Why I am NOT ok with Home Births.

In 1914 the average women was pregnant 12 times in her life. In 1914 the average family had 7 children. In 1914 the average women lost 4 babies to miscarriage or during birth. In 1914 there was a 49% chance your baby would not make it to their 1rst birthday.

In 2015 we have access to doctors, nurses and hospitals with equipment and medications that save us and our babies.

These statistics from 1914 are mostly unknown mostly because people have no regard for history, truth, facts. We learn from the internet now! When someone wants a home birth they are praised, as if- wow good for you for having a baby with a shower curtain and some scissors? No, I’m sorry; I see it as strictly a selfish decision to have a home birth. Women did it for thousands of years they’ll tell you. Yes, that’s true and most of them lost multiple babies. Why am I bringing this up? Well I was awoken at 6am today to sirens racing down my street, they stopped at my neighbor’s house. She was having her 2nd home birth. I should tell you that her 1rst homebirth also went badly and after 16 hours of labour her baby was in so much distress at not coming out that she was rushed to the hospital. You’d think that would make her realize being in a hospital is a safer place to have a baby, no no she decided to ‘try it again’  like it’s a game, her attempt to have her 2nd at home once again went wrong, she has been rushed to the hospital.

I was at a dinner party recently and was told by another guest- a pregnant guest that they were having a home birth; these people say it with such an arrogance that I just shake my head, it’s like people who brag that they only eat organic anyways here is the kicker, she lost her 1rst baby! DURING A HOME BIRTH! I said why? Why not just go to a hospital? ‘Oh women have been having babies at home for 100s of years its way healthier and natural’. She went on to tell me how ‘awesome’ her doula was. Ok, but a woman that took a 13 month course in hand holding can’t save your baby if something were to happen. I walked away rolling my eyes.

My friend that is a delivery nurse has told me multiple stories of labors gone bad with devastating consequence, these labors in the majority were women that had been rushed in from home births usually too late and they had to try in vain to save the babies and sometimes mothers and sometimes they could, a lot of the time they couldn’t, these stories upset me. Because simply put if these women had their babies in a hospital they would have lived.

That being said that does not mean cord accidents do not happen in a hospital, my first born had the cord wrapped around his neck when he came out, the very experienced doctor at Vancouver Women’s Hospital screamed at me to stop pushing, to not move as she quite professionally I was told yanked the cord back around his neck and essentially saved him from suffocating himself. Had that happened at home would a doula or midwife have the experience to know what to do?

Everyone is entitled to do what they wish with their lives but all I ask the next time you consider a home birth or praise someone for one, think about the life that is not yours the one trying to be born. I’d rather be safe than sorry.

I don’t need to get into the terrible reminder of having ambulances and fire trucks outside my house again,  having seen a women carry her newborn into the ambulance just as I carried Lily very similarly into on the night she turned blue.

Stillbirth is one of the most common complications, he said. Stillborn babies are not breathing at birth, but with immediate care many of them could be saved.

“Women who are thinking about having home birth should know that if they deliver in the hospital with a midwife, it reduces infant death by 75 percent — and by 85 percent if the woman is having her first baby,” Grunebaum said. “These are babies who could be saved if they were delivered in a hospital.”

http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20140203/study-ties-home-births-to-higher-infant-death-rates

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When Hope was Born

June 13 2013

I don’t know how to start so I just will; Hope Elenor Rose Hall was born at 1:59am on Wednesday April 3rd 2013, exactly 1 year and 2 months after Lily my first daughter (third child) died.  I grieved immensely for Lily while being pregnant with Hope, I imagined every fear. She is now almost  7 weeks old, Lily was 7 weeks old when she died, I can’t explain the mixed emotions that well inside my heart. The thoughts that race through my mind. After Lily’s traumatic birth and eventual death 7 weeks later I did not know if I could go through labour  or at least do it without losing myself. Now everything is a what if? I cannot believe she is here and so beautiful and so alive with health. The exact opposite of her sister. Hope looks like her Dad, where Lily looked like me. I fight back tears every time I hold her, I ignore the comparisons that pass through my thoughts. I want to imagine Hope as a separate baby girl but the similarities are hard to ignore. The way she holds her thumb in her fist like Lil, the way she sleeps through the night not a peep exactly like Lil at only two months old! Every time I look at her I think of my daughter that is gone. My heart is filled with as much love as it is pain. There is a tug of war inside of me.

