Friday, December 13, 2013

Bean's birth story

In honor of Bean's 7th birthday tomorrow, I decided to share his birth story with you all. It is amazing how much I have changed and grown as a person, woman, and mother over the past 7 years.  Especially when it comes to birth, as this is a very passionate topic of mine, and my world now revolves around birth.

This is a very vulnerable thing for me to do, as my fingers are dying to edit and explain how differently I think now and what parts I completely do not agree with. However, I feel this is important so that many people who do know me can gasp at some of the ways I used to think. I hope it will elicit some deep thinking about how quick we are to judge, because yes, I used to be this person. I keep finding myself discussing empathy and I hope this helps some people in the birth community become more empathetic and patient with people at different points on their journey. With that said, this is where I was then and this is his story. I have lived and I have learned, and in the end I am very grateful with what ignorance I had that there was some little part of me at 23 that was either empowered enough or stubborn enough to still end up with a natural childbirth. If you had asked me when I was pregnant with Bean, finishing up my psychology degree if I was ever going to; go to nursing school, become a doula, have a home birth with a midwife, make bellycasts for women, breastfeed a child until almost four (yes, I said almost 4), and desperately dream that I will be healthy enough to go to midwifery school I would have politely yet vehemently said NO to all.   So without delay after searching through all of my old files, here is Bean's birth story and I promise I didn't change it...

    I am disappointed with the way childbirth is discussed. Most of the time people wait until you are a glowing mass of fertilized joy and apprehension to unleash their horrible stories They figure you are pregnant so they can tell you things such as
"it is the most unbearable
, unimaginable pain EVER"
"I was in labor for a week
"After 24 hours of excruciating pain they did a C-Section anyway."
the worst, no explanation just, "Trust me." "Get an epidural honey!"
If that isn’t enough most pregnancy books don’t tell a much better story.
Don’t they realize it is too late and that this baby is coming out one way or another? Does anyone stop to think that this makes pregnant woman SCARED?

I am not saying that some people don’t have really horrible experiences. Childbirth is not easy and lots of things can happen. However, what about the positive side to all of this? Like the fact that a woman’s body can grow and nurture a baby for nine months, bring this baby into the world, and then provide everything this precious baby needs to survive.

