A Eastern European Homebirth Story….
My husband and I moved to his country of origin, in Eastern Europe, when I was 20 weeks pregnant with our daughter. As the plane took off, one of my worst pregnancy signs, the morning sickness that had been gone since the end of the first trimester returned with a vengeance. “I think I am going to be sick,” I said before throwing up all over the passenger sitting next to me. That was probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life!
Living in Easrtern Europe made sound financial sense for us, and I was pretty excited about being able to stay at home with the baby once she was born. Something neither me nor my husband considered when we got on that plane was the actual birth. I grew up in the Netherlands, the homebirth capital of the world, and have to admit to being rather naive in thinking that I would be able to find a midwife to attend me at home with no problems.
What a mistake! I was 36 weeks pregnant when I finally got the phone number of the one and only homebirth midwife practicing in the entire country. I was so happy she was willing to take us on, even that late in the game! Especially after hearing many horror stories about the local hospitals, whose policies dictated routine separation of mom and baby after the birth, routine labor augmentation, pubic shaving (no kidding!), shouting insults at laboring mothers (think “Shut up you bitch, you had no trouble spreading your legs nine months ago, did you!? Now suffer the consequences!”)
I went into labor in the early morning at 40 weeks pregnant. I called my mother as I was laboring on the toilet, to let her know this was it. We chatted for a while and I called my midwife when contractions were coming at four minutes apart and lasted for longer than a minute.
She came to my house at about 2pm, with all her birth supplies including a plastic sheet to cover the bed. In my husband’s culture, men don’t often attend births so it was just me, the baby and the midwife. I had a pretty easy labor that didn’t hurt much.
Towards the end, things were pretty intense though, and I felt a lot of pressure on my butt. My bag of waters broke onto the bed as I was pushing on all fours. After that, I felt that notorious “ring of fire”. My daughter was born in abouit three pushes. And the best thing about our homebirth? Being able to snuggle in bed as a new family and breastfeeding as often as we needed. This would never have been possible in a hospital here.
For me, homebirth is normal and pregnancy is no disease. I hope other women in this country will be able to find this option too, and there will be more homebirth midwives here some day!
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