Week Six: May 6 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 05-07-2005, 12:45 AM - Thread Starter
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That's right, this is week six! I didn't post an assignment last week because I got the sense that you were all working hard on the mega assignment from the week before.

Are you writing the story? How is it going?

Here's what I would be doing, if I was starting from scratch:

I'd brainstorm all of my memories from a specific time in my childbearing year. I would go crazy. I like lists even if they are not tidy. Lists let me see what I've accomplished and my competitive nature likes the tally up my victories.

This is where I might cover the floor with titles, snippets and ideas written on index cards. There's something rewarding about having the bones of your work spread out before you, then filling in the gaps, the meat, like a forensic detective working backwards from the scene of a crime.

Then the fun begins. I'd distill that list to the key topics I want to focus on and I'd, get this, write about them. I'd write like I paint: with big, sweeping brush strokes and lots of color. I tend to make a big mess when I paint. I get it all over me and the walls. I always have splotches to clean up after I am finished. When I first begin writing, I use too many words, my grammar is terrible and I mumble. My spelling is a crime.

Here's where it gets tricky. Please don't worry about weaving these events or topics into a cohesive tale just yet. Right now, focus on getting the bits down as you fleshing out their details. Really work on painting within that one-inch frame. I want this experience, this writing workshop and the resulting birth story, to be about more than you relating the play-by-play of what happened during your labor. It's fine and dandy to have a play-by-play as a trigger for the bigger, meatier aspects of your journey to motherhood, but don't settle. The journey IS the story.

This week: The Turning Point:

There was a point in all three of my labors where I had to face the core of my being. (I'm really not trying to sound like a cliche, honest.) I call this the Turning Point.

I faced something different with each birth: the first time I had to face the darkness of fear and agony. The second birth brought out my fierce, warrior anger and the third required pure trust and acceptance of love.

This unifying point in all three experiences was when I released into my core and let go. Letting go proved to be the catalyst for moving forward.

What was your turning point?

This turning point may prove to be the climax of your work. It may not, but it's still important to include it or at least think about it. When you have some time to explore this idea in a safe, quiet space, I would encourage you to do so. This part might not be so easy. I would encourage you to write through any emotions you feel, using single words if necessary. You must become a strong warrior, as Natalie Goldberg says, and write alongside the intensity feelings that may come out of this exercise.

(Of course if you feel you need outside help to deal with overwhelming feelings, please seek out professional support.)

Keep up the writing, mamas!
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#2 of 4 Old 05-07-2005, 08:42 PM
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I had been pushing for about 5 hours...so I guess it was about 3 in the morning at that point. The vastness of that night is beyond measure. My small house trying to contain all the energy of a laboring mama...me. I was exhausted, yet with each contraction pushed with so much might. My man and my midwives encouraged me to stand and walk as perhaps that might aid my pushes and bring this baby down and out. "How about walking outside" they suggested. The eternity between the bedroom and the sliding glass doors...I could not fathom the long journey. So I stood and hung from my man's shoulders. That pressure...the most incredible, intense, un-explainable force surging through me. I could barely handle it. Yet I did, for hours more. I stood when I could, and even braved a shower on my own. My babe's head pressing against my inner most being for hours and hours and hours...that was a turning point. Struggling with that pressure,trying to work with it, to bring this baby out was intensely challenging.
Yet, she was not born...not yet. I asked my man the time, he told me "4 and some change" (though after the birth he admitted it was 3 minutes to 5). Another turing point in my labor. Though there were few to no thoughts outside of labor, I was able to do the math... I had been pushing for 7 hours. Another turning point. Why was she not here yet? What was hindering her descent? Desperation and exhaustion led me to the tub once more. It was there that one of my midwives told me that the heart beat was starting to be off and that we really should go to the hospital birth center. I knew that we had to go at that point...for my baby. Yet the despair of leaving home and the birth I had envisioned left me feeling so dissapointed, worn out...Actually there aren't even words for those few moments of time. The realization that the dream was not to be. Getting out of the tub, into some pants, slippers, a robe. Unable to talk to any of my beloved birth team. Beyond tears.
Out the door into the pre-dawn morning. Pausing for contractions. The car ride, surreal...the midwife's car ahead, her rear lights, gleaming red in the darkness. Pushing in the front seat. Drenching my pants, pee, amniotic fluid. And pulling up to the hospital. Turning point? Yes, in a most profound way.
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#3 of 4 Old 05-11-2005, 03:14 PM
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When I went to the hospital I didn't think I was in labor; I just felt uncomfortable. I had gotten up at 1am to go to the bathroom and lost my mucous plug. I couldn't get back to sleep, everything just felt different. So I called the hospital and they said I could come in but that they were likely to send me home again since I wasn't due for another month and it didn't sound like I was in labor. I decided to go because there was a storm coming, one that could start any minute bringing sleet and snow and ice.

