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September 3, 2010

Come read us on Babble

We are currently blogging every day on babble.com on a blog called "Being Pregnant" so come read us over there...

posted by kanarick at 1:21 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2009

awesome awesomeness

Here's a hilarious short graphic novel about birth. Very refreshing *take* on the whole ideal, au natural, birth scenario.

posted by ceridwen at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2008

ricki lake vs ten million doctors

I had to pull myself up off the floor (where I have been lolling with our new baby, Sylvia, for approximately six months) to get back to this blog and write about the latest birthing scandal. In case you haven't heard, the medical establishment is really pissed off about all the feel good home birth stuff that's been going on (thanks to Ricki Lake) and they want it to end. So they've come up with some kind of official statement about how hospitals and birth centers are the safest places for births. The long-term intent is to encourage states to make home births illegal.

Here's my opinion for what it's worth. I think home births are not the solution to what has shaped up to be a genuine crisis in maternal care in America. But the fact remains that home births are entirely appropriate for some people and there is no question that the thousands of excellent, experienced midwives who work tirelessly in support of women and babies would not be doing home births if they had women and babies dying on them! Here's the deal: home birth is really only advisable given certain factors, including a low risk pregnancy and ready access to a back-up hospital. Please believe me when I tell you that home birth midwives and women who want to live and have their babies live, know this! So it's not at all a question of what all women should be doing. And sadly, though Ricki Lake says she's all about "choice," her documentary--most of which I really loved--did go over the edge in terms of making home birth seem the only way a thinking person would go. It's a great movie, so there's no reason to alienate people who might support the idea but for so many possible reasons cannot have a home birth of their own.

Home birth isn't safest for everyone. There's no doubt. But does that mean the hospital "the safest" place for everyone to give birth?

Unfortunately, the statistics are not leaning in that direction either. One in three women are getting a c-section, increasing a variety of risks most very small, some large. One of the best points in Jennifer Block's PUSHED is that elective C-sections and unassisted home births are both "solutions" to the same crisis. Confronted with a hospital birth, some women think, "God, it all sounds so awful, just cut the baby out of me at a prescheduled time." Others say, "I'm just not going in there! I'll do it myself!" It may seem that the elective c-section mama and the unassisted homebirther have nothing in common but Block's point is that they are both just responding to a similarly lousy situation.

IDEALLY, there would be really fantastic birth centers all over the place so women really and truly have this so-called choice that everyone keeps talking about. And hospitals would have better policies (i.e. more rooming in and more labor support and fewer unnecessary interventions) and home births with experienced midwives would be legal in every state.

When I was ready to have my second baby in NYC - what's the population here 18 million??? -- everyone kept saying, "What about a birth center?" Well, I toured the birth center at St. Luke's and it was fine but there were about three rooms and the likelihood of getting into one the day I went into labor was very slim!

I think it's terrible that home birth and hospital birth are pitted against one another. I just don't want to see some poor woman die because she had a dangerous unassisted home birth and I can't stand watching the c-section rate soar. The more polarized this debate becomes the more likely we'll see that kind of thing.

I'm back! Missed you all. Hope to be here more often. Here's a baby face - Sylvia's -- to add a little sweetness to my diatribe.


posted by ceridwen at 10:17 PM | Comments (10)

October 29, 2007

what is your due date(s)?

This definitely falls under the category of "wish I'd thought of it." It's a DUE DATE CALCULATOR that gives you a "safe range" for a term birth instead of pinpointing just one day. I typed in my LMP and discovered that my range is between Dec 2 and Jan 6th, not the precise December 25th every other calculator has produced. I'd much prefer to say to people I'm due "in December" than "December 25th". (For one thing there would be fewer jokes about what's in Santa's bag.) Only 5% of babies are born on the so-called due date. Full term can mean anything between 38 and 42 weeks, and it's time the calculators started to reflect that reality. We've seen too many mothers shocked to go into labor two weeks "too soon" or agonizing over being "late." So thank you Mothersnaturally.org for making normal pregnancies seem more normal!

