So, here I was at approx. 8 weeks pregnant. We had been trying for a few months, but figured it would happen when it was meant to be. I was nauseous on and off for a few days when I decided to take a home-pregnancy test - it was positive! Avery and I were ecstatic! We spent the next few days alone to celebrate and let it all sink in. At the clinic, after seeing the first ultrasound with the heart beat, it became even more a reality. We were about to embark on the journey of a life-time...and looking back at all now, we had NO IDEA what we were in for! approx. 20 weeks
At this point in my pregnancy, I was feeling fine and continued to teach my classes. A little ginger and some herbs in the morning kept my stomach calm. The exercise and fresh air outside actually helped the nausea. A few weeks later, the morning sickness stopped as suddenly as it had come on. I felt a surge of renewed energy within.
I had settled on a midwife at a birthing center, Heart2Heart. www.heart2heartbirthcenter.com. My midwife, Michelle, had been in practice for several years and was extremely reputable and professional. Her "safety first" philosophy was important to me, so I compromised a home-birth for the Heart2Heart Birth Center. Michelle could not travel to me (we were about 45 minutes away), but the local midwife's philosophy did not sit well with us. I felt at ease with Michelle immediately. I liked that she allowed me to be in charge of my body and my pregnancy. She taught me how to weigh myself and check my urine sample and I was responsible for those tasks at our appointments. Our thoughts on pregnancy and childbirth were aligned, and I loved learning from her and hearing her thoughts. The birth center was an old Victorian house and I was excited to see that they had comfortable furniture and a large birthing tub. They had a special way of making you feel like you were at home.
Advise to mothers - before meeting with a midwife or OB, it is a good idea to know what you want and what you don't want for your birth. This could be a deciding factor. You don't have to have your whole birth plan finalized, but a few general things will help you determined the best place for you. For me, I wanted the freedom to move around as I pleased and birthed the way I felt most comfortable. I wanted "quiet guidance" - meaning I wanted the midwife to gently and quietly guide me through the birth if it seemed I needed it or asked for it. No shouting out to "push now" or "move over here". I wanted to be at home, and the birth center was a "home away from home".
Now, some women are scared of this because they do not know what to do. That is the problem with today's society. Young girls do not see births or breastfeeding openly as they did in the past, so they do not know what to expect when the time comes for them. In other cultures, all the women in a family would gather together to help a laboring woman birth her child. The older women would give advise and guidance and the young girls would assist and learn. My advise - watch as many birthing videos as you can. And no - most women are not screaming their heads off like they show on TV!!
The other deciding factor for me to choose a home birth/birth center, over a hospital was the interference of nurses. A mother needs her space and freedom to do as she pleases, whether that is laboring or taking care of her newly-born baby. The last thing I wanted was for me or my baby to be poked and prodded. I did not want my baby to be taken away from me - not even for a minute! I am all it needs, to hold it close and breastfeed it. It can be cleaned off later; it can be measured and weighed later. That all seems to challenge the nurse's schedule in the hospital. Again, that is why a home birth/birth center appealed to me. I did not have to adhere to anyone's schedule but my own. And, I wanted to be the one to clean him off first and weight him. This was my baby, not theirs!
We women have been birthing for a very, very long time. Somewhere in the last century, we have forgotten how to trust our instincts. Our bodies know how to birth a baby! It is in us! Too many times, horror stories and statistics get in the way and cloud our minds. Yes, sometimes emergencies do happen, and if they do, thank God we have emergency care. We should always be prepared for it.
Approximately 90% of pregnancies are normal and healthy. If a woman takes care of her body during pregnancy, and is well-informed and prepared...then why not want to birth your baby the way nature intended it?
The Birth Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Safe and Satisfying Birth (Sears Parenting Library)
Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation
Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care