So here is my story, it is not too exciting a little funny, hopefully not scary, and as truthful as my mind remembers.
I went into my first obstetrician visit and announced my decision for a drug free birth. I told everyone who asked and even people who didn't and in return, I was told I was crazy by everyone except a few women who had already had children naturally. Some people suggested I go to a midwife, but I felt that if anything did go wrong because of some of my health history, and it was in my baby’s best interest to intervene, I wanted to know who was cutting me open. That is why I ended up with an obstetrician who kindly kept suggesting that I stay open minded and possibly meet the anesthesiologist when I check in at the hospital.  I had made this decision before I was even pregnant and I was convinced I could do this. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t scared. Doing anything for the first time will bring apprehension.
As my due date approached, all I wanted was to have this beautiful baby. I was really having trouble doing things. Yoga was getting difficult to teach and practice, it took two hours to paint my toe nails which I was capable of doing thanks to all the years of yoga (didn’t want ugly toes in labor), I couldn’t sleep, and hormones were turning me into THE mega bitch. SIDE NOTE: ONLY THE PREGNANT WOMAN CAN REFER TO HERSELF AS SUCH. Most of all, I really just wanted to meet my beautiful baby boy. At 38 weeks, the doctor started talking induction, but I wasn’t going to let my impatient feelings get the best of me. I didn’t feel like this was anyone else’s decision to make except Bean’s. So I negotiated and told him I wanted to wait.  So I waited and waited………. and waited. On Monday December 11th, my due date, I was 90% effaced and 2 centimeters dilated and still I wasn’t having consistent contractions. I bargained with the doctor some more and because Bean was doing well, he  said you have until Friday and then I would need to be induced. I was not letting him decide when Bean would be born. Did I mention I can be stubborn when I decide to do something? I was really praying Bean would get bored of his home so I tried to help some. I continued to walk like crazy and bounce more on my birthing ball. We tried the sex thing again and still nothing. My theory for everyone who has one is the baby comes when the BABY IS READY.
 Two days after my due date, I knew I was in labor when I woke up. I sat in front of the computer not moving, anxiously waiting for Rock to get home from Police academy orientation. When he got home I walked and walked and the contractions got stronger and stronger. I called the doctor around 5 and went to the hospital around 7pm. I had the most amazing labor and delivery nurse. She was really encouraging and she respected my wishes and helped me get through this experience. The worst part of birthing Bean was the five times they tried to get an IV in. They finally listened and used a smaller needle. That is seriously my biggest complaint. Yes, that is what I said, the IV bothered me more than any of the pain I experienced through the ENTIRE labor and delivery.
 In the beginning I covered myself up and walked with one hand holding the back of the gown closed. As the night went on, and the contractions got stronger, I didn’t really care. I was sick to my stomach a lot. I was in some serious back labor, so I paced the floor. Rock says I left a path where I wore the floor down. I would only sit down or lie down when I absolutely had to be hooked up to the monitor. The best feeling was standing under warm water in the shower.  Even though I was in a lot of pain, I was so excited that I was doing this and that Bean would be here soon. I was in labor for a LOOONNNGG time. In fact, Rock and Kirina, my best friend actually fell asleep.  HMMMMM…. Note to any man who was brave enough to read this: If you are privileged enough to experience someone’s natural child-birth, DO NOT FALL ASLEEP. That woman will remind you often, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE THEIR HUSBAND. Deep deep down inside, I find this humorous; I said deep.
The doctor came in to check on me around 5 in the morning. I was about 8 centimeters and he told me that he was impressed I made it this far. The doctor informed me I was going to be his first patient to deliver naturally in at least over a year. I really believe my nurse helped me a lot, she suggested the shower and she also, kept the anesthesiologist from ever meeting me. I was getting ready to deliver Bean right around when the nurses change shifts. By the time the new nurse came in, I was in a lot of pain, and 9 centimeters dilated and my water still had not broken. I was walking around very exposed and this nurse kept trying to cover me up. I was so oblivious and I guess annoyed with her that I took my gown off. Thank God I was wearing a bra because when the doctor came in I am pretty sure that is all I was wearing. That is why hormones are awesome they help you forget, and at that point you really don’t care whether you are naked, how your hair looks, if your toe nails are painted or even who is watching. I am sure most people don’t even care if they poop on the table. I still cared and am very thankful that it didn’t happen.  I finally let the doctor break my water when they told me I couldn’t get out of the bed.

IF YOU MADE IT THIS FAR THROUGH MY LONG STORY HERE IS THE GOOD PART. What happened next is why I would NEVER EVER not have a natural childbirth by choice. It was time to push and I truly believe this is one of the most memorable moments of my life. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like not being able to feel your body birthing your baby. It was empowering and amazing. Yes, it hurt, but at that point, your body knows what to do and endorphins are incredibly capable of getting you through this. I was so focused on pushing that when the doctor kept saying he could see Bean’s head, I wasn’t even getting excited. I was in the zone. I didn’t realize at the time, that I had my eyes closed; I wish I had realized this and opened them even just for a moment to get a peak.  Experiencing Bean coming into this world was by far worth any pain. He came out and started crying and they placed him on me. He was so healthy and beautiful. My stubborn little self even managed to tell the doctor, that I told you I wasn’t going to let you decide when this baby was coming.  Afterwards, I was exhausted and had a few complications but, I still felt empowered. My doctor by the way was absolutely amazing when I had Bean. He really was a lot more supportive and helpful then I thought he was going to be. He stepped in when I needed help and truly respected my wishes. I really feel I did what was best for me and Bean. I was happy that I made choices for myself and I really have a better understanding of life and how miraculous it truly is. I have definitely set new limits for what I am mentally, physically, and spiritually capable of doing.
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