david got me the book spiritual midwifery for my birthday and i am waist deep in it. i read it and practically go into a trance i swear. in a nutshell, 300 or so christian hippies moved from san francisco to tennessee with the hopes of establishing a commune of like-minded people who are self sustaining in every way possible. once i sift through the "far out" and "groovy" language i have to admit to myself that i am so jealous that people GET to live in such simplicity with people who are like them. we cant really appreciate what it would be like to live with people who are just like us because we live in the most culturally diverse nation on the planet. that sort of sounds like im favoring racial purity or something but of course thats not what im saying. what i am saying is how great it must be to be surrounded on all sides by people whom you relate well to and have common goals, interests, faith, etc. with without even having to seek them out. you just walk outside your front door! heck in the first twelve years of "The Farm" no money was exchanged even once! oh to live that way...
so the bulk of the book so far has been about the development of midwifery on "The Farm". i mean when they started out they only had basic first aid training, some not even that. but they kept learning more and more - some from books but mostly from just attending the births as they happened there. each new birth brought a deeper insight into various aspects of the miracle and reality of life. such faith abounds with these women!! what grabs me most about the book though is the sisterhood of midwifery and anyone attending a birth. im reallllly going to have to insist that anyone attending my birth have read this (im looking at you Maggie May Baxter! but you will love it) i beg for that intimacy in birth, the positive attention and humor that is passed around among women even in a hard situation like that, giving strength and support just by being present and continually reaffirming one another. i pray Olive will come into the world with the same circle of support and love surrounding her that i know i need. i dont know what to expect from my midwife and doula, let alone maggie, if she comes, and david too. i think david felt helpless and confused about what he should be doing when we had augustine. there was no one giving him guidance on how to help me and it didnt come natural to him (as i find it wouldnt come natural to most men seeing their wife/partner in so much pain). david was willing and open to any idea but couldnt come up with his own. i mean he's just not a doula so i couldnt expect him to be. so he rubbed my back and held my hand and all sorts of other things that he knew he felt comfortable doing because thats what he does when say, i have a panic attack.
im trying to sort out in my head what i think i will need of my birth attendants. but how can i know because my last labor was very different than how this one will be (i was induced and had an epidural). i guess i can just relate it to how i am when i am sick or having a panic attack. anyways i think the best thing is positive attention. just being present and reassuring me of their presence and love will get me through A LOT. i can take or leave the physical touching stuff normally but in a bind i need someone's physical and mental presence around me. when i feel vulnerable, as is inevitable when you are in pain, i question myself a lot. are they going to bail when this gets rough? how am i going to get through this alone if they leave? i often just wish a stream of affirmation would come from david when im having a panic attack. that sounds very narcissistic (its not) but in the silence i get antsy about what he is thinking. i want this birth to be a continuous circle of inspiration and that is going to take team work. me being strong, not complaining, keeping my energy up even when im exhausted and "the crew" seeing that and encouraging me, loving on me, and physically trying to relax me.
i find so much hypocricy in myself when i read this book. i say i trust God with my life and the life of my children/family but these women give such a greater meaning to that word. and its not even that they were doing anything dangerous (homebirthing certainly isnt dangerous at all) but just the compilation of choices and lifestyles that they lived were just so amazing and close to God/nature.
check out these stats from the book!
Outcome of 2,028 pregnancies: 1970-2000
birth completed at home - 95.1%
transports - 4.9%
emergency transports - 1.3%
first time mothers - 44.7%
multiparas - 55.3%
grand multips (more than 5) - 5.4%
(72% of grand multips were Amish)
Cesareans - 1.4%
(61% were first timers)
use of foreceps - 0.5%
vacuum extractions - .05%
neonatal mortality - 8/2028
maternal mortality - 0
VBACs - 5.4%
(108 attempted, 106 completed)
post partum depression - 1%
post partum psychosis - .09%
intact perineum - 68.8%
1st degree - 19.1%
2nd degree - 11.5%
3rd degree - .3%
4th degree - .1%
pre-eclampsia - 8/2028
prematurity - 2.9%
(less than 37 weeks)
twins - 15 sets born
(all without csections)
initiation of breastfeeding - 99%
continuation of breastfeeding - 100%
these stats just further anger me when i think that these were women who knew little to nothing at first about birth and yet without a doubt came up with better results than any hospital or ob/gyn i've ever heard of.