Charlotte Church — home-birther

Click here for the interview with her and the baby’s father.

Some interesting things: she had a waterbirth at home; but she had “gas and air” during labor as well as a shot of Demerol about an hour before the birth. I don’t think these things are available at most, if not all, American home births. Demerol is a C-II narcotic, and as such is restricted so that only doctors can write prescriptions for it. I don’t know if some midwives have their back-up doctors write prescriptions for them so that they can give it at home births — it may be legal in some states and not legal in others; or it may be bending the rules too much for some doctors while others are okay with it.

My CNM in Illinois carried Pitocin, but was forbidden to use it while I was still in labor — it was only to be used in case of postpartum hemorrhage. In the initial prenatal meeting, the midwife explicitly told me that by opting for a homebirth, I was choosing to be unable to get any sort of medicinal pain relief — if I wanted anything like an epidural or anything else for pain, I’d have to transfer to the hospital. I assume that is the way it is most of the time in the U.S. I think my CPM also had Pitocin, which her back-up doctor wrote prescriptions for; and a lay midwife in my state said that she was able to get Pitocin, although it seemed she kind of got in on the gray market — not exactly “black market” but not exactly completely legally either. I don’t remember if she ever said explicitly how it was, but I think that midwives ought to be able to carry Pitocin to be used for PPH, so that the woman doesn’t have to transfer for just a little extra blood loss. Of course, serious hemorrhages should be transferred; but most women won’t hemorrhage, and most of those that do will likely be mild and only need a shot of Pit (like I did, in my first birth) to stop it.

One other interesting point was that Charlotte Church didn’t want her boyfriend to be looking at the baby being born — to maintain some of the mystery of womanhood, I suppose, or a fear that perhaps he would be turned off sexually by seeing the baby come out of her. Her boyfriend, however, was fascinated and enthralled in a good way. [Not all men are that way; so if your husband doesn’t want to watch, don’t make him.]

Another point that I was glad was brought out because I agree with it, but rarely see mentioned, is that she was glad she didn’t have an epidural, because she thinks she would have done some damage to herself since she couldn’t have felt what was happening. She said that if she had been in the hospital, she knows she would have had an epidural; but is glad she didn’t, because it made her recovery so much easier. Not having had an epidural, I can only testify that the immediate postpartum is a breeze without one. Almost immediately after giving birth both times, I got up and walked into my bedroom and laid down in bed and relaxed with my new baby. Many of my friends who have had epidurals will talk about how they didn’t regain feeling in their feet and legs for some time (even hours) after the birth. Yuck! How helpless! Also, many women have backaches or back pain in the first several months postpartum that they didn’t have prior to pregnancy or even during pregnancy. (Two of my sisters-in-law who gave birth within a few months of each other, the first time they got together a few months after the latter birth discovered that they both had the same backache that they had never had before.) Whether that is somehow due to the spinal injection that may screw up some nerves in the back, or just because women who cannot feel their own bodies don’t realize that they are lying in an uncomfortable position which puts a cramp in their back… for hours… or just lying in the same position for hours.

Anyway, it was an interesting interview, and it seemed to have loads of pictures, only you had to click on the link to open a window to actually see the picture.


One Response

  1. I am UK trained midwife now working in New Zealand.
    In the UK you are allowed under a block prescription rule to give certain drugs. i.e. there is a list which is written with the amounts that midwives give without having to get a doctor out of bed. Demerol/pethidine as we call it can be given at a home birth in the UK.
    Here in New Zealand we can only take along the gas and air to homebirths if anymore pain relief is needed then we have to transfer to the hospital. Here in New Zealand I can prescribe drugs in relation to the pregnancy.
    As far a pitocin then it is standard practice in many places to offer active 3rd stage of labour to control blood loss. Even so it is a midwife at her peril who does not carry at least one dose to a home birth even if there is to be a natural third stage as PPH is one of the most dangerous recognised risks of normal birth and so it can make a huge difference prior to transfer of a woman haemorrhaging from home to hospital.

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