We were featured in the local paper because of Cadrian’s startling and unusual entrance to the world. The article, appearing two weeks ago, was very well done and had a couple of great photos of Cadrian and our family. The main reason I agreed to do the article was because I wanted to stress that birth is a normal, natural process.
I have had two very medicalized births; one that potentially could have been a very dangerous situation. But despite those experiences, I still had faith in the body that God created, in the process of delivery that God designed, and chose to take the medical interventions out of my third child’s birth.
That is not to say I didn’t have prenatal care. I was monitored to be sure there wasn’t a rise in my proteins or glucose, possible indicators of complications. I do decline a lot of the standard prenatal tests, because since we wouldn’t terminate our pregnancy if a test showed there was something “wrong” with our baby, there really is no purpose served by doing the test. While laboring in the hospital, I found I couldn’t decline many of the interventions like continuous fetal heart monitoring to an IV because I was attempting a vaginal birth after a cesarean, which is seen as risky by hospitals afraid of law suits, should anything go wrong.
I feel like I am probably better informed of the risks and benefits of any birth, and of birth options than a lot of people. In making this decision, I looked at the two different kinds of birth I had experienced myself, read anything I could find about birth, watched videos, and joined message boards and learned from others’ first hand experiences.
For us, home birth was the very best option.
The reason I bring all this up, is in this week’s paper, a man wrote a letter to the editor with all these statistics about pre-eclampsia, emphasizing its dangers and talking about how necessary it is to get good prenatal care.
I think probably, he was just using my comments as a jumping off place to warn people of this disease. I know it’s a sensitive issue for him since he lost his daughter to it. But I don’t want people to think I don’t take pre-eclampsia, my pregnancies, my babies or my health seriously.
Because I do.
I researched and prayed, and prayed and researched before we made the choice to have Cadrian at home.
I don’t know if ignorance or a lack of care or knowledge would be the impression people would get of us from reading his letter or not, but part of me wants to write a rebuttal.
The other part of me thinks I should just let it go…
Here is the original article and the ensuing letter to the editor:
Home sweet home birth (identifying details changed)
Justices celebrate family birthdays with new arrival
TheJustice family of rural Busytown got to celebrate not one, not two, but three birthdays on Sunday, July 20.
Kevin and Jessica Justice had invited family and friends to join them in celebrating the birthdays of their daughters, Aviana, who was turning 4 on July 21, and Brielle, who will be 2 on Aug. 11. They were at Fun County Park, where everyone enjoyed an afternoon of swimming and was looking forward to the party in one of the park’s picnic shelters.
Jessica, who was pregnant with the couple’s third child and due on July 27, began having a few contractions while at the pool. But she had two birthday girls who had been anxiously awaiting their big celebration, and she wasn’t about to disappoint them.
“But as we were getting everything set up for the party, the contractions ramped up to about every four to five minutes,” recalled Georgann, Jessica’s mom.
At 5:45, “something changed,” added Jessica, who decided she needed to get home – where the couple had planned on giving birth anyway – just not quite so soon.
After encouraging the guests to continue on with the party (and take lots of pictures), Georgann said, “Everyone gathered around for a quick prayer for a safe, easy-as-possible labor, and we took off.”
Between the pool and the park exit, Kevin had to pull the car over four times because of Jessica’s intensifying contractions. Fortunately, the Justice’s century farm is only minutes away from the park.
Along the way, they called their midwife, who lives about an hour away. She left within 10 minutes of their call. As soon as they arrived home, Jessica went to lie down on the cool floor of their large bathroom. Meanwhile, Kevin went to set up the birthing tub they had ordered especially for the home event.
By 6, her contractions were 3 minutes apart, and by 6:50, Jessica was pushing.
“I was so scared by then that we were going to deliver this baby with no outside help whatsoever, that panic was only a breath away,” said Georgann. Kevin had given up on the tub and gone in to be with Jessica while her mother was on the phone with the midwife, still en route.
“The midwife was very calming, and soon she had me back in the bathroom, repeating to Jessica and Kevin what she said to me. First thing she said was, ‘Get the nose aspirator out of the birthing kit.’ Oh! The birthing kit! How could we have forgotten? I was struggling along using old towels, rags, toilet paper and baby wipes. Those ‘chux’ would have been so handy!” laughed Georgann.
At 7 p.m., Cadrian Kevin landed right into his daddy’s arms, and the midwife arrived 10 minutes later.
Despite the chaotic urgency of it all, Jessica called her son’s birth “exhilarating.” After having had a Cesarean section with her first baby due to pre-eclampsia, and a long and “traumatic” labor and delivery with her second one, the Justices started thinking about a home birth early in this pregnancy.
“We’ve made it (childbirth) such a medical event, and it doesn’t have to be,” explained Jessica. “It’s the most natural thing in the world, and women have been doing it forever.” They did plenty of research and hired a certified nurse midwife to help them.
“She carries everything she could possibly need in case of an emergency,” Jessica said of the midwife. “People asked us how we could consider a home birth when something could go wrong, but really, 99 times out of 100, nothing does.”
As it turned out, the couple (plus Grandma) handled the home birth without the midwife. Luckily, joked Kevin, he has plenty of experience birthing cattle on the farm. He added that perhaps Jessica pushed so soon to avoid his using the chains and jack that are employed in calving.
“It was just so empowering,” Jessica said of the experience. “To meet Cadrian here in our own house, with Kevin and my mom here, was just so special.”
Next year, the Justices might have to get a bigger cake so they can add another name if they choose to celebrate all the birthdays together again. For now, they are just thankful Cadrian arrived healthy and safely, and that Aviana and Brielle are relishing their roles as big sisters.
“Everyone is fine and doing well, including me,” reported Georgann after the blessed event was behind her. “God’s hand was upon us all, and He answered the prayer we prayed in an unexpected way!”
Heed warning signs of preeclampsia
Make no mistake about it – I am thrilled to know that Kevin and Jessica Justice have a healthy new son, Cadrian. However, I am concerned about Mrs. Justice’s statement that, “we’ve made childbirth such a medical event,” in light of her previous experience with preeclampsia (“Home sweet home birth,” July 30).
Approximately 8 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. will be affected by preeclampsia and every six minutes, a woman is diagnosed with severe preeclampsia. She is in danger of multiple organ failure, stroke, and death. The baby’s life is threatened, too, and the only known treatment we have, despite the fact that preeclampsia has appeared in medical literature for more than 2,000 years, is to deliver the baby. Of course we know the potential hazards to the baby if born too prematurely.
In short, preeclampsia is a serious medical event and needs to be approached as such. A recent survey conducted by our Foundation suggested that when women don’t know about the warning signs and symptoms of preeclampsia, the chances double for a negative outcome to the pregnancy. I know of too many fathers who have lost their pregnant daughters (myself included), too many husbands and wives who have lost a baby, and too many husbands who are now single fathers – all because of preeclampsia.
It is, of course, up to each family to decide how they will approach their pregnancy. The Preeclampsia Foundation urges every pregnant woman to educate herself as to symptoms (go to www.preeclampsia.org), insist upon regular blood pressure checks after the 20th week, and likewise insist on urine tests (looking for increased protein). These are simple, minimally disruptive actions that can literally save lives.
-s- John Warner
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Please, discuss…