Some years back, I attended a conference where Diane Wiessinger was one of the keynote speakers. She shared information about breastfeeding and birth. In the course of one of her presentations, she showed a picture of a beautiful house by the water where her family spends vacations. Everything in the picture reflected calm, peace, and escape from the world. What she shared, though, was revealing: "Whenever I am here, at this home away from home, it takes me a few days before I have a bowel movement." (Yes, I know I just put poop in your pretty picture -- hold that for a minute.) Her point? If this is how a body responds and readjusts to a different (beautiful, serene) environment as displayed by bowel habits, how does that translate to pushing out your baby in a hospital room, surrounded by many strangers (and loved ones)?
I love this scene from "Open Season." I think it is a humorous, disarming way to illustrate the point. Enjoy! And my apologies to Diane if I got things wrong -- it's all open to interpretation!
Before I start I must share, I do realize "animal midwife" isn't a real term. I guess if a veterinarian is who you call when an animal needs extra help birthing her young, I am calling the person who is "with cow" (or ewe) during a spontaneous, normal birth an Animal Midwife. This Animal Midwife is a former childbirth student of mine (currently pregnant with her third baby -- so it's been a while!). After she read my first baby's birth story, she reached out to me to share her thoughts. The following is our conversation...
Animal Midwife: I loved your blog post! I shared it since I have so many friends and family expecting their first babies. I just had two friends a week apart go in for inductions and both (one not even 12 hours later), were rushed in for c-sections. I almost hurt for them knowing what they missed out on and the trauma physically and emotionally they might feel.
Me: I know what you mean. I was lucky I didn't end up with a cesarean birth.
AM: That's how I feel! If I hadn't had the midwives, that would have been my case! Luckily, I made some good choices and knew I wanted a midwife versus an OB. I think it's mostly because I grew up with livestock. I was telling my mom the other day, if I ran out and gave Pitocin (oxytocin) every time I thought a ewe or cow was done and ready to just get it over with, the lamb or calf would die nearly every time, and possibly the momma. Babies come when they are ready!
Me: Do you have Pitocin that you can use for your animals?
AM: Yep, it's called oxytocin, but it's the same thing. I have used it to treat a retained placenta. If I were to give it even a few days early there's a good chance the lambs or calf wouldn't be in the right position causing major problems! We would never break our livestocks' water either. My friend was being induced and they broke her water resulting in a cord prolapse and an emergency c-section. I just wish she would have waited, but they told her 2 weeks ago the baby was already 9lbs, and at birth he was 8.6.
I must preface this by stating, it is not an uplifting tale of birth. I know in our culture we hear more birth horror stories, and it is not my intention to perpetuate that. This is the beginning of my birth experiences, and although I take credit for my missteps, I hope 1-it can serve to help get you thinking about your birth options, and 2-you will read my other experiences of birth to see the evolution which came through my personal education and faith.
When I was pregnant for the first time, I fit the typical American mom-to-be stereotype. My older sister was three months behind me pregnant with her first, and she was planning a homebirth with a midwife. Not me, I wanted a hospital birth, and the cherry on top was, I chose a female obstetrician just knowing she would "get me."
My appointments were a lot of waiting, waiting, waiting for her to show up, and then her rushing me out in important-doctor fashion. One time I was made to wait so long, naked bottom on the papered-table (in a very hot, windowless room) that I sweated through the paper -- how terrible was that? But I was a good girl, and I did as I was told. "Take off your pants and sit here, she will be here soon." How humiliating. (Please, if it is not too late for you, keep your pants on until you practitioner arrives, and just sit in the chair while you wait -- it's allowed!).
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)