My Homebirth Cesarean
Well, it's not what it sounds like. The midwife wasn't performing major abdominal surgery on my living room floor.
A homebirth cesarean refers to when a birthing person plans a homebirth and then transfers to the hospital and has a cesarean, whether it it medically necessary or not. It is however, a possibility we should all start talking about when we discuss homebirth.
Transferring to the hospital is glossed over when preparations are being made. Homebirth cesareans are so far and few between no one even discusses it as a real possibility.
We usually fill out the birth plan for transfers and cesareans and move one. Being a doula, I thought I was one of the most prepared people to give birth.
And I was, in almost every aspect. I knew how to handle my contractions, I was eating a bit and drinking the entire time.
I was squatting, doing lunges, swaying, walking, pushing in any position I could think of.
I was on all fours, on my back, in the pool, on the toilet, on the couch, and leaning on the countertop.
I knew to stay calm and visualize my body opening, which I was doing actively.
I was doing everything right. I had pictured this for months and had been learning and preparing for years!
I became a doula 2 years before becoming pregnant. I wanted to be familiar with birth before I became pregnant.
I attended several births a year and not once did I hear about a homebirth cesarean. It was never even mentioned at the 36 week prep meetings with the various midwives.
Everyone had told me, if you stay calm and allow your instincts to take over, you will have a beautiful natural birth. Nowhere in my belief system was there even a cesarean outcome if you were trying for a homebirth.
Now, I know that sounds insane to the birth world. No one ever knows how a birth will go, but hear me out.
Every book about natural birth says the same damn thing, "if you stay calm and do what your body tells you, you will give birth to your baby and have skin to skin and it will change your life forever."
Well, mine was changed forever. I had PTSD, I had a major operation under general anesthesia, and I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety for months.
When homebirths transfer and then end up with a cesarean outcome, it feels like a failure. It feels like everyone around me who said I was crazy for trying to have a homebirth was in fact right because I ended up needing one.
All the careful planning and learning and teaching to my husband feels like a waste. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and broken.
Today, however, I am on the road to healing. Seeing an EMDR therapist, going to various support groups, and having physical therapy has been vital in my mental and physical recovery.
I want potential parents to know what I now know. If I could go back, I would have set up much better postpartum care for myself.
I would have learned way more about cesarean recovery and what that looks like, not as a doula, but as a new parent. I don't know how to change the homebirth conversation to seriously discuss a cesarean outcome.
But I wanted to bring some light to this possibility. The reason I decided to share about my homebirth cesarean is to bring more awareness to the possibility for those trying for one and how it might effect you.
For anyone who has had a homebirth cesarean, I see you, and please reach out if you need support, or comment below. There is a great book and workbook called, Homebirth Cesarean by Courtney Key Jarecki that is a great resource when you are ready to start your mental recovery.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety please call Postpartum Support International at 1-800-944-4773 or text them at 503-894-9453.