The Birth Interview Project consists of 17 simple questions designed to help mothers process their birth story & share it with others. All mothers are invited to take part in this project. Born out of Joy’s desire to help women discover, process and express the feelings surrounding their birth experiences, The Birth Interview Project strives to offer a platform for mothers and readers alike to share and be heard, to search and to discover, to identify and to heal, and to exhort and remember. The views and opinions expressed here are unique to each woman who takes part in the Birth Interview Project and may not always reflect the values of the blog author.
I got to know Meaghan through the childbirth classes I assisted with in Denton, TX. She’s a sweet and sassy, well informed, little brunette momma, who loves breastfeeding and knows a lot about cloth diapering, among other things. Her daughter, Nora, was born 14 months ago, and as you can see, she’s a little doll baby. I hope you enjoy Meaghan’s story and her responses to the interview. You can get to know more about Meaghan by visiting her blog at: http://oh-just-life.blogspot.com/. If you have any questions for Meaghan, please post them in the comments and she will respond. Thanks, and enjoy our first interview!
Please give a brief description of yourself, and what number baby/birth you’re sharing with us:
I am a 24-year-old crunchy mama. Co-sleeper, non-vaxer, simple living, babywearing, breast-feeding mama. This birth story is of my one and only baby girl.
What was your due date, and what was your baby’s birth date?
Estimated Due Date: 10-9-10
What was Nora’s weight and length?
8 lbs 11.5 oz, 21 inches long.
Please give us a brief synopsis of your birth:
My birth was hard and fast, yet it was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. From first contraction, to baby in my arms it was 5.5 hours. The day before my EDD [Estimated Due Date] I came into the birth center because I thought I may have been leaking fluid. Turns out I was 5cm dilated and 85-90% effaced. I had my membranes stripped and went to pick up my husband from work early. My midwife was convinced I would have a baby that weekend if not that night. I was still in denial. My husband and I went to Target, then we went home so I could try to rest. Twenty minutes after arriving home contractions hit me four minutes apart and lasting ninety seconds. I rocked on the ball for an hour with contractions continuing on the same. I couldn’t talk through my contractions and was really taken by surprise how fast they came on. We decided to head to the birth center. I was 100% effaced and 7cm when we arrived. I tried to labor in the tub but got too hot. I got into a blurry laborland and mostly labored on the birthing ball. I pushed for a while and then got back on the ball. Transition … I lost my shit. I wanted to go home and I kept saying my body didn’t know how to do this. Thirty minutes later, I pushed out my 8lb 11.5 oz, 21inch long, baby girl. I was soaring even with my second degree tear.
What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?
Read, read, read. Research, research, research. Ina May Gaskin [Midwife and author of several books on childbirth]! Plus, I attended Birthing From Within Classes. Yes, it all helped, being informed and knowing what to expect and what I wanted greatly helped me. I felt I had some control.
What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?
I loved being able to choose where to labor, what position to labor in and the quiet peace we were given. I also loved how alert and good my baby and I felt post-delivery.
What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?
I feel like I did some “purple pushing” and that contributed to my tearing and very swollen bum. I would have changed having my membranes stripped and AROM [Artificial Rupture of Membranes, her waters were broken by her care provider] at 7cm. I also wish I would have waited a little longer before coming in and labored more at home.
What surprised you about your contractions/labor?
I was surprised it wasn’t painful per say, but rather really intense feelings.
In reflection, would you do anything differently, either before the birth, during or after?
I would probably have declined all vaginal exams [at my check ups] because I was dilated to 3cm for a few weeks and [knowing that I was dilated] made me anxious.
What do you remember the most about your birth?
The feeling of that little body slipping out of mine and her big eyes staring up at me while she lay on my chest. The joy in my husband’s eyes.
How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be like?
I thought I would have the average 12-24 hour labor that’s expected for first time mammas. I was hit hard and fast with a five-hour labor.
What were your immediate emotions about yourself/birth experience after the birth?
I felt like a hoss. Hahaha! I felt so confident and proud of myself. I was flooded with intense pride and love for my baby. I felt strong. I felt like a birth warrior.
How would you describe your recovery?
I took it easy, but by day three I was ready to get out of the house. I was apprehensive about my stitches and the tightness I felt down there but the herbal perineum wash and raw honey helped to heal me quickly.
How has your perspective of your birth experience with Nora changed in the last 14 months since the first week of having her?
I was on a natural birth high for WEEKS following her birth. At around six months, I started thinking about the AROM and membrane strip and wishing I would have let her come in her own time. But I still feel my perspective is basically the same.
Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
I learned how very strong I am and how in tune I am with my body. Birth made me trust myself.
Would you recommend natural childbirth to other women?
YES. I wish that every woman could feel that high. That immediate bond to their babe. I wish every woman could know what its like to push your body to the edge and have it do exactly what it was made to do.
Any further thoughts, comments or advice you would like to share?
Advice…just go with it. Be in the moment. Don’t worry about five minutes from now. Just. Be.
Love you, Joy! You were [the postpartum birth assistant at my birth] and even though you “massaged” my uterus and I totally hated you in the moment, you wiped my ass, gave me juice and put a pad on me and told me what a great job I did. That woman to woman love needs to be preserved for all future generations of women.