Originally Posted by willemsmamma
Oh, yes. Definitely. It was even different than what I remember watching last year or even the first time I watched it after Gabriel was born. I remember being so, so, so tired during labor and just wanting to quit (I know, transition... but I felt like that throughout). After all the "I think it's my time" misfires and prodromal labor I was just wasted emotionally and I remember thinking that I just didn't **want** to do it. So very different from the first time where I stayed with it and just let the labor take me where it needed to. I felt more centered (much more snappy to everyone around me) in my first birth than I did last time.
I'm glad we videotaped it. I noticed funny things like me yelling at the mw to not push the baby back in!!!! and asking if I needed a hot compress (to which she replied, no, you're in a hot compress). I guess I just have these perfectionistic ideas about birth, you know, the ones where the woman remains strong and is able to breathe through the surges and then has a huge smile on her face in the moment of birth etc etc. Not that I expect that to be my story everytime. I just felt so helpless. So out of control. And even though I expected to be out of control I still wanted to be able to go with it. I saw how focused I became when my mw locked eyes with me and just kept repeating affirmations over and over. And when my body started to shake (with the last contraction or two) she got my attention and did it again and it just calmed me. It really irritated me how annoyingly clingy I was emotionally and so pulsitilla-like in nature. And how much my voice sounded like my own mother (who moaned and cried just about everyday of my childhood... she's needed psychological and emotional therapy all her life and has never gone). I think maybe part of my clingy, needy actions were just a part of my hidden fears of abandonment and rejection mostly surrounding the lack of relationship with my mother.
So yeah, there's fear now that it will be more intense this go around. I remember exactly how I felt during those contractions. I kept catching my breath in sobs as I listened to my voicing through them. Like partly in awe of the power of birth but partly afraid for myself that I won't be able to do it again. I really thought I wouldn't make it last time. And I'm afraid that I won't have the support I want (even though dh was LOADS more supportive during my second birth as opposed to my first where he was more the bystander). I realized that we WILL NEED someone to be here with the kids (I was kind of hoping to skip that and just have it a family affair). I have someone in mind but it so goes against the intimate UC I have in my mind... that darned perfectionistic idea that I can't shake, not because it feels right but because I feel like I've come short if I do less. How can I feel this way after two beautiful and peaceful homebirths. It's all about perspective, isn't it?
Granted, I'm comparing myself to an iconic standard of who knows what. I don't really have a realistic idea about what birth really is like apart from birth in my own home. And all the UC stuff I've read has made me feel less than in terms of feeling like I want and need the emotional anchor that only another woman can provide. I was in birthing heaven last time, what, with dh supporting me physically in the tub/birth position, one midwife keeping track of baby's heartbeat and holding pressure on my sacrum, and one bobbing around here and there, making sure I was anchored emotionally. And yet I acted like a freaking wimp. And that's what really ticks me off. How I acted. I wanted to give birth and be able to stand on my own and get out of the tub on my own and **help** myself rather than need to be helped. It was that part of it all that caught me off guard and disempowered me.
There's also fear in the part after the actual birth where I'm in the tub, holding Gabriel, leaning back on Chris and my head sort of starts bobbing up and down and my eyes start closing and I can hear just enough edge in my mw's voice to know that it wasn't a good sign to them. I was in a hormonal high (but not feeling too good about it) for quite a while and I just wanted out. I drank and ate a TON afterward (as soon as I birthed the placenta and urinated) and kept it up for about three days. I couldn't stop the hunger. The actual postpartum time was so special. I slept skin to dewy skin with Gabriel that first night. He was such a good nurser. and so peaceful. Such a little bundle of peace.
I just feel like I need some perspective on all of this because I just don't feel ready this time.
Plus.. and I feel okay saying it here... I don't have the support I did in our ddc with this new one. I'm there enough to know the regular posters etc but I just don't feel the wonderful feminine mothering energy of Fern, or the sage advice of Helen and Kavita, or the animation and fun of Aubrey, or the bright happy energy of Amy and Honeytree, or the sweetness of Awaken, or the levelheadedness of picnicbear, or the go-get-'em ness of Gunter and samsmama... (please no one feel left out if I didn't name you) I could go on and on. I'm glad there are a couple of us in the new ddc together but there's no real kinship goin' on. just blugh. I'm awful aren't I????
