Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tale of Six Births

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.
Like each child, each birth was so completely different.  And as with most things it is an experience amiable to refinement... you learn each time a little bit more about the process and a little bit more about yourself.  There are more things that were "perfect" about my later births, than my earlier births, but there are things about each to celebrate.  So here, now, are those moments....

1993 - first birth.  I went into this one fairly unprepared.  I had taken the hospital class, but honestly hadn't paid a whole lot of attention.  I had this impression that if you just "rode" the contractions like a wave it would all work itself out.  Huh, not quite like that.  So I had several interventions that I hadn't planned on and had not done the work personally, or on behalf of my support team, to create the type of birth I had envisioned.  I was pushing not a terribly long time if I remember correctly, and the Dr., who may have been the one on call, picked up a pair a scissors to perform an episiotomy.  I told him that if he came near me with those scissors I would kick him.  He didn't.  The first time I had really stood up for myself with a medical professional.

1997 - Austin.  He's not in the picture because we lost Austin at 26 weeks gestation to hydrops, but I couldn't write a story of my births without him. I celebrate the fact that we were able to hold him and spend time with him before we had to say goodbye.  His contribution to our family also gave us family unity in our decisions to leave our sons intact and later, to birth at home.

1998 - My what a journey.  There's nothing quite like a pregnancy and birth after a loss.  This was my first birth without an epidural.  I was incredibly proud of that as it was something that had been important to me previously but had not been fulfilled.  I also find humor in the fact that the poor ER dr who got called in to do the catch (due to the quick progression) had the amniotic sac burst just as he was sitting down on his little stool drenching both him and the wall behind.

2001 - My first homebirth. Uhm, yeah - my brain was a little out to lunch on this one as I didn't realize the incredible cramping I was experiencing was labor until I felt her head.  In my defense, other than Austin, I had always gone late and here it was 2 weeks before my EDD. This one we did on our own because when you don't call the midwife until you feel a head your usually SOL.  It was pretty amazing just our little family, but also pretty fabulous that our midwife lived just 10 minutes from us and walked in within a couple of minutes of the birth to help us navigate the next parts, not to mention the cleaning up.
2004 - First water birth. 9lb 14 oz baby.  Yeah I'm awesome ;-).  Actually I felt like I had been run over by a mac truck after it was said and done - but still it makes a great example about not prejudging a woman's ability to give birth.  I actually got to labor and know I was in labor.  I spent a nice 5-6 hours kneeling beside the bed, rocking, *laboring*, instead of the crash course of the previous two.  Oh and all of the kids got to be there; something we hadn't managed with the previous two, though we had tried (see preceding sentence).  The chatter of the older three on the bed while I was pushing is one of my favorite memories.

