I’m doing a page break on this article to make skipping it easy if learning about home-birth is not your thing. 🙂
Oh, and this post contains adult content.
Awhile ago I posted Peter and Helen’s birth stories. My birth experience has doubled since then! I have ho-hummed about further sharing, but recently I have been thinking about birth and I want to share my story.
Because Ruth’s birth was absolutely amazing. I have heard so many sad birth stories where things didn’t go right, where unnecessary interventions changed desired outcomes. Where women feel robbed of the experience they wanted, and they worry about how it may have negatively effected their baby’s deep memories. My heart goes out to these women, and when I hear their stories, I don’t know what to say. “I’m sorry” doesn’t really cover it. A hug and empathy work. If you are one of those women, I send my love to you now.
When I hear their stories, I am silent about my own. It’s not the place for it. But I have decided that my empowering birth story does have a place. Women (and men) need to hear positive stories too. It’s imperative that we do. They need to know that there really are women who have amazing births, that getting pregnant isn’t necessarily a 9-month time bomb to doom and gloom. It can be amazing. It can be empowering. It can teach a woman that she is strong, that she can overcome trials, and she can conquer her fears and doubts. Ruth’s birth was that experience for me. I also know that while there are plenty of home-birth stories on the web, there is a small audience that only I can reach, and if sharing my story can help someone, it’s worth it.
One of the most empowering things my midwife told me at my last birth was that she and all the assistants are like the orchestra, but that the mother is first and foremost the conductor. It is perfectly OKAY for a mother to conduct the orchestra to the course of action that feels intuitive to HER. That’s part of learning to trust our bodies. Stand or sit. In the water or out. Music off or on. It’s your time to be the diva. It also doesn’t just apply to avoiding interventions, but also for seeking them. We should not judge other mothers for either. If you had a birth where you felt comfortable about the procedures that were performed, don’t let anyone make you feel less for not doing it the “right” way. Own your birth story, it’s yours, and so is the beautiful child you have as a result.
Case in point: During Patrick’s birth, I had a lot of pressure and I asked my midwife to break my water to help relieve it. It was hard for her to break it, but when she did, it was almost like shooting a gun he popped down so fast. It scared me. Within 30 minutes he was born. I know there are a lot of natural birth fanatics that frown down on rupturing the membranes, and while I agree it is not ideal for starting labor- not a good idea IMO- I think it has it’s place. It’s okay if you don’t want your baby to have a caul birth. I even heard of a C-section caul birth and I love the picture! I’ve actually been snubbed a bit from the home-birth community because I felt this was a good move for me and MY birth, which really surprised me because home birth should be a uniting factor. For many of my friends, it has been. Anyway, I wanted Ruth’s birth to be more gentle, we ruptured the membranes when I was about 7 or 8 centimeters dilated, I chose to do it, and I think this was a very good for us. I’m the director. 🙂
This is an adult post. I think that should be obvious at this point, right? Well, I’m going to talk about birth preparation and it’s okay to stop now if that makes you squeamish.
Still here? Good, I hope this can help someone. The other thing we did different during Ruth’s birth is we wondered about stretching the perineum. We had ventured a bit into perineal massage before this birth, but we didn’t “get it”. We didn’t understand what it was all about. Well, I’ve had great births, but I’ve torn every time. EVERY time. Not horrible- nothing that compares to some birth horror stories I’ve heard, but I can only compare with myself because that’s what I have experience with. I want to make MY births better, and not tearing would do that. So we learned more about it, Michael and I. Michael was the one who stumbled across the information we needed. It wasn’t a very, ahem, Christian site, cough. No, the profanity and side comments of immorality were not what I needed to hear. Thank you for interviewing your prostitute friend. But we read it and got what we needed and I’ll share a cleaner version with you. We essentially learned how to do fisting during this pregnancy. Yep. We practiced and slowly worked to where my husband could put his fist inside and I could relax and work with it. So that may or may not be appealing to you. I didn’t have much control over it either. Maybe my modesty is making you sick. Whatever the case, it’s what we did and it was new to us, and IT HELPED!
But that research led us to a better product that I could work with on my own and really take the time to practice with, and that is the Epi-No. (meaning no episiotomy). To be sure, it isn’t exactly recommended by everyone. (Birth Day Midwifry Care makes a good case against it), and to trump that, it’s not exactly legal to sell in the USA. Well, I found the epi-no to be perfect for me and MY needs. I think it’s ridiculous that this fantastic invention is illegal to sell in the USA. There are non-medical grade sex toys (eww) that do the same thing that are perfectly legal and common, but not this device that is helping mothers all over the world elsewhere. Well, I managed to get one, and I did obtain it legally (PM me if you want to know how). Because of the legalities, I won’t rant and rave too much, but I mention it to give you context for the video when we talk about it. I practiced with it and it really helped me. By the way, I got it late, and while I certainly obsessed about tearing/not tearing in the video, I actually did tear, but much less than I had in the past, and I didn’t work up to the 10 cm mark with the epi-no. I tore as much as I didn’t work up to and no more.
Learn more about the epi-no here: http://www.epi-no.com.au/
Oh, why not, it’s a neat invention. Not all my readers are in the USA. Here’s a video:
So, again that gives you context for when we talk about it during the birth video. I’ll also give you some other information on what to expect. It’s a private video only available if you have the link. But it is public. I retain all ownership, all rights reserved, all that sort of thing. But because I share it, I understand what that means.
One thing I do have going for me in this video is that there is NO SWEARING! So many birth videos do, so that’s a plus.
It’s a water birth, but that doesn’t hide all of the nudity that is, well necessary and appropriate for birth. It is what it is. You mostly see my back side in the first and a muddied front side at the end.
I let my kids watch this, but that’s a long cry from recommending it for your kids. My 2-year-old saw it today and smiled and said, “Mommy died!” Um, okay. I’m not known for keeping my mouth shut. My 4-year-old loved it and my 5-year-old was squeamish- not because of the view but because the sound.
So ya, this video is extremely raw. It’s extremely real. It was a beautiful birth and I came away feeling empowered. It wasn’t pain-free, but I was always in control and I’m so grateful that I have had that experience. My first 3-births weren’t terrible, but it took those three learning experiences to get to where I was in this birth. I sang through contractions. I was focused to the end. It was awesome. Birth CAN be wonderful, and I hope your next birth will be wonderful too. I’m also optimistic that the next birth will be just as good if not better.
View if you wish the 11 minute clip where she was born.
Really, brave honest post. If talking about finding better ways to do things makes people uncomfortable, maybe that is why so little progress is made.
Thank you! Your comment is validating. 🙂
Thank you for this wonderful post. I hadn't heard about the Epi-No. I've only torn with my first but I will now be able to better help others mothers prepare for their births, especially if they are prone to tear. Invaluable information. Thank you!
Thank you for sharing! It's hard to find moms to celebrate with. I didn't have a home birth, but I love hearing about others journeys… and learning from them for my next. Keep up the courage!!! I tore as well, and I really liked your tips.