I learned about this website from Jennifer Block's Pushedbirth.com. Blocks' book, Pushed, was one of my favorite reads of the summer. She does an incredible job explaining how and why maternity care in the US is such a huge mess. It's actually a page-turner, which is pretty amazing for a book in which every other line has a footnote. Rebecca and I were happy to have met Jennifer in person last Friday night when we all appeared on the Joey Reynolds overnight radio show. It aired at 3 AM. Lucky for us it was taped.

posted by ceridwen at 3:45 PM | Comments (0)

August 9, 2007

stork delivers baby to washington dc mother

"I feel like the baby was delivered by a stork" were the first words out of my sister's mouth last week after giving birth to her second baby in a wee 7 hours that were almost entirely bathed in an epidural cocktail. "Plus, I have no recovery pain this time. I feel better than I did yesterday when I was 40 weeks pregnant in 100 degree heat." Her first birth was long, painful, natural, horrible, wonderful and supported by a team of midwives at a birthing center in Australia. This time she was going for the "American way." And she loved it.

Watching her strut around the hospital literally hours after the delivery did make me question my au natural aspirations--after a medicated birth the first time around, I'm attempting a drug-free/midwife-supported one this time.

Neither of us were unhappy with our first labors. My sister doesn't regret her natural birth at all; this time was "way less of an experience and less memorable." I loved the epidural. But we were/are curious to try the "other way." Both the gleeful narcotic birth and the epic, endorphin-riddled natural birth "experience" are advertised to us for nine months. It's hard not to wonder. But then again, my sister and I shared an even bigger goal: how can we do this second birth in the easiest most convenient way!? The answer to this question, depends on who you ask!

posted by ceridwen at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2007

things to avoid: episiotomies

CNN includes episiotomies in their list of five operations you don't want to get.

Last year the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new guidelines that said that episiotomy should no longer be performed routinely -- and the numbers have dropped... But the rates (about 25 percent in the United States) are still much too high, experts say, and some worry that it's because women aren't aware that they can decline the surgery. [italics mine] Read more...

posted by ceridwen at 3:43 PM | Comments (2)

July 26, 2007

one minute birth

Here's a totally awesome, crazy time-lapse animation of a baby gliding out of the womb like a slippery plastic water balloon. I guess the accompanying Bach soundtrack is supposed to make us feel all calm and joyful about the INSANE expansion of the vaginal canal; I think a little noise rock would have conveyed something closer to what I experienced.

posted by ceridwen at 3:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2007

choices in childbirth: NYC

I just got back from the first ever NYC Healthy Birth Fair at Union Square. There were a lot of tables, pamphlets, lactation consultants, preggos (such as myself) in skimpy July frocks. Women were telling birth stories into a microphone: It was surreal to hear "... I WAS VOMITING AND SCREAMING I HAVE TO SQUAT, I HAVE TO SQUAT... " blasted over a packed city park (there were numerous unrelated fairs and markets sharing the space). I had to make a quick round since I was being led by a three-year-old ... but I managed to grab an informative goodie bag from Choices in Childbirth, the event-organizers and a great organization. If you're an NYC expectant mother, you may want to check out A New York Guide to a Healthy Birth. There are listings for all local hospitals and birth centers as well as contact info for midwives, doulas, acupuncturists, etc. The slant is definitely toward natural birth; their website provides statistics about regional hospitals' rates of intervention/c-sections.

posted by ceridwen at 5:42 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2007

the politics of eggs

Thank God Peggy Orenstein is the person telling us about the current state of infertility options. Her piece in the Times yesterday about donor eggs covers a lot of controversy in a totally even-handed and thoughtful way. Having tried it herself, she's well-qualified to talk about the complex emotional responses women have to the process without calling its legitimacy into question.

