Friday, April 26, 2013

A first step.

During my pregnancy with Marshall, I posted periodically about how things were going. Mostly the emotional mess of having a baby after losing a baby kind of stuff. After his arrival, I posted periodically about the emotional mess of having a baby after losing a baby kind of stuff. 

But I've never written much about his birth. 

Birth scared me. 

There were so many things that were just waiting to go wrong. Structural issues with my uterus and cervix. Marshall not showing growth for a month. Pre-eclampsia during my last two weeks. Delivering in a military hospital that loves c-sections. History of hemorrhage. 

I had given birth to two babies. Both babies were alive, and then they died. 

Birth was the end of my pregnancy. Birth was the end of knowing Marshall was alive and well. Birth was the uncertainty, the moment when my baby would either be alive or die like his siblings. 

I was terrified. 

I had experienced so much trauma related to pregnancy, birth, and just hospitals in general. I was terrified of what would happen, what might go wrong. I was terrified of the induction the doctor wanted to do. I was terrified of any chance that I would have a c-section. I was terrified that I would walk away without a baby. 

I wanted a natural birth. I wanted to feel the pain. I wanted to feel my baby come into the world. I wanted to hurt, just like I had done with his sister and his brother. I knew my chances were a bit slim, especially in a surgery happy military hospital, but I was determined. 

I had prodromal labor for 3 weeks before Marshall finally showed up....the day before Doc wanted to induce. Contractions picked up at 10:30 PM, so I tried to take a nap until I couldn't take it anymore. My friend Ayla was training to become a doula, so she joined us at the hospital at 2:30 AM. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia in the first hour. Back labor. Horrible, painful back labor. Marshall was...what did they call it....sunny side up? Fourteen hours later, I was laughing as they handed me my perfect, tiny little guy. He was breathing. He was alive, very much alive. He was perfect. (APGAR of 9!) 

And I did it all completely natural, completely drug free, completely in the moment, fully present in every painful contraction. Just like I wanted. 

My body had finally done what it was supposed to after failing me, failing my babies. It was a first step in forgiving myself, forgiving my body, for everything that had happened in the previous two years. It felt healing. 

One of the nurses commented that it was the first natural birth she had seen in that hospital in 10 years. 

I'm in a military town. Many of the women around here don't have family locally. Many of them endure pregnancy, and often birth, with their spouse deployed. Many of them don't know what to talk to their doctors about or what options they have. Many of them are walking in those same shoes, having a baby after losing a baby, and losing their minds in all the stress that entails. 

It hurts me to see how unsupported so many of these women are. 

I wanted to do something about it. 

In September, I will be a certified instructor for natural child birth classes. 

It's a first step in a completely different direction. It's a pretty big step for me. 

I'm also working to get Lilly's Dream back up and running. I had to put things away during my pregnancy because it was too much for me, especially after the nurse shooting me down when I talked to her about our memory boxes. I will have more time to develop the local resources, which I hope will help even more than the boxes. I'm anxious....but dive back in. 

I'm hoping to be around here more often. Four months was way too long. 

Marshall is doing great, by the way. He is 19 pounds, and he will be 8 months on Sunday. Can you believe that?! 

Sweet potatoes.

Discovering grass and flowers.

My friend Qi took this at our Easter picnic.


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