I had my own reasons for wanting a homebirth with Noah, but this isn’t about those. This is why I’m determined to have a homebirth this time around.
When I ended up giving birth to my son in the hospital, the ten minutes I was there were awful. I felt extremely violated and disrespected due to my age. They acted like I knew nothing, like I had done no research and like it was okay for them to bully me. They told me I NEEDED to have an epidural because I “couldn’t handle it.” I said “For the last 28 and a half hours I HAVE handled it, with no epidural, no pain medicine, nothing. Don’t tell me I can’t handle it.” They told me I couldn’t push because I wasn’t dilated and didn’t know what to do. A nurse checked me after I pushed and said “Oh, she is a full 10.” I was still told I couldn’t push because I didn’t know how. I pushed one more time and they said if I didn’t get him out next push I would need an emergency C-section because it was taking too long. At this point I’d been at the hospital for less than ten minutes and I’d only pushed two times. I literally told them to fuck off because they obviously didn’t know what they were talking about. I asked if the baby was in distress and they told me he wasn’t but I was just taking too long. After refusing the C-section they argued with me saying I would need the forceps to help him out because I didn’t know what to do or how to push. The doctor said I needed an episiotomy and I told her not to cut me because I would rather tear naturally than be cut. She said okay, and then cut me anyway. Afterward she says “I just gave you an episiotomy to help the baby out.” I pushed once more and he was out. They handed him to me and then took him away after I delivered my placenta and I couldn’t nurse him for nearly an hour after specifically requesting to nurse him immediately.
It was as if I knew nothing and my requests meant nothing because I was eighteen years old, what could I possibly know? I didn’t ask for anything extreme, nothing that could hurt the baby or myself and nothing that would make their job too hard.
My midwife respects my choices, my decisions and my beliefs. She does not look down on me for becoming a mother at eighteen or for having another child at 21. She helps me research, she helps me make decisions when I ask her to. She’s always there to give me advice and she’s always available to answer my calls or e-mails. She makes me feel empowered in my birth choices and my birth experience and that is something I feel every woman should have.
It is for the same reasons that I became a birth doula. A woman’s beliefs and rights and choices should be respected during labor, regardless of age, as long as it’s doing no harm to the baby. Being eighteen doesn’t mean you’re ignorant. You could be thirty and have no idea what you’re talking about and you have a better shot at being listened to by your doctors. My goal as a birth doula is to make birth a wonderful and happy memory. I will not speak for you. I will not make your decisions. But I will support your decisions and help you to reach them if you’d like. It’s your birth and it should make you happy.