, and is unlike anything I would have received from an ob/gyn (especially the one I was seeing when I began my pregnancy). I am especially grateful to my caregivers as they were very good about checking in with me and being available throughout the very difficult baby blues.
And most importantly:
- More and more I can appreciate what I did and what that means about who I am and what I'm made of. Going into it, I thought labor and birth would be the most amazing thing I'd ever do. Some people climb mountains, run marathons or go skydiving to challenge themselves and their bodies. But who needs Mt. Everest when I can deliver a child - just as my body was designed to do, and just as God wants me to (meaning my vocation as a mother). That was my opinion while pregnant, but after my hard birth I felt a bit duped. However, the more I've thought and prayed about it, the more I've come back to the original thought. I'm proud of what I did and that the decisions I made were in the best interest of me and my baby. And I've come to see that strength is shown in how well we do in our weakest moments. And I did pretty damn well.