Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ah, the insomnia

I was so relaxed after my acupuncture appointment that I came home and slept a couple of hours....so here I am, wide awake. Surprise, surprise. It will be nice to have Simone to keep me company, as at least the middle-of-the-night nursing sessions feel like something to do beyond blogging for recreation or putzing around the house.

As we were snuggling into sleep tonight, I asked Steve if he'd ever dreamed he'd end up marrying a homebirthing type. "In high school, what if someone told you your wife would deliver your children in an inflatable kiddie pool in your bedroom? Would you have been scared she was a freak?" Without hesitation, he said: "Uh, definitely. Downright crazy." I guess I am.

It's funny to watch my "evolution" (depending on the perspective) based on all this research and world travel and other things that have shaped me. Who would have predicted that my pre-natal care Team would consist of a group of midwives, chiropractor, massage therapist and an acupuncturist? Certainly not me! I'm a bit of a wuss at heart. I mean, there were those times I went mountain climbing, hiked the grand canyon, slept in the jungle in Nicaragua from a hammock hanging on banana trees. There was some sense that I liked adventure. But I didn't really sense that I'd find so much empowerment, triumph, and crave the physical feat of labor. I absolutely love it.

When we're all done having children (might be this one...who knows)...I will feel a sense of grief that I'll never experience that completely raw, vulnerable, powerful feminine spirit that only birth can give. That moment when the baby emerges and suddenly, the entire universe makes sense. I know it's chemical and hormonal, all those things that the body gives you to bear through the physicality of birth...but there is NOTHING like it. I don't even feel tempted for the epidural, because I'd be giving up that sense at the end that overshadows anything else.

Having a daughter (any day now!) really puts it into perspective how much I would love for her to honor birth. What an opportunity it is to see the completely bare self. The depths of who you are. Everything comes to the surface. It makes so much sense to me to birth my babies in a place I can be completely primal, like my bedroom with the midwives I trust so much, because I didn't get that same feeling once I was in the hospital with Jack. I went in at 8 cm, and had been having this incredible, primal, spiritual birthing place. And once he came out...holy cow...the endorphins! But birth was so much more about willpower and sheer force to get his little body out of me. At home with Andrew, I could re-create the first half of Jack's birth...which was just about opening all the doors to my deepest crevices and seeing who I really was. That I was more powerful, more able, and stronger than I could have ever imagined.

I finished reading "Pushed" the other night, about the American models of birthing. I'm really glad I had my hospital birth (even with a midwife), because it helped me see the differences. Andrew felt so safe and protected being at home with Nancy and Janice, because they knew exactly what to do, what was happening, how to fix his weird positioned head. They were there every second (Did they even go to the bathroom? Surely! But when?)

Having seen a "dysfunctional" labor in the hospital and then one at home, there was no question for me. Steve needed to sense the safety for the babe at home before he could be completely on board...and now he's just as much a "birthing freak" as I am after Andrew's birth. Mr. Jock/math teacher as a homebirth partner. ;) Who'd have thunk? Last time around, he was just trusting my research, my instincts, and where I needed to feel best to birth best. This time, there wasn't even a question. I'm not sure that could have happened without seeing Jack's birth - even though we didn't really have the interventions until AFTER he was born. But still. It's nice to have a similarly strong sense of knowing that this is exactly the right choice for our family.

I made these little cards to put around my bedroom of things that resonated with me. "Your body won't give you more than you can handle" is one of my favorites. I remember begging my midwife (in Jack's birth) to let me lie on my right side...because I didn't contract as much on that side. She was getting concerned that the hospital would "cut things off" and wasn't sure about taking a break - but she also saw how much I was needing it. My contractions stopped completely for 20 minutes while I slept. I was exhausted from all the pushing and needed a break. That my body was able to give that to me still strikes me as magical in the most beautiful way. And that lull your body gives you before the pushing stage?

Freakin' amazing stuff, birthing is. I can't wait to see what Simone's story will be...

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