Sunday, August 10, 2014

Birthing

Believe in affirmations, not in the delusional sense but in the very real, what you give is what you get sense.   

When I first found out I was pregnant, my first reaction was one of fear. The ills of the world suddenly weighed heavy on me as I contemplated all the possible things that could go wrong with the pregnancy, the fetus, the birth, and then the child. It was self-torture and negative thinking at its finest hour. Why I then chose to affirm these thoughts with hours of Discovery Health pregnancy horror documentaries is beyond my rational thought process. There was a part of my consciousness that wondered whether being put on bed rest and having an early delivery might have been caused by my own thinking, but I dismissed it. When I took my baby girl home I felt this immense love and gratitude that though she was preemie and tiny, she was also healthy and thriving.

4 years later, our family of three had this very profound feeling that there was a presence missing from our lives. I often caught my daughter looking longingly at her friends’ siblings, and then sweetly vocalize to us her desire for a baby sister. Considering my previous pregnancy complications, it felt like a risky path to take, but we all agreed not to dwell too much on the what ifs and just go for it. It was then that I discovered how thoughts can also change a person’s trajectory.

I discovered hypnobirthing, conscious childbirth, and alas even orgasmic labor. Have you ever heard of an orgasmic birth? If not, please watch:






As women, the majority of us have been ingrained with what a pregnancy and a birth should be like. Society says your pregnancy will most probably be afflicted with uncomfortable symptoms ranging from nausea to fatigue. Then the labor will be so painful, so unbearable you will need intravenous injections in your spine to handle it. Never mind that women have been laboring naturally for years and have never lacked the strength for it. How many cultures have you read about whose women simply go off into the bush, squat, and come back with a precious newborn suckling on their breast?

Before I could even get pregnant again, I had to conquer my fears and discover the power of my body. Luckily I had started a health regime sometime after my first daughter turned 3. I was in the best shape of my life, and had even turned vegan 6 months prior to my second pregnancy. Physically, I felt amazing.

The body can be easy to shape, but what of the mind?

My house filled with books and affirmation CDs on all the different types of peaceful birthing techniques out there. The only thing I knew at that point was that I wanted a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). To be successful with a VBAC the woman must do everything she can to avoid hospital interventions, especially epidurals. Every woman chooses what is best for her but the decision making process is more complicated when VBAC is the goal. After endless hours of research and reading, I realized that an epidural could potentially cause more harm than its worth. To mention just a few, it could obscure the pain of a uterine rupture, prolong my labor, or affect the baby’s heart rate which would inevitably result in another cesarean. Though I was prepared to do what was best for my baby, the road I strived for would preferably be an all natural path.

Of course, I really wanted an Orgasmic Birth. Who wouldn’t want such a thing? But something in me – albeit perhaps a bit closed and negative minded - something in me denied that this could be my personal experience. My view of labor though is very intimate, as intimate as the act of conception, as having an orgasm. This is why we chose not to have a midwife or a doula with us. I did entertain the idea of having my daughter present, but in the end my husband and I decided to undergo the journey as privately as the moment we conceived it.  

It’s a hell of a bitch to labor naturally and walk through the hospital corridors trying to stay in the zone. It felt like an internal battle zone amidst a sea of Buddhas on spa day. Practically all the women on the floor had opted for pain relief and they appeared to be in a sphere of paradise. I’d pass their candle scented rooms, and glimpse them lying in their beds looking like glorious goddesses, sipping tea, and giggling with their family members.

But I persevered and channeled all our ancestors to get through it. And just like the books said, my body knew. It knew what to do and how to handle each stage so naturally I almost levitated above in disbelief at how easy it was. Internally, I interpreted each contraction as a surge, visualizing it as a wave of love that would bring my baby closer. When it was time, my body knew when to push and how to push; once that time came it was over in 20 minutes. For all the moments leading to that point, the one thing I held onto was a certainty that my body was capable of this, regardless of what my mind might say.

My second daughter was born looking in awe of her passage. It was amazing. I held her to my breast while my gynecologist showed me my placenta and analyzed its wonders with me. My husband overwhelmed with joy, ran to get our oldest daughter so we could have our first family reunion. And I came to understand the true power of a birthing affirmation.   

To read more about VBACs please visit: http://www.vbac.com/



10 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Dawn!! I am so honored you took the time to read. It's wonderful to see you again (virtually) and reconnect again.

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  2. I have always known you to be willful and determined. And by golly, you set your mind to having an all natural birth with no intervention, a journey of no fear and no doubt!!! Experts say a new baby is a new birth experience, right? Kudos to you on achieving that euphoric experience.

    With my second, I kept my thinking simple. No expectations. I was healthy, stayed healthy during my pregnancy and thought however baby wants to come out. Will leave it to him and God to decide. I was big and he was BIG. So, in the end, Kloe gained a whoppin' 9 1/2 pound baby brother. No regrets and no disappointments.

    Thank you for writing this piece, Patricia. Keep on writing!

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    1. Oh my, oh my! 9.5 lbs!?! Maybe I should have noted in the essay that my 2nd girl was only 6 lbs which really made the pushing part easier. Thank you as always, I look forward to reading your thoughts every week now! xoxo

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  3. Wow, I am so happy for you, that this is possible and that you experienced it. Thank you for sharing your journey and information with us. It's amazing.

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  4. Congrats for doing that without the help of modern technology! Being born three month prematurely, I'd be a goner without technology's help (and even with it, I was damn lucky), so I can't exactly join the "all natural" club, so congrats for accomplishing that. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Wow, 3 months prematurely is quite a lot. It's wonderful to see you kicking and screaming the written prose so many years later. :-) Thank you for reading!

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  5. So glad you were able to have the birth you wanted! I really wanted to have a VBAC, but it didn't happen for me. It made my doula's job a lot easier -- but it still makes me sad.

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    1. I am sorry. I can imagine the disappointment, but what ultimately counts is having that healthy baby in your arms. That is really the only thing that matters, right? Thank you for your comment.

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