No, I’m not pregnant. (Just to be clear.)
However, as you know, I’ve been preparing to get pregnant. But working at getting healthier–which I’ve mostly been focused on–is easy-peasy for me compared to having to find a practitioner I feel comfortable with to monitor my pregnancy and deliver my baby. In fact, this job felt so huge to me (being that I’m shy, hate making phone calls and get incredibly frustrated when I run into dead ends), that I’ve kind of been avoiding it. Well, God was very kind and made it really easy for me.
One night about a week and a half ago, I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep when a thought jumped into my mind and jolted me awake. The thought was “Midwife-Naturopath” and I immediately thought of the two midwives that helped deliver my friend’s baby. They are both also naturopaths. I knew immediately that this was the answer to a question I had really worried about–who could I trust to deliver my baby next time around? This was no wandering thought, this literally came out of nowhere. It felt like God Himself put it there in my mind. I was so excited that it took me at least an hour before I could settle down to sleep.
The next morning I got the midwife info from my friend. I looked at their website. Everything sounded perfect. I sent an email to them, with all my history–from having kidney failure (and recovery) as a kid, to my pregnancy and birth saga which included my kidneys spilling protein but my pregnancy itself remaining normal yet still having the induction I didn’t want, to my postpartum kidney health and working hard over the last year to improve my health and getting my kidneys back to pre-pregnancy condition, more or less. I mentioned that I was still being considered high risk but that I didn’t feel comfortable trusting an OB, but could the midwives possibly be able to work with an OB so that I could have the most natural birth possible?
The first reply came from midwife R. She said, “From your history it seems like home birth is a reasonable option for you.” A few days later midwife C also replied with, “After reading over your case I don’t see a reason to label you as high risk. Your kidneys will be under more stress in pregnancy but that can be addressed easily. You are not at higher risk for Pre-eclampsia as it is not a condition of the kidney although the kidneys are affected. I hope this answers your concerns, we would be glad to speak with you about a home delivery.”
Home birth. Home delivery. Those words felt like they came from heaven. I felt a 100 pound weight lift off of me. I thought, These are women I can trust. These are midwives and doctors I can trust.
They both suggested I come in for a consultation, so I called and set one up. Today I went in and met with Midwife C. I may as well have been talking to Ina May Gaskin, she seemed so authoritative on the subjects of pregnancy and birth. Knowing she is a naturopath as well has me really respecting her in regards to my individual circumstance of having a kidney condition.
C told me that kidney problems do not cause pregnancy problems. The perinatologist (high-risk OB) I saw when I was pregnant with my son and my nephrologist have both told me over and over that my proteinuria (kidneys spilling protein into urine) puts me at higher risk for preeclampsia, which also means a higher risk for premature delivery. Honestly, this never made sense to me. How on earth does spilling protein cause preeclampsia? The way I understood it, preeclampsia can cause proteinuria, not the other way around. Preeclampsia also leads to swelling and high blood pressure, two things I never developed when I was pregnant with my son. In fact, other than the protein spillage, everything was hunky-dory. I NEVER felt like I was in any danger during my pregnancy, until the moment my doctor decided to induce me.
C reaffirmed that what I had believed was true. In fact, she said that new information about preeclampsia has come to light in the last couple of years, and it turns out to be related to some sort of immune dysfunction. She, like me, believes the doctors were being overly cautious. Really, the only concern for me is supporting my kidneys, and she says there are ways to do that. I knew a naturopath would have an answer for that! They always have answers where medical doctors don’t.
What has really surprised me is that the midwives don’t consider me high risk. All this time I have been afraid that no midwife would take me on for a home birth because they would consider it too risky. I have been trying to prepare myself mentally for another hospital birth, which has a major fear factor for me because there would be a very good chance of it going down as it did last time. Even if I declined induction, other interventions would be practically forced on me because they would consider it their duty to prepare for the worst, simply because I have a kidney condition. At the best, I was hoping to find a high-risk OB in favor of natural birth (which I figured would be like looking for a needle in a haystack) or a hospital midwife that was willing to take me with OB backup. In other words, the chances of my having a good birthing experience in a hospital seemed rather bleak. And by good, I don’t just mean “the way I want.” I mean safe, too.
But C didn’t seem to think I had any risk factors that would prevent me from having a home birth. She almost seemed confident that I would deliver my baby at home, like there wasn’t even a question that I could do just that. She said there’s only a one percent chance that a home birth would transfer to a hospital birth because it would be my second baby (it’s 7% with first babies). One percent sounds like very good odds to me!! Since I didn’t have a premature birth with my son, it’s unlikely I would have one second time around, so I shouldn’t have to worry about those odds.
This is seriously some of the best news I’ve received ever in my life. And I’m kind of having trouble digesting it! I feel like I’m still halfway in denial. Like really? Really I can have a home birth? Really???
And of course my head is just reeling now. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO GIVE BIRTH AT HOME! I barely know how to give birth, since that experience was kind of stolen from me last time (pitocin, epidural, episiotomy–yeah, not really anything resembling natural birth there). Until now, I’ve only been scared of hospital birth. Now that I know home birth is an option, I’m scared of the PAIN. Hahaha. Oh, well, I’ll take it!!