If you are pregnant and live in Albemarle County or the surrounding area, we would love to help you feel empowered and informed about giving birth. You can register for my next Bradley Natural Childbirth classes here that starts Sunday, June 19th!
If you are pregnant and interested but don't live nearby, I highly recommend visiting www.bradleybirth.com and finding an instructor near you.
Just a short five years ago, I assumed I would do what most American women do...go to an ob for prenatal checkups and deliver in a hospital with the use of heavenly pain-reducing drugs.
Then I got pregnant with Quincy and started reading...
And I decided that for me and my baby the SAFEST, most comfortable place to give birth would be at home.
Before I go further into my rationale, I wanted to take note of this awesome assertion I saw on Instagram the other day...
Not every vaginal birth is idyllic nor every c-section birth traumatic.
Thank God for the technology making c-sections possible and life saving for some babies and mothers!
Given the experience of mothers in the developed nations of Europe where homebirth is more common and the midwifery model of care dominant, we know that only about 10% of women need a c-section. (They have comparable/lower infant and maternal mortality rates.)
However in America, about 1 in 3 babies is delivered by c-section.
Why the disparity?
That's a loooong story that others have told much better than myself. I highly recommend the documentary "The Business of Being Born" or taking a Bradley class to find out more.
For me, I felt homebirth was the safest because as a physically fit, healthy first-time mom, I was low risk.
First-time moms - having not crossed the scary but amazing abyss of complete release that is childbirth - are more susceptible to suggestions of doctors and nurses for drugs and interventions that may not be necessary but may help expedite the birth (saving the doctors, nurses, and hospital time and money).
Birth plans have become more popular in recent years but many practitioners pay mere lip service to the mothers' wishes and continue with their standard operating procedures.
That's why where and with whom you give birth are the most important decisions you can make!
I wanted to avoid the "cascade of interventions" caused by taking pitocin or having an epidural - both of which drastically increase the odds of you having major abdominal surgery (aka a cesarean).
That was my goal - minimal intervention - in order to give my baby and me the best start possible.
It was really hard and not glamorous by any means but I had Quincy naturally at home.
Other women have other goals and they are totally valid and they are entitled to make their choice, I just wish more women would learn about their options first and have access to those options. If Europe is any indication, women would be choosing differently than they do in America today.
For instance even in Charlottesville, I'm somewhat disappointed by the options.
When I got pregnant the second time, we had moved down to Charlottesville and I was sorry to find out that the only Certified Nurse Midwife in town was retiring the month before my due date.
There are other midwives in town now - several of whom who are great - but they all require up front payment of anywhere from $2500-$3500. We are blessed enough to have great insurance through John's employment and it just didn't make financial sense to us to roll the dice on the insurance company reimbursing us when we knew we could pay about $250 out of pocket for a hospital birth with an ob.
With our first birth, we went with a practice of 6 certified nurse midwives in Alexandria, Virginia who had been in business for 25 years and had established relationships with insurance companies. We paid about $250 out of pocket for our home birth and an additional $850 for the birth assistant.
I should note that the University of Virginia Medical Center has recently hired several certified nurse midwives and so far I have heard nothing but good things!
So for our second birth, I found the only solo practitioner ob in town who is known for being natural birth friendly, hired a doula, and set the goal of laboring at home as long as possible.
This third go-round I was tempted to foot the bill for a homebirth, but when the ob who delivered Gabe agreed to push his retirement date to deliver this next baby I couldn't pass that up.
Again I plan on laboring at home for as long as possible and my doctor is aware of my desire to avoid all unnecessary interventions. My husband is also well-prepared to help me assert my right to informed consent of any and all procedures. To me, this is the greatest thing about being Bradley Method trained - the husbands are active participants in the birth and prepared to advocate for you when you are at your most vulnerable.
Again, you can register for my next Bradley class here. :)
There are actually a lot more touchy, feely reasons I have for choosing natural birth but they now feel out of place in this discussion of practitioners and place. I promise to share more later!
If you are pregnant, interested, and/or like to geek out on the science and statistics surrounding birth, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Evidence Based Birth.
I am an EBB Professional Member and have learned so much about the difference between ROUTINE care in the U.S. vs. evidence based care. Evidence based care is based on vetted scientific research with large enough sample sizes to be considered rigorous.
It can take up to TWENTY years for research findings to be translated into clinical practice!
The more women who inform themselves about the research out there, the more pressure we can put on the system to change sooner rather than later.