Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Two beautiful births

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.


My regular readers know that my son Marko's birth, two years ago, was miserable, and that Michael's birth six weeks ago was a triumph.  But I think it's fair to say that both births were beautiful in their own way.  They both brought my sons into my arms.  My mother used to tell us her birth stories over and over, always focusing on the beautiful part of each.  I know now that my own birth was not her "favorite," because she was not respected by the hospital.  And yet her telling of the story is beautiful and reminds me of how eager she was to meet me, how much she loved me when she first held me.

Still, I had to think for awhile to find the beauty in Marko's birth.  Finally I realized it was the support I got.  First, John.  He was my anchor through everything.  I must have wrung the life out of his hands as I held them through each contraction, while we whispered the Divine Mercy chaplet together.  I honestly don't know how I would have managed without him.

The second support person was my nurse, Felicia Clancy.  She was the best.  I wanted so badly to send her a card or something, but what's the etiquette for thanking a complete stranger who made all the difference as you bring your first child into the world?  All I know is, she was a huge comfort to me.  She kept telling me I was doing well, saying John and I were a great team, that we knew what we were doing.  When the doctor wanted her to start an IV, I begged  her not to and she went back to the doctor to plead my case.  She took personal responsibility for me drinking enough water and convinced the doctor to leave it out.  Since I'm terrified of needles, that made a huge difference for me.  And when her shift ended just as I was almost ready to push, she stayed an extra half hour so she could be there for his birth.  My aunt is an L&D nurse, and I can definitely say it's those nurses that really deliver the babies.  The doctors often just show up for the last few minutes -- bringing you through labor is the job of the nurse.

Michael's birth was pretty great throughout.  I wasn't very emotional about it, to be honest.  But the really magic moment was when I reached down and felt his little fuzzy head.  I tuned out the midwives and even John and just focused on that little head.  It was the first thing Michael and I did together.  And when he schlooped out into my waiting hands -- well, it was lovely.  I felt that, unlike at my first birth, I had done this all by myself, the way I had wanted to.

I wish every woman had the opportunity to catch her own baby.  It made me feel like Michael's mother right away, instead of feeling distant for awhile as I did with Marko.

I imagine I will tell my sons their birth stories on their birthdays, like my mother does with me, and I'll focus on those beautiful moments when I was so excited to get to meet them.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)


Lauren Wayne said...

One of the most touching moments in my life was having Mikko oversee some photos from his birth and note how much we were smiling at him: "You were so happy to meet me."

I love this idea of telling the story of your children's birth, and focusing on the beauty. I totally understand about the "bad" birth and the "good" one, and yet it is so important for our children to know that any birth that brought them into our lives was a good one. Thanks for this idea.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

I have told Kieran his birth story so many times - and even though it wasn't my ideal birth, I know he loves it and feels special too :) I also had a wonderful nurse (it is awful that I cannot remember her name now!) - I made sure the midwife told her how much I appreciated her later, but I wish I'd had the chance to tell her myself.

Tiffany said...

This is lovely. :) I completely agree, and need to focus on this for my first birth, as well.

Hannah, Horn, and Hannabert said...

We had wonderful nurses after a difficult birth. My husband and sister dropped off boxes of our local gourmet chocolates for both the L&D nurses and Recover nurses. To let you know how terrible our delivery was, they knew him on sight when he buzzed the L&D....

Amber Strocel said...

I think it's fabulous that you're able to find the good in both of your births.

I'll be honest though - I had no desire to catch my own babies. Both times my midwives told me I could reach down to feel their heads, and both times I declined. I was just too wrapped up in my own body at that point. The first thing I said when I saw both of my kids was, "It's a baby!" My husband laughed, but it really was just because until the moment they were born, it was all about me. The moment they arrived, though, it was all about them. I could focus on the fact I actually just delivered a BABY.

Kat said...

How wonderful that you have been able (or are working towards) seeing the positives in your birth's something I think all mother's strive for, some more easily than others.

Mandy @ Living Peacefully with Children said...

My hcildren love to hear about their births, things they said at siblings' births, and things they did in those early days. I love remembering with them.

I also loved what you said about catching your own baby. My husband caught our first due to the way I was standing. I caught the next three. We both preferred me catching.

Sheila said...

@Amber, I wasn't sure I wanted to, up to when I did. I had planned to, but then when the midwives suggested it, I was like "oh, I don't know, I don't know how to do it, this is the wrong position, maybe you should just do it," but they (wisely) urged me to go ahead, and kept their own hands off of me, and so I did get to catch him. I'm so glad I did.

I was willing to let my husband catch, but he didn't want to at all! He said he'd be happy to hold the baby once it was all cleaned off, haha.

Andrea at Tales Of Goodness said...

I adore the idea of telling my kids their birth stories on their actual birthdays. What a lovely tradition. Thank you.

Alinka @ Baby Web said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I believe that focusing on the positives of any experience can be very healing and put us at peace. I’m also terrified of needles and I hope I will be able to convince the hospital staff not to poke me when I give birth next month even though it is standard hospital practice. And you caught your own baby! That sounds so great!

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