Tuesday, April 12, 2011

two birth stories (A about M, and M about A)

I have been thinking more about labor and delivery these days, since they should be upon me in the next four to ten weeks. And I keep thinking about the moms around me, and the control they've either taken themselves of their pregnancies and births or have relinquished to care givers, not knowing their options.

Let me start right off by saying that I know most everybody wants the very best for their children and themselves, so stories like these can make people feel regretful about their own journeys if they were different. And I hate that! Feeling threatened or judged, we avoid talking or thinking about complex issues. But every story has room for redemption - that's what I think - whether a person is done having kids or not. So, hopefully these will inspire you in one way or another, maybe having nothing to do with childbearing!

These two friends, one from college and one from the blogosphere, recently had babies, and their blog stories are beautiful (and eerily similar), although they expressed them quite differently! Melissa's story is longer and more descriptive of the specific choices she made, so that's helpful for those in the same boat who want ideas. Both women had their first children (boys) five or six years ago by C-Section. Both were disappointed in the births and wondered in hindsight if their C-sections could've been avoided. Both adopted their second children. Melissa had a third child by VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) two years ago, and both just had little girls by VBAC in the last few months. The differences in their second and third births were tremendous; they educated themselves on what they could do differently and they chose care givers with similar values. In regard to large babies (which both had with the first), they both carefully watched their diet this time (and other things) and were rewarded with babies who were about 8.5 pounds. 

Melissa's story about Amarys 

Autumn's story about Mavis

For moms-to-be, or women who hope to one day be mothers, I urge you, I beg you, please immerse yourself in these and similar stories. For some odd reason, it's not a mainstream idea to take control of your pregnancy and delivery, to ask questions, and to go with your maternal instincts. So if you're just going by what you hear, you'll think childbirth is mostly about pain and struggle (and that modern medical interventions are there to save you). But the rewards for birthing the way your body intended are out of this world! And from what these two women say, there's a lot of redemption to be had, ways you can heal from past trauma and disappointment in birth.

While I'm talking about stories, I'll throw out a suggestion for one of my favorite birth books, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Ina May is like the guru of midwives in the United States, and this book of hers is insightful and empowering. The whole first half is birth stories, and the second half is practical things you can do at various points of pregnancy and labor to have a natural, safe, and fearless delivery. She studied indiginous childbirth around the world and learned from midwives who don't have medical options at their fingertips, but she's not opposed to medical care when a true emergency arises.

The secret to natural childbirth is not that birth is pain free, but that women are strong.  
- paraphrase of a quote I read in a clinic and can't find the source for


Shana said...

Lori-I love your quote at the end. When ever I teach my lamaze classes I have a different set of laminated cards that I made that I put up all over the walls scattered around the room with quotes like this. They are affirmations for the mamas. Some are serious, some are silly....like an old native American one: If you lie down, the baby will not come out. he he.
Affirmations make women feel empowered, I hope....

Shana said...

p.s. that is a quote that I use by the way. :)

melissa said...

hey! I got a link and props! xoxo to you too! Thanks! Birthing really is a journey, in so many many ways. Not just the one pregnancy and birth, but all that we choose to have (or that choose to have us), in a continuum. Hopefully you'll have sparked an interest in your previous post's momma regarding c-sections, pregnancy, diet, and that things can be different. You never know.
For the record, my first baby was a cesarean for breech, not because he was big. Although he WAS big, and afterwards my OB said, "Sometimes things happen for a reason," as though his being big *would* have been a problem for me, that was not the reason for the cesarean. She encouraged me to have a VBAC next time, which I'm grateful for. I already knew I would, but it was very good for me to have that affirmation from an OB.
And then Riley was a crazy amount of redemption for me; I threw myself into educating myself, whereas I had totally resisted that the first time around! And now look at me! Birth nutter. With a placenta in my freezer. Lol.
I love that quote, I'ma gone use it on Mothers of Change, K?
(Have you read The Help? Very good book!! You should get it from your library, SOON! Nothing to do with birthing, but it's good)

lori said...

Shana - - any idea the source of the quote I used? I like the Native American one too.

Melissa - - I will correct my post about the reason for your C-section! I have a placenta in my freezer too, though I'm thinking it's about time to do something with it. ha ha. But soon there'll be two, Lord-willing and if the creek don't rise. I love the t-shirt that says that: "I have a placenta in my freezer."

Shana said...

I'll look at all of my affirmation cards and see if I have who the author is on it....I love those cards. They are so inspiring, empowering, you name it. Make you feel like you are in control and can DO it.

2 Moms of a Feather...Stick Together said...

Hey Lori,
As I was reading this I was thinking back on the birth of my 8 children...the oldest 2 I had in the hospital as it was kind of a "new" thing having you babies at home. Those 2 weighed 8lb 9oz and 8lbs 2oz.
The rest (6) were born at home... 5 of them weighing in at the 8lbs + & 9lbs +. My last child weighed 10lbs 4oz (he was the quickest and easiest). Anyway my point is a big baby should NOT mean automatic C-section...this is one thing that erks me about some Doctors!
Thanks for letting me vent. ;-)
Take care,
P.S. Freebie: I never ate any of the Placentas (never have like liver).
We have buried them in the ground...some people plant a tree with them.

2 Moms of a Feather...Stick Together said...

Here is a P.S. I just thought of...
I think some women think that if their Doctor says...you might have to "have" a C-section...that it will be an "easy" way of giving birth...what they probably don't think about is the recovery time they will need...which is less time to enjoy your new baby.
Just my 2 cents worth. 8-)

Elaine said...

I totally agree with mommys-to-be educating themselves about pregnancy and delivery. I wish I would have known more....unfortunately we just believed everything the doctor said. And yet another doctor would have probably said something completely different. As BJ reminds me these days, "they don't call it the practice of medicine for nothing."

Shana said...

Lori-I found who spoke that quote and put some others on my blog as well! ;)