In the Company of Women: Part 1
Hello, I’m Dea’.
Many of you have been on this journey with me for almost two years. Others have only recently stumbled into the story. However you’ve found me and wherever you’re from, I love sharing this road with you. Thank you for reading and interacting and being a co-traveler on this gypsy trek.
Now, for reasons fairly obvious, the past months have been fairly ‘baby focused’. That’s cuz our long awaited second-born son has finally joined us! My mind and heart has been focused on pregnancy, risks, hopes, labour, birth, and finally, his glorious appearance. Thank you for celebrating with us! I do promise many more ranch/earth/life posts to come, but for this moment, humor me for yet another baby-focused expression. It’s important. (and it might be a long one!)
I am a woman and a mother. I have celebrated four pregnancies and two births. Simple living, organic eating, natural parenting, and all those other earthy-crunchy phrases are both attractive and, hopefully, expressed within my life and growing family. As both an educator and a student, I desire to pursue truth and new ideas, and apply them responsibly. As a woman in the heart of a journey and a few years of craziness, I’m in process. So, all in all, I’m learning that there’s much more to learn, and I’m discovering that I’m only beginning.
My experiences with child birth have been a recent and eye-opening point of life-education. Through the births of my two sons I have been exposed to mistakes and issues, as well as options and opportunities available to women. Through this most recent birth experience, I have gained awareness to the greater beauty of birth and am compelled to communicate the startling difference that a midwifery team and gentle birth can gift a family with in comparison to our more traditional ‘western procedural’ approach.
Background… Jeremiah’s Birth:
The small rural town in which we were living at the time of Jem’s pregnancy employed a fantastic GP with hundreds of attended births on record. With a compassionate ear, welcoming demeanor, and light-hearted banter with us as a couple, we came to appreciate him both as a care-giver and friend. He seemed both cautious and experienced and we felt we were in good hands.
Unfortunately, despite the positive rapport and great expectations, our birth concluded with a rush of interventions. The traditional “mama on her back” position was supported with glaring surgical lights, clock-watching pressure, administration of an IV and catheter (and just about pitocin!), fetal monitoring, encouragement to use anti-pain medication (it was sitting there next to the bed…), and finally a destructive episiotomy-turned-tear which is even now affecting life physical recovery.
Despite the above, I still woke up the next morning feeling incredible. I had done it! I had given birth and had a healthy baby boy next to me. Given the resources available in our town, my doctor’s background in practice, and my husband’s (and one amazing nurse’s!) fantastic support through each laboring hour, we embraced the birth as a positive and blessed experience.
But I wondered…why were my mama-friends so pleased with their midwives and homebirths? Was gentle or natural birthing more than just avoiding pain meds? I was missing something…. As I began the long hard months of recovery, the questions grew. As we looked towards another birth, the questions shouted to be addressed. Something had to be different next time.
Knightley’s Pregnancy & Birth
I began my pregnancy with Knightley on the tail-end of our second miscarriage, in a time of emotional and familial transition and challenge, and under the care of an overworked geriatrics-focused GP in a town almost an hour away. Appointments were a few breathless minutes of blood pressure and belly measures. Our peers and family members were hours away, and it felt like this baby was an inconvenience to most people we engaged with in our days.
I hated the sense of unknown which plagued any birth planning. Who would attend our birth? Where? How could I avoid the physical trauma of our last birth? What was available?
A girlfriend finally encouraged me to just get out there and look into the midwifery options. We did. Long story short, we somehow (miraculously!) connected with a phenomenal midwife very late in our pregnancy. She took us on and our birthing path began a positive turn.