Monthly Archives: May 2013

Full Circle. And Finally Speaking The Truth About Epidurals.

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So, this birthwork thing has really come full circle. In more than one way. 

I attended my last birth..until (that’s what the midwife said to me at this birth, when I said, “This is my last birth”..she said, “This is your last birth..until“). So this woman, this mama, was also my first birth. I was honored to be a part of her journey with her first child and then again with this next baby. 

And it was more than that. I have watched this woman grow up. It was bigger than the babies I’ve watched her birth. It was a full circle experience. From this child who gave birth 4 years ago to this woman who made empowering choices and stood her ground and followed her intuition and really owned giving birth to this baby. 

And it was the exact reason we do what we do. At 42 weeks, we all knew we were looking at a big baby. Because she had the care provider she had, she carried her baby full-term. She was not bullied into an induction because of a big baby or an old placenta or convenience. 

And he was a big baby. He was 10 pounds 8.4 ounces (I have to include the .4 ounces because to be quite honest I think this baby was probably closer to 11 pounds but the amount of poop he made upon his arrival preceded his official weigh-in), 22 inches long. And she had to work for him. She had to do lunges and squats and polar bear and this way and that way and pretty much every way you can think of other than standing on her head. And THIS women, THIS is why we say you can do this without an epidural. Not because this woman did it without an epidural but because she HAD to do it without an epidural. Let me lay it out for you. Let me paint a picture of what this looks like with an epidural. Mama gets epidural. Baby stops moving down birth canal. And then she stalls. And then a day later she is laying in bed with an epidural, Pitocin and now probably a fever. And then she gets a cesarean. Because the baby was too big. Or because she had a fever (from the epidural). Or because she failed to progress. Or because the baby wasn’t handling the Pitocin. Or because we could be here until Tuesday or you could have your baby in the next hour. Or because sometimes you just need some “help” (I’ve actually heard an OB say that to a mom. You just can’t do it by yourself, you need me to “help” you. Man, how is that for support). 

It wasn’t because her baby was too big (or any of those other reasons)! It was because she couldn’t fucking move! She couldn’t do squats for 30 minutes to help him move down a little bit this way and she couldn’t do side lunges for 15 minutes to help him move down a little bit that way. She couldn’t sit on the toilet for 8 contractions because it is a remarkable place to bring a baby down. Because all she can do it lay there. And all that baby can do is lay in that same spot. Unable to move through the pelvis like he needs to in order to be born. 

We believe it because we know it. Because we see it. Because there is no way on earth an almost 11 pound baby can move down the birth canal of this 5’3 normally 110 pound woman if she is laying flat on her back, numb from the waste down. 

This is why. This is why we are evangelical about natural childbirth. This is why sometimes we may come off a bit strong. Not because we know it all or because we think “our way” is better. It’s not because it’s better, it’s because IT WORKS. It’s because we see it. It’s because it is THE TRUTH. 

(Just as a disclaimer I do realize epidurals can be a great tool for some women. I don’t need anyone emailing me to tell me that. It is unfortunate that they are an overused tool that often lead women into territory that were unprepared for and the risks of epidurals are rarely shared with birthing women by their care provider(s))

(Also as a second disclaimer, this mama knew I used parts of her story in this blog and her baby’s picture!) Image

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Holding 38 Years Worth of Memories in My Heart, And Moving Forward.

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I haven’t written about him because I can’t wrap my head around the fact that he is gone.

I haven’t allowed myself to believe it. That way, I don’t mourn. I’ve done this before. I know how to get around it. I know how to block out things in my mind, like losing him, and fill them with other things, like work, home, projects, working out, planning events, stacking a schedule so thick I don’t see my kids awake for days at a time. This is how I work through it.

And I’m starting to see myself on the other side of it. I’m coming out of it. It’s like that postpartum haze you don’t even know you’re in. You have your baby and you don’t even realize you’ve been a depressed, psycho-mama until you see yourself on the other side of it. You see a picture of yourself with your 6 month old baby and you say to yourself, ‘Damn, I remember that time. All frumpy with an extra 30 pounds, so lonely and depressed, longing to do anything other than empty the dishwasher and wipe someone’s ass. But I didn’t know it then.’. That’s where I am now. Coming out of my postpartum haze.

People often say there are so many similarities between birth and death. In some ways that is true. In the way that people around you lose all sense of what is appropriate. No one knows the meaning of intimacy and privacy anymore. Unless you are a spouse, sibling, child or parent of the person dying (or spouse of any of these), really, just stay home. Everyone has great intentions. But nothing hurts worse than seeing your parent rot away from the inside out. Discolored, stinking, rotting flesh, fevered. Nothing hurts worse except when others see him like that.

Then there is that beautiful moment of relief when they finally pass. Like a long, exhausting birth, where everyone has worked so hard and you just want it to be over. And then that moment, when it finally is. Over.

I have so many wonderful memories of my dad, when it was just us. And I think I will keep them all to myself. And hold them in a private space, never to be shared or touched.

My mom and dad had a tumultuous but extremely passionate relationship. They were either fighting hard core or so in love I could see hearts in my mom’s eyes. In the end, the pain of infidelity outweighed the infatuation. They loved each other. They were both good people. Good people with no role models of how to make things work or what a real marriage is supposed to look like. A place I often find myself in now.

My dad had this thing. This thing that I can’t put into words. It’s a thing in his genes. My oldest brother has it. His oldest son has it. I have it. My son has it. It’s a way. I wish I could explain it. It’s a legacy. Maybe that’s why I can’t let him go. Because he does live on.

Today, I am planning a return to his house for the first time. This day, this blog, this return is my first attempt to move on holding him in my heart and accepting his physical absence.

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