Are you interested in HOMESTEADING LIFESTYLE?  Then you might find one of these Homestead.org articles handy:

Living in the Sticks (and The Single Girl), by Sheri Dixon

The Economics of Being a Cheap-o... by Jan R. Cooke

Home-schooling for Homesteaders  by Sheri Dixon

Getting Started with Spinning by Allena Jackson

Bridges Burned, Fingers Crossed   by Julie O'Neil

Doctoring on the Homestead by Lacey Thacker

The Natural Building Colloquium of Kerrville, Texas  by Sheri Dixon

A Computer With A View  by Gene Gerue

Keeping the Homestead Dream Alive by Sheri Dixon 

Paying Attention - the Most Important Skill on Your Farm by Sheri Dixon

Drawing a Circle in the Sand by Sheri Dixon

Living Upscale Downhome by Sheri Dixon

 

 

Alec Ward Dixon, 3 days old.

 

Using a Midwife:

The Ultimate Do-It-Yourself Project

by Sheri Dixon

***Warning: this article contains some explicit references to childbirth.  If you are the least bit woozy at the thought of this, you should probably re-think parenthood anyway.

I have three wonderful children.

When I was very young and newly married, I became a mother for the first time.  My OBGYN was a very strict, humorless woman, who had delivered thousands of babies including myself and my husband.  In her opinion, giving birth was a medical condition, and you listened to the Doctor with no questions asked.

After attending a few hospital-run "Natural" Childbirth classes, I decided that

a) I was not attending any MORE hospital-run "Natural" Childbirth classes, as they frankly made me want to hurl and

b) Drugs were a good thing.  I told my OBGYN to empty her black case, I wanted at least two of everything, preferably washed down with some stiff spirits.

Due to some minor medical difficulties, however, when my lovely Erika made her debut I did not get my drugs, was bossed around and terrorized by the hospital staff and endured 12 hours of unwanted natural childbirth.  After the fact, I was grateful for the natural childbirth part, since immediately afterward I felt wonderful and was ready to walk out of there with my new daughter.  Because this was back in the "old days" , they insisted that I remain a guest of the hospital for 3 days.  The woman in the next bed had had a c-section and received all the drugs I thought I wanted.  She spent the first 24 hours of motherhood sick as a dog. 

Lesson #1: Drugs are not as great as they are cracked up to be.

Five and a half years later found me back in the same hospital for the arrival of David, who appeared after less than six hours of labor.  This time my OBGYN was a wonderful man whose office walls were literally lined with photos of 'his' babies and who was of the opinion that birth is natural and wonderful and that his role was basically to be on hand just in case.  Also to catch if the daddy passed out.  He firmly believed that hospitals are the worst place in the world to have babies because they are full of germs.  Unfortunately, Wisconsin was a state that was keeping it's residents safe by making home births illegal, so the hospital was our only option.  This time I was ready for the de-personalizing that every birth-mom goes through from the hospital staff and with the blessing of my Doctor was much more vocal and adamant about what I would and would not endure at their hands to make THEIR jobs easier.  After Erika, I knew I could have this baby without drugs and didn't request any.  Insurance attitudes had also changed and they started a timer the second that baby took his first blink and escorted me out the door 24 hours later.

Lesson #2: Hospitals are mostly superfluous to the birth event

Fast forward 14 years.

Different state: Texas.

Different husband: one with no children, and what a shame is THAT?

Different circumstances: no insurance.

My interest in midwives and homebirth that my last OBGYN had sparked became suddenly extremely relevant upon learning at age 39 and 10 months that I was to become a mother again.  Added to the above lessons learned early in life and my gut feeling that giving birth at home was just a 'righter' way to go about this, was the financial aspect- a hospital birth at right around $20,000 compared to homebirth of $1,200.  Yes, the comma IS in the right spot and no I DIDN'T forget a few zeroes.

Enter Thalia; professional midwife, tireless coach, and dear friend.

On our first visit, we went over my history.  Given that I had given birth twice naturally with no major complications, she saw no need for alarm.  Because I was over the age of 35 (read "High Risk Birthmother" to the medical community), she gave us the option of going to an OBGYN she worked with for an ultrasound or amniocentesis if we desired, and we declined.  She told us we could deliver either at her birth center or at home if we lived within a 30 minute drive of a medical facility, and we do. 

Midwives follow much the same procedure as an OBGYN with regard to scheduled appointments.  They have the same schedule, they test  for the same things using the same lab tests, and they monitor the baby's growth in the same ways.  The difference is in the presentation.  Their offices resemble (or truly are) their homes.  The exam table is a real bed complete with comforter and pillow.  There's not a stirrup, 2 year old magazine or paper gown in sight.  There is no waiting room full of other pregnant women.  When you have an appointment, you are the patient.  Period.  The entire pregnancy is treated not as some deviant medical condition, but as a personal wonderment to be nourished and celebrated.  What a concept.

Near the end of pregnancy, we gathered together supplies from a list provided and prepared for our birth.  These items were readily available at the local grocery and drug stores.

We were encouraged to take home and watch a video of an actual home birth, which I slipped into the VCR with much trepidation (the video of an actual hospital birth is what sent me over the edge years before).  I needn't have worried.  Instead of the brightly lit, fast paced, sterile delivery room full of serious brisk hospital staff who seemed to consider the birthing mother as an inconvenience to be tolerated was several hours of a family at home.  The mother-to-be spent a lot of time in her rocking chair, reading to her other children, and walking with her husband.  She drank some tea.  Eventually she went to bed and proceeded to have her baby.

Here's why it was so important to see this after having 2 hospital births.

Doctors are trained to see everything in the Worst Case Scenario.  When you have a hospital birth you may not walk around- you must be hooked up to the baby monitor.  You may not eat or drink- you need an empty stomach in case they have to do a c-section.  And once that little person hits the birth canal, look out- the hospital staff WILL deliver him/her within minutes, whether you and the baby are ready or not. 

More and more it seems that Doctors also are performing c-sections or inducing labor for "over-term" pregnancies and even (I think shamefully) inducing so a woman will deliver to suit his or her schedule.  Many of these "over-term" babies need to stay in the hospital or be treated for things that have traditionally been Preemie Problems.  Obviously they weren't "done" at all.

Continued on page 2   >

 

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