yesterday we toured a birth center i’d been looking into. funny story, we actually went last thursday to check it out, but right when the orientation was supposed to begin – the fire alarms went off and set off the sprinklers. we all had to evacuate and ultimately they canceled it. at the time, the only info we got was that there was not a fire, but with the sprinklers going – they had to get fire fighters in and reschedule us. so that wasn’t an awesome first impression. thank goodness no one was there giving birth at the time. what a mess.
anyway, fast forward a week and we hesitantly went back. i really had my heart set on this place, but my wife is really pro-hospital so i wanted her to feel comfortable with it AND be impressed. seeing as we had unexplained fire alarms/sprinklers last time, i was anxious they wouldn’t make a comeback and the search would have to continue. when we arrived the midwife explained that when the building was built, one of the sprinklers was placed too close to the wall. so as the temps here have been far below freezing and then nicely above and then back to below and back to above… the pipes were basically freezing, thawing, freezing, thawing, and the pressure finally became too much and set it off. that was slight concerning – building flaw? but not their fault and it’s already being fixed. plus, in the midst of July around here – i don’t think we’ll need to worry about a freezing repeat 😉 so all in all, we’re calling it a fluke and not holding it against them.
the orientation/tour was great. i love their philosophy on everything and how encouraging they seem to be toward expecting mothers. they very clearly deeply believe that women instinctively know how to labor and deliver and are there to support the mother in whatever way she chooses to do things. this is SOO important to me after the birth of my son. his birth was a hospital birth, i was 19, and it was painfully clear that the doctors did not take me seriously one bit. aside from the general time and money they like to push, they really made a habit to completely ignore my wishes on literally everything i tried to speak up about. a prime example, i did not want nor NEED the epidural at the particular time they insisted i had to get one. i had every intention of avoiding it all together, as the idea of being essentially paralyzed made me intensely anxious. they told me i had no choice, i had to get one, they already called the anesthesiologist. you see they had been trying to induce labor for days. they had me come in everyday for 5 days leading up to my actual induction and inserted this blue gel to try and soften my cervix. well all it did was give me sporadic contractions and seriously irritated my cervix and the surrounding. this meant, when they went to check me… you know every hour so i could hear what little to no progress i had made… it hurt like hell. it was their fault it was so raw. i was a mere 3cm. my waters hadn’t broken. there isn’t an actual reason to check a woman so often. my contractions were very much bearable to me. i could’ve been left well enough alone. but they wouldn’t, they said they NEEDED to be able to check me and they were going to break my water for me… at 3 cm… to ‘get things moving’ (which, it really did not do), and they only way all of these things could be accomplished was if i got the epi. i was scared and sad and powerless. so i got the epi and it was the worst. it hurt, it made me incredibly anxious so i had to be given oxygen, and by the time my boy was entering the world the only thing that was numb was my right leg which took literally 3 days to regain feeling and for me to be able to walk on it without holding on to someone/something.
i swore i would never birth another baby in an environment like that again. i realize that i may still end up in the hospital… there are always unforeseen things that could arise. but at least this time i’ll have a team of midwives behind me to advocate for me and for what i am comfortable with. i’m a pretty go with the flow type. my expectation for delivery is really just that i will, in one way or another, deliver my baby. i am not pin-holing myself into saying “it WILL be a water birth” or “i WILL give birth on the birthing stool”, but rather that i WILL do everything in my power to be at that birthing center, in those beautiful rooms, with my wife, and my body will lead me to the water or the bed or the sling or the stool or the floor for all i care… but my body will know what it needs and the midwives will allow my body to have what it needs. i WILL feel comfortable and confident and safe and powerful, very much unlike how i felt at 19 when no one let me listen to my body.
this time, i’m excited to labor and deliver. i feel optimistic instead of scared. i will take my baby home with me within 4-6 hours of delivery (tho we can stay as many as 12 if we want). we will recover and bond in the comfort of my bed and the warmth of our home. and i’m so so happy this is an option right now.
i am trying to keep in mind that baby bear may be breech and refuse to turn… or i may develop some condition that doesn’t allow this dream situation to come true. but for now, i’m choosing to believe that this so far wonderful pregnancy will lead to a wonderful birth in the environment i so desperately want to be in.
now all we need to do is get those transfer papers done and it’s down the yellow brick road for us!
keep your crossables crossed that nothing arises to interrupt our plans 🙂