 

 

 

June 23 2013

I find myself returning to the dark place I felt stuck in this time last year, the only difference is I don’t feel I can be as open about my grief because of time passed, last year, my first year of grief, most people were very accepting and encouraging to share my grief, now its feels and this may just be in my head but it feels a lot harder to allow myself to grieve as though I should be “better”. My mom recently came to visit and brought with her a picture she had of Lily that was taken during her last week alive and it makes me angry because I do not remember her opening her eyes at all that last week, or at least not when I was there,she was so sedated and I was not the one that got to see or take this shot, it also ruins the memory I have of the last time she opened her eyes for me the last time I saw my daughters eyes open was the day before she returned to Children’s she woke up and smiled at me then started choking turning blue and was rushed to BCCH she never looked at me again and then my mom says she took this a few days before she died and it makes me so angry and I look at it and cry, I spent the morning watching her videos crying, folding her clothes, I am bawling as I write this. I just wish I could go back if only for a moment, I wouldn’t leave her side. I should be happy to have this last gift but I am just sad.

August 13 2013

I had a thought the other day, staring at Lily’s face or “shrine” as the counselor called it. One sad day she said   “its not healthy” to have pictures, memento or shrines as she called it all over your house. Why? I have similar “shrines” for my children who are alive just because my third child died, does she not deserve her face on my walls? as thought she never existed?

Anyway, as I stared at her beautiful face and as I usually do: apologize to her for her life, I thanked her as well, thanked her for the gift of love she has tought this family. The gift of appreciation she has given us. Lily has changed the way the people of this family look at life with the short time she gave us, by witnessing her suffering we  realize life’s  petty “problems” are just that. That we all complain about are meaningless, useless and completely not worth stressing over stuff.

I have to remind myself of her gifts when life gets in the way, the farther away from her I feel the more stressed out I get. This is all that matters. Family.

Sorrow as I approach the 1rst anniversary of Lily’s death & Terror as I approach the due date of my 4rth child

January 5th 2013

Fall has come and gone, Christmas has come and gone, my Lily’s 1rst birthday (December 30th) has come and gone. 2012 is now gone.

It is now a new year, a new hope for the future, a new light to seek. I made a colage of photos for Lily’s birthday, I can look at it, I love to stare, I get sad but now only a few moments after I am okay again and not grief-stricken. I have hope.

I heard once that hope is what you have left when reality has taken everything else from you. I have hope. She is in fact a twenty-seven week old fetus –female fetus- we have named Hope that is in my womb.

This new journey has been incredibly hard, exhausting, painful wondering would it happen again? What can I do different? Our loss has been intensified by not knowing why, how or maybe knowing that it was just a rare five percent chance that all have but that we have already lost a child it is more likely to happen again because it is possible it is something in my body. People that have miscarriages don’t miscarry once it’s usually multiple times because of something not functioning properly in their body, similarly with stillborn babies, is it me? Will she be safe? I have to hope she will be okay.

I am cautiously happy.

I had a thought this is my fifth pregnancy thought I have two living children maybe I will have three. Her due date is April, as it approaches I am filled with terror in reliving Lily’s birth.

January 14th 2013

As I drive home, I listen to your song – the one I played for you at your funeral. I listened to this song every day on the way to the hospital to see you last year, I cry every time I hear it.

