Expecting my first child should have been one of the happiest times in my life. But instead of blissful prenatal yoga sessions, I spent more than half of my pregnancy on bed rest, due to an “incompetent cervix.” Our obstetrician warned me that I wouldn’t be able to carry my little girl to term, and I lived in fear that the slightest movement would have dangerous consequences for my baby.
After months of tests and confusing “doctor talk,” I underwent a painful labor induction at 37 weeks due to low amniotic fluid (probably because of all of my crying!). As if that weren’t enough, my parents and OB missed out on the whole thing.
Needless to say, when I learned that number two was on the way, I was terrified at the thought of another labor. The pain of my first pregnancy was still extremely raw. I didn’t want to relive that experience, but I had no idea how I could avoid it. Once an incompetent cervix, always an incompetent cervix, right?
After watching a documentary about home birth, my husband and I decided to consider it as an alternative to revisiting the hospital. This time, we wanted more control over our birth experience. He didn’t want to be confined to visiting hours and hospital policies. I wanted the freedom to eat, move around, and dress as I pleased. For us, home was the best place to make all of that happen.
As excited as we were, we had a hard time finding others who shared our enthusiasm. We reassured our parents that women have been having babies at home for centuries and that midwives were more than capable of handling emergencies. But there was a little part of me that was uneasy. Could the woman who can barely tolerate a paper cut handle natural childbirth?
It didn’t take long for us to find a pair of local midwives who instantly made us comfortable. Their cozy office walls were lined with photos of women and their beautiful, healthy babies—all born at home. The two women reviewed my medical records, gave me the green light to keep my routine, and encouraged me to allow my body to be in control of the pregnancy. I’d already proven I could carry a baby to term.
To read the full piece at New York Family Magazine click here.
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