by Pico ヨハネス
We went against doctor's recommendations to have a home birth but for valid reason.
Before you dismiss us as back to nature hippies, let me outline the situation we were faced with. The only fact the doctor wanted to acknowledge was that Francine was more than forty years old. Over forty equals high risk and family history didn't seem to mean much to him. Francine's mother was over forty when Francine was born at home with no complications. My mother was over forty when my youngest sister was born naturally in hospital with no complications. This would be our fifth child. It isn't like we had no clue of what to expect.
The local hospital did have some doctor shortage issues and I had heard of cases where mothers were routinely induced so that the birth could be “scheduled”. If you didn't want to be induced at all, they didn't want to see you until you were clearly in labour. Our previous doctor in another city understood that when Francine started having strong contractions, we went to the hospital. Waiting until we were absolutely sure it wasn't a false alarm was playing with fire. For our first born Francine laboured for 25 minutes. We lived a 25 minute drive from the nearest hospital under ideal conditions. Francine's mother was the same way. Hard labour for about twenty minutes every time. We didn't want a repeat of her older brother's partial birth in car on the way to the hospital. Like I indicated earlier, this doctor was not very sympathetic to our reality. He didn't view it this way, but he was not offering a hospital birth. The choice was home birth or roadside birth. Which would you choose?
Dealing with the midwife was a much more pleasant experience. She listened to us. She took into account our family history and helped us to prepare. She did have to schedule our ultrasound through our doctor but she handled that without any trouble.
The report from the hospital after the ultrasound is where things got weird. They insisted that we get another ultrasound with a specialist in another hospital in another town because they thought maybe they saw something that might turn out to be a problem. I don't remember the exact wording but Francine hit the roof. Now I'm certain this was all because she was over forty and had little to do with actually seeing something that worried them. At the time I held my peace because I wasn't certain of that until after the second ultrasound. I did appease Francine by telling her to just think of it as another opportunity to see her baby before he was born.
The second ultrasound turned out to be a great experience. This hospital had different viewing policies and since it wasn't busy the ultrasound specialist let all four of our older children come into the room. They all got to see their baby brother developing inside of their mother with expert narration from beginning to end. Mom also went home vindicated because development of her baby was declared flawless.
Celine visited us for regular follow ups until the due date got closer. She said she enjoyed coming to our country abode and see the ducks, chickens and goats. Her last visit before the big day came was spent with an assistant walking around our property with Francine who was starting to experience occasional contractions when she walked around. They were out with a clock trying to see if there was any pattern to them. While walking, Alice the goat snatched half the data sheet from the nursing assistant and wouldn't give it back without a stand off with Francine. Goats have a definite pecking order in the herd and Francine and Alice never quite settled who was in charge. In the end Francine managed to pry most of the paper out of the goats mouth. It's a moment we get a chuckle out of every time the memory comes up.
The main event happened not many days later. I was home and Francine was very clearly going into labour. We called Celine's cell number and she answered right away. Francine was instructed to lie down and try not to push while our midwife headed our direction. Because she was making a visit only about ten or fifteen minutes away from our home she arrived in time. True to form Francine gave birth to our youngest son Wesley shortly after her arrival. There were no complications or problems.
There were a number of things that Francine thought made the experience so much better than giving birth in a hospital. First and foremost, she was at home amoung her things. She slept in her bed and was waited on by the other family members. She found that all very comforting. She also didn't have to deal with the comings and going of the hospital maternity ward. No strangers coming to visit other new mothers and no odd nearby sleeping habits from other people in the ward. Because of that she felt she recovered much more quickly
For the rest of the family, we all gained a greater understanding and appreciation of childbirth and everything that goes with it.
Incidentally, the midwife, before she left, told us that under the circumstances, we were entirely correct in that we would have never made it to the hospital. We would have had Wesley on the side of the road