Thursday, June 17, 2010
My name is Abigail and I am a birth-aholic, baby- aholic, pregnancy- aholic. I simply can't learn enough. This "obsessive" interest of mine started long ago and it seems as though it can't be completely satisfied. This birth junky inside of me is taking over! No matter how many conferences, workshops and training courses I attend I crave more. My shelving in my house are quickly filling up with books about you guessed it and nothing but... As I was placing a new order from my fav book store it crossed my mind again that if this obsession were with any thing but this I would be in great need of soome professional help. I remember reading my first book about this awesome topic it was a very old addition of Sheila Kitzinger's Pregnancy and Childbirth at the time my Mother was expecting one of my younger siblings. Now I am currently planning a road trip to an event 7ish hours away because I just can't get enough and other than births I attend there is nothing great going on around these parts.
This might sound crazy or out there to some but this is just the way that I choose to live. I love birth.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Never forget how you got where you are.
SO to all those who were there as I was led to this calling and found this great passion of mine. Thank you!
As I remember it, how my passion all began and my calling started to grow!
I turned six years of age in August, my Mother was pregnant with her fifth child and estimated to give birth mid September. It wasn't that I had never seen my Mother swollen with child before or other women for that matter, that part I understood but this time was different. I was attending Kindergarten at a public school and very excited about the birth of this new sibling. Like me and my other siblings this baby too was going to be born at home. I told a few of my classmates about this and my teacher then become aware of the fact that my new baby sibling was to be birthed at home, something I thought of as normal was taken by these people as "crazy"! This was so strange to me. Trying to wrap my little five year old brain around this. I'm still not sure I have. But all the same I stopped chatting about my new baby and my excitement for the birth changed to thoughtful contemplation of how the babies around me were being born. I remember asking a girl in my class at school where she was born? Her reply shocked me. "The hospital of course!" Why was this an "of course"? Was my birth not normal? I felt normal.
It was late Saturday evening my Mother started to labour she got very busy. Moving about the house cleaning, doing laundry, making sure everything was in place for my siblings and I, but also for this new baby. She gradually grew more and more serious than I had ever seen her. My Mother gave birth as planned at home to my new brother. Because of a strike that midwives in the province of Alberta were on, unlike my birth there was no midwife present. Though my Father was on the phone on and off with a midwife to be sure that everything was fine as my Mother did hemorrhage with this birth. I remember my Mother saying that her body knew how to do this. That statement has always stuck with me.
I turned eight and we had just moved to an acreage when my Mother found out she was pregnant with her sixth child. My parents interviewed a Midwife living in the larger metropolitan centre 2 hours away, she was willing to travel to catch this baby. I remember her so well, every meeting, every appointment, everything she said! Wendy Day became my idol, to this day I still believe there was something so amazing and different about the connection between her and my Mother made this birthing simply beautiful. As with every pregnancy my Mother's stack of books all about pregnancy and natural childbirth started to grow beside our couch. With this pregnancy I took a new interest. When my Mother sat down to read most days I curled up beside her satisfying my new curiosity about this process. I soaked up so much information and got an understanding that I could not have got anywhere else. I thank my Mother for this experience and teaching me and my sibling by example that birth in normal. Saturday morning it started like it does. The puttering about the house as so known of as nesting, Mum called Wendy they talked for a bit and she got on the road to come to our home with her partner another Midwife from her city. They arrived, the house stayed calm, at peace and undisturbed. They blended right into the beauty of the environment and family dynamics of this birthing experience. Sylvia playing games with us kids when we were not sitting around our parents bed as our Mother laboured and then birthed our brother. Amazing and awe inspiring. To the young girl I was this experience is by far the beginning of my real calling. I remember telling my Father I wanted to me just like Wendy and Sylvia when I grew up. So as not to give the wrong impression; my Mother's labours and births were not completely uncomplicated the truth is the Midwives my parents hired were very well trained, experienced and prepared for the unexpected complications that arise in a birthing.
I was about to turn 13 when my Mother gave birth to my youngest sibling. With this birth I became aware of the unpleasant fact that people around us were not very happy for my family, or that our parents were having their seventh child. Because of the shift in some of the negative pressure around my family with this pregnancy and birth I started to do a lot of reading and began my own study of my Mother's pregnancy and birthing library. This time my parents hired the first Registered Midwife. Another beautiful experience but to me is was about others understanding that choice must be respected. No matter what it is, or if you understand it.
When I was 18-22 I was asked by a few friends to go to the hospital with them for the births of their babies. I had no idea about the profession of a Doula then, but I did this as a friend. I witnessed one cesarean section and many vaginal deliveries none of them with out intervention. Supporting labouring women came naturally to me, and I loved the reward of having been there for them. Helping them to feed their babies and understand that all of this was a normal process.
Just before my twenty-second birthed I married my husband and soon we were pregnant with our first baby. Excited for our journey through this together with great difficulty we found a Traditional Birth Attendant that was happy to be apart of our birthing experience. This was much more complicated than I had anticipated it would be. After a number of Registered Midwives turned me down for the simple reason that it was "only" my first pregnancy. So I was led to believe that my cervix was high risk until proven other wise. Crazy I know! Thanks goodness for the women empowering TBA I gave birth at home just as I had planned. After talking to friends of my husband and I, about our home birth they all seemed to have the same reply "We could never have done it at home, you must have EASY labours/births" SO to make it very clear my first stage of labour was 49 hours long, my pushing stage almost 4 hours long, the umbilical cord was wrapped around babies neck, baby was a very difficult starter not breathing and needing to be bagged for some time before coming around. I am so thankful for my sister a nurse and that she was there for me through all of this. She knows me like no body else and LOVES me like no body else. Our first nursing session was no walk in the park either thank goodness my Mother showed up about then to tell me to stop trying so hard "just let baby come to you" (thank you Mum) But I never took NO in any form for an answer, SO YES! I got my birth atmosphere preserved the way I needed it.