Forewarning: If you are not into things birth related; you probably aren’t interested…the links aren’t graphic but they are informative.
Disclaimer: I don’t pretend to know a lot or even much about birth and I am not sharing these article links because I think that they are completely correct but rather because they have addressed some birth issues that I have been thinking about.
The past months of this pregnancy have felt very relaxed; I haven’t really been having any appointments other than right at the beginning, no blood work, just growing baby. I would have liked to keep it that way a little longer but also was aware that I do need to know if I have placenta previa again. Suddenly, my pregnancy has been invaded by dopplers, blood test, ultrasounds and doctors. With my previous pregnancy history, I would never dispute the benefits of such things and I have had some really wonderful doctors and health providers in the past. However, I do question some of the “standard practices”. Obviously, Cecily’s birth story is a clear testimony to times when intervention is needed to prevent loss of life. And yet, I don’t want to be treated as if I or my child is an emergency waiting to happen. Anyways, that is just a little vent and not completely related (but somewhat) to the links to a couple of articles that I want to share.
The first one is called Pushing: leave it to the experts. I really found this one good because it addresses some of the things that I have thought since Aneliese’s birth. It goes against the standard of stopping oneself because you aren’t 10 cm yet and then being told when to start pushing and so on in that she suggests the a woman’s body in most cases knows what to do. And then I think that this statement covers some of my thoughts perfectly; “A powerful, primal, loud and ‘out of control’ birth is just as amazing and valid as a gentle, quiet ‘in control’ birth.” I appreciate this thought because I feel that so many, especially me, think that a “good” birth is where quiet music plays, wonderful supporters surround, and all is peaceful. And I want all of this, but like this midwife states, it is okay to give voice (even loud) to the birthing of ones child. I don’t want to be shouting curses at my husband or begging for drugs but I really want to come to the place where I am okay with “powerful, primal, loud and ‘out of control’” if that is where it goes.
This next one is also on pushing but with an anterior cervical lip. And it addresses my issue with constantly being “checked” during labour. It has more on anatomy and physiology than the last one but still really helpful for me.
And the final one….the VBAC, that oh so fragile (but maybe not really?) possibility that I get the impression is seen as a bit of an inconvenience increasing the amounts of subsequent caesareans. But this article; VBAC: making a mountain out of a molehill, covers it better than I can and she even covers the fear and the overcoming of the “high risk” label.
So those are just a few of my thoughts today. I know that many of you have lots that you could share and I would love to hear your thoughts and see any links that you might share!
You could have given birth to her in caul but I don’t recall there being to much of a pause in the pushing even though she told you to stop… she was pretty chill about it. My body pushed as it wanted with my first two babies but I did find great benefit in slowing down my pushing with Gretta by breathing.
When I am with women during birth, I am completely un-phased by loudness, screaming or aggressiveness. I never remember it. There are always streams of apologies afterward that are completely unnecessary. I do find that women are better able to channel that loudness when they keep the noises fairly low but usually a women who is unafraid does that naturally. Although at the very very end some women give a really loud high pitched scream and I’ve never seen it cause tearing (some midwives say it causes tightness of the perineum and increases tearing). I feel like our bodies know what to do and we should have complete confidence that we will know what is best, even if it means we feel something is wrong and we need medical help. The best births are the ones where the mother takes ownership. It’s a sad thing that we aren’t passed down birth knowledge from our mothers and grandmothers anymore so that we feel confident in the normalcy of it.
Yeah, I also think that in most cases a doctor telling a woman to stop pushing is silly. Women have been birthing babies since before doctors were delivering them, so I figure a woman’s body is smarter than most would assume. When I was pushing Aliza out (which took all of 30 seconds or so), I was told by Dr.C to stop pushing because she was coming out en caul (in her bag of waters still), and the doc wanted to break the bag with an amnio hook. I’m not sure if that was necessary or not (What do you think, Lola? You were there!). Thankfully it wasn’t really that big a deal – it took a few seconds, then Aliza came out with basically one push. I don’t know how women do it who are told to stop pushing for several minutes or longer. It’s such a strong primal urge/instinct!
