Birth is an intimate thing – if not THE most intimate thing. It’s the same body parts, same noises, same hormones used for sex. Your life will be forever changed by the process and the result of this chain of events.
When I got pregnant, I knew some of these things. I assumed I’d be spread eagle on a bed surrounded by very few people. I assumed I’d get an epidural and pop out a perfect, little babe. I assumed I’d listen to the doctors and nurses when they told me what to do. There would be sweating and yelling and water breaking everywhere (oh, the movies).
I never thought about a different kind of birth. It wasn’t a topic of conversation for us. But as my pregnancy progressed and my body continued to change, it forced me to think about this intimate, life changing moment.
What were others’ experiences? What could I control about it? Did I even want to know the ins-and-outs? Ignorance is bliss and I don’t even know what a contraction feels like. Why did people do natural births? Why feel all that pain?
So, this is how 3 complete strangers influenced my life’s most intimate moment.
Anyone who knows me knows I love some Johnnyswim. And when I say some, I mean all the Johnnyswim. I saw them 4 times in the last year and it would have been 5 but Kensington was born that night (I feel like they would understand the secret grind of this – if you ain’t going into labor while dancing to Johnny, you ain’t grindin’ hard enough.). So the first person to influence my decision was Amanda Sudano Ramirez, the female half of Johnnyswim (*although technically not possible without Abner).
Although a complete stranger, I’m inspired by Amanda’s faith and lifestyle. So when I saw she had an unmedicated homebirth, I was naturally curious.
While reading up on her experience, she explained her birth as magical and free of fear. She never mentioned screaming and rushing and worrying. Her birth was peaceful and beautiful. I very much wanted that.
This lead me to Tessa Benz. Tessa writes on her blog at True Motherhood. She featured Amanda which lead me to the rest of her blog. She’s a young mama of 2 who had natural births as well. She seemed like another “normal” person who chose this. She was ending a pregnancy when I was beginning mine and captured my feelings perfectly. I continued to follow her story and advice as I began to prepare for my own count down. So thanks to Tessa, who helped me “feel a little more confident and lot more empowered at this motherhood thing.”
Lastly, Ricki Lake. I sat down and watched Business of Being Born like Amanda and Tessa suggested. I watched it (at least) 5 times. Here, I found the reasons that would spark my interest in the research.
The research is appalling (and I encourage everyone to REALLY look into it.). The cascade of interventions is real and terrifying. Standard of care is so often opposite of what the evidence based research states. How the United States, despite being one of the richest countries, is almost leading in all the developed countries for maternal and neonatal mortality rates. How epidurals can lead to some awful consequences for mommy and baby, and so on and so forth.
With these three women to draw from, my Type A personality came out. I couldn’t order enough books or watch enough birth videos. Ignorance with birth is not bliss. It leads to scaring experiences and unnecessary distress. Even though labor is hard work, the pain is temporary and valuable.
Although these women sparked my interest, they didn’t give me my dream birth. My husband, my sister in law, my doula, my mom – there were loads of support that I needed. But isn’t that like motherhood? This vast community of people, some who you know and some who you don’t, all convincing you it is the best and you CAN do it.
The epidural I assumed to get vanished and there was no “popping out” a little babe with my three hours of pushing. The few people surrounding me on a bed turned out to be 10 people in my birthing room. Spread eagle on my back turned into dancing, kneeling, rocking, and “frogging” in a tub. And I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.
I got my magical, beautiful, fear free birth.
As Amanda said, “There is beauty in the process of it even if that process includes pain. And most of the wonderful things in life are like that.” (Yeah, she’s a writer.)
So yes, essentially I had a natural birth because my favorite singer did. I don’t think it’s a coincidence Kensington falls asleep daily to Georgica Pond and I went into labor the night I was going to be at their concert. Thanks, Amanda. And Tessa. And Ricki. And the mothers before me for hundreds of years reminding me I can and should do this.
Now let’s talk about how it went down…
*HEALTHY BABIES, HEALTHY MAMAS IS GOAL. This is my story.