I've been trying to write my and Sylvia's birth story again, this time with compassion towards myself and joy at the outcome. I want to post it on my grown-up blog, but I think my inner editor is keeping from making that easy. The whole point of this rewrite is editing, though writing it in WordPress seems to imbue writing performance anxiety instead of the careful word choices I'd like to have in this telling.
I prepared for a natural birth. Before I was pregnant, I had an inkling that I wanted to be as far from doctors as possible during my delivery, having found home birth stories on the internet incredibly exciting and empowering as a woman. So, before we were ready to have children, I began the process of getting my better-living-through-science beloved on my side. We watched The Business of Being Born together, and he proclaimed himself uncomfortable with home birth, but willing to listen to the possibility of a birthing center.
When I got pregnant about three months before I planned to be, I sought out the advice of friends in looking for a midwife and birthing center. I found a midwife connected to an alternative birthing center in a hospital; the ABC was committed to birth being a natural process, and if there were emergent problems, we would be on the same floor as the OBs and the operating rooms. I attended the required orientations and birth classes to use the ABC.
I asked one midwife her recommendations for doulas, and my partner and I interviewed two. We hired the one with more experience, and she had me email her with updates after each midwife visit, and was willing to answer questions too. She recommended ways to sit and stand so that the baby would be in the best possible position for birth.
At the same time, I was busy educating myself about birth. I got every book on birth out of the library, and bought a fair few too. I began combing them for the wheres, whys, and hows of birth. I collected the combined wisdom of these books into a booklet that I constructed. At times the task seem to be about controlling my birth experience: this is what happens first, second, third. But ultimately I think the book (which did not get finished) was about making the unknown as knowable as possible.
I wrote myself a letter about my vision of how I'd like the birth to go, talking about surrendering to the process. It included a promise to myself that I had assembled a village of experts around me, who shared my philosophy and wanted the best for me, and that if anything were to go wrong I could trust them. I would end up needing to trust them.
Looking back on how I prepared for birth, I see I have two choices. I could frame all the work I did as useless; the birth didn't go as I had envisioned. Or? I can frame it as a process of gaining wisdom. In my reading I learned about pitocin, and how it's different than oxytocin, the body-made horomone that causes contractions, how being on a pitocin drip would affect me. I learned that preeclampsia was a medically necessary reason for a c-section. I learned the signs of preE. All of the things I learned were useful to me in my birth experience.
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