Last year I was birthing my last and 3rd baby. I am having all the feels. The biggest ones being of pure gratitude for the support I was surrounded by. Every time I look back over details I am near tears with how amazing the support I had was.
My birth team might not have known this at the time but I was SO pissed off at them throughout my birthing time. I had never wanted to give up my power so badly as I did during this birth. I just wanted someone to decide for me… what I should do, how I should do it, and make it all easier and faster. They lovingly, respectfully, refused. I laugh out loud and smile so hard at this image of what I am guessing I looked like on the outside and how I was feeling on the inside.
I remember wandering around my own home feeling utterly lost. My doula or Traditional Birth Attendant would look at me and smile, breathe with me, and ask if I needed anything. In my head was something like this “I don’t fucking know what I need! Tell me what to do!!” I am pretty sure I muttered “I don’t know” then I would wander away. Or I’d have a burst of snotty ugly crying and they’d tell me how great I was doing. Really? Great was not how I was feeling!
When I reflect on this intense 12 hours the thing I keep coming back to is how phenomenally well my birth space was supported and protected, even from myself. When I would be on the brink of freaking out someone would be my line of sanity without taking my power. That is no easy thing! When my birthing waves spaced out no one tried to do anything, they asked what I wanted and when I said lay down they left me to do just that. They took care of their own needs for food and stretching and left me to come to them when I woke up.
Some births are fast, like my second. Fast births throw you into birth land and don’t give you time to think about how you are feeling. Slow births are way more common and not normalized nearly enough. My longest birth was 12 hrs, but many first births are 3 days. I am sad that the art of holding space for a birthing woman to find her way isn’t common. And am so damn grateful I had that experience.
When we let the birthing woman say what she wants and when, the space for a safe birth is protected. I spent the first 4 hours of my birth moving intensely as my baby painstakingly rotated into a better position. Then rested for 4 hours, followed by intense pushing. I did a lot of cussing and screaming during pushing which felt damn good. Everything I chose to do was loved and supported, and the end result was a healthy baby earth side and family kept together for the whole process. It was exhausting and beautiful. My heart, arms, and home are full. I am happy our family is complete.