Tag Archives: midwife

Emptying the Bag..

Standard

Image

Last night I emptied my doula bag. Rice socks, essential oils, compresses..even straws and hair ties.

As I removed each item, I took a moment to remember every birth I have witnessed, every baby I have watched take that first breath earthside, every mama I have seen dig down deeper than she ever thought she could to push her baby out. 

I thought about meeting each of you at your interview. Watching you grow throughout your journey. Watching you make careful choices about your care provider, your birth plan, your body and your baby. And your birth. I thought about your birth. I thought about your strength and your power. I thought about what you didn’t know. What you didn’t know was that feeling you left me with as I walked out of that hospital, with this doula bag over my shoulder, smiling and giddy like I was holding some amazing secret in my heart, passing all these people visiting loved ones and arriving for their shift, not knowing what I had just witnessed. And then getting in my car, sometimes in the middle of the night, tears running down my cheeks overwhelmed with humility. And then I remembered you on your postpartum visit. Nursing your new, precious baby. A birth warrior. A different woman from just months before. And I remembered your worried calls about fevers and milk and even poop. And I thought about how you had no idea what those calls meant to me. To know you trusted me. And I know, because I made those calls after I had my babies. 

Last night, I emptied the bag. But I filled my heart. With unexpected memories that make me forever grateful. So thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Each and every one of you who have given me this honor. I can never repay you. I know I will continue to attend births. I do not know in what capacity or when. But I do know that I have enough birth love in my heart to get me through. 

 

Full Circle. And Finally Speaking The Truth About Epidurals.

Standard

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