“Only rarely do doctors in training have the opportunity to sit continuously with laboring women for hours. Most are taught to intervene in the normal process so often and so early that they have never witnessed a normal labor and birth. Obviously, continuous observation is the best way to learn about the mind/body connection, because it affords the observer the chance to witness the subtle nuances of emotions as they ebb and flow throughout labor.” –Ina May Gaskin
Midwives have the same level degree as a nurse practitioner, as well as, an internship shadowing a CPM(Certified Professional Midwife) that is qualified to train midwives. They attend home birth after home birth, getting hands on and gaining knowledge of the different stages of a laboring mother and her baby. They allow us to labor freely. We don’t have a time limit, we aren’t freezing, we aren’t starving… we are laboring; comfortably.
Does anyone like to be uncomfortable? I definitely don’t. I live in baggy shirts and sweatpants. So why should we be uncomfortable during the most exhilarating part of our lives?! If you are uncomfortable, your baby is. That is true during pregnancy, labor, and even after birth. For 9 months, you and your baby were in-sync with each other. After birth, he/she knows when you are uncomfortable, tired, stressed, etc.
I’ve never had a hospital birth, but more often than not I always hear the rooms are either too cold or too hot and can’t be adjusted. The lights are on high and there is nothing “homey” about it. Your hooked up to all sorts of IV’s and monitors, constantly being checked on, you can’t move, and you are hungry. That goes against everything our body needs to do during labor.
Spiritually or not, we have to understand that there is a powerful mind/body connection. When our body is numb, it can’t register the signals our brain is trying to tell our body to do during labor. SOMETIMES, that is when labor is slowed down and intervention takes place. I don’t think many of us wish our baby would be vacuumed out or have a cesarean, but if we choose to not feel pain, then you have to understand that complications can arise. Our society today has changed our way of thinking about labor and delivery. IT’S NOT THAT BAD. Yeah it hurts, but movies put fear into us women because lets face it, TV births are traumatic. Nobody would ever want that, but it all has to do with our mindset of the situation.
I haven’t heard one story where a woman who chose to have a birth without drugs, whether at home or a hospital, say she didn’t want to do that again. Why? My guess is because its beautiful and perfect! There is just no way to explain that your body just tells you what is next, and you have immediately developed that bond with your child that WE DID IT! Being at a hospital, you can go in with all the right mindsets to have a natural birth with no interventions, but if, in the back of your mind, you are also thinking “but if it starts to hurt too much I’ll just get an epidural” then I 99.9% am sure you’ll get an epidural. You just told yourself that you aren’t strong enough.
Having a home birth, completely eliminated that option for me. I constantly had to tell myself that the pain wouldn’t be enough to give up. I had to press through. I also went against what my midwife requires all first time moms to do. She requires all first time moms to hire a doula, and take a birthing class. I know why she has that set in place. It has proven that with those things in place, her transfer rate to the hospital was less than 2%!! I liked my odds with that, knowing she has delivered nearly a thousand babies in her career. Most women don’t come from the birthing background that I did so they need to be educated and coached along the way. I asked my midwife, Carolyn, if my mom could be my doula, and if I could just read and research on my own. We honestly just didn’t have the money to pay a doula and attend a birthing class. She was completely against letting my mom be my doula. Mom’s are protective and any hint of pain in their babies and they want it to stop. My mom, however, was not that way and I knew she would push me. She had 3 births at home(as previously stated in my first blog), so she knew the situation opposite of me sleeping up until it was time to push. And then I tried to do the hypno-babies series on DVD, but wasn’t quite my style of meditation ha! When Carolyn agreed that mom could play “doula” and pass on the birthing class, I felt like I had to prove to her that she didn’t make a mistake.
The details of the day of Kate’s birth will come soon, but let me just say that the pain was nothing like I expected. There was a few times where Joel might have lost a few arm hairs, a tear rolled down my face, and I could tell that Mom and Joel knew I was hurting, but I didn’t scream and I wasn’t sweating profusely. I was determined, calm, and relaxed about the situation. I focused on my breathing. I didn’t let the rush of a contraction work me up, rather just focused on breathing in and out very slowly, and next thing I knew that contraction was over and I got to sit and prepare for the next one.
Have you ever had a headache and that’s all you can think about, until you get distracted and then you realize your headache is gone? That is how I handled my contractions. When one came on, I didn’t think about the pain, I focused on breathing right and before I knew it, it was gone. It makes a difference!
Midwives are there to ASSIST, not intervene. They educate you and then they let your body tell you what to do next. If, at some point, you aren’t progressing like you were they will suggest a different position or something else to try to keep it going, but if you are in active labor and free to move, most often you get to tell everyone else what you need, not the other way around.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a win win to me!
Here is a picture of me, DURING labor that Joel took. I was probably about 4 centimeters dilated. I think it was taken around 4:00 pm.
Sleeping comfortably in a nice bed, waiting for Kate to say it was time to get moving. Joel didn’t get any more pictures, mainly because he was not aloud to leave my side per request of me haha, but also we weren’t sure how we felt about other pictures being taken, so we chose not to do that. We might take more next time.
Kate was born exactly 4 hours after that picture was taken.
This picture was taken about an hour after she was born. Daddy was able to get some snuggles, while I was tending to my next order of business.
I hope in these blogs so far, that I have been able to express to you the beauty of this process. I’m not superwoman. WE are SUPER women!!! If you are not a high risk pregnancy, you can do this just as great as I did! Depending on the circumstances, most midwives don’t take on high risk pregnancies. VBAC’s are not considered a high risk pregnancy. Some people think that breached babies are high risk, but most midwives are comfortable and educated on how to deliver a breached baby safely. Midwives WILL NEVER, put you or your baby in danger to keep their reputation or stats in good numbers. The stats of midwives all over demonstrate how rare it is for complications and difficulties to occur when women are properly prepared for birth and technological interventions are kept to a minimum- that is, used only when necessary.