It snowed today and the beauty of it surrounding me made me think of you, you are in everything around me. As I drove home listening to our song, crying, thinking of you. In my rear view there is an ambulance, I pull over immediately I would never hesitate anymore I don’t know if I did before but  that one horrible winter night last year February 11 to be exact I screamed for one, I breathed into your little face, I pushed fearfully onto your tiny chest and I waited for the ambulance. Today whenever I see one I think of that night, I worry about where it may be going, who it could be rescuing this time I would never hesitate to pull over, they need to get where they are going somewhere there might be a mother waiting, scared because their child is dying. I love you, I love you, I love you.

I don’t believe in God, in the sense that my child is sitting with some “God” I believe in continuation, in spirit, in love. But this song was played often during my hardest months and I found comfort in its words…. Heaven has a different meaning to us all so I thought it’s a great line….. “Moments of heaven mixed with moments of hurt” that is what I felt, feel about life today.

Sheri

My confusing thoughts almost a year after having a very traumatic birth and living through the death of my baby girl.

December 3rd 2012

Lily would almost be turning one –had she lived.

Last year this time I was very pregnant wondering when she would come out. I look back and realize that I knew something was very wrong even before she was born. I cried every day before she came, I was so scared to give birth. Why? I had done it with no problems two times before like a champ. So why was I so terrified to do it this time? I remember crying in my bathroom, just terrified of what was about to happen, and people asked- what are you afraid of?

I thought it over and over and all I could come up with was I don’t know? The sleepless nights that waited? Was it the fact that I would have three kids and didn’t know if I could handle it? I don’t think so? I was incredibly strong, nothing scared me. I lived on my own since I was eighteen, ultimately no parental guidance since I was twelve. I started working at fifteen, having to drop out of school, taking the bus to work everyday because I had to pay  rent for the  bedroom I rented from a stranger. I returned to get my GED on my own accord at twenty two. Then became the manager at my job at twenty four and when I became pregnant for the first time at twenty five I took it as the next challenge in my life.

So why at thirty one, having mastered being a stay at home for the last 6 years was I so petrified of giving birth to my third child? Why was I so afraid?

My counselor says on another level I was already grieving her death, I already knew she would die and its funny- not haha funny but odd funny that as soon as she said it I knew she was right. It explained so much, why I was depressed, why I was anxious, why the next months to follow I was a zombie doing what needed to be done but feeling nothing.

After Lily died I was mixed with relief and guilt. Relief that she needn’t suffer, relief that I wouldn’t have to take care of a very handicapped child for the next twenty years- yes that is/was a horrible feeling but I felt it. I felt guilt that I didn’t stay more every day at the hospital that I didn’t hold her more when she was home, that I couldn’t grow a healthy “viable” baby for a third time.

I was and am and will always be sorry to Lily for what she went through. In a way I know I do not have the power to control or make these things happen but on the other I was her mother.

I was supposed to protect her.

I couldn’t.

I didn’t.

She is gone.

 

 

December 25th 2012

As a family we have endured a very tough, trying year. Even though we have managed to find times of hope and joy together, the loss of our daughter/sister Lily has always been at the forefront of our minds. We want to say thank you to all the people far and near and some whom I have not seen for a decade for your support and kind words.

Showing compassion, offering love and to be able to share our sorrow has been healing. We have learnt a great deal about our own strength and weakness as well as the meaning of family and being there for one another.

The trauma of Lily’s death will sit with us forever, as it has changed who we are forever, she will always be a part of our family though not physically present. As we anticipate the arrival of our fourth child this spring we are nervously excited and cautiously happy.

We no longer live in a world of false positivity, naively assuming nothing could ever go wrong. With loss and grief brings the realization of honesty and truth but mostly it brings to us reality. In reality horrible things happen weekly, daily, hourly, in reality no one is spared, in reality we only need to survive.

At a time in the world when greed and selfishness have overpowered kindness and empathy we are brought back to what should be the honest truth of this world- to love each other, to take care of each other, to be kind to one another, to share.

