Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our Birth Journey Story

My story is about our journey into natural birth.  When I was 25, my husband and I began trying to conceive our 4th child.  We were also in the middle of a spiritual transition.  It was during that time that my husband read a quote to me from a leader in our religion.  The quote was short, but made a big impact on me.  It said, "It will be so in a little time that not a woman in all Israel will dare to have a baby unless she can have a doctor by her" (Brigham Young). 

It was then that I began reflecting upon my previous births.  Now, I will say, that they were not "bad" experiences.  However, they were not good either.  They were not something that I would look upon and say, "I would love to repeat that experience". 

About three months later, we got pregnant (March of 2006).  That was when I began seriously looking into home birth.  I had never considered birthing anywhere other than in the hospital.  Birthing at home was so foreign to me.  I seemed so "Old Fashioned".  It felt so right.  I had a deep calling within my soul that I must have this baby at home.  I had a horrible foreboding that something bad would happen if I was to birth in the hospital.  It was a feeling that I didn't understand.  Home birthing alien to me.  Why was I having these feelings?  I knew to follow those promptings, though.  I didn't want to find out if the dark feelings about the possible hospital birth was true or not.  I would not take that chance.

I began researching home birth.  I studied all day, while my husband was at work, day in and day out.  My husband is a man who listens to facts and studies.  I printed out papers on Home Birth vs Hospital Birth studies, safety statistics, midwife facts, and so on.  I wanted him to know that what I felt was right was also safe.  I approached him one day and just laid it all out.  I told him how I felt and what I wanted.  To my surprise and astonishment, all he said was that he agreed.  He was feeling the same way about the birth.

I began looking for midwives, but soon found out that in Missouri, that was not an easy task.  Missouri is not exactly a "Home Birth Midwife Friendly" state.  The closest midwives I could find were on the complete opposite end of the state.  A good 5 hour drive.  I searched for months, and began to feel like I was going to end up having an unassisted birth, which I was not ready nor comfortable with at that point in my life.  It wasn't until my 28th week of pregnancy that I found my midwife.  I stumbled across her on the internet, on a site called Birth Partners.  She was just across the river in Kansas.  I immediately sent her an email, and by the next day, she had responded and we made a time for her to visit me at my home.

When she came for my first "appointment", I loved her.  She was so different then the OB/GYNs that I was used to.  She spent a long time talking with me, explaining what she was doing, why she was doing it, and what it ment.  I was shocked at how ignorant I was about pregnancy and birth.  This was my 4th baby, and I knew nothing!  She opened my eyes to the importance of taking my pregnancy and birth into my own hands.  I was responsible for this child.  I needed to understand what was happening, instead of just "doing what I was told".  She taught me a lot.

Late, the night of December 19, 2006, my husband and I went to bed.  We had stayed up way later than we should have, but I was feeling good.  No contractions, or any sign of upcoming labour even though I was 3 days past my guess date.  As I laid down in bed, I thought how in the morning I would put that waterproof mattress pad down for just in case my water broke.  About 4 hours later, I woke to what I am sure was a popping noise and water hitting my knees.  I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom.  Sure enough, I was a night too late for that waterproof mattress pad.  My water had broken in bed.  I woke up my husband, telling him the good news was that I didn't wet the bed.  The bad news was we weren't getting any sleep.  We called my midwife, and a friend of mine who is a professional photographer.  She really wanted to document our birth, and took over 300 pictures of the labour and birth, put them on a CD and gave it to us. 

I laboured for 8 hours with our first son.  It was hard.  It was painful.  It was amazing!  When he was born, I had never experienced anything like it with any of my previous births.  It was truely the most memorable thing I had every been through.  I had done it!  I had birthed my baby at home, completely naturally!

That birth completely transformed my idea of what birth was.  We went on to have another baby, assisted by our friend, in 2008.  Then again, our 3rd home birth in 2010.  That time, after years of study, and preparing myself mentally, physically, and spiritually, our 6th child and 4th daughter was born assisted only by my husband and my 11 year old daughter.  Our first Unassisted Birth! 

Now, a year and a half later, we are expecting our 7th baby.  Our 4th home birth.  Our 2nd planned Unassisted Birth.  As I write this, I am 31 weeks along in the pregnancy.  I continue to study, prepare, and practice my Hypnobirthing.  We are hoping for a water birth (our first).  Only God knows what will happen, and I pray daily for thanks that we are, once again, blessed with this opportunity to welcome another blessed spirit into our family.

If you would like to read the birth stories, and view the pictures.  You can see them at Our Pioneer Life (for the first 4 - including my 1st home birth), and Our Birth Journeys - baby Moses and Our Birth Journeys - baby Rebekah (for the last 2). 

Amanda Hartman

1 comment:

Sadie said...

I love reading your stories! :)