Monday, April 22, 2013


Good Morning,

I just wanted to share an experience that I had this weekend.  A birth class reunion.  I always try to facilitate these gatherings and mostly, it works out.  This class in particular had a great camaraderie and getting the first gathering going was not even my job.  They will have more, I'm sure.  The part about this reunion that I wanted to share with you was a realization of what I am trying to accomplish in the birthing community, with my classes, with my curriculum, with my doula work.  It was so beautifully represented that I can't keep it to myself.
I talk a lot in my classes about being prepared for the birth process.  To me, this means understanding what your body will be doing, and practicing skills to allow the process to do its job. A sort of "get out of your own way" concept.  Being prepared also means knowing the industry, as you may have noticed in my last entry, I do not believe that the odds of having an uncomplicated birth are in your favor if you walk in to the hospital without having A. A fundamental understanding of the variables in childbirth and what your options are if something comes up that requires you to consider interventions, or B. An experienced Doula.
When you understand the natural process of birth, then you are also able to easily understand when complications come up that require you to consider a variation to the plan.  Generally speaking, one of two things will happen:
An emergency (while rare) is easy to spot.  The urgency in the room is evident and the demeanor of your care providers is focused and serious.  They will likely be talking about vital signs, either fetal or maternal, meaning blood pressure, heart rate, responsiveness, consciousness.
Worrisome, yes, but subtle? No.  In this case, the answer is pretty easy.  Intervene.
The other (much more common) option is they are bringing information to you regarding one concern or another, usually in the family of labor progress.  Mom and baby are fine, but there is something happening that leads them to believe that there is some kind of problem with position of the baby, contraction pattern or strength, endurance, and sometimes more than one.  This kind of complication, in my humble opinion, requires some evidence, some burden of proof on the medical staff to prove to you that it is indeed safer for mom or baby to intervene.  Let them present a plan of action and allow you to ask informed questions so that you are free to accept changes to your original plan of "as little intervention as possible" and allow you to feel empowered in the situation, a part of the solution and not a victim of circumstance.

Back to the reunion.  What I noticed in this group filled my heart and made me feel like I am following my calling.  This group had a diversity in their experiences.  From a super speedy birth, to a relatively average natural birth, to a transport to the hospital with some intervention, to transports to the hospital with all the bells as whistles.  Now, in most settings that I have witnessed (parties, mom's groups, work environments, etc) where women are sharing their birth stories there is an invisible, but palpable divisiveness between women who have had very different experiences.
Not at this reunion and I believe I know why.
These families had an understanding of the normal process, they all knew that there were risks and that they were not immune, they all knew that there was not guarantee, they all knew the resolve of the other couples and they all knew that necessary intervention is choosing what is best for Mom or Baby in the very same way that barring complications, natural childbirth is. An uncomplicated birth is best for the baby, except when it is not.
Everyone had wisdom and compassion for everyone.
They were Kin in that moment and that is my calling, I'm working on creating kinship in this industrialized, medicalized, incredibly divided industry.  I know that these couples didn't  acquire their compassionate nature in my classroom, but understanding the birth process and being able to understand each others stories made it easier to really hear each other and I'd like to believe that I contributed to that. A girl can dream.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.