A Response to a Letter….
Dear One of My Favorite clients,
You wondered why you had to push for so long and for so hard. “Why?” you ask, “was my birth not normal? Why was my baby in the wrong position? 100 years ago, would my baby have died? My mother-in-law told me that babies usually come out in 5-6 pushes. Why was my pushing stage so long and hard? These are the fears and questions I want to talk about before I get pregnant again. Why was my birth not normal?”
Dear Sweet Client,
I understand these questions, these fears. I too had similar ones. When Treska was born I screamed bloody murder. I was not all zen about it. It was like a train coming through my body, fast and furious. I tried to hang on. Gosh – I felt ashamed at all the screaming I did. My midwife (East Germany) told me to get my act together – quickly. “If you don’t get yourself together now, it will be your fault if your baby dies!” (It is ok – I have forgiven her. I am grateful to her even. It is why I became a midwife. I know her now, and I love her.)
But yes – why didn’t I realize that those sensations and my reaction to it – was normal?
To answer your question -
Most women have to, seriously, push so hard and for so long to get their babies out. 2-3 hours for a first time mama is so normal. Really. And 100 years ago you would have had a midwife coaching you like Cynthia did. And you would have pushed him out, because you knew that if you didn’t your little baby wouldn’t have made it. You would have done it then too!
I want to tell you that your birth was normal. This is my soap box – this is what I talk to my students about all the time. Birth is not uncomplicated. It isn’t.
If birth were no problem and if it were easy and perfect all the time you wouldn’t see maternal mortality rates that are “through the roof” in places where there are no trained birth attendants. Afghanistan, today, has a life-time maternal mortality rate of 1 in 11.
If birth was super easy, safe and perfect all the time, women would not be dying in these numbers.
That being said – it is also not a medical emergency all the time either.
Normal birth is often complicated. These complications, when attended to by a trained care provider, don’t turn into disasters most of the time.
Normal birth is not perfect birth. Perfect birth happens sometimes, but MOST birth has some element of complication. Mostly small, sometimes large.
The natural birth movement has also done many a huge disservice. It really allows women to believe that birth is no problem. Easy even. “If you just surrender to it – you can have an easy birth.”
Women are shocked, often, at the powerful sensations they feel during labor.
It is the other extreme of our mainstream media – which promotes birth to be a medical emergency and terrifying.It is neither. Most of the time. Sometimes it is an emergency and sometimes it is perfect.
Most of the time it is in the middle. Thank God (or whomever) for the tools we all have access to today and in this country. Sometimes they will be needed, often they will not be.
Does that help at all? Most likely your next baby will be in a better position – I think you will have such an easier time of pushing……
You were phenomenal – and you can be so proud of yourself. We just had two other similar births. One stayed at the BC and pushed out an impossibly positioned head and the other was the exact scenario you had…. she also pushed it out.
Oh – one more that I can think of – she had a c/s for a hard positioned head.
There is no right way to birth! I just cannot tell you enough – you are such a phenomenal woman. Beyond incredible. The work you did was the hardest you will probably ever have to do again. Some of the hardest work I have ever seen.
Please feel free to make an appointment with me…. let’s talk more.
with all my love, respect and admiration,
(This post is similar to I Trust Midwives)