I’m on the CUB mailing list, and recently got sent a link to a survey someone has created to collect information about the childbirth experiences of birthmothers. I’ve been sent the same link a few times, and each time, I start it and then give up after a page or two. It’s not really designed for me. The author was careful to word it in a way that wouldn’t exclude non-BSE birthmothers—but since I didn’t give birth in a hospital, I couldn’t answer most of them anyway. I gave birth in a bathtub in a room that looked it like belonged in a bed and breakfast, I left two hours later to go to a hotel room with my sweetheart and the baby. I wasn’t shaved, cut, or sedated. I know that something like less than 1 percent of children in that county are born out of hospitals, but it’s weirdly alienating to try to fill out a form that doesn’t allow for the possibility of my experiences.

Only last week, someone at my support group asked about my experience of giving birth—I had brought in some pictures, and there are pictures of me with a minutes-old Cricket that were certainly not taken in any hospital—and when I explained that I did the drug-free, midwife thing, she asked “. . . and was that on purpose?” My mother was a Bradley instructor back in the day, and I watched my brother come into the world on the floor of our apartment. I remember playing with other kids at La Leche League meetings when I was little. All this is to say that I have never wanted to give birth in a hospital—I don’t think of myself as a crunchy person, but in this area, that is what I seem to be. One thing that bothers me (way out of proportion, I might add) is reading on adoption forums and blogs that “Our birthmom is being induced on—”  That said, every woman should be able to make her own choices about how childbirth is going to go (so far as that’s practical). But me? When the time comes to make a plan for the birth of futurekid, we’ll find a midwife who has a roomy bathtub. 😉

7 thoughts on “Push

  1. ” . . . and was that on purpose?” made me laugh out loud.

    “No, it was the weirdest thing. I was totally planning to go to the hospital to get induced when this midwife just showed up at my door and forced me into the bathtub!”

    I had a pretty serious pregnancy complication and being induced early may very well have saved my son’s life. So, I didn’t really get much choice in how my childbirth went — aside from choosing to try and ensure that I had a live birth. That being said, I wish more women knew that they could choose a different way. Your way sounds beautiful!

    • I worry about sounding as though I’m against life-saving procedures when I 100% am not; I am thankful that we have the tech to save you and your child. =)

      • Oh no, I didn’t take it that way at all. I’m thankful for the technology, too (obviously), but I wish more women felt that they had a voice in their healthcare. I’m glad you are sharing your story!

    • I just keep coming back to reread this comment because it makes me laugh. I can just see the cartoon Susie now: “Where am I and what am I doing in this bathtub???”

      • I admit, at the time I was briefly tempted to make some joke around the fact the idea that it’s much harder to arrange than a standard, lie-in-this-bed-and-accept-an-epidural scenario…but I think I just looked blank for a moment.

  2. I had homebirths with my bio kids. When I’m part of a group of un-crunchy moms chatting about birth experiences, it never ceases to amaze me that they think I was lucky that my births were “uneventful” given that I wasn’t in a hospital.

    They never seem to see the alternative explanation– that my births were calm events BECAUSE I wasn’t in a hospital, even though it’s usually the case that during these chats a series of women have just told how the monitoring, timing of the epidural/pitocin/cytotec(!), disagreements with medical staff, etc. were the beginning of the craziness they went through.

    The truth is that two of my children would almost certainly have been born by c-section if I’d been in a hospital–there was plenty there to make an event out of if anyone had been looking to do that.

    While being aware that the hospital is the safest for some, I feel sorry for all the women who wanted calm, natural births and would have been fine having them, but either weren’t allowed to or didn’t even know it was an option.

  3. the very first thing we learned about our daughter’s mother was that she was looking for a family to support her decision to have a home birth. just the idea of it was a fantasy for me, since if I had been able to give birth it would have been high-risk, high-intervention everything. witnessing her birth was the most amazing experience. her mom was empowered to have the birth experience she wanted. and I was so very honored to be there.

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