Also – I think that a “good birth” is both primal and powerful and gentle and peaceful all at once. I can’t explain it… I think it’s more to do with the emotions going on inside of me when in that zone, and I feel all of those things. I don’t know what it looks like from an observer’s perspective because I’ve never watched anyone else give birth (though I’d love to!).
I personally think our bodies are pretty smart, although I know those reading my medical charts might disagree…I would add though that this is not just doctors, it is also midwives (she talk about that in her article too as she was one of them) who direct pushing.And I so agree with you on all the aspects of birthing, I just know so often when a birth is described, the powerful and primal is left out. Or there is embarrassment at being “the noisy one”.
I really loved this post. Esp. the paragraph about pushing, I don’t have a lot of time to read the VBAC article right now though I am going to because I would like to try that again in the future. It is true that I believed that being quiet was the better birth experience and well, I don’t think I was very quiet, but I remember being amazed that Lola still spoke well of my labor. Nice to know that there are women who don’t think being quiet and peaceful is the only good way to labor. I would still like to do a little better at channelling my energy to letting the contractions do their thing but anyway, this is getting long. Thanks for sharing these things.
Katherine, you were very in control. I don’t remember anything but strength and determination at your labor. Do you remember the pictures where Soren looked bigger than six week old gretta? 🙂
Thank you Lola, it was such a blessing having you there. Yes I do remember the picture, so funny. Can’t believe it was almost a year ago! Soren’s hair is getting blond like Gretta’s.
Katherine, you should also read this one when you get the chance http://midwifethinking.com/2011/04/09/judging-birth/. I know all my links here are from the same site, but right now I am really appreciating it.
Wow, these links are so good! Oh the things you learn as you go. I really like this woman’s perspective on pushing, VBAC’s etc. She has lots of good insight. Looking forward to hearing how things go for you! Thanks for sharing on here.
Just read the pushing link. Loved it. Good things to think on for my next one.
Beth, I’m fairly certain that pushing will not be too big of an issue for you 🙂
I LOVE this kind of topic. I think that if I could I would become a Doula or Midwife. I find our bodies so facinating. They really do know what to do and if we educate ourselves about what they are doing ar about to do then I agree that the fear is generally gone. Giving birth to Malcolm naturally (9lb 15oz) was one of the best things that has happened. People are always amazed that he was so big and I didn’t use drugs but from ladies I have talked to and even have given birth to a smaller baby (using even small ammounts of drugs) i’d say that the second one was less painful. And yes, there was some primal sounds that came from the depths but to me even that was exciting because I knew the end was near because I couldn’t control those sounds!ps: my sister had a unmedicated vbac, unfortunately she had to fight for it to the end but her and her baby were JUST FINE.
Loved this post. I was expressive to the point of humiliating. I am used to it though. The almost foolish fear and vulnerability. I think there is a place for that too. When I accepted it all in it’s bloody gore I became stronger. I love that you are speaking about this. More women need too. I love that Lola also does. It has changed so many lives for the better. My hobby horse is doing the exact same sort of effect yet in the spiritual soul. Accepting the messy gore, sometimes angry, vulnerable birth experience of soul love.
Resisting the urge to push. With my last birth, I distinctly remember my doula friend asking my midwife, “is she supposed to be pushing yet?” and my midwife saying, “yep. If she feels the urge.”. As if resisting my body’s signal to push was a very silly notion. I think there are two distinct birthing philosophies- one where we believe our God created bodies are designed to know what to do, and one where our evolved bodies need coaxing and guiding from our evolving science.
haha Kit… I’m the queen of the secret pushing. Whenever I’m in the hospital with someone and the nurses tell the laboring mom she can’t push because she’s not ready, we smile and nod and wait for them to leave and then I find a birthing ball. She sits on that in the shower where no one can hear her if she wants to push a bit 🙂 It IS pretty amazing how God created our bodies to work.