Yesterday I went on a house cleaning spree. I took the lazy day approach and did a few things at a time, broken up by a phone call or an episode of 30 Rock. During one of these breaks, I called my mom- after trying to reach my parents a few times this week and just getting voicemail, I was pleased to actually get through. We talked about a bunch of different things, but obviously the most relevant here was that we talked about her birth experiences.
I’ve had some weird dreams lately and I told my mom about a dream I had the other day. In the dream I was heavily pregnant and instead of contractions I had gas, and I gave birth in about 20 minutes and it barely hurt at all… I just kind of pooped the baby out 😉
My mom responded, “That’s like how you were born!” Of course I was intrigued and asked for more details. She said that she woke up in the middle of the night with some contractions and thought, I guess I better wake up Tedd! (my dad). She said I was lucky I wasn’t born in the car, because they got to the hospital, she hopped up on the bed, a couple pushes and I was out. I am wondering if she just progressed through a bunch of her labor while she was still asleep!
With all three of us kids (I have an older sister and a younger brother) my mom gave birth vaginally without the use of any drugs or interventions. She was attended by a doctor for both my sister and my birth, then midwives with my brother.
My brother was a big baby- he was 9 1/2 lbs. when he was born. On top of that, he was in a posterior position, making the birth more difficult. The midwives had my mom walk around a lot to keep the labor progressing, and when it came time to give birth, she did so in a squatting position. With his size and fetal position, birthing my brother was likened to giving birth to a 12.5 lb. baby! My mother was able to birth without complications, probably thanks to caring and knowledgable midwives helping her along.
It makes me wonder how a similar difficult birth would be handled in a hospital nowadays? My friend had a normal, albeit long labor, her baby was small, and it was in the anterior position. It should have been a straight-forward birth, but in the hospital she was strapped down, poked and prodded, and consequently her labor progression slowed down. The doctor told her that the baby’s head was slightly to the side, and no matter how hard she pushed, she would never be able to get the baby out… she was then basically forced to give birth by Caesarean.
It makes me wonder what would have happened if the doctor had allowed her to move around during labor, maybe sit on a ball or get in water? If the baby truly was off to the side a little bit like they said, it could have easily slipped back to the correct position for birthing if she was allowed to move around and let gravity do its job of moving the baby down the birth canal. Oh, and she was already 8cm dilated when they told her she would need a c-section.
I’ve read all these stories about how simple and beautiful birth can be and how medicalization has destroyed the natural process, but there’s nothing like hearing the experiences of people close to you.