One Year Ago Today, Pt. 2

This is a follow-up to the blog:

One year ago today my second daughter was born. During this pregnancy I was planning to have an unassisted birth. I had a lot of things planned out, but my location was a problem. It would be 120 degrees this time of year where I was living in Blythe. I knew since my last birth that I wanted to birth outdoors. I watched “Birth As We Know It” and many other films, as well as reading lots of optimal birth stories. I thought about camping in Idyllwild, CA. It was near my location in Blythe, but I’d never been there before. It was a mountain town and I wasn’t sure I had the time to figure out if it was a good place to go. I also sensed the anxiety of my husband about going to a place we’d never been to give birth and invariably stay for the babymoon.

I asked his aunt if we could move in with her, so I could give birth in Sacramento. She said yes. I told her about the kind of birth I wanted and she asked me to get a doula. So the search was on for a doula. It was very difficult to find, but eventually I found one. The doula dumped me after our first meeting. I didn’t tell anyone about it. I was actually pretty happy about it. I didn’t want a doula and I didn’t really vibe with that one in particular. I told them I would probably not call the doula during the labor.

The house was full. There was another roomate, and lots of visitors everyday. The house was really small for all of us to live there. We went to Dillon Beach for a vacation the week before I gave birth. I prayed that I would go into labor there, but I didn’t. On September 20th I went into labor around noon. I tried to get the birthing pool ready, but I discovered a leak in it. We couldn’t get it in a decent working order. We set up in the bathroom. I spent a lot time laughing, breathing, chanting, meditating. I went from bath tub, to couch to floor. I stood by the fire. I used pillows in every way I could.

I felt the stress of those around me. They knew the birth I was planning, they were going about their day and this was not normal to them. I saw people going in and out of the house all day. I was asked many questions. I thought about going for a walk on a path behind the house, but I didn’t felt I was prepared if something happened. My daughter was taken care of by others most of the day. I was tired and exhausted and by the evening time I had back labor! At the end of the night I took ibuprofen and was thankful I eventually went to sleep.

The next morning labor started up again. All this time I was being videotaped. Honestly, I had a lot of fun with it the first day. My husband was great but the atmosphere was just too much. It was another busy day in the house and the back labor that started around the end of the night returned. Everyone went away except my husband and I for awhile. I prayed that I would have the baby before they returned. I can’t tell you how many questions and comments were scraping away at my mind during this time. Mostly it was the words of the people around me knocking around with my own intuition and inner peace. I didn’t lose my own vision of how I felt about what was going on with me, I just lost the patience to continue. I sized up my situation and told myself I wanted more help, a more supportive environment. I told myself that if I didn’t have the baby before they got back I would go to the hospital.

When they returned I felt myself becoming irritated and impatient immediately. I told my husband my plan, and we got ready to go to the hospital. I’ve had many, many bad experiences in hospitals and with doctors, so I prayed I would have the baby in the car. Honestly though, I knew in some ways that trying to rush the baby and stressing about when it came was not helping me. But that was the general environment around me, it was what I was hearing for weeks and weeks. During my first pregnancy I would not have been in that environment. I was adamant about having things a certain way. This time I was more inclusive, flexible and wanting of support. The first time I had plenty of support, but I wanted my own sense of exclusivity. I couldn’t do that this time.

We arrived at the hospital. At this point things get blurry. I remember that the nurse is a former midwife from Wales. We talk about homebirth and natural birth. I immediately felt very limited by the hospital. They hooked me up to monitors. People came in and out of the room. The nurse checked my cervix and I was about 5cm dilated. This didn’t surprise me too much. Around the end of the time I was laboring I felt that I wasn’t properly dilated, this was the real reason I decided I really needed to go to the hospital. I’d been laboring a long time and didn’t seem properly dilated. However, the baby was putting a lot of pressure on my cervix and felt like it was trying to push its way out.

It took me a long time to get very far in this labor. I was given a pain killer, then I was given oxytocin, then the midwife/nurse broke my waters. I tried to stand up, I tried to take the monitors off, the workers there reacted so fearfully to me moving, and wanting to take my clothes off(I was hot). My doctor changed in the middle of my laboring. The first doctor was very nice. The second doctor didn’t even speak to me. He looked at me with disdain. Maybe he thought I was 15, as a lot of people do. The nurse asked him to look at me and he barely approached the bed. He leaned his head and body towards me for less than a second then turned the other way. He was offended by me, my naked body, my natural process of giving birth.

They all told me not to push. I told them I couldn’t stop. The baby was coming. They told me to calm down and I was putting all my effort into handling the sensations I was feeling. At 8:21pm on 8/21/2010 the baby was born. She was 6lbs. 7 oz. She was quiet at first, but once she started crying she cried for an extended period of time, compared to others I’ve heard. She wasn’t super concerned with nursing. But I nursed her for a bit. I thought everything would be fine, now that the baby was born. But I forgot I was in the hospital…

This story doesn’t end here. Next week I’ll update it with the story of my two babymoons. The one that started in a hospital and the one that took place after a homebirth. For now, I want to just reflect on this anniversary of my second daughter’s birth. I’ve been watching the videos. Looking at the pictures and reliving the memories following her birth. I am ready now to heal from this birth trauma. Please join me as I traverse through those waters and feel free to ask questions, comment or suggest things I could read or try related to healing birth trauma.


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