In a culture where we are taught to trust our doctors, what happens when that trust comes into question? Where do you turn, and what do you do?
In this week’s episode, we’ll be hearing from Casey, a mother of 4. 8 years ago when she had her first baby, her faith was comfortable in the typical medical model. After a physically traumatic first birth and a highly encouraged scheduled c-section with her second, Casey began wondering if there was a better way.
Join me as we hear the way that Casey, who’s experienced 4 very different types of births, navigated her decision-making and eventually succeeded in having a triumphant birthing experience at home.
- Casey’s 1st birth (8 years ago) was a 20 hour labor. She hoped for a natural birth, but did not research or prepare before birth. Once she arrived to the hospital, she quickly received an epidural
- She pushed for 2.5 hours with her first baby and the doctor eventually used forceps, which led to a 4th degree tear.
- Because of her previous tear, with her second child, her OB recommended a scheduled cesarean.
- Trusting her doctor, Casey agreed. Her baby’s heart was not quite finished developing, so a NICU stay was required. She did experience some postpartum depression after this birth.
- For her 3rd birth, Casey wanted to take control. She prayed and asked her husband if they could interview midwives at a birth center. Although he might have initially been uncertain with the idea, by the time they left the birth center, he was on board and excited for their care.
- She kept her 20 week appoint with her OB. He checked her scar and said it looked good. She asked if she could try for a VBAC, he was not on board- this convinced them that the birth center was 100% the correct choice
- Casey pushed for 3 hours with her 3rd The baby was not in an ideal position, which caused a struggle. Eventually they recommended IV fluids, which helped tremendously.
- At one point, when she was struggling, her husband turned to her and said, “There are so many people praying for you.” This helped motivate Casey to continue.
- Finally, her baby emerged, half en caul, which her midwives believe helped prevent tearing. She had a slight skid, but the midwives assured her she did not need any stitches. To think- her OB recommended abdominal surgery, yet she didn’t even tear!
- Their 4th baby was a surprise. When she contacted the midwives to let them know of her pregnancy, they were so excited. Casey was, too. She discussed how going to midwifery appointments was like going to talk to a friend.
- She decided to have a homebirth with her midwives this time.
- At 38 weeks, Casey went to see a chiropractor. She got two adjustments between that time and her baby’s birth, and she feels it helped tremendously.
- She also hired a doula, which she felt would have been very helpful during her long pushing phase of her 3rd
- The night of her baby’s birth, she had her husband getting the house set up: birth pool, water, oils, music. She decided to get in the water. As soon as she did, she had back to back intense contractions. The midwives were on the way, but lived an hour away.
- She felt far more in control during this time. Suddenly she had 2 more contractions, and then a break. She began to wonder if this was the lull before pushing….. it was.
- She suddenly started pushing. After the contraction, her husband left the room to find service in the house and call the midwife.
- Baby’s head began to emerge, so Casey called him back in. He reached down, supported baby’s head, then caught the rest of the body as it came out and placed him on Casey’s chest.
- Her midwives arrived about 20 minutes after.
- She mentioned the sweetness of her children getting to meet their sibling the next morning and how lovely the intimacy of homebirth can be.
- We cannot trust others to provide us with education. Unfortunately, this is the lesson that so many of us learn through negative experiences. You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it. This is exactly why sharing our stories and experiences is so powerful. Giving other mothers the tools and education they need before having to endure a preventable traumatic birth is the goal. And of course, even more, giving mothers the tools to have an empowering, peaceful birth is the ultimate goal.
- Chiropractic care- what a useful practice! Even with only 2 adjustments under her belt, Casey attributes much of the success and ease of her 4th experience to being adjusted by a webster-certified chiropractor. This can be so useful to so many. When we compare the pushing phase of Casey’s 3rd birth to her 4th, it’s pretty clear that something was different and baby was in a better position. Chiropractic care is a great way to help that process.
- Finally, there is something so magical and intimate about homebirth. The fact that Casey and her husband were the only two present for the birth of their 4th baby, the day before their anniversary, was such a magical experience. Knowing that help was on the way was reassuring, too. What a beautiful way to become parents again. With strength and closeness—the two whose relationship is the foundation of the family—got to be the two privliged to witness the newest addition.
Homebirth is so special, my friends. Although I never enjoy hearing the traumas and difficulties that lead moms to it, I am always so encourage when these same mothers get to experience the brilliance of at-home midwifery care. And I’m so grateful for the mothers who are willing to share it all—from the difficult to the beautiful to act as a beacon for all of the other mothers and mothers-to-be.