I will always be an advocate of natural birth. I will always believe that the natural way is the best way. I will always encourage other mothers to educate themselves on the process of birth, to find a doula, to explore and understand all their options – the pros and cons of every decision you make about the birth process. There are pros and cons to every decision. Every mother has to do what is right for her baby and herself, but don’t be afraid of the pain. You will never feel so alive.
Every child begins the world again – Henry D Thoreau
I don’t even know where to begin when talking about my experience birthing Chet. Yesterday I wanted to portray the journey of the day, the step by step sequence of the things that unfolded. What I didn’t begin to discuss was the impact of feeling my way through labor had on me both physically and mentally. Today I will try to find the words for the experience, but I know I will fall short.
Once labor began in the hospital with my first round of pitocin, contractions soon followed. I felt each one. At the beginning of each contraction, I took a deep breath through my nose and exhaled through my mouth. With each contraction, the process became more real. I felt strong. I felt relaxed. I focused on making sure every part of my body was relaxed down to my toes. (I also discovered this evening that Christian didn’t think I was experiencing uncomfortable pain at this point because I was so quiet. I was feeling every contraction). During each contraction, I could feel my baby moving inside of me. I knew what he liked and what he didn’t like. I was present in that moment. The rest of the world didn’t exist. The pain didn’t matter.
I trusted the support team I had in the hospital. I trusted my doctor, my nurse, my doula, and my husband. Everyone on my team did an amazing job of keeping the outside world from affecting me. I knew I could turn inward and focus on my baby because they would protect me from everything else that was going on around me. I was able to ignore the heart rate monitor. I was able to ignore the doctors early voice of warning because I knew that my baby was okay. Had I been numb from the waist down, I doubt that I would have been able to focus on what was important – bringing a healthy baby into the world in the way that is best for him. I wouldn’t have been able to listen to my body.
With each contraction that past, the intensity increased. I was already switching positions that made Chet happy. I spent time on my side. I spent time on my hands and knees. I spent a lot of time sitting in a meditative pose on the bed. (The nurse didn’t want me to get out of bed because of all the other concerns of the day). My doula guided me to close my eyes with each contraction. Not only did I need to keep focusing on my breath, but I needed to visualize my baby moving down. Christian and Christi applied pressure points. Christian rubbed my feet, my hands, my back, my forehead. Christian and Christi silently took care of me. Christian coached me through each contraction. Christian and Christi absorbed the outside world for me so I could focus on Chet.
Once active labor began, I had already been practicing. I was prepared to accept everything my body was telling me. I was ready to help bring my baby into the world. I have never felt so in control of my body as I did during the labor process. At one point my hands went numb because my breath had become shallow. It was the most uncomfortable feeling I experienced all day. It wasn’t because my numb hands hurt, it was because I couldn’t control them. I can not imagine the anxiety I would have felt if I didn’t feel what was going on in the rest of my body on top of all the other possible complications during labor.
I knew the moment it was time to push. I knew when to push. I knew how hard to push. I didn’t need any coaching from my doctor or my nurse. My body knew, I knew exactly what Chet needed me to do.
Did it hurt? Of course. I’ve never experienced anything like it before in my entire life. Although it hurt, it was a pain I happily welcomed. It was a pain I wanted to absorb for my baby. It was the best pain I will ever experience. I would do it 100 times over. I actually miss it. I find myself wanting to go back and experience it all over again. I want to go back and relive each contraction – maybe that is why I can’t stop thinking about it or talking about it. I want to breath for my baby again. I want to be apart of the his journey into this world again. It went by too fast. Can I talk Christian into having 10 more babies?
For me, the only way I can ever imagine having another child is by feeling the entire experience.
I have never ever felt more alive, more aware, more present, more accepting of love and giving of love than I did in the moments before Chet’s birth and all the moments that followed. It doesn’t even compare to my birth with Cole. Although I love Cole just as much as I love Chet, the journey was very different. I felt like I observed Cole’s birth. It was an amazing thing to witness. With Chet, I felt like an active participant. I know I carried him into this world.
Being a woman is an amazing gift. I can’t ever imagine having another baby any other way. Ten more babies isn’t too many, right? Birthing a baby free of pain medication is something I will forever be grateful to have experienced. Although I’m sure I could have done it on my own, I don’t think I could have been as present, as aware, or as appreciative of the entire process if it was for Christian, Christi, and my amazing nurses.
One day I will be able to talk about something else, but for now I’m going to enjoy the high that life has provided me.