"You got her here safe and sound." "She was healthy." "You were okay." "What more could you ask for?" "You were tough!"............ and then..... "Why!?" "Why did they do this to me and my baby?!" "I should have learned about birth." "I should have taken care to do what I could to protect you from some of, what I now believe to be nonesense and unnecessary practices in regard to birth."
My little Faly. Our little Ruffian. I wish I would have known better for both you and your big sister. I have never written your or your sister's birth story, or shared pictures of the day you came to meet me and your Daddy. I just haven't been able to, and I don't know if I will be able to today, but this does not mean I love you any less. I will try to write my feelings and thoughts though and let you know if I would have known better, I would have done better! For you, my dear little girl.
Now, your birth was not near like some of the horror stories I have heard, but I know I could have birthed you into this world the way you were meant to be- on your and my own terms! I know it could have been different. And yes, I am angry and hurt that I was duped into believing it was all normal, and even "ideal." I was convinced that it was normal based on a fear. A fear and the assumption that true natural birth is just plain excruciatingly awful! This I have found to be the complete opposite, for me at least.
Back to the story.... You were induced. They say, I was induced, but you were too. Pitocin was pumped through my viens to force you out. For NO reason, no reason at all. I was told that it was because of Strep B, and that I had to get you out after 4 hours of being administered antibiotics, but I know now that this is not the case. That is merely what is done. No one goes in to have a baby, when the time comes. Everything is treated as an emergency- got to get that baby out! An induction is always scheduled. Count yourself lucky if you go into labor before they get you checked in and hooked up! I was hardly laboring the day of the 14th, quite peaceful- laughing at your Daddy's jokes and walking around the maternity floor halls to "jumpstart" labor. Contractions were far apart, not steady, or strong... no need to be concerned. I should have just went home and let the contractions build unfettered, but I was in the hospital. For no apparent reason, only a few hours in, as I sat on the birthing ball rolling my hips to relax I was asked if I wanted to "speed this up?" I was induced with your sister and thought that was normal and just something I had to endure. I knew it was going to be bad, from past experience, but boy oh boy- I didn't know it could be worse! Far worse! Women say you forget the pain, and I think that is true to a certain extent. But it is not true in regard to forced labor. I will never forget the extreme pain... thinking and believing that I wasn't going to make it through. Almost passing out multiple times, trying to stand up in the bed to get away from the pain, but being held down by nurses and my husband (that is what he was told to do)...all this happening as I woke up the entire hospital with my screams. It makes me extremely upset that these are the feelings I have: fear, pain, distress. You were under undue stress too, and that is exactly what they want- "pit to distress." I wish like hell, I would have listened to the nurse who tried to subtly encourage me, "You are doing fine. You don't need it, if you don't want it."
You didn't deserve to be stressed creating bruising, swelling and a huge lump on your head because of the hard birth. You were trying to come out sideways, because you weren't fully ready or engaged. I didn't deserve to be ripped apart by birth. You didn't deserve to be cut from the chord and whisked away under blinding lights. I didn't deserve to have to lay in horrific pain, unresponsive to local anesthetic as they stitched me up while you laid alone far away.
We didn't deserve any of these things, but it is what happened and if I could go back in time I would. That is not how life works, though. However, I was fortunate enough to have circumstances happen to reveal that there were things about your birth that were NOT normal. That there WERE and ARE other ways to birth, at least to TRY initially. As I read and read I had to hold down my feelings to a degree or I would have exploded with anger, but anger does nothing. You have to take that anger and make changes. I was able to with your brother, and I want to thank you for being a part of my life to make me see that pregnancy, birth, motherhood, nursing all these things can be cherished achievements. By this I mean, if I would have tried to trust my body and you and allowed the process-- even if it ended with need for intervention of any kind. I would have felt like I did what was best. I tried. I was educated. I was not ill, and was rather in the midst of a natural event that is yes, undeniably made safer with modern medicine, but only when needed. I did not need pitocin. I did not need to be induced. I did not need an episotomy that was just done without discussion (not that I could discuss at that point even if I wanted).
I know it may upset some that I wrote this. It isn't pretty or romantic or sugar coated. It sucked! It was horrible, and my baby and I went through unnecessary pain this time 5 years ago. I know people don't want to talk about this very much. Women don't want to tell a story about the birth of a baby that is less than happy or joyous. No one wants to see a picture of a newborn baby with the caption: "Yep she is here, but this is what happened. It was hell!" No one wants to know that side of things. We just omit those parts list the weight, time of birth and name and go on with life. But I am going to tell it how it was without fear of backlash. It was hell, and it DOES matter how babies are born into this world. It DOES matter how mothers experience birth. It does matter, and I know it does because I have experienced both and can speak on the subject. Birth is a natural function of life, for the most part. The majority of American women do not believe this, let alone experience this fact. I thought I had a "natural" birth with my first two babies, because I didn't have an epidural. I was so, so wrong.
This writing is laden with emotion and dripping with angst over the situation. I can't help it, I wish so badly I could have given a birth experience of normalcy, strength, capability, connection, joy and peace to my two baby girls and myself, like I did with my little boy. We have to change how we view birth. We have to, because we owe it to future babies and mamas. It doesn't have to be this way, and even the times when intervention is needed it can be done with a different kind of care and gentleness. Some of you may be wondering, why? Who cares? What's the big deal anyway? Women and babies are fine. Well, I guess I can't really explain why if you are one to ask these questions. All I know is that it means a lot for birth to happen differently and as peacefully as possible. There are some who write scientific papers trying to prove just why and how it matters, but I am just here to say: it does. Although, you will see soon there is so much more happiness and joy surrounding my little girl, birth could have been so much better for her and for me, it just could have- this I know in my heart.
Finally, in closing, I would like to transition to all the beauty and goodness of my little 5 year old:
To my dear Falyn, on her 5th birthday. While your birth day was difficult, I would go through it again a million times to have you in my life! You teach me continually with your spunky heart to look past what things seem to be and try to see things underneath. You teach me to love you in the way you need to be loved. You teach me that although you appear to be a tough, tomboy, cowgirl :) you have a sensitivity to things that is just absolutely beautiful. You feel things differently and care for things on levels I didn't know possible. You teach me to forgive myself. You teach me to love myself. I am constantly surprised when you lovingly say, "Mama you are the most beautiful mama in the whole world." You say it so much and at the times I need it the most. I sometimes wish I could see what you see, and I want to strive to live and love better for you so you will always love yourself and think of yourself as beautiful. By beautiful, I don't just mean your lovely face, striking green eyes and gorgeous strawberry-blond curly hair, but I mean your very being- who you are, what you are, how you are.
.....because my dear you are, you are oh, so beautiful!
Here is to many more trips around the sun with you, our little Viking girl. :)