US Labor Day Rallies to ‘Improve Birth’

US Labor Day Rallies to ‘Improve Birth’

This movement isn’t about natural birth vs. medicated birth. It’s not about hospital birth vs. homebirth or birth center birth. It’s about women being capable of making safer, more informed decisions about their care and that of their babies, when they are given full and accurate information about their care options, including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives. It’s about respect for women and their decisions in childbirth, including how, where, and with whom they give birth; and the right to be treated with dignity and compassion.

I had a homebirth and I’m not stupid. Or brave.

When I began really looking into what evidence based birth meant, it seemed like the exact opposite of what I had received. It turns out laboring on your back is not conducive to letting your body open and your baby come down. While I knew it was best to stay out of bed, I hadn’t known how listening to the nursing staff like a good patient might alter the course of my birth. It seems like commonsense now, to make use of gravity, one of the most natural forces in the world. But at the time, I was trying, against my better judgment, to listen to my care providers. I should’ve been listening to my body.

But in a hospital setting, it is far easier to manage a floor of laboring woman who are attached to monitors, than women bouncing through the hall on yoga balls, leaking amniotic fluid everywhere and high-fiving each other (maybe). In many ways, I understand how hospital birth has become so routine, so limiting. But you can’t make birth routine because it’s as unique as every woman’s body, and trying to do so fails us, more often than not.

We wanted to gift our baby girl with a birth without fear…

We wanted our baby to have as undisturbed and gentle a birth as possible. Still, because we were first-time parents, we wanted to keep the door open for a hospital birth, in case complications arose. We went for regular check-ups, got our hospital admissions letter, and at the same time, got a birthing pool, birthing ball and yoga mat ready. Unlike many staunch home birthers, we weren’t sure where we would end up until I actually went into labour.