Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Birthing Dreams & Realities

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

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I gave birth to my firstborn child when I was 17 years old. I had absolutely no choice in where I gave birth. I was, however, allowed to say that I didn't want drugs... even at 17 years old. I'll admit here that I got a shot of Demerol for back pain right before she was born. I still claim that birth as natural because I didn't receive the drugs until it was too late.

Jorje becomes a MommaJorje as a new 17 year old mother.
I was not forced to have pitocin after birth since I could get up and get to the bathroom on my own.

I had no complaints about how my birth happened or how I was treated during my 48 hour stay in the hospital. Even as a minor, I was treated with respect. When I told the nurse that I didn't want them to give my baby sugar water or anything else, they said they would bring her to me when she was hungry.

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My 2nd birth wouldn't come along until I was 25 years old. I was even more natural-minded and studied the Bradley Method of childbirth. I didn't really have a choice this time around, either. Having no health insurance, but being of Native American descent, I was to birth at the Indian Hospital a couple of towns over from us. I heard horror stories about women having average sized babies, but having trouble with staff because "Indian babies are big." I was warned the hospital would freak out over my small baby. Only... I make big babies, so that wasn't a problem, either.

Tyler in HospitalTyler & I in the Indian Hospital
They didn't like us using our own blanket until we were discharged.

Since I was a couple of towns over, I had minimal guests... which has its pros and cons. Otherwise, they let my baby room in with me as much as I wanted. I actually had her cosleeping in my hospital bed. I got caught once and told the nurse I'd stay awake... but then went back to sleep anyway. I would have liked to refuse the Vitamin K shot, but as a government subsidized hospital, I was told it was required. Overall, a decent experience. No complaints.

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I had insurance when I gave birth for a 3rd time. I chose my doctor and my hospital! Fancy! I loved my doctor and the hospital birthing experience was fine. Not only did I have no complaints, I was able to leave the hospital 24 hours after birthing.

after Sasha's birthYou can see my hep-lock still in place, but no IV was ever necessary. Sasha roomed-in with me the entire time.

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I managed to get state-funded medical insurance for my 4th (and final) birth. By then I was even crunchier! I would have loved to have a home birth, but knew it wasn't in the cards for me (due to potential medical problems for our son). Our area didn't have a birthing center at the time, either. I needed to be near a NICU anyway.

I was absolutely treated with respect during our labor and birthing. I liked the doctor (who was on call that night), even though she didn't arrive until our son was already born. Shoot, I might even call that bonus! Spencer wiggled his way out into the hands of a nurse!

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I've never gotten to labor or birth in water, though I've dreamed of it. I never got to birth at home, though I do think that would have been lovely. My desires and perspective on birth changed over time. My hospital births were still empowering and life-transforming as the natural births that they were. I wouldn't change a thing!

