Yes, that’s right. I said freebirth. As in unassisted birth. As in birthing a baby without the help, or presence of, a birth professional. And it was by choice, and planned. (Gasp!)
Why would one choose to have a freebirth? This is something that I asked myself, and people asked me, several times throughout my most recent pregnancy. There are many reasons why I wanted to have an unassisted birth. It was very important to me to have this experience, the more I learned about it and wanted it, and even though I shouldn’t have to convince anyone of my reasons, I needed to at least convince my husband, who was not on board with it at all. There was fear and worry and concern – and rightly so, on his behalf. I mean, look at what mainstream has taught us about birth; it is to be feared, it is painful, it is not possible without the assistance of a birth professional or a medical professional. It’s dangerous to birth at home, or without any of that assistance.
Well excuse my language, but I’m calling bullshit on that information. Women have been birthing babies for centuries and centuries, and without “professionals”. I agree that midwives should be; most women need someone on a professional basis to guide them and support them, and I’m all for that. But there is a small percentage of people who are knowledgeable and experienced enough, who are confident enough, to want to do it on their own. I am one of those people.
Some of the reasons I knew I wanted to birth unassisted were:
- a baby is created by just the mother and father; the baby should enter earthside with just the mother and father
- birthing unassisted allows the mother to be herself; there’s no one doing checks, telling her what her body is or isn’t doing, should or shouldn’t be doing, stressing her out and therefore stalling labour
- it’s a powerful right of passage as a woman
- it’s trust in my body and it’s abilities, and the trust and confidence can branch out into other aspects of life
- it is inspiration for myself and others
- I feel safe, in control, empowered
- it’s a very intimate and private journey
- I don’t feel watched, inhibited, embarrassed
- it allows me to focus solely on my body and my baby
- no chance of unnecessary interventions
- I feel completely free to be myself in one of my most intimate times
- trusting my own instincts and doing what comes naturally
Now – I have never had any complications during any pregnancies or births. I’ve never been in full-on labour for longer than 5 1/2 hours. I’ve never had any drugs or medical interventions (besides having my water broken twice). I felt I was an excellent candidate for a freebirth, if ever there was one. I was very inspired by many, many women on an unassisted birth page on Facebook, and I in turn feel that I inspired others by posting my birth story.
I’m a pretty head-strong person, I’m sure my hubby would agree 😉 Once I got this idea in my mind, there was no going back. It’s something I felt so strongly about that nothing and no one could get in my way. And I remained that way for my entire pregnancy – determined. I gathered as much research as possible, listened to other’s experiences and tips, and made informed decisions. I had a midwife-assisted pregnancy; I got my bloodwork done and the “routine ultrasound”, but I bought a fetal doppler and a blood pressure monitor and did my own “check-ups”. I knew what to look for and to trust my instincts, but I have a deep respect for midwives, I wanted to learn from her, and yes, having some reassurance is good.
When I approached my midwife about wanting to have an unassisted birth, I think she was probably flabbergasted, yet not surprised. She knew of my aspirations to become a midwife, she knew it was my fifth birth and that I had never had any complications. She discussed the potential risks and concerns with me, but did not attempt to stand in my way or terminate pre- or post-natal care with me or baby. She was very understanding, even though she had never had a client in her 20+ years as a midwife, come to her saying she’s planning to have an unassisted birth! I felt like I was the first one to do it here, even though I’m sure there have been many over the last few hundred years!
The birth couldn’t have gone smoother. One of my goals was to remain calm and collected, to not scream and yell and swear, as I had previously done with my other births. I began to learn about hypnobirthing techniques. When I realized I was in labour, I reminded myself of my goal, and as the contractions got stronger, I just breathed through them. I tried to keep my body as relaxed as possible so that my muscles could do their job to get baby down and out. When my water finally broke, it was about 4 minutes before baby was fully born. I had the urge to bear down only a couple of minutes before the birth, and I didn’t “push” him out – I let my body do the work. I breathed him out. And I accomplished my goal – no screaming, no yelling, no noise – just a calm, quiet birth – and it was AMAZING. It couldn’t have gone better. My husband couldn’t have been better. Even though the idea of a freebirth scared him, he was more supportive and helpful during this birth than any of the other four (not that he wasn’t in those births!). It was the most incredible experience, and I’m so glad I stuck to my guns and did it.
I hope that I can be an inspiration to even just one person to have a similar experience. No, it’s not for everyone, and I’m not saying this is the way it should be for all women. But for those who are interested, or who have had an unassisted birth, I’d love to hear about it!