It was fear of the storm and being stranded at home 45 minutes from the hospital and not the panic of labor that made me wake my family to take me the hospital. I was slow to get ready: I took a shower, re packed my bag, perused my CD collection. My mother has started to hover. She is worried that we won't make it in time, she wants to go to a closer hospital, she wants to leave now. I dismiss her fear. I am in control, or maybe in hindsight denial. I finally decide to wake my sister and bring her just in case. She is suppose to be my birth coach, but we haven't taken the class yet. We are suppose to take it later today. I'm not convinced I need a coach, but I do need someone to escort my mother out of the room if I start to swear like the sailor I was just a month ago. My mother's delicate sensibilites would be terribly offended if I were to swear. She doesn't like it when my sister and I arm wrestle.........it's so unladylike.

We all pile into the car, me, mom, dad, and my sister. I sit in the front seat over my mother's protests. She thinks I should be in the back with her "just in case". I am stubborn and not giving birth in the car, heck I'm not even sure I'm really in labor. I'm not sure because I don't know better. My mother times the contractions; three minutes apart and damn they hurt! She makes one last pitch for a closer hospital but I insist on going to the Navy Hospital. It's started to snow and we still have thirty minutes to go. Cars are sliding off the road, we are running red lights and I am starting to sweat.

We get to the base. My mother has fogotten her ID but the guard takes one look at me and waves us through. We go to the Emergency room enterance. I am still in control. I try to refuse the wheel chair up the elevator, but a contraction insists. My body is aching, but I remind myself that I have run marathons, I have survived survival school (and enjoyed it). What pain can my body give me that I haven't already inflicted on it? What pain indeed.

I am starting to be really uncomfortable. I am beginning to question my resolve on natural childbirth but the pain isn't overwhelming the stubborn insistance I have to not take an epidural. Needles scare me, drugs scare me; even more than pain....having to confess I didn't making through naturally scares me too. Even now I am worried about my image, worried about having things go as I planned, as I think they should.

The nurse, we'll call her nurse Rachett, makes me lie down and then the gravity hits me, like a wall, like a truck, like a train, like a 2x4, like a tsunami or a hurricane or {insert name of famous boxer here}'s right hook and I am floored, knocked out, off my feet on my ass. The pain is Overwhelming to the point that I hardly notice the nurse trying to put the needle in my arm for the IV 5 times and digging. For me with my phobia of needles that usually results in a loss of conscienceness, this is something else.

Here is my turning point; where I give up the illusion of control and realize I am just along for the ride. When getting through it matters more then showing weakness in front of my mother or that my husband is missing the birth. Here lying on a gerny vomitting all over myself with the pain is my turning point.

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#4 of 4 Old 05-12-2005, 12:20 PM
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I had been hovering on the brink of a turning point for weeks but was unable to give myself over to it. I had spent six weeks on my back in bed and I had been here at the hospital for three of those weeks. I had been poked and prodded and drugged all in an effort to keep my precious babies inside of me for just a little bit longer. And here I was at 34 weeks of pregnancy lying on my back on a table in the operating room. A blue curtain was up in front of my face so I could not see what was happening and I was on a table so narrow that I felt I would surely topple off if I could have moved. My body had given up it had rebelled and my babies were going to be born today. I had struggled through contractions most of the night on my own before I finally admitted it was labor and called the nurse in around 5:30 am. And now it was 11:30 and I was no longer hovering on the brink of my turning point but falling into it. In the back of my mind I had known for weeks that I would probably end up having a c-section because my sweet baby girl was laying transverse over my cervix and her brother transverse above her. But I had refused to think much about it hoping praying pleading that they would move and turn. But they hadn’t. And now I wanted to cry as I realized that my babies would be cut from me in this cold white sterile room. I stared at the white tiles in the ceiling and concentrated on counting them concentrated on keeping the tears from spilling over down my cheeks and dropping to the ammonia bleached floor. I also began to face the reality that I would not be taking my babies home with me like I had hoped. I now knew that they would spend time in the NICU hooked up to wires and machines that I would not be able to hold them immediately that I would have to leave this place empty handed. I had refused to confront this for weeks but with the incision being made in my belly the time for illusions and fantasies had gone. My swollen overtaxed body simply could not contain their growing little bodies any longer. I had fought and fought to keep them inside of me for this long but the time had come. And as my mom stood beside me her hands gently on my head I also confronted the reality that my husband was gone and that he really had no place at the birth of these children. My parents had loved and cared for my kids and me for months and it was right and natural for her to be here with me. It was at that same instant that I began the journey to knowing and understanding that my life would continue to move on without him that I would be happy and at peace without him even though I did not yet realize it. As my mom tended to my needs as I threw up bright yellow all over her as she talked tenderly to me and advocated passionately for me I realized her deep love for me. And I turned the corner gave myself up to the moment and accepted what was.
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