All of it

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

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I stumbled around writing this post.  This month’s carnival topic is on embracing your birth experience.  I didn’t have dramatic births.  Both of them went essentially according to plan, even though Liam’s birth was much harder than I had imagined.  I wasn’t short on education in the field of birth.  I had the best instructor and a wonderful team mate.  When labor started, I felt prepared.  After all, I had watched many, many births both in reality tv format and Old Western Movie format.

That being said, I didn’t count on how I would feel.  I didn’t realize I was going to be in such an unladylike… ah… position for so long.  I didn’t count on my personal modesty being such an issue.  While in labor I kept apologizing about being so… ugh.  Ok, look.  Other women I know were freaked out about pain or tearing or vomiting or pooping.  I did not care one cent for any of those certain moments.  Not at all.  The hardest challenge for me above missing my mom, above Liam twisting and turning inside me with each contraction, above the agonizing back labor… my biggest challenge was that I was at my most vulnerable for much longer than I had planned on being vulnerable.

When my friends would talk about their favorite moment of delivery, it always had something to do with the birth itself.  I love that first contraction.  I love the last contraction.  I love even that freakishly wobbly feeling as your child slips out.  Honestly, I even loved the moment I tore right before Liam came out because I knew all the pain was over and I was finally getting to hold him.  I did not love not wearing my underpants for 16+ hours.

When I was in labor with Sylvi, I was still embarrassed that I wasn’t as modest as I’d like to have been.  I tried all sort of ridiculous options to be covered, but as it turned out, they just wound up on the floor and I had to give up.  The moment I embraced the whole process of my labor and got over the fact that I was embarrassed that I had asked for help and for Tylenol (again!) and had sat in the bathtub and sobbed, my labor came to a complete lull.  For one glorious, peaceful hour, I got to embrace the nearness of birth without fear, without care, without pain.  Of course, at 1001am, the wicked contractions kicked in again and 24 minutes later, I was holding Sylvi in my arms.

This isn’t a really cohesive post and for that I apologize.  I don’t have one epic moment to embrace in my birth experiences.  I have to embrace it all.  If I hold on to fear of failure or pain or potential “failure” from my plans, I can’t embrace the method by which my child comes to my arms.  If I allow myself to focus solely on the fact that while in labor, I am decidedly unladylike and downright primal, I cannot let go enough to birth my child.  I know that if we have another child, I will struggle to accept naked vulnerability once again, but I know how to do it now.  I’m grateful for simple birth experiences that are filled with my own personal struggles.  I’m grateful I’ve gotten to have my own desires in how these births have played out.  And I’m so grateful for healthy, beautiful children.  I grateful I have birth experiences to even embrace.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)

 

Portrait of a Homebirther

This post has been swirling around in my mind for quite a while.  Both of my children were born at home and often, people are shocked to hear this.  I think that since homebirth is something that isn’t trumpeted in Ohio, most people don’t even know that it exists.

We chose to have a home birth because I was afraid to go to the hospital.  It’s true.  I wanted an unmedicated birth because I was a biologist and I have a working knowledge of how medications are transported across the placenta.  I wanted to do my best to avoid any and all medications, but I know myself.  Sometimes, no matter my resolve, I will cave when miserable and presented with an alternative.  I also know the way I handle pain and lying in a bed was going to be awful for me.  I had thought about going to an actual birthing center with the soft lighting and the romanticized care, but that would involve a long car drive.  Even switching hospitals would involve a drive longer than 5 minutes.

In the end, I didn’t want my babies to be born where I didn’t live.  I wanted to be at peace while in labor and as someone who hates leaving her home, I knew I’d be most comfortable in my bedroom.  I wanted to curl up with my newborn in my own bed, with my own pillows.  I wanted to watch episodes of Friends and cuddle with our pug in the early stages of labor.

I had a plan for my births.  I knew what I wanted to do.  I had a trained midwife and her apprentice at my side.  We were in walking distance of the nearest hospital.  We were prepared for a variety of situations.

As we all know, the human body doesn’t always get the memo on my plan.  Liam’s birth was harder than I had anticipated.  Sylvi’s birth was in my bathtub when I had planned to just sit in there and get some relief during the contractions; who knew I was fully dilated?!  I learned that with birth, a time table, a plan, an outline doesn’t work for me.  My goal from now on is simply to have a healthy baby.

We’re educated and well read.  I had planned a career in medicine, but wound up in research.  My husband is a very talented  graphic designer.  We took classes, read the literature and watched the documentaries.  We were prepared.  Birth wasn’t something we took lightly, despite what many people thought.  We knew we had made the decision that was best for our growing family.

I had decided I wanted a home birth before we were even married.  Truth be told, I had read an awful lot of Wild West novels and I kind of romanticized the idea of a pot of hot water and some clean towels.  However rosie-eyed I was about birth, I just knew a hospital birth wasn’t going to work for me.  I wouldn’t trade our experiences for anything and will welcome the chance to do it again if the opportunity presents itself (not pregnant by the way).  Home birth made sense for us and after waking up snuggled under my favorite sheets with my baby, less than 24 hours old I can’t imagine doing it any other way.