Why I left the system.
In September 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic I gave birth to my fourth baby. This time, I did things differently. Read a little bit about why below, there will be much more to come on this topic.
All I’ve ever wanted was to have a homebirth.
After giving birth three times, that was still an elusive goal to me- the first time I had resigned myself to the hospital setting because I was young, couldn’t get midwifery care, and as such resigned myself to the standard hospital labor that resulted in the usual epidural, pitocin and everything that comes with such births.
For my second and third babies I was able to secure midwifery care, and yet the homebirth still eluded me for both- due to unforseen “complications”– that after further research were shown to be uncomplicated and easily resolved at home. Upon learning this truth, I felt first a sadness, then an anger and finally betrayal. A realization that ultimately, the best decision for me was not the one that was made and this resulted in an unnecessary trip to the hospital, followed by unnecessary intervention to my newborns, and the feeling of being robbed (twice I might add).
So, the fourth time around I knew I would do it differently. My thinking was this: I know I can get what I want within the system, but… I’d be swimming upstream the entire time, going against what my providers were used to- and so I would be facing a continuous need to justify my desire to forgo tests and so on. Yes, I could fight it, but why when I don’t have to? Who the heck wants to do that when they’re in labour? It just didn’t make sense to put myself through that when the ability to leave the system and take control of my own health care is right there. The unfortunate fact is that most women don’t know that there are options for support outside of the hospital, or, when presented with these new options, our conditioning is such that we are too fearful of anything
that veers us off the path of registered medicine (particularly I find, when it comes to birth- some of the most natural women I know- women who shun much of mainstream medical views, still choose to take the “traditional” route when it com
es to birth support.)- but alas, I digress.
The ultimate issue comes down to my willingness to “insist” on my preferences when it comes to my body and my healthcare choices, and in the end, I chose to abandon the system and strike on my own, where I am in control, and I don’t have to try to fit a circle into a square box.
So, I left. And I’ll never go back.
Why? Well, without sharing my entire birth story (that’s a separate entry) I’ll tell you.
I wanted a homebirth, and I didn’t want vaginal exams, ultrasounds, a GBS test or a stretch
Because I wanted woman-centered care that wasn’t focused on pathologizing pregnancy. I wanted the lowest tech, least invasive and least disturbed birth possible. The births that only dreams are made of in this country (or so I thought when I compared my experiences to the books I’ve read since becoming
a birth worker and mother)
Because I wanted labour to start naturally, and I wanted my baby to enter the world peacefully at home. Because my
babies poop in the uterus and that’s always been an issue for my providers.
Because ultimately, birth is a private sacred event. It is not a medical event, and it belongs to me, my husband and my baby and regulation is not welcome there. When I invite state regulated professionals into my birth space, my health care is no longer solely my own, but it is now in part the state’s and I am inviting regulation and rules surrounding my birth into my home. This is how I ended up at the hospital in the first place isn’t it?
There are so many reasons that leaving was the best choice for me since I had the peaceful birth I wanted and deserved stolen from me needlessly three times too many.