“Do you know the story of you birth?” Suzanne Arms asks on her DVD Giving Birth.
My 42nd birthday is tomorrow and I was reminded of Suzanne’s question. As a birth professional, I’ve of course contemplated my own birth day.
Years later, after I had been a birth professional for sometime, my mother, who had given birth to her children in the 70’s told me she would have been a whole lot better off if she had been able to give birth outside of the hospital.
What I know of my birth is that my entrance into the world was three weeks past my mother’s doctor’s estimation of when I would arrive. But then I guess that just runs in the family. My first daughter joined our family three weeks after her EDD. Some ovens just take longer to bake.
And I still wasn’t ready to come. My parents lived 70 miles from the nearest hospital and in those days hospital birth was the only option they knew of. They were unaware of any stirrings of alternative options (even that of fathers attending the birth of his own child) elsewhere in the country. I was their first child. The doctor had my mother come into town and stay in a hotel to wait. It was winter and the pass from home to hospital could be icy and roads could close. But I was in no hurry. There was still business to take care of in my cozy surroundings.
Her doctor had my mother admitted to the hospital finally, and labor was started–then “stopped “so duties over at the office could be attended to. I assume Mom was just taken off the Pitocin for a time and that labor didn’t continue on it’s own. Then she was started, and then yes stopped again, over and over as the story goes. This went on for three days.
My father was at last summoned to drive into town again. He tells of walking and waiting within the hospital corridors and cold stairwell. He came to know that part of the hospital well. At last he was able to join my mother. She was so thirsty that she asked him to go and pick up her favorite soda. I would guess that no eating or drinking rules were in effect then too.
At last Mom and Dad were allowed to walk down to the nursery to see me through the glass. There was no question, and no mix up. I was the bald, red-faced one one screaming at the top of her lungs (to “get me out of here, Dad,” I like to tease him.) We buzzed home in the little volkswagon bug a few days later. Breastfeeding had been sabotaged over the days spent in the hospital nursery. My mother didn’t know about clever signs to attach to the bassinett stating that I was a lucky breastfed baby. Thankfully Mom had a sister who put her in touch with La Leche League. LLL were around way back then! Wa-hoo–so I was a successfully breastfed baby. I must say I am so grateful for the health that provided for me–and for my mom too.
Oh, and I was a cloth-diapered baby. That was more usual then, of course. Now it’s all the rage again among many smart mamas.
Thank you for indulging me my own birth story. I’m sure I know more, as do we all, about the events of that day(s)–of those months, actually. But those are the concious memories that I’ve been told.
Wow, I’m just so grateful for all that has been made available to me for my own children’s births since that time. I’m indebted to those individuals that made the choices I personally selected available to me and my husband. I now stand with them, helping to further change the world for my children and their children, for others. I choose to do so because I care about the world and how we enter it. It matters, those months in the womb, our entrance into the world, the months after. They really do matter. We carry those initial experiences with us through life. And they play a part in the shaping of who we become. We still have a long way to go. But we are getting there, one birth at a time. It is my vision, that all parents everywhere, will have the information they need to give their babies the gentle, thoughtful welcome that they deserve.
The world will change. Women will be changed as well, as they come to see what lies within them, and as they come to more fully comprehend their capacities as a mother and what that means for the world. Families will reap the benefits–and that’s what it’s all about.
Read more in my book Wise Childbearing, What You’ll Want to Know as You Make Your Birth Choices. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=wise+childbearing%2C+what+You%27ll