Remember the embellished wooden letter I made as a hair bow holder for a certain Miss Penelope? (http://mrsmamaelle.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/embellished-letters/) Her mama called me this morning regarding labor/false labor. Her mama said she has been having contractions since about 10 or 11 last night. She discussed the details with me as I listened and waited for one to come on so I could try to gauge the intensity a bit by her voice and reaction over the phone. As it turns out she had a Dr.’s appointment scheduled for today anyway. After hearing what she had to say, I advised that it sure sounded like it could be the real deal, but that it wasn’t too serious yet. Most likely some pre labor. I suggested that she go ahead and shower and prep for the possibility and her regular appointment. Her doctor (who was also my doctor) checked her and also said this could be the day Miss Penelope arrives!
Let me pause here to clarify why the mama called me in the first place. I am not a doctor or midwife. I am not a nurse. Heck, I am not even a doula. I am a mama. I had both of my babies naturally. And I am completely a natural birth advocate. Soon enough I would love to post both of my birth stories here. Today is not that day as I will be off to take the mama my laboring ball shortly.
Anyway, this mama, “K”, and I have been friends for a number of years but we don’t see each other with any regularity. The week after her shower we bumped into each other at a mutual friend’s shower and sat next to each other. At some point she mentioned that she had fully committed to a med-free labor and delivery. Throughout her pregnancy I got to watch as she transitioned from “interested” to “wanting to try”. I was so excited to hear her say she now wanted to go all in. Before I get any hate mail, let me clarify that both this mother and I agree that of course there are some necessary medical interventions. Neither of us would turn away assistance that was needed for baby or ourselves just to maintain “all natural status”. So when I say, “fully committed” I mean within her control. If a serious complication arises she will do whatever she needs to ensure baby arrives safely. Now, back to the point, I told K to please call me at any time for anything she needed for this journey.
Last week I got the chance to get together with her and talk. I had previously sent her the link to my favorite birth plan template (http://pregnant.thebump.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-tools/articles/tool-birth-plan.aspx) so after she filled it out, we sat down and went through it line by line. I gave her explanations, my thoughts/suggestions/experiences and told her what I knew the policies at our hospital to be. It was such an empowering experience—for both of us (I hope).
The emotions and hormones that flow though the body during labor and childbirth are so intense. Perhaps more intense than the pain. The pain I have to try to remember. It comes back, but only after I focus on what it’s like to not be able to walk, or breath, or even just hold yourself up. When I think about the times I found certain lights or voices obnoxious and how my body shook uncontrollably like shivers on steroids, I remember the pain. But when someone says “childbirth”, my mind immediately jumps to the supreme ecstasy I found in delivering my children.
In preparing for her upcoming wedding, a facebook friend recently asked people if their wedding day really was the “best day of their life” and if not, what was. Without any hesitation I was able to say Baby G’s birth day was the best day of my life. No offense to Miss S—that day was great too. But her delivery was after 60 hours of labor. And I love my husband dearly, but he was too buzzed and I was too sober to consider that my best day. G’s day was everything I could have wanted. I genuinely enjoyed it.
For my last labor and delivery, I had my husband, my friend, my mama (who is a certified doula) and my other doula all on my team supporting me however they could. I had such wonderful experiences—even through pain, exhaustion, minor complications and a combined 78 hours of labor. That’s all I want for other women—beautiful, life-changing, empowering experiences as they bring their children in to this world. I’m so very, very excited for K, Miss Penelope and their family.
As I said, we are not terribly close. I adore her and we have never had any sort of “falling out” and we tend to have similar interests, we just don’t hang out often. So, that makes it a little awkward for me trying to help in absolutely every way I can think of, but not wanting to cramp this special, intimate time. She does have others supporting her, but none who have gone through this personally (or at least not recently). I try to rein myself in, but I get so excited. I just want to be a part of it. I am thinking baby will arrive today, so I will keep you updated.