My wish for all mothers is to be at peace with their own birth experiences, regardless of where, when, how or with whom they take place.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • I was Foolish Then — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings describes how foolish lack of preparation for childbirth led to a feeling of powerlessness and fear, but that in the end she had her baby in her arms, and that's one thing she can celebrate.
  • Sometimes no plan is the best plan — Tat at Mum in search contemplates that maybe she doesn't need a birth plan for her upcoming birth.
  • Disturbing the peace — Kenna at Million Tiny Things thought she would be a calm, quiet baby-haver. Ha!
  • Accepting the Unexpected During Birth — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM imagined herself laboring on a birthing ball but she never imagined where she'd really be most comfortable when the time came...
  • Sacred This Time, Too — Kimber at The Single Crunch learned enough to know that the way she birthed wasn't they way she wanted to; but she also knew to enjoy it for what it was.
  • The Birth Partner: A Great Natural Labor Companion — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger thinks that the secret to her pleasant natural labors was having a great support system.
  • the Best Thing About My Labor ExperienceCrunchy Con Mommy realizes that amidst all the things that seemed to go wrong with her labor, the love and support of her husband was the one thing she could always count on!
  • Your Birth Was My FavoriteDulce de leche describes some of the highlights from each of her four births and explains why despite the differences, they are all her favorites.
  • Birth Story: Part One - Moon on a Stick! Gentle Mama Moon tells the first part of her birth story to share some of the delight of labouring at home.
  • Embracing My Birth Experience by Sharing My Birth Story — Dionna at Code Name: Mama made peace with her first birth by sharing the story with her son.
  • Focusing on the Beauty of Birth — Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares the beautiful aspects of her birth center water birth.
  • A Joyful Induced Delivery — Amy Willa: Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work notes the meditations and perspective that helped her achieve an unmedicated birth despite being induced for medical reasons.
  • Finding Joy in an Imperfect Childbirth Experience — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells what she learned from her two very different childbirth experiences.
  • What's to like about a c-section? — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama is glad she her second child at home, but she also cherishes much about the c-section she had four years earlier.
  • What Story Will I Tell? — Rachael at The Variegated Life realizes that the way she tells the story of her second child's birth matters — and could be exhilarating.
  • I Quietly Put My Hopes to Rest E — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her emotional ups and downs with the highly intervened birth of her special needs daughter, Bella.
  • Tale of Six Births — Jessica at Instead of Institutions appreciates that unique challenges and joys of each of her births.
  • Labouring naturally: nature’s gift — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the most beautiful, spiritual aspect of the labour of her son, the first stages along a bumpy road to giving birth.
  • All The Woman I Am. — Lindsay at This Woman's Work shares a poem about letting go and surrendering during the thralls of labor.
  • A twin birth story: embracing the unexpected — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her twin birth experience and how she found the silver lining when faced with preterm labor, premature birth, and a two-week NICU stay.
  • Giving Birth With Eminem — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how fiery rap music contributed to an empowered homebirth with her third baby.
  • Two Different Births — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life shares how she learned from her first birth experience and how to trust yourself and your body.
  • Embracing Our Potential: Birth as a Metaphor — Sheila from A Living Family guest posts at Natural Parents Network and expresses how birth has served as a metaphor to help her through other experiences in life.
  • Little Sister's Birth Story: Our VBAC Adventure — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama describes the recent birth story of her baby girl, her pride in an epidural-free VBAC, and how her story isn't exactly the birth experience she had planned for.
  • A Journey in Birth Confidence — Shannon at The Artful Mama shares her experiences with labor during both of her sons' births.

9 comments:

  1. Awesome that you had four different hospital experiences, and you felt empowered and respected at every one. I think that has to be due in part to your confident, knowledgable personality - they knew you were a force to be reckoned with, even at 17 :) Thank you for sharing your stories!
    ~Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

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  2. I think the most important part of birth (and I've read some research that backs me up) isn't so much HOW it happens, but that a mother trusts the people she's with and is respected and involved in the process. I think that can happen anywhere ... and it can also be missing anywhere. It sounds like you had those things, and that's fabulous.

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    1. I definitely think trusting the people around you is SO important for birthing! If the people with you make you uncomfortable, how can you relax?

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  3. What empowering stories! I felt similarly respected during my hospital birth; it was a very positive experience for us.

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  4. Yes! Perspective changes over time, and yours changed with all the experiences you had. I think you have a great point of view throughout the births. We can't just say ALL hospitals are evil corporations -- they are necessary and can be great. And women need to say, "I had a great hospital birth," do that others can hear it. Erika@cincodemommy

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  5. Awesome post, Jorje! I'm so impressed with your natural choices when you were very young. I don't think I would have had the presence of mind to make those requests at that time in my life. I really enjoyed your perspective on all four births!

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  6. Excellent perspective. I live in the land of socialized medicine (a.k.a. Canada) and I'd never really thought about how insurance (or lack thereof) could impact birth choices. I'm happy that you were able to make the best of all of your births. Your babes are all beautiful too!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your stories... I love the progression!

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  8. I'm really glad that you can be a voice for positive hospital birth, as much as I know you'd have liked to have experienced other options. It's really cool the way you can show the variety of options for hospital birthing, and how you were able to remain in control, empowered, and respected in different environments.

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