Monique, I'm going to address this on here because you're posting it on here.
first of all, give your new DDC a bit of time--I don't remember really feeling our DDC come together until later (toward the middle-end of the 2nd trimester) until then I was sort of still getting to know people and actually kind of missing the relationship I'd established with the TTC forum onethread!
I am going to be frank about this--I have real difficulty understanding your perspective about birth. Partly, I guess this is because I've attended so many births, and there are so many different ways it goes that I kind of don't have the same sort of attachment to any sort of way of being or acting. to me, it's all part of the wonder and mystery and individuality, so there is not the same "Kodak moment" in my imagination that is from someone else's birth story or Spiritual Midwifery or the UC forum or whatever. In my mind, it's kind of like trying to look a certain way or behave a certain way when you're having sex/ having an orgasm . . . the difference between spontaneous authentic sexual expression and being a porn star is that in one you're in your body, emotions, and experience, and connecting with another person, whereas in the other you're worrying about it making it *look* like you're feeling a certain way, because that's the way you have it that it's "supposed" to feel and look, because of some external or internalized concept of what's sexy. So, that said-- How much of your feeling about your birth is about how you felt it "from within" at the time and remember, and how much of it is how it looks on video as opposed to how you think it "should" look, how you "should" have behaved? You've mentioned things before about feeling upset by having emotional needs or being needy in labor or depending emotionally on your midwives. (in this post and elsewhere) And of considering that you want to UC but not feeling sure about it, and then feeling upset with yourself for not feeling sure or maybe wanting someone there. I mean, I guess I think that your idea of how you "should" feel is really based in somewhat of a fantasy. Or maybe it's a slice of reality, but it's not everybody's reality, the same way, every time. And that there is an alternate, natural birthing and also a UC'ing propaganda which is an equal and opposite reaction to a different propaganda. (Ie, "women should be totally powerful and completely independent in birthing" is a sort of reaction to the medicalized birth climate of "women are helpless in birth and need someone else to deliver their babies". I think both of these oversimplify and don't really express the very complex and multilayered truths about the experience of birth. Anyway, the whole "triumphant fabulous natural birth story" has turned into some sort of genre of its own which is by nature sort of skewed--people who are inclined to write their birth stories especially somewhere like MDC or in Spiritual Midwifery or in UC circles or whatever have specific agendas about birth and about changing cultural biases about birth, and so there is a tendency to sort of gloss over some of the ideas that are bad PR for their preferred method of birth. there is a reason for writing a birth story (to create meaning from your experience, to remember it) but there is also another reason or motive entirely behind sharing it, some of which can simply sometimes be to tell something, but sometimes it's to prove a point. And the medical model of birth is that it's something done to you by other people (doctors) so the antithesis of that is that it's something that you do entirely by yourself, so there can be overemphasis on that value that gets brought out in some birth philosophies and some birth stories-- it's kind of a reaction to the other extreme. I don't know if that makes sense, but I don't know how to say it any differently. Now, obviously I'm a midwife so I am biased in favor of having a knowledgable, skilled and supportive attendant in birth. At this point I don't really believe in UC for a number of reasons, which I would prefer not to debate on this thread. However, I will point out that ideas of the "ideal birth" are somewhat rooted in particular other assumptions and involve some other cultural assumptions--for instance, the roles and relationships between husband and wife, etc. Yes, historically in many societies women have birthed alone or with only the husbands there, but in most of the research I've done I've realized that much of the time this was not in fact by choice--women have generally preferred to have other close women around (mother, sister, friend, neighbor women, etc.), if only for the company and reassurance of other people who are there who have done it before and gotten through it! Just because we could do it alone or only with a husband, doesn't mean that we necessarily *should*, or *have to.* Sure, that's one way to do it, but why is that the "best" way? I guess what I wonder is, what do you think you have to prove by birthing in this particular way, and who do you have to prove it to? I have no doubt that you could have birthed your baby on your own--the baby would have come out, whether your midwives were there or not, and whether you were freaking out or not. If you needed to get out of the tub and there wasn't anyone to help you, you would somehow have summoned the strength to do it. But my point is, you didn't *have* to, and it doesn't make you needy or weak or wimpy! As I'm writing this I'm thinking of that movie where Tom Hanks is stranded on a desert island for several years after the plane he's on crashes, and everyone thinks he's dead and has given up looking for him, and at some point he develops a toothache that is so horribly desperately painful that he knocks his own tooth out, using the blade of an ice skate that's washed up on shore as a wedge and a big rock as a hammer. He basically whacks his tooth out and then passes out from the pain. Now, if you or I were in the same position, I really think that we could or would be able to do that. But by the same token, I wouldn't do that by choice, just to prove that I *could.