When speaking of Anya, people often ask me:
- Would you still want to be followed by a midwife in the future?
- Do you think it would have made a difference if Anya had been born in a hospital?
- Would you return to the birth centre next time you're in labour?
And what I ask myself:
- Was I too blazé when I was pregnant? Was I careful enough?
- Was it something I ate?
- Did my pelvis somehow crush Anya's head and cause her brain to hemorrhage?
- If I had pushed harder, longer, faster, would Anya still be alive?
Here is what I have to believe to stay sane and not drive myself crazy with guilt and what ifs:
Yes, I would still be followed by a midwife in the future - or at least some combination of a midwife and a doctor, depending on the autopsy or any future test results. I trust our midwives completely. If test results indicated medical expertise was necessary, I know they would recommend (and I would want) to be followed by a doctor. Our midwives took the time to get to know Anya, and now they are caring for our hearts. I don't think I could get through my next pregnancy and birth without their support.
No, I don't think it would have made a difference if I had been in a hospital instead of the birth centre. I ask myself this question a lot. Sure, if I had been in a hospital, they may have used forceps or done an emergency C-section, and Anya might have been born 15 minutes earlier. But I believe Anya would still have died. We met a couple recently, in a very similar situation to us. Their son was born in a hospital, after an emergency C-section, but that didn't save him from dying. Medical advances have made a huge difference in childbirth. But we can't control life and death, and sometimes seemingly healthy babies still die.
Next time I give birth, it will be in a hospital. As much as I have to believe it wouldn't have made a difference if Anya had been born in a hospital, I do have a tiny, minuscule sliver of doubt. And that is enough to sway my decision.
As for the questions I ask myself, I realize they are mostly irrational. Still, I will be less blazé - less naive really - throughout my next pregnancy, I will be more attentive to what I eat, and I will try to remain sane knowing I may never have answers to the question Was it something I did?