I enjoyed working with the doula and thinking about how I could “reframe” pain and manage my panic in labor (panic is a big thing for me). I also prepared “birth affirmations” and put them on index cards for the doula to read to me when I started to panic during labor. I also read a wonderful book called The Big Book of Birth that gave much information about labor both physiologically and psychologically.
Our daughter’s birth proved two things. One, that indeed there were reasons why a person from a developing country might reject this first world’s interpretation of healthcare. I don’t blame any single employee or system for my water breaking or the tub or any of the hospital-related unpleasantries. Those just come with the territory of business. Two, and more importantly, it proved to my boyfriend that many women are capable of giving birth on their own.
Like many first time pregnant moms I envisioned that my labor and delivery would go a certain way. I planned a natural birth using Bradley Method techniques, hired a doula, and anticipated laboring at home for as long as possible before heading to the hospital to deliver. I wanted minimal medical interventions and no drugs. I managed to pull off the no pain medication and a vaginal birth, but only after a four day induction and a heap of drugs helped get me there. Here’s how it all went down.
I woke up at 6:30 with what felt like menstrual cramps. I don’t know how many times I’ve read that phrase at the beginning of the scores of birth stories I’ve read over the months but it just didn’t seem real now that it was actually happening to me. I knew then that this was definitely labor, but couldn’t imagine I’d have a baby at the end of the day.
“You want to do what?!” “Will there be doctors there?” “Why would you want to do that?” “What about what happened to (insert an unknown to me name here)”? These are just some of the questions and reactions I got when I decided to do a home birth. Some people just could NOT grasp the fact that for me, there was no need to be lying up on a hospital bed, in an unflattering hospital gown, being poked and prodded. I know because I have had that type of experience with my first born.
I had woken up exhausted and I was in excruciating abdominal pain. I stumbled into the bathroom and collapsed on the floor. Too weak to speak in anything louder than a whisper I began calling my partner’s name. He couldn’t hear me, but my kitties Tiki and Timber sure could. Luckily for me, they managed to wake my hubby who quickly came to see what was wrong. All I was able to whisper out was “Something exploded inside me” so he quickly carried me out to the car and off to the hospital we went. I had no idea my life was about to change.
I’m 13 weeks pregnant and I recently found out that due to a few pre-existing medical conditions, it’s very possible the birth of my child will have to be induced at 38 or 39 weeks. I’ve been hoping to deliver without the aid of pain medication, and now I’m not sure this will be possible.
The memories are fleeting. They sink like photographs thrown into a deep lake. Lulling back and forth, the water blurs their edges until they fade entirely from view. It’s only been a week since I gave birth, and yet, perhaps as some evolutionary protective instinct, my recollection is already hazy. The experience feels more like a montage of images viewed through frosted glass, than a movie to re-play at will.