To share our lives, our loves, our joy and our sorrow. Pretending that everything is wonderful all the time you are walking around blind, that being said it is more than wonderful to have moments of great and to appreciate them all. Out of sorrow comes gratitude, out of suffering comes strength and out of love comes honesty.

why

Then as I started my journey in writing about my grief I found this poem I wrote right around the time I was most depressed and pregnant with my child that later died.

 

(Written -Sept 30 2011)

The attention I need is lacking

The love I crave is invisible

Simple words are ignored

Loneliness is vast.

The attention I desire goes un-answered

My love for you turns bitter

I can’t explain, how it’s not enough, to just love

Emptiness grows, as words are forgotten.

The attention I want, ignored

Our love, bickered to death

So simple, is the answer, yet so hard to speak?

Everything that once was gold is now ash.

My eyes are now sullen

My heart has sunk

The world is unforgiving, with every thought de-bunked

Hope fades, the path is clear, but wanting what was never does steer.

Life has unanswered questions

Paths that lead us are unclear

Love is not always easy or forgiving

 No attempt is a life left with regret

6 months after Lily’s Death & I was pregnant?!

Aug 10th 2012

I am pregnant. I am elated.  I am terrified.  However, when I was pregnant with my first and second kids I could never read the parts in pregnancy books that dealt with “issues” usually bad things that can happen in pregnancy and go wrong at birth- I simply didn’t read them because that would never happen to me- so why force myself to think or feel something so absolutely terrible. Now pregnant with my fourth child, I have a new pregnancy book, I am treating is like I know nothing, I will do everything I am supposed to nothing I am not. People say “you can’t put that on yourself- it wasn’t your fault” ok- but if I do everything I possibly can to make sure I know I did everything I possibly could to have a healthy baby, then at least then if something happens again- something that I don’t think I could live through twice, then at least I would know without a doubt I did everything in my power- no one’s understands the guilt I feel, I carried my girl for ten lunar months, I knew something wasn’t right, I felt it inside but I hoped and prayed that I was just nervous about another child- a third child- I could barely handle two! And there I was having three! Sheesh! But no something was wrong and now pregnant again, I am happy to have another chance. I will not think about the future but simply today and getting through today. We focus so much on tomorrow that it really messes us up when tomorrow is taken away- you cannot fathom the loss of not only what you once held in your arms being gone but all of your dreams and visions of the future with  that child that is gone.

September 17th 2012

As of late I am incredibly depressed to say the least, I am not sure if I was in shock and denial for the first few months after Lily’s death and am now crawling out and seeing the world anew ,trust me I do not like what I see. Or if it is that September signifies more, the start of a new school year for the boys, the start of Fall the approaching holiday season, I do not know where it is coming from but I am feeling intense greif again, I am hormonal and pregnant, I wonder what my 8 month old would look like had she lived, I wonder if I can make it through the rest of the year. I have gone to visit four grief counselors in the past six months, – four separate counselors because I cant find one that I like or that says anything useful, helpful even. However the last one I saw came the closest to helping me in a way that was simple, after thirty minutes of me sobbing into my hands the story of my lost daughter and the aftermath, my lack of joy or love for the world, my obsession with miscarriages and that I thought I’d have one with Lily, my guilt over not wanting her initially I could go on forever. She –the counselor/psychologist said- “it sounds to me Sheri that you started grieving Lily before she died” and as soon as she said it, it felt right it was true! (She also said I suffered from post traumatic stress disorder which no other “doctor” had mentioned which seemed right since –duh watching your child die is- TRAMATIC!)I was so incredibly sad when I was pregnant, I was so incredibly scared to give birth and go through what I was about to go through that I wanted a miscarriage. She was right in my mind I felt yes! I knew overwhelmingly that something was wrong during my whole pregnancy I just couldn’t name it and then after experiencing something only a mother could- a mother that carried a broken child a child that could not survive, a mother that has guilt a mother that would trade her life so her child could have lived can understand the agonizing months in the hospital the pain on my babys face as she struggled to breathe, giving her cpr on my living room floor, having them tell me she was going to die, having to tell my boys their sister was dying- none of this! Did I want to go through- and on another level when I was pregnant I knew something horrible was about to happen and I wanted to stop it. But I couldn’t so I became depressed during the end of my pregnancy. February 18 2012 when we took out Lily’s tube and she died in my arms, I couldn’t cry I felt her disappear earlier in the week, I was holding a body, I walked out of the hospital that night almost with a feeling of relief that I would never have to return. I of course have regret and guilt over feeling that- my baby just died- what was wrong with me!

