My beautiful daughter’s birth was one of the best days of my life.
Filled with mystery, I tried everything under the sun to have an all-natural, medication-free birth, and I ended up with a several day labor that turned into an emergency C-section.
While in labor with my daughter, I remember feeling a spectrum of emotions from fear of an unsuccessful birth where my daughter would be injured or even die, anger that my body wasn’t responding to the necessary induction because she was post-term (past 42 weeks), resentment towards some of my midwives for the hospitalized protocol while giving birth (all of the steps involved in induction, and not listening to what I wanted because it wasn’t part of the hospitalized system they were “required” to follow), as well as resentment towards the midwives for the physical pain and discomfort I was in due to hospital protocols.
Despite the frustration during labor, the birth of my daughter is an extraordinarily beautiful memory. I remember feeling pure relief and overwhelming joy when my daughter was finally born, and just an overwhelming sense of gratitude and peacefulness that she was safe, healthy, and peaceful. These positive emotions outweigh any hiccups during the labor, and I have etched in my memory that Kayla’s entrance into the world was a beautiful and peaceful evening.
Though I was elated emotionally being able to hold my beautiful and happy, healthy daughter and bring her home, physically my body needed a good amount of time to heal. I left the hospital with blood oozing staples in my uterus, a crushed and trauma filled cervix from all of the cervical sweeps and manual finger manipulations from midwives trying to get the baby out of me for three days, and extra baby weight from a difficult and post-term (past 42 weeks) pregnancy. It took my body a long time to be able to healThough certain procedures performed by them during the induction contributed to the time of my healing process, many of the ways my body needed to heal is a natural and expected part of the post-birth process. Other emotions were due to feeling body shamed by things they said to me during labor such as “your body is being unresponsive to induction, your body is not cooperating, the manual manipulations of your cervix at this point are part of a mandatory induction protocol if you want care from us,” etc. to name a few. Many of these statements made during the birth to me by the midwife were discouraging, anxiety provoking, and unhelpful.
Based on my personal experience, my advice for pregnant women preparing for birth would be to choose your health providers carefully by doing your research beforehand, and openly communicate your needs and questions in order to establish trust. Sometimes you have the ability to predict who specifically will help you deliver your baby (for instance my physician of choice was able to deliver Ethan because I had a scheduled C-section), and sometimes you do not choose who delivers your baby due to an emergent situation, or if your midwife/physician is not on call.
I was not able to choose my specific midwife during Kayla’s birth because it was in a hospital setting, and the midwives I was hoping for were not on call the day I was induced. If you are working with physicians or midwives, make sure you communicate what you want for your birth, and discuss what the hospital protocols, if applicable, are, for instance during an induction. In hindsight, I believe a lot of the resentment I felt after Kayla’s birth towards one of the midwives could have been avoided if we had been able to communicate more effectively beforehand. My inability to establish trust with the midwife before Kayla’s birth contributed to my feelings of anger and resentment towards her afterwards. Trusting your provider and being able to discuss all of hospital protocols, what to expect, and what happens under different circumstances such as emergent C-sections, helps to ease anxiety, and feel more confident and well-prepared going into birth.
My other piece of advice is to go into birth with an open mind. In many ways, birth is unpredictable. If you put a lot of expectations on how you want the birth process to go, it is easy to feel disappointed if things don’t go according to your plan. Set yourself up for the best chance of success by maintaining a positive mindset. Though an emergency C-section wasn’t in my birth plan originally, I walked away with immense gratitude for the doctors and nurses that helped bring Kayla safely into the world that day, and ultimately our health mattered the most to me regardless of how I gave birth.