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Just trying to figure out how to have a Natural Childbirth, hopefully NOT in a hospital!
My hubby and I just got married this June, and we plan on trying to start a family early next fall, just before he finishes his masters degree.
I'll be 35 by then, and he'll be 31.
The problem is that I'd really like to have a Natural Childbirth in a birthing center, but he is completely and totally opposed to it. The main reason is because a friend of his from high school's wife was having their first child at home, complications arose, they rushed to the hospital, but the baby died. I don't know any other details, such as if there were complications in the pregnancy or other factors, but my hubby believes the baby would have survived if the baby had been born in a hospital.
He's EXTREMELY stubborn, and has a need to be right a lot, so this is an uphill battle. I tried to get him to watch just 10 minutes of the documentary "Business of Being Born," but he refused.
I really don't like hospitals. Not only have I had two major surgeries (jaw surgery at 13, and scoliosis surgery at 23), but I've watched relatives die in hospitals, seen people in coma's in the ICU, been in a blood-filled ER with a friend in a bad car accident, etc. The hospital is the LAST place where I feel relaxed and comfortable! I'm not afraid of hospitals, they're just not very calm-inducing for me.
Even with the Herrington rods in my back (two 21 inch titanium rods), I've been told there should be no problems in my pregnancy. I'm in good health and in decent shape.
I actually have two of my cousins who each had 3 kids, and all but one were born either at home or at a birthing center. My cousin's last child, a girl, nearly died with the umbilical cord wrapped around her throat, but the fantastic midwives saved her life (at the birthing center).
My best friend had her first child in the hospital, hated it, and had her second at home and LOVED the experience. She said it was the most empowering experience of her life.
All my hubby's friends think I'm absolutely nuts, and are completely indoctrinated into the belief that there are higher infant mortality rates from home births/birthing center births than hospital births. (They think I'm crazy for not wanting an epidural -- the one's in our group who have given birth demanded drugs the second they walked into the hospital! I personally think THAT is crazy!) My hubby even believes that most of the hospital mortality rates are for home birth baby complications being brought to the hospital!
I know all he cares about is my well being, but he's refusing to become educated on the subject. It's kind of a "my way or the highway" thing. We've had lots of heated arguments about this subject!
Unfortunately, my best friend just moved back to Chicago and my cousins live in another city hours away, so I'm surrounded by non-natural-childbirth proponents. It doesn't help that my Mom agrees with my hubby and wants me to give birth in a hospital! (She doesn't even remember my birth in the 1970's, due to being put into the "twilight sleep" that they did back then for medicated hospital childbirth.)
There is a nice birthing center that is only 2 or 3 blocks away from a major hospital in Dallas (Baylor) that is pro-natural-birth. To me, I figure if there are any complications, we're only a couple of blocks away. But of course, hubby feels that it might be a "every minute counts" emergency that we'd get there too late for.
I would suggest an orientation at the birth center. I took my DH to one with out him really understanding what a birth center was and what natural childbirth was. My birth center is a block from the hospital and their transit times in case of emergency are very quick. They are also equipped to handle a lot of emergencies like hemmoraging, as well as every room equipped for infant resuscitation. My DH was very impressed with the midwives, their relationship to the hospital professionally and geographically. I think your DH should at least be open the going to an orientation and learning more. Also, all their statistics should be public and you can compare the stats for the birth center with the hospital. I think an orientation will make him dispell a lot of his misunderstandings of a birth center.
I am sorry you are going thru this now When we left the orientation, my DH said to me "i cannot imagine you anywhere else"!!!! I was very happy by that, since i kinda tricked him into the whole thing I do not know if he knew there were options besides hospitals.
The only other option would be to compromise and give birth in the hospital with a midwife and/or doula.
I was very persistent when it came to what I wanted with this birth. I basically told DH that I wanted to use either a birth center or have a home birth and that was the end of the discussion. I compromised with the birth center, because he felt more comfortable with that idea over the home birth, and that seemed like a good middle ground. Taking him to an orientation is a great idea, most birth centers should have some type of orientation or tour that they give you information and answer questions. Second, just be persistent. This is YOUR birth. You are the one who will be in labor and giving birth to the baby, and it's your experience that counts. I can tell you from having one child in a hospital and one in a birth center, I will never have another baby in the hospital. NCB is too much of a battle in a hospital, it's not a supportive environment for it, and many times, women have to fight for what they want. I will do the birth center or a home birth again if we have another child.
Andrea, mom to 3 beautiful girls - Abigail (8) Annabelle (6) and Alexis (3)
Actually (you will never find the hospitals admitting to this) most of the hospital babies' problems arise from the things the hospitals do to the babies and their moms. I would definitely find statistics to show him. And if the hospital refuses to give you theirs, that is a HUGE red flag. You would probably want to ask c/s rates, epi rates, episiotomy rates, how often they use assistance (vacuum, forceps) on a birth, that sort of thing. And even though I haven't necessarily had the yucky experiences you have at a hospital, I am very much under the belief that hospitals are for sick people, not healthy people. Did you see the House episode where a bunch of babies in the NICU died from an infection that they got from the hospital? It happens. No, thank you. Pregnancy and labor doesn't make you sick. It is a normal and natural human function. And they are going to want you to lay on your back. I think with your rods that would probably be the worst thing you could do. I think a birth center where you have the option of walking around, changing position, etc, will actually help you a lot more than lying on your back. Especially if you end up having back labor. As for the birth center, if you can at least get him to go in for a tour, you can ask their transfer rates, what dictates a transfer, what their c/s rates are, what they do to help facilitate labor, etc. If you can't get him to agree, I think a doula would be a great investment for you. Also, I have only had one child, but I had a natural waterbirth at a birth center and I felt great that day. DH and I even went shopping with my daughter the day she was born (she came a little early and we didn't have diapers and I didn't have a nursing bra). But it sounds form most people's experiences that they recover faster from natural births. Sorry so long. Good luck!
