Monday, February 23, 2009

Ode to midwives

Let me start by saying that some may think this whole idea is a bit fanatical and unnecessary. Fine. To me, it's a huge deal. Say I'm crazy...
In the past three years, my comprehension of childbirth and all of its possibilities has expanded greatly. Somewhere around this week in 2006, Avery was conceived after quite a few unsuccessful months. I started seeing a naturopath doctor after learning that my thyroid hormones could be off, and that a hormone imbalance could certainly be related to infertility. I had also started spending time with a homebirth midwife, something unheard of at the time in my social circle in Western New York.
When I found out I was pregnant with Avery, I was determined that her pregnancy and delivery would be different than my first two. One of these days I will sit down and write out each of my birth stories (I promise myself!), but it would suffice to say that the first two were very medically managed. Some prefer it that way. That's totally fine! But for me, I knew I wanted to fully experience the birth of my third child in a different way than my others.
The plan was to try and have baby #3 at home. The kink in the plan was that we had just moved in with my mom so that we could sell our house and "prepare for whatever was next" (we didn't realize it was Richmond). I spoke with my friend, the homebirth midwife, and was excited but also VERY afraid.
To make a long story short, when I was six months pregnant, we moved to Richmond. (Gosh, I have a great story about God's providence...next posting, I promise...)
I ended up going with a midwife that worked in a brand new hospital where they allowed labor in tubs and everything. My husband, my unborn baby and I all fell in love the moment we met her. She delivered Avery. The birth still wasn't what I "dreamed" it could be, but it was getting closer to the idea.
Then came baby number four...
Levi's pregnancy was pretty easy. I was extremely busy with homeschooling the oldest two and having an infant/toddler underfoot (Avery was 17 1/2 months old when I had him), and I found solice in books about midwifery. Weird, I know, but I connected with him in a deeper way while he was still on the inside through the experience. Magically, I "got it" while reading these books. I understood what is "supposed" to happen to our bodies in childbirth and how these women in remote countries survive birth after birth, far from the nearest epidural. I felt in my spirit that I had the instincts that I needed to deliver.
On April 26, 2008, my opportunity to put all that was in my heart to practice arose.
I labored all night long the night before at home. I slept a little, I walked around, I showered and checked my hospital bag, Greg and I even walked around the neighborhood at 4 am. No big deal. Uncomfortable at most. By mid-morning on the 26th, I knew I was going to the hospital that day. Around noon I needed to stop what I was doing to concentrate through the contractions. Still not to the point where I was screaming in pain or anything. I trusted my body. I trusted the process.
By the time I got to the hospital (I think it was around 2:30?) I had to stop three times between the car and Labor & Delivery for some pretty strong, but not dreadful, contractions.
The contractions got REALLY bad, like to the point of needing SOMETHING, a little after 5:00. Fifteen minutes later I started pushing him out. Badabing, badaboom. No medicine. Just a trust that babies are SUPPOSED to come out and that my body could figure out how to GET him out. That was that.

Okay, I wasn't planning on posting all of this...
But this morning, when I dressed all of my little ones, piled them all into a cold car an pulled them into the hospital, took them by the vending machine for some special pretzels and crackers that would keep them entertained throughout my appointment, lugged them all up to the office on the 6th floor, sat them down on the floor with their goodies and awaited the doctor (not the midwife today, just this once...) to have him come in and say, "Any questions? Nope? Okay, well, take care."
...I remembered how lucky I am to have discovered the gift of midwives. They are passionate about pregnancy. They love to hear and help with minor and major discomforts. They get you excited about the littlest details related to pregnancy. They spend more than 90 seconds in the exam room with you...

They have given me a greater respect for how God created me as a woman. I was born to be a mom. My body was created specifically to conceive, house, and deliver a baby.

I still can't believe I'm doing this all over again...

1 comment:

Naomi said...

I know how you feel... I haven't taken the step to see a midwife yet, but I am getting so frustarted with the way Ob's treat pregnant women. I had a good friend really inform me this past pregnancy on what a woman's body naturally knows through labor and my birth experience was SO amazing!