You know, fruitfulmama, I find my "courage" is fading with time...I am not the mama I was when I started this whole thing. I'm more tired I think...my heart is more scarred by losses experienced in my circle of friends. Things just seem less sure, you know? When I started this, I was all "I'm going to do everything right and everything is going to be GREAT!" - yeah. Now it's more like "messed up things happen, indiscriminately, all the time" - it's a bit less easy to be so cavalier I think, when you know so many people who have lost children. In the past four years, as my circle of mama friends has grown, I've known too many who have suffered the unthinkable. :(
I just delivered my third baby in exactly four years. I can't believe it's only been four years! It feels like a lifetime of living since I had my first...but really, it's been a blink, a blur. This baby was a UC. No panic, no surprise...MW was just too far away and I had 15 minutes heads up that I was in labor and five minutes heads up that she was going to be coming out, well, immediately. So MW wasn't even called until a few minutes after the birth and happen to be further away than usual. Here's the thing: I always wanted a UC. I had two, 90-minute labors with my first two kids and I labor so well and love it so much and I always pushed to go UC, but my DH is not down with that. So, for my first two, the MW sat in another part of the house and everyone left me alone and it was "close enough" to what I wanted but not EXACTLY what I wanted.
Well, I wanted one...then I had one. I don't know if I would ever choose to do that again. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning, restless, couldn't sleep. 5am. 39 weeks pregnant. Decided to take a shower. Ten minutes after I woke up I was like "oooh, I think I'm going to be in labor!" - five minutes after that I was sitting in my bath tub, holding Fiona.
I called my husband as loud as I could, he came. He was shocked....but it was peaceful and calm. So that was nice. Except, she wasn't moving and her color sucked and I just couldn't get her to breathe...I was holding a limp, grey baby. It was in that moment, that it hit me: I really WAS the bottom line...the buck stopped with me. It was just me and my baby and the decisions I made, could be the first and last I ever made for her. That struck me in a way that, I think, has left a crater in my heart.
"My baby is going to die, my body spit her out so fast because there is something wrong I have to call an ambulance this is all wrong she's going to die right here in my arms" - that's all I could think for a solid thirty seconds to a minute. I stayed calm outwordly, I think for my husband, but I was racing so fearfully inside. Being faced with that as an actual reality, being alone, not being a trained MW or MD or whatever...it was an incredibly humbling experience for me. In a moment like that, "well educated birth lover" feels like a pretty weak statement. :/
Well, my baby was fine, she'd just had an intense experience and was a bit stunned (going from dozing to being in the world in fifteen minutes will do that to a baby!). for the first minute of her life, I was trying to get the phone to call an ambulance...two minutes in, things were looking better...five minutes after her birth, I was okay. Longest five minutes of my life. My DH managed to snap a picture of us in the tub, I've never seen my face looking like that and I hope I never do again. I looked like a ghost. I was scared shitless. I can't say that, in my adult life, I've ever ACTUALLY felt scared like that...anxiety about this or that, yeah...but I was filled with sheer terror.
So yeah. I know what my placenta is supposed to look like. I'm prepared with an herbal kit, just in case. I memorized all the danger signs for this and that and blah blah...but you know, in a situation of real panic, of absolute terror like that...I'm pretty sure I would want a badass MW by my side. Being alone, just me and my baby, experiencing birth...in the still of the morning...it was intense because it was lightening fast, but it was really nice. Yeah. Fuck that. I will probably never have a baby again (breaks my heart to even think that) - but if I did, I would do everything in my power to have my amazing MW there, knitting quietly in the next room. Being the only one in the room for my birthing was nice...but I think having someone who has SEEN emergency, been in it and came through to the other side, waiting in the wings allows for a level of relaxation for me that I wouldn't be able to experience now, if I were alone again in birth. I loved my UC. Until she was born.
I'm not saying a mother cannot be alone in her birthing or whatever..I think UC is a great choice for many many women. But for me, being faced with the ACTUAL sole responsibility for those choices (do I call the ambulance, do I try to resuscitate?) showed me that it's more than I would want to put on myself again. I think that, beyond blame, being able to SHARE the grief of things going wrong with someone else would be really important. Having someone who is highly skilled, who was there, to say "this was a tragic, unavoidable accident...you couldn't have done anything" would lend some comfort. Maybe a little....and I think a little must go a long way when you are facing something like that.