Thursday, October 2, 2008

How I Got sucked Into “Birth”

My first birth experience felt okay to me at the time. I had wanted a natural birth, but didn’t realize how important it was to have dedicated support when going naturally in a hospital setting. Laboring in the hospital bed, I caved in to the repeated offers of pain medication the nurse kept presenting. When my baby was placed on my chest, I didn’t realize it was the drugs, having messed with that natural workings of labor, that caused me to feel so disconnected from this baby that had just come out of me. I didn’t even realize I was *supposed* to feel ecstatic. I just felt exhausted, and said to myself, “oh, so that’s a baby”. We bonded over the next few days, but this baby was a lot of work, and I often questioned my abilities to mother him.
The second day after he was born, while I lay on the couch, bottom too sore from the episiotomy to sit upright, I remember thinking, “Alright, now that I know what it takes, I want to do it again – but this time I *will* do it naturally.”
And I did.
During my second pregnancy, I sought out Bradley® Natural Childbirth classes, which hadn’t been available in our area during our first pregnancy. I was so excited to get face-to-face instruction, and have my husband learn everything I was learning! I asked my Bradley® teacher to be my doula, something I hadn’t heard of before taking classes, because I wanted my husband to also have support. The birth was amazing. And so healing of all that didn’t go well in my first. I was lovingly, strongly supported by my doula and a husband who knew what was going on, what he could do, and what I needed. I cried with joy when my baby came out, and lavished him with love, saying, “Oh, baby! Baby, baby, my love!” I hadn’t torn and felt so good after the birth, we were discharged within twelve hours. The pictures of me after my fist birth and after my second are drastically different. In the pictures of the first, I’m puffy, tired and lethargic looking. In pictures of the second, I am bright-eyed, energetic, and radiating with joy.
And that’s what changed me.
Why would anyone want that first experience when they could have the second?! Why not offer everyone the chance at having a joyful birth?
When my second baby was a year old, I started going to Bradley classes, just to sit in on them, and glean all this wisdom from my teacher. I wanted to go to the Teacher’s Training to become a Bradley teacher myself, but felt I needed to wait a bit. In the meantime, the opportunity to attend doula training fell into my lap, and I just could not pass it up! The ALACE training was put on by a local licensed midwife, and gave me so much more to work with. I wanted to do this! I wanted to support women through one of the most life-altering experiences they could go through! And so I started attending births right away.
And, I got pregnant again.
I attended my Bradley® teacher training while 8 months pregnant with my third baby. After the training, and after a beautiful, gentle birth, I started teaching classes right away, so thankful for the year and a half of observing *my* former Bradley® teacher.
I love meeting with couples for 12 weeks before their births. I see their apprehensions turn to excitement, and their fears turn to conviction. When they call me to tell me about their births, I hear their joy beaming through the phone lines. I love sharing in their birth highs!
And that’s how this whole thing started.

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