Friday, October 31

Little Tui's Free Birth

When I became pregnant with Tui I decided I wanted to follow my intuition with this pregnancy not doctors orders. I believe that our bodies usually tell us what we need, whether it's rest or food or craving for specific nutrients. And it goes on doing his even when we are pregnant. I've been on a journey of learning to trust that I know what is good for me so I just wanted to 'be' pregnant and let it happen without the usual checkups and ultrasounds etc. I felt that I would know if I was ok.

I also have a big issue with the medicalisation of pregnancy and childbirth. Humans would not have survived for so long if women's bodies had not been specifically design to bare children. I use the term 'birth' the baby because the generally used term delivery implies that you are delivered of your baby with the help of a third party.

Early in the pregnancy I thought about free birth, or unassisted child birth as it is some times called. I had considered it with my last baby but Peace did not feel confident at the time. Looking back during this pregnancy we discussed his reaction and he apologized for not having confidence in me or really in my body to do what it was designed to do.

I did visit a doctor early on to confirm the pregnancy and organise an anti body blood test. This was such a confronting experience. Firstly, the doctor implied that we would only know for sure I was pregnant when her results came back. She did not trust me to know that I was pregnant. When she tried to set me up for hospital appointments I calmly told her that I would be having the baby a home. She then launched into a tirade about how unsafe it was and she "hoped" I had a qualified mid-wife. Well at that stage I was still undecided if I would free-birth or have a mid wife and I didn't want her to have a seizure so I assured her I had a mid-wife in mind and left the surgery.

I did also have an ultra sound at about twenty two weeks as I convinced myself I needed to know if everything was all right. (what a vague phrase that is!)

It was quiet hard to stay positive and true with what I wanted because there is such a culture of fear surrounding birth. In the end I only told a few people that I wasn't seeing doctors or that I was planning on free birthing. I got sick of defending myself and listening to all their negativity. Most people asked the same question...what if something happens...Well when you have a homebirth there is always time to transfer to a hospital. And I educated myself on what to do in all sorts of senerios. Although I also tried not to focus on anything bd happening. Attitude has so much to do with chid birth.

forty weeks-with Rain,photography by Mr T

My labor came on very gradually. All morning I had a feeling that I was going to see my baby today. I sat in the winter sun and relaxed, did a load of washing and hung out with the kids. At about quater past eleven I got a painful contraction and asked Zan what the time was. I don't really know why keeping track of the time was important to me. I told Peace and the kids that this was it and soon we'd have another baby. The kids went off and started to play cricket out in the yard. Peace asked if I wanted him to make me a bath. (which is a long process here because it's an outside bath and you have to fill it up with the garden hose and light a fire under the tub to heat the water.) I said no not yet. I shouldn't have waited!Lol.
I walked around and swayed heaps. I tried chanting which felt good when I had Mr T but wasn't into it. At twelve I started to get some really full on contractions. So I asked Peace to run me a bath. He got the kids to go and clean the tub out and set a fire but then I called out that I needed him. I wanted a matress out on the door step to lie on between contractions. After about fifteen minutes I wanted to drag the matress inside. Even though it's totally private here I just wanted to be inside. We only got as far as the lounge room floor before I started having contractions so close I didn't feel I could move any further!
This was the only time I doubted my desicion. I asked Peace if he thought I had done the right thing in choosing not to have a mid-wife and he just really calmly said that I was wonderful and could do anything. Awww, shucks!
Then I just started feeling really good with it all and although it was still painful I was getting into the whole thing. I mean it's not everyday that you get to do this. I just started saying I love you over and over again. The urge to push came on really strong but I was trying not to push too hard. I wanted her to come out slowly. And then I felt her head. The most wonderful feeling in the world. I reached down and held her as she came out. I had talked about this beforehand. A doctor had caught Zan, the homebirth mid-wife had caught Rain, Peace had caught Mr T and now I was going to catch my own baby! It was such an empowering moment.

My beautiful Tui- about two minutes after she was born
The whole thing had taken less than an hour and a half. We were kind of speachless that it was all over so quickly with such little fuss.
It was so lovely having noone around after she was born. NO weighin or measureing or checking or cutting or injections. Just me and the family.
Mr T was the only child present when she was born. We'd talked about it previously andZan said he'd already seen two births and didn't feel like he needed to see another.Lol. Rain said she'd make her mind up on the day. But Mr T was pretty keen. We forgot to call him but he happened to walk into the room about two minutes before she was born. All he said was 'You did a good job mummy.'


jodi said...

