The reality is that our bodies don’t always do what we expect, hope, or pray that they do. The reality is that you can read as many positive passages by Ina May Gaskin and still run into trouble during the birthing process. I’ve come to realize that it’s not fear that has gotten the better of me, but the reality that my body has limitations.
I believed so deeply in my body’s ability to birth my babies. So much so that even after a “failed” home birth the first time around, I opted to try again. Because I believed.
I still believe in a woman’s ability to birth a baby, but I also know that no matter how hard I defend my body’s ability, it too has limitations.
The other day I was pulling meds in the med room at work when the pharmacist came in with his rolling table of meds to stock. On the top of the cart were several bags stacked on-top one another of pitocin. I looked at him, laughed, and said “get that stuff away from me”.
You see, with my birth with Hooper, my body didn’t know what to do. Labor never started on it’s own and though I speak so evilly of that dreaded drug, something had to be done to get the ball rolling. As my OB said, pitocin is synonymous with induction; there are no other ways to technically induce labor. Sure there are natural labor induction techniques, but if your baby is in distress, your OB isn’t going to tell you to exercise, or have sex, or eat pineapple, or stimulate your nipples, or call an acupuncturist… he’s going to hook you up to an IV with pitocin running into your veins. Because, despite the inherit side effects, it works.
I worried deeply that my body would fail me again; my new fear when pregnant with Van being that my body would once again not go into labor on it’s own. A fear rooted in what was previously my reality and thus, a fear supported by reality. My reality.
And to my surprise, it did go into labor on it’s own. It knew just what to do and it did it so beautifully. The labor portion of my birth with Van is the highlight of all my birth experiences thus far; the part of the story I hold on to tightest.
I’m hoping that the last piece of the puzzle – the piece I have yet to make fit – will be complete with this third baby. I’m referring to my body’s ability to push a baby out, on it’s own. And if not on it’s own, at least safely, without complication. Because it’s not the assistance I fear, but the complications that come along with things like vacuum deliveries and, well, large babies in general. I hope the fact that I’m grateful for the assistance I’ve had and the luck I’ve had in delivering two healthy babies inspite of needing assistance is clear.
You see, it’s not all about trusting your body and believing in your body. If I didn’t have either, I would have never tried to birth my babies at home. I had all kinds of trust and will-power and it was my experience, my reality, that proved my trust and belief in myself to – on it’s own – not be enough. For me, it’s not about positive thinking and visualition. Sure that can be part of it, but I had it before and it still didn’t go as planned, or envisioned for that matter, so the resulting feelings of defeat and fear have been proven valid.
So I suppose the better question is this: How do you deal with fears that are valid and rooted in your own experiences of the past? How do you trust when trust alone hasn’t proven to be enough?
You can read my first “birthing fears” post by clicking here.
Image by Tish Carlson.