Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thoughts about unassisted birth: part I

Barb Herrera's recent post, The UC Oxymoron, got me thinking about my own perspectives on unassisted birth and how they have changed since I first encountered the idea.

First, a selection of posts relating to unassisted birth, in chronological order

Pregnant with Zari:
Prenatal care
Better is not good enough
Naming my fears
Pushed and pulled
Zari's birth story

After Zari's birth:
Some reflections
Wish-I-had and glad-I-did
First impressions
I am selfish
Barbarians in Blogistan
Reuters article on Freebirthing
Formative words
If I were looking for a midwife
Vision of Unity

Pregnant with Dio:
Birth plans
Working through some conflicted feelings
The root of my worries
Just birth
Musings on breech
Belly shot: 30 weeks pregnant
Belly shot: 33 weeks pregnant
Not staying true to my word...whatever that means
Midwife's role at my birth
From UC to a midwife
Dio's birth story and pictures

After Dio's birth
My image of birth: before

My image of birth: after
Thinking, no conclusions yet

Stay tuned for part II, in which I will discuss my current perspective on unassisted birth.


  1. It's wonderful to read your journey. I can't wait for part II!

    I have a 9 month old. His birth was unmedicated, but there was still a lot of intervening. (It was a hospital). I am exploring and wondering how I will do things differently next time.

    Lovely post!

  2. Barb has an interesting opinion of unassisted birth. I find myself nodding along with what she writes but usually end up feeling a bit uncomfortable. I understand that her own experience with UC is less than positive and she possibly carries a lot of guilt/resentment/who knows what. She is an incredibly intelligent woman and I really enjoy reading her blog.

    After months of preparation I'm looking forward to my own unassisted birth and hope to walk away from it feeling positive and empowered.

    Thank you for putting all of these posts together. I can't wait to re-read them.

  3. Oh I'm super-interested in your next installment!

    It's something that's been on my mind, actually. It always takes me a long time to process the nuances of my births. Heck, I still think about my first birth and that child is almost 6 years old!

    Having gone from hospital to unassisted to mw attended (though I will say I wanted a home-birth from the get)I definitely have some conflicting feelings about all the option. I'm just interested to see where your path has taken you.

  4. Thank you for all of your words, and I look forward to reading more.

    My first birth was induced in a hospital, and my second was a planned UC. I am now due with my third and we have chosen to have care by a midwife. I felt at the beginning that this pregnancy was different, and I wanted a midwife in attendance at the birth. Whether the presence of a midwife changes anything or not, I've yet to see, although I do worry because I am a very private, primal birther. On the other hand, I feel it's important to follow my instincts and I'm doing that as best I can. :)

  5. just wondering if you intend your "wish-i-had and glad-i-did" post to link back to your "some reflections" post?

  6. saraH, thanks for noting that. I fixed the link.

  7. I had a UC that ended in a transfer due to PPH. I had originally chosen UC because we could not afford a midwife and chose a UC over the hospital (so glad I did after experiencing what I did during the transfer). UC was the right thing to due with my first. I do not regret it one bit, BUT I do want a midwife next time around. I actually was pg with #2 and saw a midwife when I ended up miscarrying. I am so glad I saw her, she was such an encouragement to me and my husband. I know my husband and family would be really worried if I UC'ed again (as would I) so I know that we will have a midwife next time around.
    I was guilty towards the end of my pregnancy of UC pride, but God really humbled me. It was not my lack of positive thinking or womanliness that caused something to go wrong. I hate that many woman who attempt UCs that end in C-sections of transfers end up feeling disgraced or that they failed in some way. The UC community I was apart of would assure them they did the right thing and then turn around and say that bad outcomes are due to bad thoughts.
    I still think UC is for some woman but it is not a badge of honor for super birthers. It is just another option. I am still open to having a UC in the future if circumstances necessitate it.
    As for Liz Payne's article, I undestand her frustration, but I also have to point out that she lumps all UCers into a box. Not everyone UCs because they want a certain birth experience. In my case, I simply could not afford a midwife. I would have had one if I was able to. I know that cost plays a huge role in birthing choices and I would probably take the offer of doing a UC with a midwife backup for $500 because it would be affordable. Really the only reason I can have a midwife next time around is because I found one that state insurance covers. Anyways, thanks for the post, I enjoyed reading about your journey.

  8. Thanks for highlighting your journey and I look forward to hearing your current perspective.

    I have had two c-sections, an induced hospital vba2c and an unassisted homebirth. The vbac ban at the local hospital and lack of local mw resources played a part in this decision. I have a friend who is a non-local hb mw who I consulted with. It was the best option I had available at the time and not a decision I made lightly.

    As someone who has had an unassisted birth, I *am* concerned about the trend of what seems to be "Internet Assisted Childbirth" Asking strangers on a message board questions about your body or your situation seems dangerous to me, and not really in keeping the the UC philosophy. And some of it is (what I would deem) to be alarmingly basic knowledge for someone who is going to birth unassisted.

    My other concern, prevalent in the natural birth community and not specific to the UC community, is the idea of "manifesting your perfect birth". Meaning, if you think good thoughts and focus on a happy outcome, nothing will go wrong. And therefore, if something goes wrong, it is because you didn't want it badly enough or you let fear overtake you.

    In conclusion, I think that UC can be a well thought out decision and the safest option available in some situations. But a very vocal part of the UC community is advocating some dangerous ideas.


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