Friday, July 25, 2008

Suede F#*$in' Rocked It!

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into my doula, whom I adore, at a coffee shop. She admired the baby and then mentioned that she was facilitating birth story night at an upcoming meeting of the Childbirth Collective. Would I want to come and talk about Mac's birth? she wondered.

Wouldn't it be too depressing for the expectant moms? I asked.

"No," she said, "It was a wonderful birth, and besides, people need to understand the reality of VBAC."

I thought about it overnight, and then I agreed to go. I imagined it would be good for me to tell the story from start to finish. Maybe process it a little.

So Mac and I went, and there were four other moms at the meeting who'd agreed to speak.

The first mom had an idyllic water birth. "Labor wasn't that bad!" she said. "It never occurred to me to ask for drugs!"

The second mom also had an idyllic water birth. "They gave him to me, and it was amazing!" she said.

The third mom had a mostly-idyllic water birth. "I did two pushes, and her head was out!"

The fourth mom had a three-hour labor, and because her hospital doesn't allow water birth, she got out of the tub to push once or twice before her boy was born. "It can go fast, even the first time!" she reminded us.

Then, the group erupted into spontaneous conversation about how to boost your chances of having an unmedicated birth.

"I'm only listening to positive stories," said one expectant mom, bouncing on an exercise ball. "I don't want to hear anyone's scary experience. I think it's bad for the psyche." People nodded sagely.

"So true," someone murmured.

And then my doula invited me to start my story. My pitocin induction/vacuum-assisted/failed VBAC saga.

"Okay," I said, already sweaty and red in the face. "So, because my first baby was born my emergency c-section with general anesthesia, my #1 goal for this labor was to remain conscious."

When I was finished, one of the doulas called me a Birth Warrior, which was nice. But that positive-story lady didn't really say anything at all.


Cyndy said...

That positive-story lady sucks. Clearly. Go Birth Warrior!

AmyRobynne said...

I attended a bunch of Childbirth Collective meetings while pregnant the first time and the only story I really remember was a planned homebirth turned cord prolapse with midwife's hand holding the baby in for 45 minutes as they went to the hospital and had a csection. The mom had had two homebirths and was a doula herself and ended up with general anesthesia and a csection. It wasn't ideal by any means, but it wasn't a horror story either and everyone turned out well in the end. The mom knew she had done all she could for that baby.

I can understand some people only wanting to hear positive things, particularly if they're doubting their ability to birth or had some awful happen the first time. But your story isn't awful. Slightly discouraging maybe, but I find it much more empowering than any easy waterbirthed baby. You sought out lots of knowledge, you didn't get bullied into anything, you did everything you and your caregivers knew to get that baby out in your preferred way. When it didn't work out, you were able to be awake and aware of Mac's birth (which alone makes it an improvement from Shef's). There's no question of "maybe I should have done X". You did it, you tried, Mac had other plans.

I'm glad those women got to hear your story. Maybe if one of them ends up attempting a VBAC one day, they'll remember that they don't have to sit back and let people make the decisions for them because of you.

mi said...

Nuts to that positive-only lady. I think your story is darn positive. You were absolutely proactive, educated, determined and stuck to your guns. You made very good, strong choices, and physically worked very hard to have Mac. No, it wasn't what you ultimately wanted, but I hope you do feel good about the journey. Anyone who thinks knowing some of the less "positive" possibilities is going into labor blind, and without the mental tools they might need. That can not be good for the psyche.