My journey to a home birth, and in my case, a home birth after two cesarean sections (HBA2C) is not one that I made on a whim, or without thorough research and investigation. I made the decision after consulting with several groups of certified nurse midwives, birth workers, and with the FULL support of my husband and family (biological and extended- thank you village!).
Since before the birth of our first child, I knew that I wanted to deliver in a natural, peaceful environment. I knew that what we typically see about labor and delivery in movies and on television was a bit (ok, A LOT) exaggerated. You know the scene: water breaks. . .GUSH. . .screaming, panicking, urgent rush to the hospital, more screaming, cursing, screaming, someone yelling PUUUUSHHHH!!, then a clean 3 month old baby is delivered 😕. Unfortunately, homebirth scenes aren’t that much better. They are typically presented by convent like hippie-ish women, with a whole lot of extra weird things going on 🤕.
The reality is, with proper prenatal care in low-risk pregnancies, home birth is as normal and natural as women being born with all of the parts required to conceive, grow, carry, birth, and sustain a baby. *warning: brief, mild nudity in birth scenes*
But, wait, you ask, “haven’t you had two previous cesarean sections?” I thought once you have a c-section, you have to deliver all by c-section? Why not just have another one? Let me ask you this, would you say that to someone who has had open brain surgery? How about open heart surgery? Then why ask a woman to have open uterus surgery just because she’s had one before, without even exploring other options? Are there any preventative or corrective measures that can be taken, or should we just succumb to surgery because it's what is easy and familiar? I believe the uterus is just as vital of an organ to women as our heart and brain. In fact they are all interconnected, it’s power and magical abilities to grow a human are underrated.
Other than the statement "once a cesarean, always a cesarean" being a gross generalization, there are risks of having multiple open uterus surgeries that are often glossed over in the name of “safety”. Even if a cesarean becomes necessary, women should have the right to have other options explored, and choose the type of birth they want.
It’s true that I have had two previous cesareans. With my first pregnancy, after noticing an abnormal amount of weight gain and swelling, and increasingly high blood pressure, I was diagnosed with pre-eclempsia at 33 weeks. We stayed in the hospital on bed rest for one week, with my condition getting worse almost daily. "Lady T" was born via cesarean section, a little small, but thriving. She was a fighter though, only spending 16 days in NICU before coming home and dancing, twirling, and stealing our hearts ever since!
Personally, I think my second cesarean was more of an UNnecessarean. I lacked the confidence in my body to birth naturally. I panicked when labor started and rushed to the hospital too early. As a scientist, at times I am truly in awe of medical advancements and technology, but as a woman, especially an African American woman, our treatment by the healthcare system in general, and especially during pregnancy is severely lacking. I think my early arrival and panicked state led to a cascade of events and the birth of "Joyful Y" via cesarean #2.
My motto: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, right? RIGHT! Since the birth of Lady T and Joyful Y, I’ve done research on top of research. I’ve improved my health and eating habits to prepare my body to be in the optimal position for a healthy pregnancy. I’ve bonded more with myself, my husband, and my womb. My ultimate decision for choosing homebirth is because. . .I can! I want to have the least medical interventions possible, birth in a place that is comfortable and familiar to me, surrounded by an empowering birth team who treats me as a vital, essential part of my birth instead of just another body to be poked, prodded, and potentially unnecessarily cut. I actually want to feel the purposeful pain of labor, and have the opportunity to do what I know my body is capable of. The best part is when it’s done, we’re already home!
In light of my two previous pregnancies, my current midwife team treats me as they would any other mother-to-be; no labels, no unnecessary precautions, no scare tactics. In addition to healthy eating, and consistent exercise, I also receive regular chiropractic care, acupuncture, and prenatal massage. If things arise, we deal with it, other than that, they support me having a natural, unmedicated, vaginal homebirth!
Here's to a happy, healthy delivery, baby AND mommy!
~The Fitness Doc