2007 - my "baby". This is the only one that I managed to get on video and I love this video.  I had always judged myself as being slightly out-of-control during pushing.  Not that I think that one should be in control, but you know how you have these ideas about yourself that don't apply to anyone else.  So anyway, I was slightly embarrassed at the whole thing, but watching that video I realized it wasn't nearly like I had pictured it in my head and I am proud of the strength that that woman on the video brings. And I knew I was in transition.  This was the first baby that I didn't panic during transition, but just knew what it was and went with it. That flow that I had assumed would just happen with my first birth had arrived.  And it was pretty darn perfect.
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.)
  • I was Foolish Then — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings describes how foolish lack of preparation for childbirth led to a feeling of powerlessness and fear, but that in the end she had her baby in her arms, and that's one thing she can celebrate.
  • Sometimes no plan is the best plan — Tat at Mum in search contemplates that maybe she doesn't need a birth plan for her upcoming birth.
  • Disturbing the peace — Kenna at Million Tiny Things thought she would be a calm, quiet baby-haver. Ha!
  • Accepting the Unexpected During Birth — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM imagined herself laboring on a birthing ball but she never imagined where she'd really be most comfortable when the time came...
  • Sacred This Time, Too — Kimber at The Single Crunch learned enough to know that the way she birthed wasn't they way she wanted to; but she also knew to enjoy it for what it was.
  • The Birth Partner: A Great Natural Labor Companion — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger thinks that the secret to her pleasant natural labors was having a great support system.
  • the Best Thing About My Labor ExperienceCrunchy Con Mommy realizes that amidst all the things that seemed to go wrong with her labor, the love and support of her husband was the one thing she could always count on!
  • Your Birth Was My FavoriteDulce de leche describes some of the highlights from each of her four births and explains why despite the differences, they are all her favorites.
  • Birth Story: Part One - Moon on a Stick! Gentle Mama Moon tells the first part of her birth story to share some of the delight of labouring at home.
  • Embracing My Birth Experience by Sharing My Birth Story — Dionna at Code Name: Mama made peace with her first birth by sharing the story with her son.
  • Focusing on the Beauty of Birth — Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares the beautiful aspects of her birth center water birth.
  • A Joyful Induced Delivery — Amy Willa: Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work notes the meditations and perspective that helped her achieve an unmedicated birth despite being induced for medical reasons.
  • Finding Joy in an Imperfect Childbirth Experience — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells what she learned from her two very different childbirth experiences.
  • What's to like about a c-section? — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama is glad she her second child at home, but she also cherishes much about the c-section she had four years earlier.
  • What Story Will I Tell? — Rachael at The Variegated Life realizes that the way she tells the story of her second child's birth matters — and could be exhilarating.
  • I Quietly Put My Hopes to Rest E — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her emotional ups and downs with the highly intervened birth of her special needs daughter, Bella.
  • Tale of Six Births — Jessica at Instead of Institutions appreciates that unique challenges and joys of each of her births.
  • Labouring naturally: nature’s gift — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the most beautiful, spiritual aspect of the labour of her son, the first stages along a bumpy road to giving birth.
  • All The Woman I Am. — Lindsay at This Woman's Work shares a poem about letting go and surrendering during the thralls of labor.
  • A twin birth story: embracing the unexpected — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her twin birth experience and how she found the silver lining when faced with preterm labor, premature birth, and a two-week NICU stay.
  • Giving Birth With Eminem — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how fiery rap music contributed to an empowered homebirth with her third baby.
  • Two Different Births — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life shares how she learned from her first birth experience and how to trust yourself and your body.
  • Embracing Our Potential: Birth as a Metaphor — Sheila from A Living Family guest posts at Natural Parents Network and expresses how birth has served as a metaphor to help her through other experiences in life.
  • Little Sister's Birth Story: Our VBAC Adventure — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama describes the recent birth story of her baby girl, her pride in an epidural-free VBAC, and how her story isn't exactly the birth experience she had planned for.
  • A Journey in Birth Confidence — Shannon at The Artful Mama shares her experiences with labor during both of her sons' births.


Shannon at The Artful Mama said...

Wow what an amazing journey. I love that you were able to come full circle with your births. I agree that what you learn during your previous births you take with you during your subsequent births. During my second birth - my internal dialogue about transition is an important memory from that birth. I had an oh no moment and then I snapped out of it and told myself you are ready. Thank you for sharing these.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Awesome stories :) We had enough time with Ailia for Tom to turn the video camera on and throw it on the table - there are no images. I'm not sure how I feel about hearing myself, but I'm glad we got something recorded.

Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama said...

Wow - you have been through it all! Thank you for sharing your journey!

Erica @ ChildOrganics said...

Thanks for sharing your birth experiences. I've learned so much about myself from each of my births. You've encouraged me to finally watch my birth video of my ds's birth. I haven't watched it yet. I'm curious how my perception of the birth compares with the reality.

jessica said...

I read a comment on one of the other posts about how learning to really understand the birth process - particularly transition - is an ongoing theme and I have to totally agree! It makes such a difference when you are able to trust the process (whether that is through faith or experience) and allow the birth to unfold.

I absolutely loved giving birth, from the first to the last, and I do think that is something to celebrate :)

Gretchen said...

I love how you learned something new from each birth - it makes them all so special and unique!

Luschka said...

How wonderful! I am so ...envious... of six birth experiences. That won't ever happen for me. I agree with you regarding the video. Watching the video changed my view of what the birth had looked like. It was wonderful having the evidence of the birth I wanted, even if it didn't match the memory of it! (Sorry I'm so late in commenting!)

Andrea @ talesofgoodness said...

I've heard all kinds of birth stories, but I'm not sure I've ever heard them all from the same woman. I also told my doc "don't you cut me" when I saw the scissors come out at my first. This is a great story. Thanks for sharing.

Alinka @ Baby Web said...

OMG five kids! When do you have the time to blog?! I’m delighted that you liked your water birth as this is what I’m going for when I give birth to my first baby next month :)

jessica said...

LOL - as far as having time to blog you can probably see from the sparseness of the posts that I don't really ;-). I have some friends who also have "larger" families who manage it much more frequently than I do and I definitely wonder the same thing!

It am very blessed with my experiences, but I also feel equally blessed at having been able to be a part of births with families during my doula woork and then also to be part of a community which shares all of our unique perspectives so freely. I am delighted that women are reclaiming the story of birth.