Opening Our Eyes

I spent nearly 2 years in anticipation of labor. Long before I was pregnant, I read story after story of other women’s experiences in labor, watched the Business of Being Born, and every other birthing video I could find, all the while fantasizing what mine would be like. 

And let me tell you, my birth was EVERYTHING I hoped for. 

 

And not just because my baby was born safely.  

Not just because I got to deliver at home.

Not just because I didn’t have to transfer to a hospital.

Not because I didn’t have any interventions.

My birth was successful because I was EMPOWERED by KNOWLEDGE. 

 

My birth was EVERYTHING I imagined it would be because I prepared for it. I knew what was going to be happening to my body, like what sounds I could potentially make, what positions I might find myself in, and most importantly what certain substances could potentially exit my body.  

Puking and pooping is a part of it all. Gross. I know... 

But most importantly, I knew what my options were. I asked my midwives so many questions regarding emergency scenarios, and they answered in full detail. Not one thing was “oh we will just wait and see how it goes.” 

I knew if there were any red flags, I would be OK transferring to a hospital. I knew if labor stalled for too long, I might need an epidural. I knew if baby decided to show signs of major distress, it would be ok to have a c-section. 

I can confidently say if I would have needed an intervention, I would still refer to my birth as a successful one.

 

It was successful because I prepared.

It was successful because I knew my options. 

It was successful because not one decision made was based on FEAR.

 

Photo by Melissa Jean Photography

Photo by Melissa Jean Photography

No, I didn’t know what birth was going to feel like, but I knew exactly what it was going to look like. I recently showed my birth video to my pregnant bestie who is literally due any day now with baby #2. While we were both hovering my laptop in tears, she turns to me and says,

“This is so beautiful. I’ve never seen a birth before!” 

I was shocked to hear she had never seen a real birth before!  However, I’m learning that’s the norm in this day and age. The only birth I’d ever seen (before my birth obsession began) was my own.  Still that was back in the 80’s and I don’t remember seeing any action shots. The closest this generation gets to the delivery room is through our television.

Spoiler Alert! Can you believe Sybil dies in labor on Season 3 of Downton Abbey? Of course! Its drama! (I called it the minute she announced she was pregnant!)

I want to encourage you to know your options. Do your research. But most importantly...

 Watch a real unmedicated birth. 

I super regret not hiring a professional photographer or videographer to capture my first birth with Shiloh. Even though I LOVE looking through my photos, it is my understanding that they are not pleasing to the eye. (Note to self: Don't let your blind mother be in charge of the cameras).

So Instead of sharing my own video, I thought I'd share this beautifully edited home birth of another mom I follow on Instagram. It makes me cry Every. Single. Time. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=C1RdCkYpQls

I need to get this videographer's contact for my next birth. My favorite part about it all is the involvement of the husband and their older daughter. I also love how calm and peaceful everyone in the room looks, even the mama. Oh, the oxytocin! 

My birth was successful because I listened to my body, entrusted those around me for support, but most importantly, I opened my eyes. 

Forty weeks of anticipation boils down to these very moments, yet most of us walk through the door completely blind. We’ve lost ownership of the threshold that is motherhood. Remember...This is your body. And only YOU have to live with the aftermath. Start taking back what is already yours. 

 

 

Photography by Melissa Jean Photography. See more beautiful moments at http://melissajean.com.au.