Oh so so beautiful. I experienced a joyous birth with my little one and my partner Daniel 'caught' him. We recently watched the film 'Orgasmic Birth' and it got Daniel and I so excited about giving birth again. I teach pre-natal yoga and I feel so blessed to be able to share my birth story with pregnant women and to be able to instill in them that birth is a completely natural process...that the body knows what to do.

I'm so passionate about natural birth because I experienced it in its fullness. And it disappoints me so much that birth has become so medicalised...that in the depth of labour a woman can be coerced into unecessary intervention and miss out on the ecstatic joy of natural birth. I am hoping that I will be able to have a homebirth next time.

Your birth story is so inspiring...if you can watch Orgasmic Birth do so - it is truly amazing and it made me so happy to know that slowly, very slowly, women are hearing that labour and birth can be a joyful experience.

Ariad said...

I've hear about that film so many times now. I really have to watch it. I'm so passionate the women reclain their birth right, the right to birth naturally.

Amber said...

What a wonderful story to tell.

hippymummy said...

Amazing.Such an inspirational story. I sadly had all my 7 deliveries in hospital, 6 of my 7 were early, ranging from 8 weeks to just 2 weeks early. i had complications too with my first baby and after that i was under the impression that i would be risking both of us if i tried a home birth after that. I wish now that i'd had the courage that you did in standing up for what you believe in and trusting your natural instincts. I hope that your story helps others to trust their natural instincts and bodies to do what women have done for millenia without intervention from the medical profession.

karisma said...

How Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your amazing story! I agree with you about not liking the whole clinical side. I think they interfere far too much and it hinders what comes naturally!

Having said that there are sometimes complications and I guess some people do need help!

Ariad said...

Yes, Karisma, the inventions of modern technology are sometimes needed but alot less than we are led to believe.

karisma said...

I totally agree with you sweetie have been to a hospital birth with my sister inlaw and was totally outraged at the whole thing! She is all for optional surgery now! She had a bad time, even though I stood there arguing with the stupid midwives over what was going on! They gave her an epidural when she was in transition! Why? Because apparently she was only 6cm dilated. But they had to up the drugs several times cox she was feeling the bearing down!!!!!! (2 shifts later they finally called a doctor! Grrrr) I gave birth to my 3rd child at 6cm when they told me it would be another 4 hours! Took 5min. Im all for free birth sweetie! And promote it all the way!

You are a perfect example! I truly believe my SIL would have free birthed if left to nature! They truly shit me with there whole perfect timing etc.

Anne said...

Wow, what a beautiful story.

You are so lucky to have a natural birth. For me, if it wasn't for medical intervention my daughter and my 2 sons wouldn't be here.

In a nut shell here's my story...

I have a small pelvic opening which makes child birth very difficult. The small pelvic opening is genetic on my dad's side of the family. My great grandmother died during child birth. My Auntie and my cousin nearly died. A caesar section saved them.

My daughter had a traumatic birth - forcepts delivery. Her head got a bit squashed (stuck) in my pelvis which left her with a haematoma on each side of her head. I also broke my coccyx. She was only 7 lbs.

The birth took me a long time both physically and mentally to recover from. I felt eveything as the painkillers had worn off. The pain was so intense I couldn't scream. I felt I was traped in my body. Apparently, my eyes rolled back in my head in between each contraction - I was passing out (my sister-in-law told me this).

All I remember was the pain. I know it was going to be painful but this was torture. I was so scared. I thought I was going to die. I could feel my soul slowly sliping away - it must of been a coping mechanism. Her birth was taking much lomger than it should have. At one stage of the birth her heart rate droped to 35 beats per minute - I remember hearing the heart monitor slowing down.

Katie was pulled out of me, eventually. I couldn't hold her on my own. I started fitting from shock.

In retrospect, Katie should have been a caesar. I told the hospital about my family history and no one examined me. I kept getting fobbed off - "you'll be fine". I knew it was going to be an issue as I was only 24 and not assertive enough to demanded to be listened to.

It took much longer to recover from the birth than the caesar section. I didn't like having my stomach cut open and my sons pulled out of me but they are worth it. As for Katie, she has nervous ticks (twiches) and a few mild behavioural problems. She didn't cope well in a state school and I couldn't home school her. The Steiner School seems to be working for her but it only goes to year 6.

I can only dream of a free birth but I do get annoyed at times that I have to explain/justify to some women why I had caesars for my boys.

I didn't mean to bring the tone of the comments down but there is, at times, another side to medical intervention.


Ariad said...