One observation that that really struck me was the difference between how sperm and egg donation is perceived and packaged. Here's Peggy scanning the potential egg donors at Ova The Rainbow with one of the women she interviewed:

I stood behind her, watching the young women go by. Each was accompanied by an assortment of photos: girls in caps and gowns graduating from high school, sunburned and smiling on family vacations, as preschoolers in princess frocks, sporting supermodel pouts in shopping-mall glamour portraits. Sperm banks rarely provide such visuals, which is just one disparity in the packaging and treatment of male and female donors, according to a study published last month in The American Sociological Review. Egg donors are often thanked with presents and notes by recipients for their generous “gift.” Sperm donors are reminded that they’re doing a “job,” providing a “sample,” and performing an act they’d presumably do anyway — which may be why many men in the study were rattled when told a pregnancy had actually occurred. And although the men could admit they were in it for the cash, ovum donors were expected to express at least a smidge of altruism.

She also talks extensively about different answers to the "when and how to tell" question and errs on the full-disclosure side. This article is really worth reading, and seems especially crucial-- if emotional-- for those trying to decide between an egg donor and adoption. The final sentence is spot on:

“I’m just happy,” she said. Finally, Becky would be a mother, her husband a father, the two of them building a family with all the conflict, joy and unpredictability that entails — regardless of whose genes are involved.

posted by ceridwen at 9:23 AM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2007

from the hips on sale today!!

After three long years of intensive study, outreach, debate and pumping we are so thrilled to be able to say our book, From the Hips, is finally on the shelves! We're really happy with the way the book turned out, and we hope you like it, too. Also, if you ever filled out a survey at thenewmom.com check the book for your own words-- we used tons of real quotes from real parents to show the many ways pregnancy, birth and having a baby can go down.

Check back here for press info, we'll be coming to an ivory leather couch near you sometime very soon.

posted by rebecca and ceridwen at 6:44 PM | Comments (7)

May 10, 2007

c-section, natural birth, whatever

I love Australia. Here's an Opinion piece-- tag line "So shut up about the method you used for giving birth"-- I hope it makes your day, it made mine.

... The problem with criticising other women's birth choices is that it might start there, but pretty soon you're casting aspersions on other mothers for their choice of pram, whether to bottle or breastfeed, their use of dummies and crying control methods or the fact that they named their child Brangelina. Before you know it you've wasted enormous chunks of your life judging women you don't know for choices they've made based on reasons you couldn't possibly know, when you could have been doing something useful like teaching your child to speak Sanskrit or achieving world peace...

posted by ceridwen at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2007

wanted: admin asst

Duties include: typing, excellent communication skills, pulling placenta from bathtub drain.

I'm all for Ricki Lake's home birth in her bathtub--I'm even interested in having my own home birth one day--but this threw me: her assistant cleaned the tub afterwards. I'm not sure if that's a doula job, a midwife job, a house-cleaner? But an assistant? Ah shucks, they're probably really close, and it's a funny story to bond over. But I was once a Hollywood assistant--I even wrote a book about it--so I do empathize with anyone who's trying to get ahead in business and ends up covered with boss's bodily expulsions. If I do have a home birth can I hire home orderlies?

posted by ceridwen at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2007

more breast feeding = less breast cancer

There's been a lot of news this week about breastfeeding, fertility and delayed pregnancy. NPR did a story this morning about a new study showing that breastfeeding reduces the chances of breast cancer for women who "delay childbirth." Basically, having kids later in life increases the chances for breast cancer, however breastfeeding voids out that risk. Luckily, older moms are more likely to breastfeed and rates of breastfeeding in general are slowly climbing. It's also good because--and no matter how many times I hear this I will never get used to it--1 in 9 women get breast cancer.

Also, over at Slate Amanda Schaffer takes a good, long look at the research about breast cancer and fertility treatments. This line drew me in:

"But there is little or no evidence that fertility treatments raise the odds of getting the disease. In other words, don't panic."
Older moms rejoice ... even if you are chained to the couch for months on end.

posted by ceridwen at 8:39 AM | Comments (1)

April 11, 2007

new birth documentary

I heard about this documentary through Abby Howe-Heyman, one of the midwives who advised on our book. It's called The Business of Being Born, and it's produced by Ricki Lake who enjoyed her own Manhattan home birth. It's premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival-- any New Yorkers interested, there appear to be tickets available for next week's screenings. The filmmaker (Abby Epstein) will be doing a Q & A at the April 29th screening. We're going to check out it and I'm sure we'll be blogging all the way home. Stay tuned.

posted by ceridwen at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 8, 2007

birds, bees, c-sections...

