Thursday, December 11, 2014

Selena Green, Hale Kealaula, and The Original Plan

My good friend Divine was always like a birthing role model for me in the years before I had my baby. She'd given birth to her three children naturally, one in a hospital, one at home with just the assistance of her husband, and the last at home with a birthing team.  She's all about breastfeeding and raising her children naturally.  Although I wasn't even certain whether I'd ever have children, I knew that--if I did--I'd like to do things the way she did as much as possible, all while keeping my personal needs in mind, of course.

(You can read the birth story of her second child here.)

One of the main aspects of the way she did things that I wanted to also do was to give birth at home.  It just made sense to me, and after seeing the documentary The Business of Being Born repeatedly, I made up my mind that if I ever had babies, I'd have them in my home.  I began to read stories by others who'd also done this, and the beautiful experiences that I learned about convinced me even further that it was the way to go for me.

As my partner and I weren't quite ready for an unassisted home birth, I set out to find a local midwife who could help out during the process.  Soon it was evident that on the island of O'ahu in Hawaii there just aren't that many.  While there are numerous doulas here, Certified Professional Midwives or Certified Nurse Midwives (who aren't linked to a hospital and can do home births) are hard to come by.

Then one day I learned about a women named Selena Green.  She's a CPM and has 30 + years helping women give birth.  I checked out her website, read reviews about her work, and found out that she'd owned and operated a birthing center in Oakland, CA for many years before relocating to Hawaii. Best of all, I discovered that she lived less than two miles from us! She was literally in walking distance.  That was definite plus since we live so far away from any of the hospitals.  (This was another one of the primary reasons I'd planned for a home birth.)

 "I strongly believe it to be a sacred event that I am honored and humbled to be invited to participate in."--Selena Green, Hale Kealaula

I made contact with Selena, and we developed a great connection.  She gave me all sorts of advice and recommendations and was the first one to let me hear the sound of my baby's heartbeat in the first days of pregnancy.  The date of my first prenatal appointment at the clinic hadn't arrived, and Selena let me know that there was a Certified Nurse Midwife employed up there who would be more in line with my intentions of keeping the content of my prenatal visits and birth as natural as possible.  I switched my care to that medical professional immediately and am glad I did, as we turned out to cultivate a great relationship as well. 
"We believe that every woman has a right to safe, satisfying health care with respect for human dignity and cultural beliefs."--Hale Kealaula

Although I intended to have Selena be the one to help me deliver the baby, my partner and I had begun to research hospitals in case, for some reasons, we ended up going to one instead. 

He was mostly confident that going to a hospital would be unnecessary, but with us living so far out he worried about how long it might take to get to a hospital if something unexpected did come up and I needed emergency care that a hospital would be more equipped to provide.  As the months progressed, Selena and I maintained contact. She was very instrumental in my prenatal experience, and I looked forward to her being right there at the delivery.

By the time July came around--the month I would be giving birth--my partner was feeling less comfortable with the whole home birth idea.  Various factors played into his concerns, and although I was confident that all would be well, I respect him, his ideas, and his life experiences tremendously and was willing to compromise on this matter. I became more and more open to giving birth at a hospital, as long as I could maintain control over the process. 
In the end, we had an overall wonderful experience at a great hospital that even informs its patients/visitors of the birthing process in ancient Hawaii.  I can definitely respect that.   

I always wonder how things would have gone differently with my experience of actually giving birth had we stuck with the original home birth plan.  And while I certainly don't regret going to the medical center and wouldn't be opposed to giving birth there again, I do intend--if there are more babies in our future--to have a home birth experience, preferably with a midwife as skilled, experienced, loving, informed, and prepared as Ms. Selena Green. 

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