Thursday, May 1, 2008


This post is more for me than for you (I guess the rest of this blog is, too). I finally borrowed a copy of Birthing From Within by Pam England.

I've been feeling for some time that I had done all I could on paper to prepare for this birth. I interviewed and found a supportive midwife. I hired a doula. I'm getting regular chiropractic care and going for prophylactic acupuncture lest my blood pressure decided to creep up. I'm taking vitamins and eating more protein and vegetables. I'm eating less sugar and white flour/rice/pasta.

I mentally quarterback countless situations - I imagine myself giving birth in each room of my house; I plan what to say to a pushy nurse if I end up in the hospital; I wonder if the hospital bathrooms have locks on the doors so no one can force me into anything. I also try out different birthing positions - squatting, sitting, standing leaning on the stove and the counter.

I didn't do any of this imagining when pregnant with the Hippo. I'm not sure, but I think I was too scared that something would go haywire if I thought about it too much. Lo and behold, something did go haywire and I was woefully under-prepared. It's almost as though I knew throughout my pregnancy that I would end up with a c-section, even though I desperately didn't want one. I didn't know how to save myself and I depended on other people to save me. I didn't even depend on G-d to save me from my ignorance. I don't recall praying at all during that pregnancy, though I must have from time to time.

Here I am now trying to figure out how to will myself into a homebirth. I pray nearly every day that my baby be born healthy and vaginally here at home. As I mentioned above, on paper, I'm ready to go. I don't think I've consciously examined my fears, though. Fear is driving me at this point. I'm afraid:

* that I'll lose control and allow others to make decisions for me that I wouldn't have made for myself
* that I'll somehow fail physically
* that I'll disappoint myself and my husband (even though I know he would never be disappointed)
* that I'll disappoint my children ("my mom couldn't give birth - she had all her babies by c-section")
* that I'll never experience the primal experience of giving birth
* that I won't be able to cope if I have another c-section
* that I'll realize after the fact that any medical interventions were unnecessary

Most of my fears are related to losing control. I recently discussed with my husband that I want to wait to call the midwife until labour is well-established and I'm progressing (I'll do my own cervical checks assuming I can still reach...). This strikes me as dishonest and maybe the plan will become clearer as time goes on. Perhaps the midwife will only want a call to let her know I'm in labour and then I'll get to decide when to call her to come.

I can't remember if I already posted this and I'm too lazy to go look. A few months ago I dreamt that my water broke. I wasn't having any contractions and I started to panic that I would be put on the infamous 24-hour timeline. I decided to try pushing to see what happened. I reached down and felt just a lip of cervix over the baby's head. I pushed it back and my daughter fell out into my hands. I called for my husband - wherever we were it was just the two of us. I don't remember his reaction. I vaguely remember thinking - no one will believe me because no one was here to see it!

This was an important dream for me. I had contemplated asking my former midwife (the one of the pair that I like and respect - who was genuinely sad and sorry after the fact) to be the back-up midwife for my current mw (who doesn't have a set back-up). Then I realized that by "inviting" her to my birth, I was turning it into a show - a feat of strength. "See? I can do this and you didn't believe me."

I realized this was dangerous to what I wanted for my birth - a healthy baby, peace, and a vaginal delivery. The dream gave me this insight. It also helped nourish my inner hope that I'm secretly a birthing powerhouse - babies just fall out of me big and healthy and plump - if I'm left alone. I try to focus on this image. Nevertheless, I know it's important to recognize my fears and find a way through them. Odds are my baby won't just fall out like in the dream and I will experience at least some discomfort. Strangely, the pain doesn't phase me. Thank G-d I've never experienced severe pain so I have absolutely NO idea what I'm in for. That said, I have faith that my body was designed to give birth and can handle the pain involved.

Whew. I guess that's enough introspection for one night.

1 comment:

Mud Mama said...

Huge hugs!!!

Pray Love, pray.

Calm that restless monkey mind and pray,

and then listen in that loving peaceful silence.

You know what? I *knew* Nature Girl would be a girl and that she would be born in the setting sun. I even knew she'd have nuchal hand (arm - she came our waving) I *knew* despite planning like crazy for a womyn supported birth I would ultimately birth Wild Thing alone - unassisted. And I knew that I needed to be prepared for Sprout to be born by c-section and I was surprised when I was "allowed" to labour in preparation for a vaginal birth (and really a c-section would have been less traumatic for both of us) I knew in a deep down settled in my bones way.

The only one I wasn't prepared for was Dark Mirror - I could not accept that ANYTHING could go wrong and pushed all those thoughts away. So I was not prepared emotionally for his cord wrap and how floppy he was (double cord wrap too tight to lift over his head, super low apgars) I should have allowed myself to deal with fears as they arose.
You will too.

The fear, when you're ready to birth, lifts and you'll just KNOW how to react if you let yourself take the counsel those fearsa bring with them.