I have no idea what sex and childbirth education for Chinese kids is like but according to this article, it's very minimal. But that's changing! The first step: Show 7 and 8-year-olds a video of a real life C-section.

Apparently, some of the kids were freaked out.

Maybe they should rethink the program but send those videos over here for fully grown American pregnant women to see-- just to clear up any potential confusion about surgery being 'cleaner' than a vaginal birth.

posted by ceridwen at 9:26 AM | Comments (0)

April 4, 2007


It’s spring and we're finally emerging from a winter of writing and baby-having. Our book, From the Hips, is coming out in just a few weeks on May 22, and we’re working on a new site design. We’ll be blogging, offering resources and letting you know about our book at fromthehips.com. Hope to see you here very soon.

posted by ceridwen at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2006

epidurals and sucking

A new study links epidurals with low breastfeeding rates and suggests that it's the effects of the drug on the baby that are responsible. (Babies initial sucking abilities may be impaired from the chemicals in the epidrual). We're all for investigating epidural side-effects and for breastfeeding for that matter. But the link between epidural use and low breastfeeding surely has something to do with the mother's personal choice in the matter?? It seems reasonable to expect that the woman who does everything under the sun to have a drug-free birth will likely pursue breastfeeding with the same determination. Of course we have no study to prove this, but it seems logical to at least take the priorities of the mother into account. We also know plenty of women who breastfed for ages and ages (and soon) after an epidural birth. Maybe they are all the excpetions? Or maybe they are people who just wanted both epidurals and breastfeeding?

posted by ceridwen at 2:17 PM | Comments (1)

June 3, 2006

sex is just sex

Not that women bursting at the end of nine full months of pregnancy
don't want to have lots of intercourse just for the pleasure of it

posted by ceridwen at 9:55 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2006


A vaguely interesting debate on celebrity baby blog about the tom kitten: an actual scientologist mom responds to the outrage about the silent birth mandate. It seems it's not what it seems.

posted by rebecca at 3:31 PM | Comments (0)

extra! extra!

This headline, Most New Moms Exhausted: Study, is so obvious it looks like it might have been ripped from the pages of The Onion. But it's no joke. A new study from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota shows that nearly 1 in 6 women are back to work within ONE MONTH of having a baby and concludes that women need way more support (and time off) for post-partum healing. Too often the focus shifts radically from mom to baby, and she's left in the dirt (or at least in the office bathroom, sweating and tending to plugged ducts, hemorrhoids or who knows what). Maybe this study will help spread the word that for many of us, bouncing back is much more complicated than fitting into pre-pregnancy jeans.

posted by ceridwen at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2006

dishing on the knife

A new article on circumcision brought up some old anxieties for us. We both have boys, but took opposite routes below the belt: Rebecca's son is circumcised, Ceridwen's son is uncircumcised. Though we generally feel good about our choices (at this admittedly early stage in the game) it's not hard to wonder sometimes if the grass is greener on the other side of the knife. The article (and further discussion on daddytypes) inspired us to dig up this old transcribed conversation in which we explained to each other what we were thinking, before (during) and after the snip:

Well, when I was coming up on Ezra’s bris—which I had not really thought about at all until basically two days before it was happening and everyone was invited and the whole thing was set—I felt that as a progressive person, I was misrepresenting myself by participating in the brutality of circumcision.It was a total “What kind of mother am I?” moment… like, how can I be so cruel to my new baby? That’s what it felt like to me when we got there and the old guy started taping his asshole shut (which was his way of keeping the baby from shitting during the trauma.) It was horrible.

