Photo by Raymond Bosma “New Born Jason” https://flic.kr/p/dX3YxU
Unfortunately, both of my children’s births were delivered under great duress. Jordan was extracted by an emergency C-section at 33 weeks gestation and Adie was born almost 2 weeks late during the Ice Storm of the Century in January of 1998! She was a scheduled C-section as I was “not supposed” to be able to sustain a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section ) due to the compromise in the muscles of my uterus. These experiences were very far from the hoped for Natural Child Birth I’d thought I’d signed up for.
When I went into labour with Adie at 4:00 a.m. on Jan. 9th, I took a window of opportunity and drove to the hospital. What I encountered was a state of confusion during this declared “State of Emergency” in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. It was Ice Storm mayhem and I lucked out to have a trained nurse/midwife at my side who had actually slept the night before. Nurse Irene knew I was potentially slated for another c-section, but she and I both knew the OR was unavailable.
She lovingly looked me in the eyes and said, “this babe is going to come out the way nature intended, and we are going to do it together.” All of the the drugs (epidural), and all the men, were dispensed with and Nurse Irene and I brought Miss Adrienne Valerie Glatt into this world without a single push, 10 minutes after I had dilated 10 cm at 10 minutes past midnight. The experience was a perfect 10 after all! I survived Natural Child Birth!
I never imagined that I could actually give birth, the way nature intended, and that it could be so painless and so easy. I had been using homeopathic remedies for months for first aid, including Arnica, Hypericum and Ledum and I still wonder if this made the marked difference in my experience. At the time, though, I didn’t know if I was helped by the remedies, but I did know that I’d never met any other women who had done this birthing thing without pain killers or an Obstetrician in the room.
My husband was so sick with a sinus infection that day, that Nurse Irene had declared him surplus and put him to sleep in a big lazy boy chair with a blanket and she and I went quietly to work to ride the tides of labor together. Adie’s Dad woke to see her beautiful head crown and her first breath. She was snuggled into my chest suckling within 10 minutes of her birth and I was in shock. I had done the unthinkable. I had given birth naturally. What a concept!
In an industry where the mortality rates of babes born in hospitals is alarmingly high, especially in the U.S. (Canada comes in a sad 2nd), and especially in babes of racial minorities, it can feel like we’re victims of a medical industry that does not wholly have our best interests, or our babies, at heart. The fact that we become patients in gowns and encouraged to use a wheel chair and lie in beds, just waiting for the time that is right to put us out of pain with an epidural is thankfully now becoming a thing of the past. Until recently, the options were not so great.
HypnoBirthing, Doulas, Water Births, Successful Breach Deliveries, and Mid-wives are all terms we women are championing as we take the fundamental right back to have our babes in the way that is most resonant and congruent for each one of us. If you have a minute, or two, to check out an awesome article in the Toronto Star where our dear friend, colleague and patient of Arcanum Wholistic Clinic, Helen Daniels, was excerpted regarding her remarkable birth experience, you may be blown away to see birthing being compared to having an orgasm! Good God, where do I sign up?!!!
In an article written by Jennifer Griebenow, on the safety of Hospital Births v.s. Home births, she is shocked to learn that, ” A study in the Netherlands done in 1986 on women who were having their first babies showed these results: out of 41,861 women who delivered in the hospital, the perinatal mortality rate was 20.2/1,000. Of 15,031 women who delivered at home with a trained midwife, the rate was 1.5/1,000 (Kitzinger 44).” She goes on to say, “I know, I thought it must be a typo too.”
Pretty soon, we’ll be walking up to the medical doctors and asking them, “Do you have any idea how risky it is for babes to be born in those antiseptic towers you work in? Have you seen the latest stats. on infant mortality of recent?” We’ve come a long way, Baby! And it is Moms like Helen Daniels who are providing us with the courage to do it very differently, our way. We are taking back our power and this time no one is going to be burnt at any stake!