Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Birth House

I bought this book on Wednesday. It was WONDERFUL

It's set in Nova Scotia, during the first world war. It's about a midwife, from her first birth experience, during a time when the "miracles of modern medicine" were making births "pain free" for women - meaning they missed the birth of their children.

It was a beautiful, wonderful book, dealing with homeopathy, turning a breech baby and other common "problems" with birth. The main focus of the book was the struggle for women to be able to choose how they birth their child - at home when possible.

I find it interesting that this same discussion is happening now as more and more doulas and midwives are fighting for hospital privileges, as more and more women are looking for alternatives to a hospital birth, and as the medial system is (finally) realizing that midwives could take a lot of strain off of the medical system.

I admit with Hana I was scared to give birth. When I found out she was breech I was almost relieved because I had been so scared of what could happen - of an episiotomy, of the pain, of forceps and epidural. At least with a section I knew what would happen.

Now that I've spent more time reading about birth, I've come to realize that pregnancy is not cause for medical intervention. Birth is not a medical procedure. Yes, there are times when intervention are needed, and medical advances have kept so many mothers and babies safe, but for most women, these things aren't needed.

I'm so looking forward to my next birth. If the laws in Canada were different it would be a home birth, but having had a c-section that's not possible. I will trust my body, I will endure the pain, and, hopefully, I will bring my child into the world in whatever position makes it easiest for it to happen.

This was a wonderful, sweet, sad and empowering book. I highly recommend it (and if anyone in Calgary wants to borrow it just let me know!)

(P.S. I also found it quite humorous that at the same time as adressing the "evils" of masturbation, one of the "cures" for the "neurosis" that happened to women was a weekly treatment by a trained obstetrician that lead to orgasm...or at home with the use of a battery powered vibrator.)


Julie said...

The book sounds good. I have two quick questions for you. I habe asked around about how to add yarn while in the middle of a row. I have been shown but it still seperates in between the colors I add adn the main color and then you ahve to go and sew (weave) then in back in when you are done. Is there a better way? Also, how do you get it not to curl up when you start out with knit then go to purl? I thought I had it figure out but I don't. I will take u up on the offer on how to knit socks. I am going to learn how to knit clothes starting with baby clothes first. And I am going to learn how to quit as well.

Miss Ya!

Steph said...

In the middle of a row I'll knit with both the old and new yarn (so two loops in the stitch) and then sew in the ends. It makes a little bump because of the double stitch, but it works.

K-dog said...

With the birth of my first child I had a midwife deliver while in the hospital. I personally loved this combination. Due to an early delivery and my daughter having complications at her birth, she was rushed immediately to the hospital NICU and specialists were called in. Had we had her at home - there is not doubt that she would not have survived. It is because of today's advancements in medicine and medical care that she did survived. It was only then that I realized that giving birth is not an easy, everyday, carefree process- there are MANY complications that can and do occur even today. While I personally encourage and support people to use Doula's and Midwives, I do NOT encourage people to have their babies at home without a medical team in place. For some women, it works out fine - but to me, considering my own birth experience, it just isn't worth the risk.

I find it interesting to see your interpretation of a 'pain free' birth.
"....making births "pain free" for women - meaning they missed the birth of their children."

I chose to have an epidural and because of it firmly believe that I was able to be present, aware, and lucid during the birth of my daughter. I've always told people that b/c of the epidural I was able to thoroughly ENJOY the birth of my daughter. Something I didn't think was possible...

Also, there are many provinces that medically recognize and approve midwives for hospital deliveries. In fact NB has recently joined that list.

Steph said...

Kristie - I have nothing against epis for births and don't consider them as making a mother miss the birth experience. What I was referring to was in the book how they would use ether and other drugs that literally knocked the mother out while still allowing the body to contract. She wasn't able to push, and so forceps were almost always used, giving the doctor control of the birth process.

While midwives are available and have hospital privileges in a lot of provinces, they're not covered by medicare in most places (alberta and NB included), and so aren't really an option for a lot of women. I hope to be able to afford a midwife for my next birth, but it may not be possible.

As for the risks of birthing at home, yes, they exist...especially with a pre-term birth. However, with a healthy, full term pregnancy there really aren't any risks that a trained and experienced midwife wouldn't be able to either handle or see the need to transfer to a hospital. I know a lot of women who have birthed either at home or in a birthing center, and some who have had to be transfered. All of them were able to have a beautiful birth experience with mom and babe both healthy and happy.

K-dog said...

Just 2 weeks ago it was announced that midwives would be recognized and covered in NB, so that is a plus.

I know many women too who have successfully given birth at home. But while my particular experience was due to a pre-term labour, the risks definitely are not inclusive to that. I was surprised to learn that of all the babies in the NICU while my daughter was there, only 2 were preemies. All the others were full term babies whose mothers had had serious (previously unknown) complications during birth. Many many of these mothers were still in intensive care themselves, or still in a state of recovery where they could not even able to visit their baby. We saw everything from complications with placenta (attached,dried up), organ failure, liver/kidney problems during delivery, hemorrhaging, etc.

Again....though it might be nice - it just isn't worth the possible risks.