This story is about one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me. It was one of the most life changing times in my life. I had had a miscarriage on valentines day and was pregnant again by October. This was 4 years ago now. I wanted a baby so bad after I had that miscarriage and my boyfriend, somewhat unwillingly, gave one to me. I was still studying midwifery at the time. I figured I should hire one for my own birth. I didn’t necessarily feel like I needed a midwife, I felt like since I was going to be a midwife it would be good to experience having a home birth with a midwife. It might even help me get to know a local midwife better. Who knows maybe I’d like her a lot and she would like me so much that she would want to take me on as an apprentice afterward. Well, life, or spirit, had other plans for me and for this baby. This pregnancy was truly transforming.
I knew I was pregnant at 3 weeks. That would put me at one week late. Pregnancy begins mid-cycle, about 14 days before your expected period. This is good to know, especially for women with longer cycles. It takes 14 days after ovulation, pretty much exactly, for the cycle of a woman to complete, release the flow, evacuate the uterus, and begin the reproductive cycle again. I track and pay attention to my cycles. We were also expecting to be pregnant because I had finally convinced my man that a baby was a good idea, so I knew.
I called up a local nurse-midwife to set up a meeting. I had met her previously and I liked her. I wanted to talk to her about being at my birth. I mentioned during that meeting that I could probably handle it myself. She knew I was a student midwife and she said that I would still want her there if I bleed (hemorrhage). I agreed. I freaking put myself into shock during a miscarriage, so her being there seemed like a good idea to me. She charged a $300 non-refundable deposit and $2,600 for the birth and prenatal care, almost $3,000. My boyfriend was like dang, that is expensive, but I was planning on using my tax return which would probably cover most of it. We hired her and set up the next appointment.
I was about 9 weeks at the first real prenatal appointment with her. I told her about my previous miscarriage. She said that miscarriages usually happen because of messed up hormone levels and offered to check my levels. We did the blood test and set up the next appointment. I heard back from her about my hormone levels very quickly. Progesterone was much lower than what we would want to see. She wrote me a prescription for vaginal suppositories of progesterone. That would be a pill of synthetic progesterone that is inserted into the vagina. I was really not interested in that. I am my mother’s daughter and I would much rather use herbs or reflexology to balance my hormones. I didn’t take the suppositories. I also didn’t use any other hormone balancing techniques either. I felt fine and wasn’t really worried about my hormones or anything going wrong with this pregnancy. The next prenatal was very exciting. I was 13 weeks and we heard the baby’s heartbeat through our midwife’s Doppler. We set up the next appointment and drove home from her office.
I did my taxes right away in January. This is when things get really interesting. The universe knew exactly how to push me in the right direction… money. My tax return was going to be way less than I had imagined which was going to make paying the midwife a lot harder. I worked in a restaurant as a hostess and he worked for moving company. We didn’t have extra money to begin with and on top of that I was going to have to take time off work for the baby. My boyfriend mentioned just doing it ourselves. I was crying because I thought I was doing the right thing hiring a midwife. When calmed down I told my partner that I would think about handling the birth ourselves. I mean, I had studied a lot and I had already spent over $4,000 on midwifery school.
I thought about what birth would be like without my midwife there… It would be just me, my baby, and my body. My boyfriend and older child would be close by. I wouldn’t have anyone to call or anyone to wait for. There would be no one watching me or waiting for me. There would be no one around to worry about or talk to. I could really just do what I needed to do and let the labor and birth happen. I had a water proof mattress cover and towels. I wouldn’t be scared because I would know what was happening. I had already done so much studying, geeze why not! There would be no prenatal appointments to get to, which was a 30 minute drive each way, and no financial stress. It felt good when I imagined my birth by myself, so good. There was really no going back at this point, but I still wasn’t totally convinced. It was a big decision and financially we could probably make hiring the midwife work. My next appointment with the midwife was still a few weeks away so I had time to think before I canceled with her.
I thought about the birth with my midwife there. First there would be the monthly prenatal appointments, then twice a month, then weekly until the birth. The midwife’s office was a 30 minute drive, that in itself is a lot. Then going into labor, calling the midwife and waiting for her to arrive. She would have to check and regulate my progress. She would do blood pressure readings and whatever else. Midwives are bound to the law when it comes to birth. She would need to chart and manage my labor within her boundaries. She would be there just watching and waiting to do her job.
I could not shake the idea of birth without a care provider there. It felt so free, maybe that is why people call it free birth. Just me with my partner and my son close by. I would tell my partner what to expect and what would be normal. I would also tell him what would not be normal and would be cause for concern. We could get to the hospital if we needed to. I had studied so much, a home birth with just us felt like the perfect option. The more I thought about it the more it made since. I started to realize how I truly feel about birth as a woman. I couldn’t believe it actually. When I was studying birth I learned that the physical function of birth, for a normal healthy women, works best when women are left alone to get it done. I thought that it was kind of odd that midwives are trained to track and regulate women’s births when what a normal healthy women needs is privacy. I thought it was odd but I didn’t fully understand my feelings until I imagined my own birth without a professional there to manage it for me. I started to realize that midwifery might not be my true path. Spirit had guided me my entire life to feel like this at this exact moment, because I previously thought that midwifery was the perfect career for me and this shift in perspective took me by surprise. I liked it. I was a good surprise… I started to realize that I didn’t have to be a midwife to help women through birth. I could teach women about birth.
I called up the midwife and canceled. I had decided to go the different route. I did not mention my new plan to the midwife when I canceled. Me planning an unassisted home birth is not really something I wanted to talk about. Three months into pregnancy and I had decided to go on unassisted. This baby came in swift and powerful and then left me just as swift and powerful.