Guest Post by Dejah
There is so much I want to say–so much that needs to be said. The decision to have a homebirth is not one I made lightly.
A part of me wants to focus on the politics of homebirth, to whip out a bullet list of why I chose homebirth for my second pregnancy. Why it was the safest choice for me, and why my care was better than anything I could have received in an OB’s office.
And another part of me wants to describe what I felt during the car ride to the hospital – the 10 minutes-away-We’ll-get-there-in-plenty-of-time-if-any-issues-arise hospital – after my baby’s heartrate dropped suddenly during labor. Sitting there in the front seat, next to my husband, my doula riding with us, everyone so quiet. I was thinking: This is not what I was prepared for. This is not going to be okay. It wasn’t that I was hysterical – I was eerily calm. A part of me knew it to be a fact: I will not be bringing a baby home from the hospital.
And I want to describe what it like upon returning home from the hospital after my daughter, Sunrise, was stillborn, to the place where everything had been set up for her arrival. It felt like a tomb. A tomb I was trapped in. For the past nine months it had been a place of great joy and grateful anticipation. And now? It was the ninth circle of hell.
But most of all, I want to describe the look that I noticed when people learned my daughter was stillborn. It was a look that said, “Of course your child died. You planned a homebirth.”
It made me feel hurt. Hurt on top of hurt. The loneliness and separation. As if I were a species distinct from other people. The homebirth mama.
Homebirths make up such a small group of births in the U.S., and being in the even smaller subset of women who’ve experienced a homebirth/stillbirth it’s nearly impossible to find someone to turn to who won’t give you that look, however unintentional that look may be.
Anyone who has lost a baby questions their decisions. “Did I have the right tests, did I eat the right things? Did something I did or didn’t do kill my baby?”
But the scrutiny put upon homebirth magnifies these questions. I struggled with this for a long time. I had the added burden of feeling like I let everyone down, like I had unwillingly become the poster girl for Why Homebirth Is Bad, when I felt the exact opposite (yes, even now).
I hope that if you are a homebirth mama, and it didn’t turn out all right, that you will know you are not alone. I had the same dreams as you. We both made the best decisions we could at the time based on the information we had. Like you, I mourn my child. And even though you may feel like it’s not okay, go ahead and mourn the birth as well. I do, every time I walk through my front door. Every time I lie down in the bed where she might have been born.
I blog about Sunrise, death, God, love, and everything in between on my blog. I’d love to have you join me and drop a word or two. xoxo