As Andrew succinctly captured in his post today, we had an awesome party at our house yesterday afternoon with several of the Lamaze class couples I have taught in the past several years, along with their kiddos.
Because of the work I do, (okay, because of one of the several hats I wear) I get to hear some really amazing childbirth stories. Three top my list right now. In brief, this how they went down:
Story # 1: Amy* and her husband waited and waited for labor to start…refusing to seek an elective medical induction…and finally having labor start on its own right around her 42nd week of pregnancy. As planned, they headed to the hospital and met their cherished doula there. As the end of her 24 hour labor neared, she began the pushing phase of delivering their son. 7 hours later…yes, 7 hours of pushing…their son was born healthy as a horse, and Amy didn’t accept a drop of pain medication, Pitocin, or any other significant medical intervention in the process.
Because of the baby’s abberrant heart beat pattern, she even avoided being hooked up to the fetal monitor for long periods of time. Her nurse simply listened to the baby’s heart rate once in a while with the doppler. End of story: Mom and baby were awesomely healthy! Go Amy!
Story #2: One of the mom’s at our party yesterday had another whopper of a story to share. Pregnant with her second child and also planning for a hospital birth, all the while remembering that her first (induced) labor was relatively quick, she immediately took note when her labor started one weekday morning. Once her husband helped her time contractions, and they found them to be 1min. long and four minutes apart, Jane* decided it was time to think about heading into the hospital. Her husband decided to run their 2 y.o. son to day care first–with the anticipation of getting back home quickly at which point he’d take his wife up to the hospital.
As Jane continued to labor at home alone, things started to pick up quickly. As she went to visit the restroom, she realized the contractions she was now experiencing were PUSHING contractions. Three contractions later, Jane caught her own baby while kneeling on the bathroom floor. “The good thing was she cried right away,” Jane recalled of her three-month-old daughter’s birth. Minutes later her husband arrived back home, and heard his wife “talking baby talk” in the bathroom. He rounded the corner to find mom and baby resting comfortably in the bathtub.
Story #3: Elena* had been anxiously awaiting the home birth she, her husband and their older son had been anticipating for weeks. With a gradual start to labor, and a continually gradual progress throughout labor until the last hour, she had a wonderful experience at home with her hubby, son, two midwives and a doula/friend. Spending the last hour of labor in a warm water birth tub, she worked through the final stages of labor with her awesome birth support team at her side. Her son was there to witness the birth of his five-years-younger brother, and Elena’s hubby caught the baby as he slid out without even so much as a single push from mom. Mom and baby have gone on to practice lotus care, along with a traditional, but nearly long-lost practice in this culture: a 40 day lie-in for mom and baby.
Bravo to all of the women sited in these stories, along with their husband’s and extended labor support teams for incredible childbirth experiences! It is stories like these that remind us childbirth can be safe, normal and lovely (even if unexpected in one way or another) all at the same time, when the process is protected and lovingly cared for.
* Names changed for protection of privacy