* You know, I don't remember who said it, but someone said that courage is not the absence of fear, it's feeling the fear but doing it anyway. I think birth by it's very nature is inherently fraught with fear, anxiety, and doubt. Different philosophies of birth have different ways of viewing this and different strategies for managing this reality, but I think that at its core we encounter a very basic and primal aspect of our mortality and physicality when we give birth, and it's enough to really scare the crap out of anyone. Physically, I can't think of many more sensations that are as terrifying as having that kind of power moving through your body through no volition of your own. You can try to deal with that reality by anesthetizing that feeling away (as about 90 % of the US population is currently doing with epidurals) or you can choose to acknowledge that and feel it and birth through that anyway. (sort of side note here on this is that Michel Odent has noted that a surge of fear or anger are characteristic of the phase of "about to push a baby out." I watched your birth video and I have read your words and I remember a bit about how that time was for you and I see someone who was exhausted and worn out from the events before going into labor and many weeks of prodromal contracting and false starts and mothering a toddler, who was really worried about her DH being there to support her in labor and birth (and I think you noted while pregnant with Gabriel that your DH was sort of being, well, kind of jerky when Willem was born, did you not?). Seems to me that at the time of birth, you were deeply in "laborland" and on the precipice of giving birth, and in the sort of dreamy druggy "out of it" mental state that most women experience at that stage of labor to some extent or another, and being physically pulled back by your body back into the physical pain of , sort of like when a kid has a helium balloon on a string and lets it float up and away, and then suddenly jerks on the string and the balloon moves down suddenly. I've seen lots of women experience something similar, and it's pretty challenging to be on that sort of roller coaster. it's very disconcerting to experience that. That's a slice of the real, true nature of birth. Just as it's not all screaming and blood and doctors, it's also not all candles and aromatherapy and intimacy and being either this serene smiling madonna or xena warrior princess kicking some birthing ass, or the venus of willendorf, or Sexy Orgasmic Birthing Lady, or some mythical tribal woman somewhere going off into the field/forest/hut somewhere to squat and have a baby no muss, so fuss and get on with life. Those are all just as partial and distorted and incomplete as the medical stereotypes and archetypes of birth and birthing women and we shouldn't hold them as our truths either, because they can't begin to define or contain the vastness of the reality that is birth. And you know, as far as having midwives/other women attendants present, sometimes it takes more courage and strength to be open, to let somebody in and help you, than to try to do everything by yourself. Especially when you've learned to get through in life and be okay primarily by not depending on other people to take care of you, not having to trust or depend on other people, and not letting other people in emotionally. That's not wimpy and needy and weak and clingy--there is strength in being able to allow yourself to be vulnerable and open, allowing others to help you and you to be helped. And if you need some mothering from someone because of your own lack of being mothered when and how you should have been, then good for you for finding someone who can do that for you when you need it! That's not being needy, that's being that's smart and healthy and in tune with yourself and your own reality. The only thing that I find is disturbing me is why you are bashing and critizing yourself now--it's like you're being a bit mean and abusive, to your Self, for feeling some pain and fear and letting yourself be helped and supported. There's just a sort of lack of compassion toward yourself there. Stop picking at yourself, or holding yourself up to some sort of externally imposed or internalized ideal! Be as kind and gentle to yourself as you would be toward your kids, or your friends, or a patient! Give yourself some credit--a lot of credit actually!
And on a practical note, even if you decide to UC, I think it would be a big, big, huge mistake to not have someone there for the kids. They are too little to be expected to handle it on their own and be supportive/helpful participants, and you really can't be expected to be attending to them while you're in labor, and your DH really can't be in three places at once (with you and with each of them. to say nothing of himself.) Even practically, you just can't leave them unsupervised enough at these ages to really labor, and it might be really scary for them and/or inhibiting for you. It would really not be fair to them, or yourself, or even your DH.