11.15.2007

BIRTH OPTIONS OR LACK THEREOF

When I found out I was pregnant, the two biggest worries that kept me up at night were 1) what am I going to do with Luke when I am in labor and 2) how am I going to drive an hour to the hospital.

Labor options in Tehachapi are:

1. Drive an hour to a hospital in Lancaster/Palmdale.
2. Drive an hour to a hospital in Bakersfield.
3. Have your baby at home with the local midwife.

As much as I like the idea of a home birth, something in the back of my mind keeps telling me its a bad idea. Maybe its the proximity of my home to a hospital that makes me nervous, or that I really don't want to be responsible for cleaning up the mess. Either way, option 3 is a no go.

I know that Luke's birth went so smoothly because I was able to spend a huge chunk of my labor in the water. They don't call it the "aqua-dural" for nothing. The water helped my labor progress quickly and made my contractions feel like menstrual cramps. I had a really hard time getting out of the tub to drive the five minutes to the hospital because I was so comfortable. After that experience, Erik and I decided that we would really like to try a waterbirth at the Ventura Hospital the next time around. Then we moved to Tehachapi...

Last month I toured the Mercy Hospital "Birth Center" in Bakersfield and was told that "no one" does it naturally at the hospital. (I find that hard to believe.) When I asked if I could go in the shower during labor, the nurse looked at me like I was crazy and said that since I would be having a monitor and epidural, that would be impossible. Although Camarillo's little hospital didn't have tubs, they did have nurses open to and trained in assisting with natural childbirth, as well as waterproof cordless monitors that allowed mothers to labor in the shower. My visit with the nurses in Bakersfield was very disheartening to say the least.

There are 4 hospitals within a "reasonable" (if you call driving one hour "reasonable") distance of our home. I'm planning on calling the other 3 today to see if they have tubs or if they will allow me to bring a rented one in (surprisingly, some hospitals are actually very open to this). It's just one of those things that makes me so mad that I feeling like crying, which I have done plenty of this morning as I have pondered my lack of labor options living out here. I hate this all or nothing mentality of the hospital only doing epidural labors.

When a nurse or my doctor has asked me about my birth plan and I respond that I intend to do it naturally (barring any complications), they respond in this condescending tone, "Sure, honey." When I say, "I did it with the last baby, and would do it again!" I get the same response, "Uh-huh. Yeah."

My greatest fear, however, is that I'll go through all this work to bring a rented tub into the hospital or change doctors in order to deliver in a different hospital, and I'll end up having baby #2 at Mile Marker #42 on Highway 58!

(One of these days I'll write a post about why I prefer to do it naturally... but that's for another day... especially since many of you probably think I'm a freak for wanting to go to such lengths to labor in the water. Believe me, if you've labored in the water before, I know you understand my plight.)

20 comments:

  1. Have you ever thought of Hypno-birthing? Everyone that I talked to that has done it has spoken very highly of it and have had no problems. And better yet, no meds!

    My sisters-in-law live an hour away from a hospital, and they have to be induced a week early because the doctor doesn't want to take the chance of either going into labor in the middle of the Utah/Nevada desert.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't say I totally understand your plight cause I love my epidurals but I do understand the hour drive debate.....with both girls we lived north of Sacramento by an hour and had to drive in...it was quite a torturous drive but we ended up making it and I didn't deliver in the car. All my other friends that had much shorter labors then me requested to be induced so that they wouldn't deliver on the highway! I'm sure that would be hard since your trying for no meds....I hope it all works out for you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. oh, I do feel your pain (and now I want to make sure that I spend more time in the water with my next labor). But no worries- maybe you should just hang out in Camarillo the last week or so, just so you can deliver in Ventura. OR, take a tub and just go as soon as you can tell you're seriously in labor (but I know that isn't as ideal since doing it naturally makes you want to stay away from the hospital as long as possible) But going early and hanging out in a tub would be much better then having a baby in the car. eesh. but it would make a great story!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just finished my round of phone calls - none of the hospitals will let me bring a rented tub. They say I should go to "the coast" where they allow that sort of thing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow that is a tough one! I thought the 1/2 hour from Fillmore to Ventura was bad. I am much happier now we only live 10 minutes away. Which hospital in Ventura does water births?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Staying in Ventura during you last few weeks might be hard, but having hospital staff (including your doctor) not supporting you would be harder. Just image being in the middle of labor and having someone trying to talk you out of your plans!

    ReplyDelete
  7. My sister delivered naturally and loved it. She looked around for a while to find a doctor who would be open to natural childbirths. I personally am a huge fan of epidurals because I am a wuss for pain, but I was induced with Carson. I never got the experience of being at home in labor. There aren't any birthing centers nearby?

