Birth Choices and the lack thereof

Image: Free Our Midwives
Image: Free Our Midwives

The past few weeks I have been feeling a need to really own my birth experience this time around.  My son’s birth was a very medical one.  I was induced at 39 weeks because his abdomen was measuring small and because I had gestational diabetes.  I was not going to be allowed to go over 40 weeks no matter what.  I was given pitocin and chained to a bed or glider for something like 22 hours.  Bed to chair, chair to bed.  No wonder I couldn’t manage my pain (or pee for that matter.)

I was slow to progress and stayed at a 2 for a very long time.  When I got to a 3 I asked for the epi.  I was ashamed of myself but between the nausea and humpback contractions (no one warned me about that… I was one of the lucky ones) and exhaustion I needed that break.  I slept for a few hours and when I woke up they told me I was a 10.  Shocking how out of it I was for the last few hours of my labor.

They turned the epi off and I pushed for 3 hours.  By the time I was in the homestretch the epi had mostly worn off and I was able to work with my contractions to get him out.

When I got pregnant with number two I was once again planning to try for a natural birth.  I looked for a midwife who would support me in that decision.  I did not do research with my OB and had someone I wasn’t happy with.  I found a wonderful midwife and a very pro natural birth practice.  I will be working with a doula as well.

This week I decided I wanted a home birth.  I used to be pretty afraid of that option.  As much as I admired those women who did it, I was worried about being too far from a hospital.  The idea just wouldn’t shake.  Imagining laboring in my own home, where I could get comfortable, take a shower, be in a tub, get a drink or snack, and be with my son made me decide I wanted to look into it.

I approached the subject with my husband.  He was less than thrilled.  After begging I was granted a phone call to a homebirth midwife.  The closest ones are all 1.5 hours away.  I told him it was unlikely to begin with since I am far along and they have to select patients who fit their schedule.

Not only was the midwife going to be on sabbatical, but apparently insurance issues made the decision for me.  As of July 1 midwives from Ithaca can not do home births.

In NY state Midwives have to have a practice agreement with an OB.  These midwives had one with an Ithaca doctor.  Then, he terminated that thanks to insurance issues.

Basically no woman in my area can have a home birth.

I was crushed.  I had this vision of being relaxed and at peace in my home.  Instead I will have another hospital birth.  I am hoping the doula and caring midwife will help me be strong and avoid an epidural.

It is so sad that my choice was taken from me.  If this is my last baby I will never get the home birth experience.  And if the laws aren’t changed, neither will hundreds of other mothers in my area.

Free Our Midwives is working to change the law to help midwives in NY practice.  Hopefully they do!

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