My doctor said she was really glad I wasn’t doing it, because she hates doing them… but she circumcised her own kid!

What was kind of cool for me about the bris was that it was the first moment for me of really realizing that I had love for this baby. I was so shell-shocked and out of it and not consciously understanding my relationship to him. Then at the moment that they took him away to do this thing that I knew was going to cause him pain, I felt, Ohmigod, I’m this kid’s mother, and I need to protect him, and I felt a rush of relationship to the whole history of women before me with sons who had been hurt…and it was just a real feeling of tribal connection to the human race.

The decision was hard for my husband. He's Jewish but he's never been observant, nor has his family. But he started thinking a lot about his Jewish identity. He'd married a non-Jewish woman, now he’s going to have a half-Australian, non-circumcised son, is he a total sellout? But then, the kid’s not Jewish anyway if we’re playing by those rules. And he reasoned that Jews are also "people of Science," and every pediatric association said it was not medically necessary.

Right, there are things about it that are better, and things about it that are worse. It’s an unnecessary surgery. That said, there are risks it lessens, like the risk of cervical cancer in women. That was my mom’s big defense when I was freaking out about circumcising… “Think of it as a feminist choice.” For us because we are Jewish in an active way, and we come from families who are strongly identified that way, it would have been a major, major thing to not do it. And I just didn’t feel strongly enough about it to make that choice, even though I felt bad about the act and about causing him pain. And I felt bad about the supposed sensation loss, too, although I did have that dream about guys who are circumcised getting more blow jobs which I found strangely reassuring.

I'd had sex with uncircumcised men when I went to college in Melbourne and recall being far more concerned with what to do with a penis in general than what to do with a foreskin in particular. They certainly never skeezed me out, or smelled bad or anything. I do think in this country it’s a really, really difficult choice to make, though, because 80% of people do circumcise.

A lot of people are like, how are you going to explain it? Like it’s so impossible to explain. And my answer to that is: there are so many complicated things we’re going to have to explain to this kid about the world, it’s unbelievable the kinds of contradictions that are out there and the hypocrisy, and all these things that don’t really add up or make sense. And just to say, look, when your Daddy was a little baby this is what they did, when you were born we made the decision to do it this way. The question of whether a boy should "look like" his daddy runs pretty deep—the real issue seems to be less about "matching outfits" and more about acknowledging the father's penis as the "model"—the ideal. So then I thought, will we be saving the baby from a primal wound but opening one in the father?

Since I'm English/Australian all the men in my family have foreskins so I was sort of used to the idea. And we both shared an impulse to just NOT DO things. It felt like more of an effort for us to justify doing it than not doing it.

There are people who are 100% on one side or the other, but neither of us seemed to be in that place. For us the religion thing definitely tipped the scales, but it still left us with some angst.

We debated it for the entire time I was pregnant. And we still think about it. When I read in Slate about a new study showing that risk of AIDS can be significantly reduced if a man is circumcised I got that familiar sinking feeling. You make a choice based on science thinking that's the rational way to go, but science just ain't that certain. Study refutes study... and we're left in the dust. As a parent you put in all this effort, and you think about the research, your values, your beliefs but it just seems there are just some decisions you can never be that certain about.

Meanwhile, we just really need to find a pediatrician who knows more about toddler foreskin care than we do.

posted by thenewmoms at 10:59 AM | Comments (2)

December 6, 2005


Ricky Gervais (The Office/Extras) in his hilarious podcast discusses some new ideas about how to handle the population problem... through innovations in the way babies, well, uh, come to life.

posted by thenewmoms at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

September 6, 2005

C is for Cavity

Babies born by C-section are more likely to have tooth trouble earlier than vaginally birthed babies, according to a Boston article. The problem is apparently a lack of benefiical bacteria, which the newborn normally encounters en route in a vaginal birth. Should we be swabbing C-born babies down with mom's bodily fluids, if they don't get any during egress? I'm guessing someone's tried that, but maybe not.

posted by thenewmoms at 10:09 AM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2005

header or footer?

