Monday, January 28, 2008

Our new baby, installment #15

Continuing the drama about my decision to attempt a home VBAC, also known as an HBAC, or home birth after cesarean, I had disinvited my parents from being at the house while I was in labor. This decision was despite my mother having met the midwives over dinner at our home, despite my mother having read my book, despite how strongly she knew how I felt. She just could not change her position. She could not change who she was. And that was fine. We agreed to disagree. Of course, she was not the only one in the family who thought I was nuts. My grandmother, whom I adore, accused me of "going backwards." This, despite that Gram had her three children in the hospital under the spell of Twilight Sleep, a mix of morphine and the amnesiac scopalamine. Thus, she does not remember giving birth except for the fact that "it hurt" and the nurses told her to "shut up." My aunt, who is only 13 years older than me and has always been the "cool" one in the family and saw a midwife (in the hospital) for her oldest child's birth, sort of understood where I was coming from in deciding to stay home. But she kept calling and asking what my backup plan was. In a nice way. There were a couple of surprising supporters. My sister-in-law, who had had a cecearean a few months before, was very supportive, saying I was better educated than anyone in the family on the subject and therefore I would be OK. And my grandfather, who is well into his 80s, was quietly approving, perhaps in his old fashioned way appreciating that women have been doing this forever.

But the remark about me going backwards is one that I keep thinking about. Was shunning the hospital and its malpractice fears, its MRSA infections, its aggressive obstetrics, its lack of support for VBAC, really going backwards? Or was it the most progressive thing I could do? Should the new post-modern reality be all about less is more, whether we are talking about calories, house size, miles driven or medical interventions?

What do you think? Was I going backwards?

19 comments:

Sheridan said...

I think you were moving foward along your path to the birth you wanted. :)

Robin said...

I found an interesting supporter in my grandparents too. Apparently my grandmother's first baby had been born at home and her second baby was born in the hospital by cesarean (very odd for 1944). They were supportive though worried that I couldn't handle the pain.

mommymichael said...

my grandmother was in labor for 72 hours. at one point one of the nuns slapped her face because she was crying from exhaustion and being uncomfortable needless to say, and told her "this is what women are made for!"

I am a Monkey's Momma said...

Backwards? Backwards movement would have been signing up for a RCS at 38 weeks. No, ma'am. You moved forward...for sure.

mom said...

So, we're three generations of women who love you deeply and were concerned for your well being. When you started to get close to your due date we picked up the pace for secretly helping you with your plan. Logistically, except for you, we live in the same neighborhood so we had morning gatherings, phone calls throughout the day and evening get togethers so that we could discuss any possible angle to help you through the birth. My sister had also packed a bag and although she wasn't invited either, she was coming anyway so that she could be the stable one. She's great in a crisis (not that we were expecting one). My son and daughter-in-law work in Boston so at a moment's notice they could pick George up from school if you wern't able. So, you see, we accepted your plan and like anything else we do in this family, whether we like it or not, there was support from everyone. Although, Gram said "call me when it's over". I think you would have been proud of us! And, to all of the other beautiful women who participate in this blog, I know that your families feel the same way and secretely think of ways in which they can help make this a beautiful experience for you. So, whatever the comments are from your family, it's because they love you and want to keep you safe.

mom said...

Here I am again but I'm posting this blog at the request of Tina's 85 year old grandfather. He reads her website daily. He has asked me to leave this comment:
"This is Tina's grandfather who is a World War 2 veteran that was stationed in the Phillipines in the 1940's. The only way to give birth there was the 'natural way'. I saw it every day. The routine would be to leave the rice fields, have the baby and 2 hours later scrub the laundry by hand. It was their way of life. So, I had confidence in what Tina wanted to do. But when it's your own grandaughter and great grand baby you worry."

Tina's grandmother says "I had so much advice to give Tina that she wasn't going to listen to that I just stopped offering it. I just didn't want her to suffer like I had."

Jules Z said...

I wholeheartedly agree on all points that from the kind of birth you have to the kind of car you drive, in this world, less is more… For my husband and I, the decision to see a midwife and plan a home birth for our first child is in keeping with our overall philosophy on life and I could not be happier with our decision. I appreciate mom and grandfather and grandmother's input because they are very similar to what we are hearing. We'll get there yet!

harpyr said...

Definitely a step forward rather than backwards. Going backwards are the doctors that say "once a cesarean always a cesarean."

Dara said...

You went forwards for sure. I am impressed, always, with your courage to stand up and be a leader for women, for healthy and responisible birth practices, and for trusting yourself despite familial and societal pressures not to.
Thank you for your book.

and it sounds like you have a very loving family!

chris said...

Tiny I liked your book. Your mother is a riot! Be patient with the poor woman! It is very hard to watch people you love in pain. I think, however, she could be very,very helpful to you in labor. I see many women in labor and usually their own mother is priceless in reassuring her and easing her pain.

Best Wishes with your birth.

Kristina said...

Once a labor and delivery nurse who is an advocate for natural birth called it a pendulum. The pendulum has been swinging towards medical for a very long time, and with many successes. But now the pendulum has swung too far, and it is starting to swing back. Backwards can be a good thing.

Holly R. said...

Perhaps a little of both.... backwards to a simpler time (I'm talking way back), and forward in a progressively educated awareness of having a responsible birth (does that make sense?).

hearnoevil said...

My grandmother was very supportive of my home-birth. She gave birth to all three of her children at home and she knew that I'd be more comfortable.

My mother-in-law, who offered to come stay with us to take care of my 2-year-old, was very skeptical and I was a bit nervous about having her in our space but she really did surprise me. She managed to stay in the guest room while I screamed my head off from back-labor for good 8 hours. I found out later that she was ironing everything in her suitcase (including her underwear) out of nervousness but I didn't hear a peep from her at any point.

People who really cares about you has a way of surprising you, pleasantly.

Mama V said...

Yes! And that's a good thing! Sometimes we need to return to the simple stuff! :)

I think some of the reaction by people who don't exactly support (home)birthing comes from simply not being able to trust our bodies and the birth process. I think the system has convinced women that our bodies don't really know how to do this.

Pretty said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
wow gold kaufen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
buy Aion Kinah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Meredith said...

I think it's progress when an adult woman takes responsibility for making her own decisions about her body after educating herself about her choices. If she's really well educated about the topic and chooses something others, who've done less research, find odd, it's progress when they defer to her judgment as an intelligent adult. (BTW, for my HB, (not a HBAC, tho) my family mostly did this-- they deferred, saying, look, you know much more about this than we do (I'm a CCE) and you've always made good, responsible decisions which we haven't always understood at first -- but it was easiest for everyone if we didn't discuss it a lot till it was over. With my husband's family, they thought I was weird, but I have an awesome stink eye, so they didn't say anything. :-)

Melinda M. said...

I don't think you were moving backwards at all. Being ignorant and not open minded to more birthing options for mother and baby is moving backwards.