Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Baby #3's birth story - more thoughts

After thinking about my blog for awhile, I realized that I left out some important details. I don’t want to forget these things so here they are.

Almost as soon as I learned that I was pregnant, I called my midwifery group that I'd used with #2. I requested the midwives that had been at his birth. I wasn’t thrilled with everything that had happened, but figured we could work it out. I couldn't get them, they were on vacation when I was due, but I was assigned two of the most experienced midwives in the group. As soon as I met them, I loved them. I had a great first visit with my primary midwife. We chatted and laughed and had a long visit. She was finishing my sentences. We were on the exact same page on everything important to me. I so looked forward to our visits. I could talk about pregnancy and birth and babies all day, every day (just ask my husband!) and finally had some people who were as excited about it as I was.

Fast forward several months. We had to move from Canada to the States. I was 30 weeks pregnant and devastated to lose my midwives that I’d bonded with so well. I told my husband that I HAD to find a new midwife ASAP and I would not give up on my plan to birth at home (unless there was medical indication to do so). That would just be too much. Before leaving Canada, I posted on a board on Facebook asking for recommendations for a midwife in the area that we would be living. I got only one response, but she recommended a few different midwives. I emailed all of them and got only one reply.

We met with her a few days after arriving here. I had anticipated a 45-60 minute meeting, as my appointments in Canada had been (and I was thrilled with that, compared to the 5-10 minutes that I saw my doctor for my first pregnancy!) She spent about 3 hours with us I think, just with us getting to know each other. I really appreciated her taking the time with us so that we could get to know each other, especially with so little time remaining in my pregnancy.

I liked her as soon as I saw her. The more we talked, the more we liked her. Then she mentioned church and we learned that we shared the same faith. I was thrilled. I’d left my home, my friends, my family, my church, my midwives, my country… I’d been pushed entirely out of my comfort zone, and here I was, sitting on a futon in this midwife’s office and feeling totally at home. God had definitely set up our meeting!

I had already basically written my birth plan. I found it funny and wonderful that the opening paragraph of my birth plan was said to me almost word for word by my midwife during our first meeting and she’d never read it. It talked about how I view the role of my midwife as similar to that of a lifeguard: to stand by the side and make sure everything is going okay, and jump in if there is a problem. Almost every point on my birth plan was standard care for her. I was thrilled to hear this.

So this is why I was so happy to see her when I was in labour :) I know that God had everyone there that was supposed to be there.

The second thing I wanted to record is this.

I struggled during the birth, as many birthing women do. As I birthed his head and shoulders, it felt like I was dying. My doula-mind was saying to me, “You feel like you’re dying. This is great! That means that the baby is almost here!” Meanwhile, my body was saying to me, “This is too much, I can’t do this!”

I was meditating on this. Why must we go through this process of feeling so close to death in order to bring forth life? Perhaps it was the memory of being in the water that spurred my epiphany. It was like a baptism for me. I went in a mother of two and emerged a mother of three. I went in broken, with memories of an intense birth, difficult delivery, and traumatic postpartum. I came out healed, with memories of another intense yet good birth, with no complications, surrounded by people I loved and who loved me. I can still remember what happened with my previous births, but the pain isn’t there when I think about it.

There is no less selfless act than to give up your life for another. In giving birth, I thought I was dying. At some point though, I stopped caring about that. I just wanted to make sure that he got out and was okay.

I had really worked during this pregnancy to practice self-hypnosis. I wanted to be able to get out of my own way. As Ina May puts it, to let my inner monkey do it. To stop analyzing every little thing and trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing and instead, just do whatever my body told me to do. I didn’t totally stop analyzing. I heard the midwife mention a purple line and knew what that meant. (I even wanted to ask for a picture so I could see but then another contraction hit and I forgot about it.) I felt sick and knew transition was coming. I knew exactly how the double hip press worked to open up my pelvis and take the pressure off my back. Yet this time, I was able to analyze all that and more and it didn’t bog me down. I still let my monkey do what it needed to do. I didn’t get in my body’s way. To put it another way, I died to myself (my thoughts, will, emotions) and just let God and my baby and my body work together to give birth. (Not that I didn’t still need reminders at times ;) )

You can laugh at me; maybe I’m making a big deal out of something that isn’t. However, there’s no denying that I feel different now. I felt totally different literally the instant that he was born. I now have a beautiful birth memory to cherish. I honestly can’t think of a single major thing that I would change if I could have a do-over. I know it doesn’t mean as much to everyone (at least they say it doesn’t) but it means a lot to me. You ask a 90-something year old woman what her births were like and she’ll tell you, in detail! Birth matters :)

Now the real work begins. Now I will die to my wants and needs every day for this wee one, at least for awhile. At least, I’ll do my best to do so :)

1 comment:

  1. Love this Anna.... God really does change us in the "moments". xo


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