We've been in book-land for the past few weeks, but a recent New York Times article (about men getting post-traumatic stress from too much information in the birthing room) wrenched us away from the grindstone. Basically, the guy suggests that male participation in birth, or more specifically, access to the image of his wife being split open in one way or another, is potentially damaging to the male psyche, or maybe just the male hard-on. We've heard about this phenomenon, but not first-hand. We really want to know...if you're a parent reading this: did your sex life take a lasting hit from too much birth/body info? Why do you think there was/is so much weirdness? Is it better to go back to the daddy pacing in the hall, oblivious to the reality of the "bloody show"?

posted by thenewmoms at 9:37 PM | Comments (3)

July 6, 2005

male midwife causes stir in switzerland

Some feel that this male midwife has no business stepping into what should be an exclusively female profession. We say, go for it. It's great that a man wants to follow a woman's lead in the area of childbirth. For a long time midwives were shooed from the birthing room in the favor of whacko Victorian (and even relatively contemporary) male doctors with questionable hi-tech solutions to women’s health problems. These days the midwifery practice is back in fashion (though Ob-assisted births are still by far the majority). Who knows, if men start getting in on the action, maybe this ancient profession will finally get the widespread respect it deserves.

posted by thenewmoms at 3:38 PM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2005

fourteen(ish)-pound fattypants born

A giant baby was born to two normal sized parents in Wisconsin last Friday. The Big Enchilada, a girl whose real name is Delaney, weighed 13 pounds, 12 ounces at birth. According to a maternity ward nurse: "It was ready for a steak...It had quite an appetite." (Damn those gender-neutral caps and blankies.) Mommy got a C-section, so we can all stop imagining the wreckage.

posted by thenewmoms at 11:09 PM | Comments (2)

May 4, 2005

skip that snip

Future moms, rejoice: after decades of slicing, it seems that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel—or at least, a potentially smaller wound. Finally, the Journal of American Medical Association has come up with research reiterates what many have been saying for years...the routine episiotomy is "CLEARLY NOT NECESSARY."

Of course, the question is what constitutes "routine". There will still be cases where an emergency episiotomy is genuinely necessary....and cases of women whose cooches look like confetti after the birthing process. But tearing ass to elbow turns out to be a whole lot more likely after cutting rather than less. Of course, anyone who's tried ripping a piece of canvas (before and after cutting the edge) could have told us that. And that whole thing about a straight cut healing better than a jagged tear? Not true. So... does this also mean the end of the good ol' husband stitch?

posted by thenewmoms at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

April 6, 2005

natural birth mania

Sometimes natural birth advocates spend so much time fighting against the "over-medicalization" of birth, they end up making women feel like failures if the birth doesn't turn out to be a swimmingly perfect, all "natural", intervention-free, awe-inspiring experience. The fact is that the way a birth unfolds is not always, or even often, within our control.

Here's one new mom's story:

"Pregnant women out there, please, just keep an open mind. YOU DON'T FAIL if natural birth eludes you.... I was desperate for a natural birth. After reading the books I decided that I'd rather die than ask for an epidural...."

"When I found out about my pregnancy, after the initial joy I couldn't help but dread (even though it seemed so far away) giving birth eight months later. I heard enough horror stories of the excruciating, "out of body experience" pain and I already pictured myself lying in a cold hospital bed with my legs in stirrups screaming my head off. I was quite ignorant back then and I didn't really know that stirrups are not used anymore and the active birth is rather encouraged in the hospitals (private or public) in Australia. I decided to stay fit during my pregnancy and to enroll in a yoga class as soon as possible.

At twelve weeks I started my class and met the most positive, optimistic, inspiring woman in Jacque, our teacher. She managed to change my mind from "being shit scared" of giving birth to actually looking forward to it. She was describing to us her three quick, beautiful, spiritual labors in a way that we all wanted to give birth badly "tomorrow".

