Monday, October 20, 2008

Natural Birthing

When we were pregnant with Seren, we read and read and read. Ina May's natural guide to childbirth was well flipped through. I thought I was ready. I visualized. I meditated.

With Seren, I went to a grand total of ONE birth class. Sam went to three classes- he attended two more while I was in the hospital- taking diligent notes and filling me in. But, like most of us, even despite my reading, I still felt totally unprepared. "What exactly do I "do" when they say to push?" One classic memory of the quick and intense labor was Sam saying with pride in his voice, "I just learned this tonight in class! Just tonight!"

The birth itself was beautiful and natural. It was quick. My one regret is not feeling her emerge. The doctor asked if I wanted to feel her head. I said no. I was WORKING. I just remember thinking, "Nope. No stopping to have an emotional moment. I am workin' here. Let me birth my child." (But I do regret that since there are few times in life you are so close to a miracle!) My water broke at 1:15 am at home which was awesome after 3 weeks in the hospital and Seren was born at 4:45 am. I remember the doctor yelling out "4:45" and thinking, "What the hell? Like we want to know the time!? I'm busy over here!"

Oh right, the time of BIRTH. Right. I guess that IS good to know!

I was so grateful that I was able to deliver naturally with no drugs. This was very important to me.

However, after the birth, I had to deliver the placenta. Since Seren arrived early, the placenta was "stuck". The doc gave it a tug and sprayed blood all over him and his glasses. I distinctly remember that. He also then looked at me and said, "That was stupid. I should have not done that." So we waited and waited. Nothing. Meanwhile, Seren had been whisked to the NICU. So I had to go into surgery to have the placenta removed. I remember saying, "PLEASE! Don't cut me!" I was so confused, tired, exhausted, I feared that after all that WORK that they would have to cut it out. Hey, cut me some slack, I had just been through a long ordeal.

I love birth stories beacuse every single one is unique. And how we respond to experiences is shaped but what we wanted going into the experience. One day I will tell the full birth story here. And I'll surely tell my son's birth story here. But all of this pre-term labor, if anything, helps you realize that yes, you will be in labor again. Despite my best laid plans, we had to cancel our birth class this time as well due to bedrest. And I'm nervous that I should do or read SOMETHING about breathing through contractions, etc. Will I remember what the heck to do? Will I have ANY strength in my muscles after all of these weeks sitting on my tush to actually BIRTH a human?

And to be honest, while I LOVED the natural birth, and relived it many, many times, in my mind, I can't say I'm all about signing myself up for that again. It freaking hurts! If I am given the chance to do it again, I need to do much more meditating and visualizing. The past 5 weeks, I keep thinking about keeping the baby IN, it is going to be hard to switch gears and think about "opening", "surrendering" and "letting go".

I suppose truth be told and fears aside about the physical pain, I'd still love to give birth vaginally. I'd certainly love for him not to be in the NICU. So that I can just HOLD him right after the birth and not "share" him with NICU docs and nurses.

I guess, really, with this pregnancy, like all pregnancies, I know that anything can happen and we can't control the situation at all. Like parenting, you are (mostly) unprepared but you do your best, you learn, and you just hold on for the ride.

Friends, I'm still holding on.


LauraC said...

Wow, I didn't know you did a natural birth for Seren! That is awesome. That was my goal. Goal not accomplished there, but I am totally fine with my outcome.

Although it kind of seems like the 12, yes 12, weeks of classes I attended were a complete waste :) I learned more about my birth experience when I went to my c-section class at the hospital.

Beth said...

I didn't get very much out of the class we took. But then again, I'm an epidural girl. I totally admire you for doing natural with Seren! But I wholeheartedly recommend the epidural. For me, it was a very, very good thing!

BTW--I tagged you!

Sophia Nelson said...

I gave birth to 3 wonderful children, all came in less than 15 minutes, and I experienced no pain at all.

As a matter of fact it was quite joyful!

I created the Zero Pain Child Birth Blueprint. You can read about it here:

or here

Sophia Nelson

Julie said...

I am super-impressed that you went natural with Seren! I took the classes which were totally useless. I missed the one on C-sections, which is what I ended up with. So my preparations were useless all around! I hope you have a great birth experience and I hope this time around you can get the immediate snuggles with your new baby.