Anne, I don't in anyway want to negate your experiences but so often women believe what they are told by the medical profession and it is not always the only or best advice. I want express my love for you and how your beautiful children came into this world.
I want to clarify some of my beliefs.
I believe that with the help of a 'good' mid-wife (o.r true belief in ones own body)over half of the reasons that interventions occur would not be a problem.
I'm not referring to your case but for other readers it might be interesting to note that fetal heart beats DO change throughout labour. It is totally natural and is caused by the stress of birthing and the hormones coursing through both the mothers and baby's bodies. Fetal monitoing leads to many unnesecary interventions.
It is also very commom that homebirthing women who have been told that they have a small pelvic opening have birthed naturally at home. The stress of being told you can't, and being monitored can have such a detrimental effect on a women. This sort of negative talk is the first 'intervention' where nature is concerned. Naturally we would all assume we were very capable of birthing. Small pelvic openings also have a habit of opening when a woman is relaxed and in the right position. "Squatters do it better!" is the logo of a t-shirt I want to print! No doubt that there are cases where intervention saves lives but the amount of intervention now is intolerable to me. AND it is not just the doctors who are perpetuating it but women ourselves.
Everyone is on their own lifes journey and what happens to them is just what they need. Maybe as a whole this current crisis in childbirth is telling women that they need to reasses their roles in the world.
We are all so affected however unconsciously by the comments of our mothers and female relatives and their experiences of birth. We are all so willing to believe the 'professionals'. We hand our children over to an education system that we had no say in writing. It is the time for mothers to tak back control of the world. After all...we gave birth to th world...

Carle said...

Yes, the energetic experience of birthing needs to be empowering for the mum.

I was 3 weeks overdue so my MW did a cervical strech to induce. My labour started and after 12 hrs I was 6cm dilated, At 24hrs my dilation was 1,5cm. It was gone my labour pains diminished and my child was not yet in any danger. My midwife gave ME the info and I decided to go to the hospital. I knew that Thomas was not going to be birthed at home or that he was ready for birthing, but with no labour and no fluid to protect him, my choices were no longer empowering.

After much tears at the loss of the experience that I had wanted, my wonderful doctor reminded that mums stumble. She could never breastfeed as she could not produce enough milk. She had mourned this but had come to accept that life is not always as we plan it.

How right she is and how thankful I am that she eased my pain...

On reflection...
What I did learn was so vital for my existance. I knew that induction was not the right choice but everyone was concerned as I was 3 week overdue. I had been influenced and had made uninformed decisions. This realisation only came after my second birthing - I made even worse decisions and have spent much time nurturing Oliver to help ease his dis-ease.

If/when we have another, it will be done with an intimate connection with myself and babes needs. I believe in my inner knowledge, and this journey has been empowering.

Thank you for sharing the beauty... Your words are filled with the truth of life.


three moons said...

What a beautiful birth story! Thanks for sharing.
I am so fascinated with unassisted birth. my first was a MW assisted hospital birth, the second a MW assisted HB. The HB was absolutely amazing but still I felt a bit inhibited.
I work as a HB assistant... we are pretty much as hands off as can be- but I see it in the mamas eyes. I see that a lot of them cant really let go and its because we are there.

I could go on forever but I have a nursing toddler at the key board :-)

Lori said...

beautiful birth story! :^)

Hellena Post said...

Another beautiful post, and eloquent arguement for the undomesticated ones! I'm still tossing round the idea of doing a first was in hospital, 2nd was hospital but virtually unassisted, as the midwife was out of the room! 3rd was a beautiful homebirth with 3 dodgy midwives, all of whom gave me absolutely NO post natal care when I really needed it, 4th was perfect homebirth, waterbirth, lotusbirth, with a midwife who respectfully didn't touch me or my baby - I got to pick her up and totally DIG what an amazing concept and reality it is, to be the first to touch your baby!!! And 5th birth was an emergency caesarean, totally empowered and respectful on behalf of all the proffessionals, and totally amazing all up - he had his cord round his neck and we both would have died any other way. Still, was a bit of a shock. And now there's twins, after a caesarean - doesn't that put me in every 'high risk' category there is?? Yet I can't help this feeling I have that it would all be totally fine, gorgeous, uncomplicated and the like....hmmmmm. Will have to think some more:) Thanks for another beautiful post!!

Luscious Lea said...

The picture of you and Tui gives me the most wonderful warm feeling.

Ariad said...

Thanks Lea, glad you commented on this post as I haven't looked at it for ages and it brought tears to my eyes too.

Anonymous said...

dumb ass pot heads risking babys lives

Ariad said...

Dear anonymous idiot who is too scared to stand up and be accountable if that is what you truely believe.
I'd like to correct you on two points...
1. I don't smoke pot!
2. I am highly intellegent, I have an IQ that would allow me entry to you even know what Mensa is?

I love and encourage discussion but to people like you who just leave basisless insults all I can say is "Get the Fuck off my Blog!"

Carle' said...

power to you!

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