Week 19: More musings on unassisted

I feel like considering whether to have an assisted or unassisted home birth, for me, mirrors the dilemma I see my doula clients get into when considering whether to have a hospital or home birth. Although prenatal care plays a huge role in that decision as well, and I am not on the fence about whether to have prenatal care.

The vast majority of my clients end up choosing the hospital. They look at the risks of home birth, which are small but real, and decide that they would rather pay for the promise of near absolute certainty with the discomfort, anxiety, unnecessary intervention, and possible c-section that they are welcoming by having their baby there. There ARE risks in the hospital, these people are extremely intelligent, and I don’t think they are ignoring those or unaware. They have simply made a decision that they would rather take the risks involved with hospital technology, in exchange for the benefit of having that technology close by if they should need it.

Likewise, I consider the risks of unassisted birth to be very small, but real. Having a qualified midwife in the room with me would mitigate some of those risks. I have to think about what the risks truly are, what the price will be and if I am willing to pay it to mitigate those risks.

On the other hand, I must consider that for me, safety is not first. If I feel absolutely driven to do something, even if it is risky, that might be the right decision IF I can accept the risks.

The question is, what am I really driven towards? Am I only fantasizing about going unassisted because I am afraid of other people’s meddling? Or is it truly what I think will be best for me and my baby?

Another consideration is that unassisted birth isn’t really what I want, but thinking about it is my way of acknowledging that I don’t fully trust the professionals. As in, at no point will I hand over decision making to them as I did the first time.

The funny thing is, I do believe I have hired the best midwife I’ve ever met. After all the mistrust I’ve expressed so far, I can also say that if there ever was a midwife who I could probably trust, and who would probably do whatever she could to protect me, and understand how to protect me, it’s her. So I am hopeful that I will very much want her there when I go into labor. But if I don’t want her there, that’s ok too.


About investigatingbirth

My investigations of birth began in 2009 when I was trained as a doula. I helped women consider the evidence on common interventions, and helped them prepare for the physical and emotional challenge of giving birth. After some time it became clear to me that there was another type of challenge that I was unable to adequately prepare them for, the challenge of the maternity system. But it was only after my own traumatic birth in 2013 that I realized how little I had understood. I began to ask questions that few around me - doulas, nurses, midwives, doctors - were comfortable hearing. Questions like: Under what circumstances, and for what reasons, do doctors not practice informed consent? How do hospitals deal with other patient populations vulnerable to abuse? How does loss of professional autonomy, for obstetricians, and professional authority, for midwives, impact the quality of care they are capable of providing - regardless of their training? This blog will collect noteworthy information that attempts to answer these and other questions. Most of what you see here will be aggregated from other sources and analyzed. You will also see original interviews, and the occasional opinion piece or personal story, as I try to piece together a clear picture of the system in which American women give birth.
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3 Responses to Week 19: More musings on unassisted

  1. Jahaira says:

    I am 33 weeks (I think) this is my third child and my brain is tired from having to boys in the house. I do go to an OB, my third different practice. My two previous ones, I feel, betrayed me by giving me things that I had denied. I feel like they tell you what you want to hear and then you get the “that’s not how we do things, once you’re in labor…or even when you meet your doctor. I have been doing hypnobirth relaxation and sort of have the doctor as a backup. I want to stay home, be comfortable, eat, not have to lay on my back or have medication snuck in me while I am sleeping. I also want to lay next to my husband comfortable because he’s my biggest support. I don’t want an IV, I have a cold allergy, that gives me bone pain when I get cold, but it’s so rare that I get blown off, same with my tailbone and hip dislocation. It is just so many things. I believe I am absolutely okay when I can relax and focus on myself instead of nurses wanting me to speed things up. Six and thirteen hour labors are not bad. I feel like I won’t be such a bother if I just stay at home instead of inconveniencing a doctor that wants to just go home. I don’t know, that’s just some of my many thoughts. I also believe I can do this!!!

  2. Jahaira says:

    Thank you so much😁

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