She got me hooked on the topic. I started avidly reading all the books about natural, active birth I could put my hands on. Sheila Kitzinger, Janet Balaskas, Michel Odent became "my best friends" and it seemed the only subject I could talk about to anyone (literally anyone...) I came across was: the only way to go, the natural birth. Refuse the drugs, refuse any medical intervention, greet the contractions, keep active, squat, go on all fours, walk and in a few hours your baby will slip into your arms and he will be happily sucking your boobs. Then, you bond.

It started with my water breaking at 4.30 am on a Friday.

"Don't rush to the hospital as the chance of infection is greater than at home", Sheila's words were voicing in my ears. "Handle the contractions at home until they regular and close apart." I did. I was handling the mild/strong contractions with controlled breathing until about 6pm when they became almost unbearable. By then I was in such a terrible pain, that I couldn't make the five minute trip to the hospital sitting in the front of the car. I was on all fours in the back.

When they examined me, I was only two centimeters dilated. After 35(!!) hours of walking, squatting, having several hot baths, showers, but most of the time being on all fours leaning on a beanbag while my husband incessantly massaged my lower back until he rubbed off my skin (no kidding), going through about six midwives, I was still suffering without my "fruit". I wasn't dilating and my baby's head wasn't in the right position. I was fit and prepared physically and mentally and so hyped up to give birth naturally, that I barely noticed the time going! Apart from doing yoga during my pregnancy, I walked an hour every day with my dogs, I went swimming, I ate healthy, I never smoked or drank, I stopped working at 14 weeks hence no stress, no fights with my hubby and I wasn't moving house or renovating as, for some reason, so many women tend to do during their pregnancy.When I wasn't exercising I was sitting in my semi dark room surrounded with candles reading books about Buddhism (besides the ones of my gurus of course). I had the calmest, most relaxed, probably THE ideal pregnancy. I was desperate for a natural birth. After reading the books I decided, that I'd rather die, than ask for an epidural!I won't let myself induced no matter what and the Caesarian will be just out of question. I want THE spiritual birth, with my baby slipping into my arms and all that.

However after 35 hours suffering and not progressing (despite having a pain threshold as high as the Himalayas...) I broke down and I started crying uncontrollably. All this effort for nothing! I just didn't progress. I ended up demanding a Caesarean!!! The doctor suggested putting me on the drips to get the contractions stronger, hopefully I would dilate (you could call him optimistic I guess..) At that stage I gave up completely. They could have done anything to me. I could not handle one more second of pain anymore.The epidural followed…

I could not believe the effect of it! The vicious needle saved my life!!!! After all this agony, I could have just fallen asleep, but I was busy joking and flirting with the anesthetist and the doctor. Unsurprisingly, four hours later I still didn't dilate, so I had to have a Caesar.

My 10lbs 4oz (4.65kg) baby was taken out of my tummy perfect and pink. He wasn't distressed, he wasn't squashed or blue, he wasn't lacking oxygen, which would have been most likely the case if I gave birth vaginally. His heartbeat was perfect all the way. He was alert straight away and he is an extremely relaxed and happy baby. According to Sheila and Janet, what he went through he should be fretful and unsettled. I can't say we bonded in the theater though. But frankly I doubt we'd have bonded if I gave birth naturally either. Bonding takes time, it happens gradually. You give birth naturally, but the babysitter takes over a few weeks later what happens with the bonding?

Six weeks later, I'm almost back to my old self. I fit into my old clothes, my scar is healed and I walk an hour a day again. My intention with my story is not to promote the Caesarean. I would try to give birth naturally again (probably). However I do feel betrayed by those books. They made me feel, 'not being able to give birth naturally would be the end of the world.' It is not. They made me feel, 'if I do everything right I'll manage to pull it through.' I feel stupid and brainwashed. I had a very traumatic birth experience, which I won't forget for a while. Having an elective Caesarean is probably one extreme, I was the other.

Pregnant women out there please, just keep an open mind. YOU DON'T FAIL if natural birth eludes you. "

- Anonymom

posted by thenewmoms at 2:01 PM | Comments (0)