    ReplyDelete
  8. 2 things: 1st I have to agree with the first comment. Although I didnt do it, my friend sent me some material on Hypno-birthing and it was a great thing. (you can get it at babies r us) She did it and had a natural birth, she also used the Bradley Method and had a successful comfortable natural birth. 2nd You have the best Dr. at that birth center. I cant speak for the rest of Bakersfield, but Dr. Lewis is fantastic. He was there for 13 out of 17 hours of my labor and he was so great. He helped me to stay calm and I really felt like I could take on anything, this was after I had had an epidural that had COMPLETELY WORN OFF and then 4 more that DIDNT WORK AT ALL. He was great, and I know he will help you in your labor. The nurses were good, I put in my birth plan that I didnt want them to mention drugs or an epidural at all unless I asked for it. Dont worry, you'll be fine and mile marker #42 will be just a mile marker and nothing else! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. You do whatever it takes to get your tub and be happy! I was SO looking forward to laboring in the tub because I spent every evening in it at home having braxton hicks contractions and it totally helped. My hopes of laboring in water were shattered when my water broke before I was in labor and the nurses wouldn't let me get in.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Cristin! I found your blog in a terribly round about way but am uber glad! How old is your little boy? And you're pregnant with baby # 2, right? I've been scanning your blog for when you're due. Here's something funny: Bryan and I also have a little boy, Peter, and we're expecting another little boy in March. Also, I would hate to be so far away from a hospital. But, if it makes you feel any better I actually was born at home with a midwife and I'm only mildly abnormal. Anyway, email me or just look me up on Facebook. My email is mjbelnap@gmail.com. I'm so happy I found you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. (Caitlin) Gosh Cristin, Im so sorry your having this problem. I really don't know what to tell you. I also LOVED laboring in the tub so I totally understand your concern. My first thought was just get induced in camarillo, but then I remembered hearing how much harder labor is when induced. I think your best bet is to get a hotel next to the hospital and labor in the tub until its time to go "across the street" to the hospital.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Did you ever read that book "letters from a nut"? He writes all thes weird letters to department stores, casinos, hotels, etc about how he wants to buy the manequin in the window because it looks just like his brother, or how he wants to bring his own mattress into the hotel room because it's the only one he can sleep on...
    anyway, your rent-a-tub option reminded me of that book.
    "Can I bring my own birthing tub? I just couldn't have a child without my LV64000 birthomatic!"
    Oh, and about the poop juice...no worries about the staph infection. you're more likely to get E. Coli (just ask alex's guatemala bowels-ha!)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree with Caitlin that you should get a hotel nearby. But I have had two home births and I'm about to have my 3rd at home so I am sad to hear that it isn't even an option for you. I think you would be very happy with your decision if you did.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think it is funny how oppinated people are about this subject! Epidural or not, homebirth or not. In the end you know what is right for you and what you want. SO stick with it even if it makes people uncomfortable. Also you have a few months to research all the options.

    ReplyDelete
  15. All of you who mention hypno birthing... I was looking at books and there are a few different ones. Which would you recommend? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What kind of left wing granola hippy tree hugging woman gives birth without drugs! I mean seriously! And from personal experience, while making the hour drive to the hospital, if you have the feeling that the baby is going to come out, just hold it. Just call me if you need anymore advice.
    Love, Jeremy

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well I'm a little biased-- but you know my story! I loved homebirthing with our local midwife... and hey, there's always helicopters to the hospital just in case. And for reference, I've always heard that Bakersfield is MUCH more open to natural childbirth. AV does something like 2000 births a month and will undoubtedly induce if you don't progress for a few hours-- you could also call the local bradley instructor for advice-- I have her number if you want it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I had Kyle with an epidural and Russell without. I would much rather go without an epidural. I had some pain but it was short and the recovery was so much better. I like being able to feel when I push!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I found your blog last week and was saddened that you thought homebirth wasn't an option. I wanted to post a reply but felt that you were probably so close to delivery (or maybe already had) that my post would be null.

    Then my midwife came to my house for a prenatal and I told her of the story I found and how I wished that the writer would have learned more about homebirth....then Justine said "what's her name?" and she told me you were a client! I was so happy and felt jubilant inside. I am excited for you and your family to have a homebirth experience.

    Please write about so we can all read how it was.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Cristin! I found your blog in a terribly round about way but am uber glad! How old is your little boy? And you're pregnant with baby # 2, right? I've been scanning your blog for when you're due. Here's something funny: Bryan and I also have a little boy, Peter, and we're expecting another little boy in March. Also, I would hate to be so far away from a hospital. But, if it makes you feel any better I actually was born at home with a midwife and I'm only mildly abnormal. Anyway, email me or just look me up on Facebook. My email is [REDACTED]. I'm so happy I found you!

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails