Midwives are SO smart! I was totally appalled when my list of "supplies" to bring to the birth center included Depends. I'm only 26 years old! But alas, women who have been birthing babies longer than I've been alive know more than I about the subject, I suppose! These little guys are my best friends right now and I'll be suggesting them to every new mom I meet!
Options are wonderful...especially when your choice is respected! During the hardest part of labor both midwives suggested I get a shot of something to "allow me to relax." Because I couldn't speak, Allan told them both that I am terrified of needles. They completely respected that I would not want that and left me be about it. When it was all over, Carol said I had a small tear and that it would take 1 stitch to repair. Then she said, "but since you hate needles, and that would hurt, let's just leave it alone, huh?" I was thrilled that they not only listened to MY wishes, but also to my spouse speaking up for me. I'm more thrilled that I have a husband who is willing to stick up for me when I can't do so for myself!
Birth isn't scary. This is probably the biggest reason I love birthing centers. Both times we've birthed in one, I have felt so empowered by the fact that these women fully believe our bodies were designed by God to give birth and that it's a completely natural process to not be scared of. If we had been at a hospital, I'm sure giving birth to Violet would have been terrifying. While I was pushing, the baby's heart was decelerating. I got a little panicked and asked what was wrong and the midwife said that the cord was wrapped around her neck. She then explained why that causes the heart to decelerate and said she wasn't worried because the heart tones were coming back up between contractions. She did say that we needed to work a little harder to get Vi out, but because of her lax reaction I wasn't scared that my baby was going to die. I've heard lots of times of hospitals taking babies by c-section because of the very same thing and I would have completely lost it. Yes, I would have done what I needed to do to have a healthy baby, but I'm glad they didn't push me into the dark abyss of fear in a time that I really needed to have my head about me. They coached me on laying on my left side to reduce the decelerations and Carol quickly unwrapped the cord from Violet's neck before her body was even born, so it was never a concern at all.
Violet also was born too quickly, so her lungs were wet. (The baby's body is supposed to be in the birth canal for a while so that all the fluids get squished out of their lungs. Her body was born too fast for that to happen) They had to suction her lungs twice, but they never rushed it and they never panicked. Even though she still sounded gravelly later, they assured me that she was fine because she was nursing already and it takes a lot of coordination to nurse and breathe at the same time.
We were allowed to opt out of every single test that we deemed unnecessary for the baby. We knew I didn't have an infection, so we didn't put the drops in her eyes and the birth was not traumatic so we opted out of the Vitamin K shot, too. Turns out this was a great decision, because as they did the PKU test, (blood on a sheet of paper to see if baby has a rare blood condition), they actually had to poke her twice because she stopped bleeding. Obviously she has all the clotting factors she needs. Again, this is something that would have been frowned upon in the hospital. Our pediatrician even decided to give us flak about it yesterday!
We got to come home with our precious girls 4 hours after giving birth. I wasn't so thrilled about this with GraceAnne, but I was ready to go this time. I wanted to get home to my bed and settle into my home with my new, larger family. I wanted to be close to all of my things and have full access to food and spare clothes and the shower. I was so ready to be home with our baby and I feel so Blessed that it was something we could do.
There are so many other reasons I really love the birthing center experiences we've had. Violet is sleeping now, so I need to do the same, or I'd write more. I'm sure this is less than interesting to many of you, so I posted some more pictures above so you can get your fix. She sure is cute!! ;)