Friday, March 13, 2009

On Birth

This entry has been floating around in my brain for a while
(mostly while trying to fall asleep)
and it has been really inspired...
while in my head.
No promises now that pen is to paper so-to-speak.

It's tricky to talk about birth
or at least
it seems to be
Whenever anyone finds out your pregnant
(particularly for the first time)
"experienced" moms come out of the woodwork to share their birth stories
read horror stories
"I was in labor for 43 hours and it was torture
I almost died
but then I got my epidural
then the baby almost died
so I had an emergency c-section
thank goodness....
good luck!
in the end it's all worth it" (big smile)
(the above is a compilation of several comments overheard and spoken directly to me when I'm the pregnant mom-to-be).
This is soooo frustrating.
It doesn't have to be this way.
But it has become the normal in our culture.
So sad.
Yeah, it's hard
this whole giving birth thing
possibly the hardest thing you've ever done
(but not necessarily)
but incredibly you survive
you more than survive.
You can do this
You were made to do this (let me quickly say: this does not mean it is a woman's "purpose" or only means to "fullfillment" or anything similiar- only that your body is designed to do this and CAN do it without intervention).
So often the reason that women "almost die" or babies "almost die" and are miraculously rescued by the heroic medical professional is because of the interventions earlier introduced to the birthing process by that very same professional- often without mom's (or dad's or anyone else not paid to be present at the birth) knowledge.
I am not for one second trying to say that medical professionals are trying to put moms and babies in dangerous situations.
I think often these situations arise because medical professionals (primarily thinking of ob's but also nurses and some midwives- depending on their background) have only seen the approximately 2% of abnormal, scary, emergency births.
When faced with a normal birth it is boring, often long, and intervention (from the johnny to the iv/hep loc to the c-section) is completely unecessary and actually adds to the danger of giving birth.
For something like 98% of births the ideal situation is for the mom to birth in whatever way she wishes.
Unfortunately as a culture we are not exposed to normal birth.
We see "A baby story" and hear the horror stories of those that have gone before so when in the situation of birth we have the script we're supposed to follow.
For me, that meant insisting on getting in the bed and really really wanting to lie down when it was ready for Noah to be emerge- despite encouragement from the midwife to choose any other position besides lieing down.
And when we "fail" (ie the birth ends up not being what we envisioned) we blame ourselves (ie I couldn't do it) when really there are often so many things stacked against the normal "ideal" birth that we all crave.

I don't know what to tell moms who are expecting their first baby any day.
I want to say that it will be hard.
But not impossible by any stretch.
In fact- it's very very doable and when you've done it....
well... you've done it!
You! Strong, powerful, magnificent, Momma!
Expect it to be hard work....
but wait!
Don't listen to that person who is insisting that you will be begging for the epidural and that it will be completely unbearable.
A large portion of the challenge of birth is your expectation.
If you expect it to be impossible.... like anything in life... it will be.
If you expect that you can do it.... well- you will!
And if things don't turn out exactly like you had envisioned know that you did the absolute best you could and the interventions have their place and are wonderful when used responsibly.
Also know that if it doesn't go as you had hoped (and I hate to even entertain the thought because I want to assume that you will without making you feel pressured to perform) know that while everyone says: "at least you have a healthy baby and mom!" that it's okay to mourn the loss of the experience you were hoping for.
Yes, obviously healthy baby and mom are desired but that doesn't mean that a healthy birth is not also a valid desire.
In the end it is YOUR birth.
Not mine
not the birth attendant's
or your partner's
or anyone else's
and the birth decisions you make are yours alone to make (okay- so yes, the partner maybe should have some input too...)
There's more I could say but the two babies I have birthed are needing their mom:)
And because my sister loves pictures here is a picture of each baby within an hour of their births...
births that I'm thrilled to have experienced.




Just Another Jenny said...


That's all. Well said.

*just* said...

Thanks so much:) It's hard to be succinct and there's so much more I wanted to say but I had to tell myself that it was enough to get people thinking. I just want people to make informed decisions- even if they aren't the same decisions I would make- instead of automatically doing what a person in authority (e.g. doctor) says to do.

Femefatal7 said...

gah the very thought of a spawn coming out of my vagina is enough to make me quiver in dread.

haha that's it.

Melissa said...

I agree with all you wrote!
I'm a month and a half away from my third birth. . . .Looking forward to it and not, simultaneously. Definitely hard, but completely do-able!

*just* said...

Yeah... there is this realization that the only way to do this is to push this baby out and that can be (is?) scary in ways. I just kept reminding myself that clearly this works if the human population is anything to go by.