Friday, January 17, 2014

why I am ditching the idea of a peaceful birth

I have come to understand birth in a few varied dimensions. and more often than not, I read blogs and lose myself in other women's birth stories. here are some adjectives I've pulled from those amazing remembrances of what were very special days for those families:

serene. rejuvenating. healing. spacious. peaceful. tranquil. purposeful. mindful. powerful. incredible. amazing. empowering. brave. scary. quiet. beautiful. sweet. calm. intentional. loving....

the list could go on and on.

calm in between pushes
I always thought I'd be in the peaceful birth camp. truly, it's what we shot for with Lydia's birth. I had a birth plan that involved soft music, meditation, yoga, low light, gentle massage, water immersion, and a loving doula's presence. I had insinuated to every staff member that the room was to be quiet, that traffic in and out be kept to a minimum, that I had to have the right environment to bring Lydia earthside...peacefully.

well, open mouth, insert foot. because that's not what happened at all.

what happened was me shrieking, then opera singing with how painful the contractions were.

what happened was that I lost all consciousness of rational thought.
what happened was I panicked with the pain, instead of working with it.
what happened was my feeling sick with the pain and wondering if I could make it through.
what happened was the bath sucked. it was too hot and made me nauseous.
what happened was the feeling of being touched made me cringe.
what happened was that, when I was at about an 8-9, they broke my water and my contractions went into overdrive.
what happened was that I found out that peaceful birth isn't my schtick.

my adjectives went from anything peaceful to those more along the lines of football training or marathon running. let's face it--I am not generally a quiet, peaceful why was I expecting to magically have a quiet, peaceful birth?

our birth went decidedly faster once my husband and I got a moment to ourselves, rallied, and clung to each other (he was as scared as I was but much more in adrenaline mode) chanting, "we can do this" over and over. it worked when I got more purposeful with my movements, began feeling my body by not relaxing and letting the contractions go through me, but powering through them instead. birth happened when we took charge, and went in with more of an athletic mindset than a peaceful one. it happened when I committed.

basically, I switched from yoga to P90X in a matter of two centimeters.

and that's when the magic happened.

rallying with some strong pushing
how strange it is that I remember every. blessed. moment of my daughter's birth. I remember seeing the look of fear in my husband's eyes, my doula praying and spoon-feeding me applesauce when my energy tanked. my friend gingerly guiding my hips in doing hip circles. my wondering why the hell they'd talk to me about pain medications when I was already too far into labor to receive them. I remember how good it felt to push, feeling my attending doctor touch the spot on my body where I needed to "aim" my pushes, and how Lydia was born in just a few minutes after that.

what labor? ;)
I remember everything, but when I was immersed in it, I was unable to connect my reactions and my decisions, my goals and my dreams with reality. through giving birth to Lydia I learned that my expectations and plan were for naught, that I had to experience it to comprehend what my body and mind could do. not that having a plan was worthless, as I am far from disappointed with my birth experience--I'm just proud that I didn't put my entire "birth worth" into what I had planned versus what I did. I can adapt to what my body is telling me. I also know what I've learned from Lydia's birth in terms of what we'll shoot for with the birth of this baby--which will be coming in another post. :)

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