There was a time, long before I ever even considered getting pregnant, that my knowledge of pregnancy and birthing was very narrow indeed. I had heard stories all of my life, with phrases like “c-section,” and “epidural,” and “most painful experience of my life,” standing out. They of course terrified me. I always knew I wanted to have children, however, and therefore assumed I would have to endure the experience of having my children in a hospital just like everyone else.
I should mention that I have never had a serious injury or illness, and have never spent any time in a hospital except to visit others. While I obviously understand the necessity of them and appreciate them for the care they provide for so many, I didn’t want to be lumped into that group of “seriously ill or injured” when I delivered my babies. It is for this reason that I was so thrilled last year to discover that I had another option thanks to the existence of the Charleston Birth Place. From the first orientation, I knew it was the place that I wanted to have my baby. I admit that initially, the idea of having a baby in a birth center with midwives attending my labor appealed to me because it meant that I wouldn’t have to go to a hospital. But as I listened to what was said at that orientation, I felt better and better about my choice. It was explained to me that women in low risk pregnancies are doing what comes naturally when they give birth, and there is no reason for them to be treated like they are ill. The best thing for both mother and baby is to be in a calm and relaxing environment where the mother is able to listen to her own body and trust in its’ amazing ability to birth her child. CBP’s impressive statistics regarding healthy births and low c-section rates as well as their significantly lower costs when compared with that of hospitals around the country only prove this point further.
Throughout my pregnancy and into those final hours of labor, I received the best care possible, and was always given the support and encouragement I needed while still feeling empowered and in control. I was in the most nurturing and capable of hands, and am so thrilled with the choice I made. I wouldn’t change a thing about my birth experience- you can read about here; http://penelopejoyblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/penelopes-birth-story/
Now, it seems that out of the blue, the laws and regulations for all birth centers in the state of South Carolina are being reinterpreted, and the place that helped bring Penny safely into the world may be forced to close its’ doors. I cannot express how frightening this possibility is to me. Not only do I fear for the births of my future children, but also for the other women who believe, like I do, that a birth center is the right option for them, and for our rights as a whole. If laws that have been enforced in a certain way for years can suddenly be “reinterpreted” with terrible repercussions for the businesses and people counting on them, what does that say for the other laws that govern our people?
I am so grateful that I had the choice to birth Penny at the Charleston Birth Place, and I hope with all of my heart that women will continue to have that choice. The right way to birth your child is such a personal choice, and it should stay exactly that, a choice. If you feel, as I do, that women have to right to choose where they have their babies, and want to help save the Charleston Birth Place, please sign this petition; http://www.change.org/petitions/people-who-support-choices-for-birth-call-and-write-representatives It is a place that not only feels like family to me, but is also the place that I am eternally grateful to for giving me the beautiful family that I have today. I can only hope that the midwives of the Charleston Birth Place will be there to catch any future water babies I may have as well!