Ask him to tell you specifically what things he's afraid will go wrong. Then go from there, discuss what might happen, what you would do about it, let him know what things you would consider "too risky" for a home birth and let him know at what point you would go to the hospital. Men are good at dealing with concrete stuff. Get a list and then do some research. tell him vague "it's just safer" answers are not a good enough reason. Maybe make out a list for him too of WHY you don't want to be in the hospital.
Kellisa, Mama to:
Courtney, Nola, Kya, and Whitney
Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, training to be an IBCLC!
I don't have much time to respond tonight, I will elaborate more tomorrow, but just wanted to share this. My husband has a medical degree, and when we got pregnant, he started out in much the same way. In fact, he suggested to me I have an elective c-section. Fast forward to now and after our experience he is not only insanely proud of me for having our daughter drug free, but he is all about having our next right at home. Fear is no longer the main motivator. It CAN be done.
I just wanted to throw in that an epidural may not even be an option for you with the Harrington rods in place.
Ditto to what the ladies have said above. It's your body and birth, so you have to make what decision is right for you. Try to get your DH to a BC orientation. Knowledge is power, so just keep trying to educate him.
My husband was exactly the same way. When we had our first (my second) I was determined to have a natural birth. I was in an OB/midwife practice that delivered at a hospital. The hospital was one of those with like a 50% c-section rate. Anyway, I did get him to agree to Bradley classes. I figured if I was well prepared, I could have a natural birth anywhere. He was for a non-medicated birth just not for out of hospital birth. Once we were in the classes, we got to know the other couples. We were the only ones delivering at this horrible hospital. Eventually, we switched to a midwife practice that delivered either at their birth center or at a different hospital that was 2 blocks away. Still, hubby wanted hospital. But, the midwives were much more pro-natural birth and totally supportive of our decisions. I ended up with an awesome birth experience. It was in a hospital but I had the birth I wanted. No meds, no interventions, and tons of support.
So with the next one, the midwives weren't a problem at all for hubby. Although out of hospital still was. We ended up a different hospital due to a move, and it was HORRIBLE!!! Mostly the way they treated the baby.
This time, I didn't even ask, I went to the birth center nearby and started prenatal care. They deliver at home or the birth center. Dh has had some trouble with it but is coming around (notice I'm due in like 10 days- and he's still just coming around). I have told him why it's so important to me while reminding him how awful the last experience was. He wants me to have the birth I want so he's willing to go along with things. I told him all along that if he ever felt strongly that he just couldn't handle the out of hospital birth to let me know and we could switch to a hospital. He hasn't spoken up yet!
What I told him was that the birth center has a lot to lose. They are under constant scrutiny. All eyes are waiting for them to screw up and make a mistake that jeopardizes a mom or a baby. Therefore, the are ULTRA conservative. If they suspect any distress or any issue is arising, the transfer to the back up hospital. All the midwives are trained in neonatal recussitation. We also talked with the founding MW and got the numbers. How many births they've had, how often the transfer, rate of problems, and so on. It's taken 3 pregnancies for him to be willing to really become educated. Again, natural birth wasn't the issue just the location. If your husband really won't come around on the hopsital vs. birth center thing, try not to lose heart. You can very much have a natural birht at a hospital. You can always hire a doula and take appropriate classes to prepare for your birth.
Sorry for the long response, I just so relate to what you are facing!
Thank you so much everyone for the replies and the support. Yes, I think those actual statistics as to the number of problems and number of transfers to a hospital, and any problems at the hospital would REALLY help him. And taking the same facts the hospital we'd transfer to would help, too (e.g. infant mortality rates, intervention births, etc.) You've given me a whole list of questions to ask them! You know guys, they like actual facts.
I like the part about everyone watching the birth center closely for mistakes. I've always thought that if there was such a high rate of problems and infant mortality with home births and birthing centers, it would be all over the news as the "baby killing birth method" or some gruesome headline that the media would come up with. The media doesn't miss an opportunity to sensationalize anything!
BTW, I can actually have an epidural with my Herrington rods. They just have to do a bunch of tests ahead of time to figure out where to exactly stick the needle. Yuck! Just makes me cringe to think about it! Not to mention, at my old job at a corporate office, I've heard women joking about their epidurals, saying they couldn't feel anything below their waists and how they couldn't walk at all for a couple of hours! To me, it makes absolutely NO sense that you would spend 9 months being careful what you eat and careful not to put any kind of drugs into your system, and then at the end, you flood your body with drugs that go into your poor little baby!
One of the birthing centers I am looking at is this one:
One advantage is that you have three midwives helping with the birth (unless two births are going on at the same time, which I would think is sort of rare), and one of them had 15 years experience in a hospital neonatal intensive care unit and birthing center. Another one has birthed or helped birthed 4,000 babies! I mean, how much more experience can you get?
They also have two rooms with two birthing tubs, while the other birthing center has two rooms but only one has a birthing tub. I don't know if I want a water birth, but I like the option! The second one is also further away from us, but 3 blocks away from a major, well known hospital.
Good luck Shannon-- check out both birth centers. The one we chose is about 40-45 minutes (without traffic!) from our house. Worth the drive. We live in the boonies and i would NOT go to a local hospital anyways.