Sunday, February 27, 2011

Actually, I'm Not That Brave

When you get married, you quickly find out that there is a right way to be married, and a wrong way, and everyone has an opinion on what is right and what is wrong.
When you get pregnant and become a parent...the opinions grow and intensify.
From "feed that baby whenever they cry" to "let that baby cry it out" to shots, to food, to's never ending! Sometimes I think either Lily or I would have died if it weren't for  the advice we got, other times I wish I would have never asked!

One of the most aggravating things I've been told since we got pregnant with Lily was
"Wow...You're really...brave for having a homebirth. I just like the safety of having the doctors there, I guess."

Why is it so aggravating? Because they don't mean "brave". They mean "irresponsible", often times "credulous" or "impulsive", but most likely "stupid."

They think some woman wearing overalls and a bandanna, or a muted dress covering her head to toe will come into our house with a small bag of towels and weed and sit idly by while a mother lays in her bed screaming in agonizing pain. They usually don't understand that they go through many years of schooling and apprenticing, attending dozens [sometimes hundreds!] of births before they are certified [unlike OB's who are trained for surgery, and rarely see a live birth before they graduate medical school]. 

After doing a lot more research than most people do when they birth in a hospital [IMO], Eamon and I decided very early on in Lily's pregnancy that if remained low risk and healthy, there was no reason I shouldn't use a midwife. And if we were going to use a midwife, I might as well birth at home. [Getting in a car during transition to go to the birth center or hospital just sounds like hell to me, lol!] Our home birth was a huge success, so when we got pregnant this time, we of course chose the same path.

After a few changes in the line up, lots of prayer and joy, I'm happy to introduce my birth team to you :]

Angela Friesen: As you can see, not much brings her more joy than watching a mama pull her baby up to her chest. God told her that she was supposed to be at Lily's birth last time, EVEN THOUGH I had hired someone else, and low and behold, she ended up catching my sweet girl! There was never a doubt we wanted her here to help us bring Number Two along.

Photo Credit: Amanda Gipson Taken just a few months ago at Mama J's birth of Baby B :]

Ann Crowell: Ann also attended Lily's birth, just in the nick of time too! She has attended THOUSANDS of natural births over the past 20 years. [She has THE BEST stories of any woman I know!] Please indulge me while I brag a little bit ;] During a birth convention not too long ago there was a woman representing a local hospital bragging about the fact that her cesarean section rate was about 20%. I kind of rolled my eyes thinking "Ya, but crisis rate is 30%, so you're not really doing so hot lady..." Then Ann was asked what hers was. She's been at this a lot longer than that woman, so her percentage must be a lot higher, right? WRONG! Ann's cesarean rate is less than 2%. Eamon and I don't feel that our decision to birth with her on staff is "brave" at all ;]

Photo Credit: Michelle Monk! She's our sweet friend who will be here for Baby's birth. This was taken just a few minutes after Ann delivered her own granddaughter, Hazel, just a few weeks ago <3

Leila Farber: Leila will be our doula. She will be the first person to come over, and will let the midwives know when it's time to come. Doula literally means "woman who serves". They are women who provide non medical support for women during their pregnancy, labor, and even post-partum. Luckily for us, Leila worked in the NICU as a nurse for years before deciding to become DONA certified. Again, I wouldn't say the decision to hire her was misinformed. She has become a dear friend and I'm very grateful that she will be there to assist Eamon and I in whatever way possible :]

Photo Credit: Me! I got to shoot her and her lovely boys a few months ago. Isn't she GORGEOUS?

So as you can see, I don't plan on going into this alone, and we've spent lots of time preparing for exactly who will be helping us. In just a few short weeks I'll be making "The Call" through some contractions and these women will head on over, bless us with their amazing medical and biblical knowledge, and welcome sweet Rhys or Norah with us in the comfort and safety of our bedroom. 

Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend! Only THREE more posts til my 200th blog entry extravaganza! [I'm a bit dramatic sometimes...]


~Fort Worth Doula said...

:-D Love that!

Chelsea said...

Dustin and I were reading a natural birthing book that totally makes doctors seem like these numb brain indivuduals and it was REALLY frustrating. It was saying that most midwives have more experience than most doctors and I'm thinking, where are they pulling this crap from? I know of nurses who have been practicing for 25 years and have seen lots of deliveries that weren't just "surgeries" but actual births. I tend to stay safely on the fence and agree that doctors are just as knowledgeable as midwives and vis versa. Maybe because one of our best friends is a doctor (in his 3rd year of med school) and one of Dustins groomsmen (bf's) is a pediatrician, Medicine fastenates me just as much as natural-home birth does so I give credit to both and see them for what they are.
We've had some seriously stupid conversations with other parent friends about our decisions and why we do things, and it never ends up pretty. It's taught me to be very sensitive to others & not deminish their opinions as to make them feel like my way is the best way or I know better than they do about this or that.
I think it's great that you're doing a home birth and you've had really successful deliveries. Some woman aren't as fortunate.

Mae Burke said...

Just to clarify, Chelsea, I don't think that doctors are "numb brain individuals" ;] I think that midwives are better equipped to handle natural childbirth than doctors, because that's all they handle. Doctors in O.R.'s on the other hand ARE better at crisis situations because that's all THEY deal with, does that make sense?
So my point is not that I am making a "better" decision by choosing a midwife or homebirth. You're right, not all women should! If there were ever complications in my pregnancy, Eamon and I know that we'd be in a hospital. My point is that the backhanded compliments of being called "brave" is completely discouraging and aggravating. It's like when people tell me "Oh, well, I just pray that nothing does go wrong" with their eyebrow raised, it's very condescending. I just had two friends deliver in hospitals and found it so sad that one of them just felt that they had to explain why they had a csection. I didn't get to hear much about her birth, just their "defense" for having to get a csection :[ I never even asked!

gruvyteacher said...

Mae, I can't remember how I stumbled on to your blog but the day I read it I added to my "daily blog reading list". I love your absolute truth in matters and your candidness to share yourself and your opinions and not be sorry for them. Angela was around during my birth and I love her. Sarah was my midwife and of course, love her. I agree that it's interesting the comments you get when you say you want to homebirth. We didn't homebirth, we birth center birthed. When people would ask me why a midwife and a birth center, my honest, heartful response was "God created my body with the ability to have a baby naturally, so I want to do it that way". That usually shut people down (not my intent). I just wanted people to know my heart. I pray you have a wonderful birth and I am looking forward to seeing your latest blessing (which I think is a boy, just because this year seems to be "the year of the boy"!