I finally cleaned out the car this week and when I glanced at the abandoned copies of my birth plan littering the backseat I figured it was time to sit down and write Eilidh's birth story. As I contemplate this I know several things to be true. (There are some spoilers here, so click on the link if you want to just read the birth story first.)
1) Once again I did not get the birth I expected.
2) Eilidh deserves to have her own story unpolluted by anything else.
3) She won't. When I relay the events of her birth in the future, I won't sully the waters with my emotional baggage. But this is a chance for me to write the story of our birth with all of the thoughts and feelings that come along with it.
A wise midwife once said that each pregnancy and birth is affected by the pregnancy/birth previous to it. This held true for Whit and, of course, for Eilidh as well. In order to give Eilidh's birth story the purity it deserves, there are a few things I should write here first.
I wasn't satisfied with Whit's birth. I think I've expressed that before, but I tried to paint a positive picture for myself and others in his birth story.
Hopefully I won't compare my children all my life, but as I mentioned above one affects the other and so comparisons are inevitable.
With Whit, I "labored" for 3 days before he was born. I now know that it was just early labor for the first 2 days and not "true" labor until day 3. Those wise midwives I love so much call what I experienced prodromal labor. Ina May thinks that prodromal labor occurs when there is an emotional or mental block and active labor cannot commence until you clear the block. Whit's block was pure fear. I was terrified of what I had never experienced and scared that I wouldn't get my wish of having a natural labor and delivery. I was also carrying the baggage of 2 previous pregnancy losses and I was very concerned about Whit being healthy. Once I started the pitocin and epidural I faced the fact that I wasn't having a natural birth and I was able to relax. Things progressed very quickly at that point.
With Eilidh I was again afraid of being in the hospital and again nervous that I wouldn't get my natural birth and again experienced that prodromal labor. Again, things progressed rather quickly once I came to terms with my fears. I wonder if we are blessed with another child if my labor will go quickly since it seems that I've worked through most of my issues...
I'll be honest, I teared up reading the birth story before I published it. I'm not a superwoman for laboring and birthing without medication. I'm just a woman. Every woman has the same ability. Do I feel empowered? Yes. Do I feel strong? Absolutely. Are there still things I wish had been different? Sure. As a rather reserved person I pictured my natural birth as intrinsic, peaceful and quiet. I did not expect to be screaming like a character in an exaggerated movie scene or saying I couldn't do it. I was shocked by the dragon-woman noises that I made. But, then again, I didn't expect to hit transition in the exam room of my doctor's office or feel the need to push as I was being quickly wheeled to labor and delivery.
As it goes with life, I got what I got, perhaps what I needed, and most definitely not what I expected.