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.


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.


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.)


40 Replies to “All of it”

  1. You know, I think that part of the wonderful experience I had birthing Ailia (#2) was that it was at home, with no one else around for a lot of it – even my husband was busy doing his own thing (blowing up the birth pool I never got to use). I remember apologizing a LOT with Kieran – “sorry for being a pain, sorry for asking for help, sorry for being too loud,” etc. Laboring women should never be sorry!! I hope you can find another way to embrace that primal part of you if you ever have #3 – it’s raw, but it’s nothing to apologize for 🙂

  2. I had a moment with my son, when I arrived at the hospital and they’d filled the tub and I realized that while the three other people in the room (the nurse, my midwife and my husband) would all remain fully clothed, I was about to strip stark naked in front of them. And it was … odd. In my slightly altered state, I couldn’t decide if I cared, and eventually I just ran with it because I really wanted to get in that tub.

    Birth is challenging, and often in ways we don’t expect. And I think you’re right – we need to accept it for what it is. It may not be entirely glorious, and we may not love every moment, and that’s all right. It really is all right.

  3. Love the honesty in this post. As I look back on my births, the hardest part about both of them is the sense of lost dignity. I had a very large group of residents and nurses clustered at the end of my bed during my first birth. I didn’t have a stitch of clothing on by that point. With my second, it was my mother-in-law that got to see me completely unclothed, on my knees on my bathroom floor, hollering at the top of my lungs as the baby slid out. Two years later, I still feel a bit squirmy around her, knowing she was witness to me in such an undignified state. To top it all off, I had two male paramedics join me in that bathroom, continually trying to cover me up to preserve some sense of modesty, which didn’t even occur to me until long after they’d gone. It’s just all so embarrassing in hindsight…

    1. I have friends who have invited an audience and I just can’t handle it. My MIL had 3 c-sections and her daughter’s births were medicated hospital births. Oh. And I’m not comfortable enough to even really bf in front of her, soo…

  4. I felt that way too! I’m a modest person in general, and so giving birth in front of my mom and MIL in addition to hubby and medical ppl was a little embarrassing. But the really embarrassing part was when the nurse had to use a catheter to empty my bladder because I got an epidural. I wanted to die!!! I think that memory and the memory of the IV which I hate hate hated will be enough to make me really want to avoid it this time!

    1. I worked in a nursing home and *know* how those catheters work! I was in the ER because I was so sick with Liam and they wanted a urine sample, but I was so dehydrated I couldn’t pee and they wanted to do a cath. I refused. They were all shocked. We left and I informed Matt that I would never give birth in a hospital because they’d want to do that again. 🙂

  5. I was so completely opposite! 🙂 For my first birth, I was 17yo and birthed in a learning hospital. When asked, I agreed to let a line (literally a line) of students check my cervix. Seriously, years later, I wonder what I was thinking! The staff was so appreciative, though. Most women are too modest to allow for it and these students needed a learning opportunity. How strange to think… I bet they were all older than me, too! 😛

    Maybe a home birth (next time) would have you more comfortable with how vulnerable you have to be? Just a thought.

    1. I had my first pelvic exams at a teaching hospital in Tulsa… probably the same one as you? Anyway, didn’t care then, but man I care now! Age? Who knows… but the irony of the whole thing, we did have a homebirth… twice. Somehow, I thought it would help my anxiety. Apparently, no. Gotta work on that, right?

  6. For me it was the pooping. I guess we all have something. The nakedness didn’t bother me, but the pooping. How embarrassing.

    It’s hard to believe that our bodies can do all that – and still our minds hold onto our little insecurities. I remember neurotically asking my doctor to check me for poop multiple times during my first birth. Funny – I hadn’t thought about that in forever.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I love it when you say that you loved the contractions – this something I haven’t heard before and believe me I read A LOT of birthing mothers testimonials! You are such an inspiration, thank you 🙂

    1. Oh gosh yes. I’m so much a fan of the pain aspect of a contraction as I am the progress. But, honestly, I welcome the pain because it means there will be a baby soon!

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