I’m the oldest of 4 children, and the only one of my siblings or extended family who would ever even consider an out-of-hospital birth. My mother delivered (all 10.5 pounds of) me after receiving Demoral, and then had scheduled inductions with epidurals with my 3 siblings. She was unsuccessful with nursing, so she bottle fed all 4 of us. Who knows where I got the wild hair to deliver at home, nurse my son until he weaned himself at 13 months, make my own baby food from organic fruits and veggies, not vaccinate until he was 8 (and then only 3 vaccines that were never boostered) and use cloth diapers and homeschool, especially when it was so incredibly rare in 2001.
Actually, I do know why I chose those things. I have a TERRIBLE gene pool including a long history of heart disease, diabetes, ADHD and cancer on both sides of my family. I truly believe that SOME of the risk factors for these diseases are preventable and influenced by diet, environment and lifestyle. I wanted to give my child the VERY best chance at happy, healthy life free of as many of these diseases as possible and was willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to ensure that I had done everything possible to make that happen.
So, I read. And read. And read.
I knew there was a very good chance I would have a big baby (especially as my pregnancy progressed and I showed signs of borderline gestational diabetes) and I also knew that I was not petite…anywhere. I researched the C-section rates at the local hospitals and was astounded. I knew I wanted to stay away from those institutions but I had no idea how I was going to do it.
Then, I met Ralynn. We were part of the same church and when her daughter was severally injured by a drunk driver, I volunteered to help watch her other six children while she went to physical therapy several times a week. Ralynn had delivered five of her seven children at home! She also nursed them, homeshooled them, and didn’t vaccinate most of them. She was pretty much who I wanted to be when I grew up as a mother!
Ralynn got me in touch with Carolyn Martin, CNM who was the closest midwife to our area and gave me more reading to do. She was my labor coach and braved 24 hours of labor with me while I cussed, screamed and then pushed for 4 hours to deliver my 9.5 pound beautiful baby boy! Because I had a third degree tear and had lost more blood then Carolyn was comfortable with, we visited the local hospital in Huntsville.
Caleb’s Apgar’s were 9 and 9 at birth but when he was about 4 hours old, he started to show signs of respiratory distress. About the same time, my blood work from the hospital came back to show I had a sepsis infection from a slow top leak of amniotic fluid and it was suspected that Caleb had aspirated that infected fluid which caused him to become septic as well. Because the Huntsville hospital did not have a Level 3 NICU, Caleb was taken to the hospital in Conroe.
The doctor in Hunstville convinced me to stay for 24 hours of fluids and IV antibiotics but the moment he said my white blood count had plateaued, I was headed to Conroe to see my sweet babe. I stayed by Caleb’s side in the NICU 20 hours a day, only leaving when required due to shift change, as he recovered from the sepsis infection and jaundice.
That was the hardest 7 days of my life. I was so grateful for the medical staff’s expertise that saved his life and mine. You see, I’m not ANTI-medicine. I’m simply anti-intervention UNTIL it’s necessary. My delivery was difficult and post delivery was even more so. Many people have asked me if I would have done anything differently, had I known what I know now. My answer is still no. Had I delivered in hospital, I most certainly would have been sectioned and that in my mind would have been a worse outcome then a very treatable infection. I will say, that after documenting 2 dozen births, natural child birth and certainly out-of-hospital births are NOT for everyone. Much like breast feeding, if you are not 150% committed from the start, your chances of success are slim-to-none. Healthy, beautiful babies are born in birth centers and hospitals every single day and I have 3 siblings and several nieces and nephews to prove that epidurals don’t make bad mommies. They make comfortable mommies who love their babies just as much as I love mine!
Yvette is a local photographer and a transplant to SETX from Tomball, TX who delivered her 9 ½ pound son at home with a midwife and doula in 2001. Her love for home birth has translated into her love for birth photography of all kinds. She’s a natural mama, advocating breast feeding, cloth diapering and holistic medicine but who is careful to be sensitive to every mother’s decisions for her babies.