 sheri

5 months after my girl died these were my thoughts….

5 months after Lily died my Nona died, I found this quote or it found me and it really stuck and made sense….

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body,/I am life without boundaries,/I have never been born and I have never died./Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies/All manifests from the basis of consciousness./Since beginning-less time I have always been free./Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out./Birth and death are only a game of hide and seek./So smile to me and take my hand and wave good bye./Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before./We shall always be meeting again at the true source,/Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”

 From the book ‘ no death no fear’  by-Thich Nhat Hanh

 

July 9th, 2012

I wake up every day, wondering what today will hold, will this be a good day and by good I mean not a constant day of reminders that I have lost my little girl, there is no such thing as a good day in this new life, there is still a few good moments, like when I can enjoy my two boys and watch them laugh and play and really see happiness on their face. That is a beautiful moment, one I try to catch before my sadness comes back. I used to hurt, I was in physical pain when I would look at pictures of Lily, however now they make me smile a little because she was just so darn cute, perfect in every- well on the outside perfect in every way. But it still tugs at my chest if I stare too long. What would she look like now? Would she be crawling, she would be 6mths old now if she was alive.

This was supposed to be a whole new year for me, with a little baby girl in tow, but instead I tow around an invisible chain of pain attached to my broken heart. I watch mothers pushing there strollers, carrying their babies on their fronts and backs, nursing them. I look away, the shock of the realization that that was supposed to be me is too much to bare. I wonder if they think I am rude, a part of me wants to scream-‘GET AWAY FROM ME!! DON’T YOU KNOW MY BABY DIED!!’ I know this is irrational, but I don’t care I want them to know how much I am suffering, that it is not fair they have a healthy baby and I didn’t, and now in some sick life I have to live I am forced every day to have new mothers, babies, little girls, toddlers, in my view point constantly? It sucks! It’s confusing and evil.

July 30th 2012

I woke up fairly ok, I could even say someone content- maybe because we (the boys and I slept till 830! wow- I know) but also because I just had 2 amazing weeks with my family- we did so many lovely things together and just were together.

I also saw lots of friends over the last 2 weeks- I am learning that our relationships with each other are all we have. I took the boys to a park by our old house, one we haven’t been to since I was pregnant, it was nice, they played, I watched.

And then a women with 2 little girls- about 1 and 4 was there, watching Hayden watch them hurts, as they were leaving the mom says ‘come on lily, come to mommy’ to the 1 year old- I cried, I walked away so my boys wouldn’t see my tears, I got into the car and the song playing was one that always reminds me of her, I got home and an amazing friend texted me that she was thinking of me today- it dawns on me- what is today? Oh it’s the 30th. My daughter would have been 7 months old. I wrote this poem for her. As though sending it out into the universe, she’ll get it.

7 months ago my heart broke forever
7 months ago my child was brought back to life- only to die 7 weeks later
7 months ago my world came crashing down around me
7 months ago I wished it was me that couldn’t breathe
7 months ago I lost

We need to take time to smell the flowers.  Especially the Lily flowers. We named out daughter Lily after the flower because they are beautiful and fragrant but also it is the flower that Steve brought me on our first date and subsequent anniversaries. But please just don’t send me ones at a funeral or to my house when I’m grieving! Because they die. And I don’t want flowers I want my baby.