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How, where and with whom did you give birth and how has it impacted you?
I was born in the Netherlands, the 5th of 6 children who were all born at home. My parents engaged a midwife and a doctor for the birth. My father was present at all our births which were natural and without drugs.
The midwife stayed to care for my mother and help with the nursing of the child for 14 days after the birth.Our family doctor attended all the births and called on my mum regularly This was such a happy time for the family.
In 1970 I had my first daughter alone, in a room at the Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital, drugged by gas, which I had no idea how to use, nor instructed by a nurse or a doctor on how to use the mask. I screamed the place down(apparently) because a doctor came in and told me to "shut up for goodness sake"!
Hubby was not allowed in and was at home. I felt alone and terrified. My 2nd one was a similar story, but luckily I decided not to use gas. I considered having my next 2 at home but this was strongly discouraged by medical staff. I wished I could have had a choice.
I was introduced to the idea of homebirth when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child by a local doula. We planned a homebirth attended by an independent midwife, which, after a very long, hard labour, ended in a transfer to hospital, and a safe, although for me, traumatising delivery of our baby girl.
My son Valentine was born, as planned, at home, attended by two lovely midwives, Gaye Demanuele and Jan Ireland, and our doula Julie Bell. The two experiences were very different from each other, especially the subtleties that are hard to quantify in medical studies about outcomes. I FEEL differently about each birth. And that impacts on my life, and family's life. And that makes a difference in the world. I often have opportunities to talk to pregnant women who are thinking about, but are very scared of, choosing homebirth, and I am in the unique position of having planned two homebirths, but experiencing hospital birth along the way. Birth matters.