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.
Please give a brief description of yourself, and what number baby/birth you’re sharing with us.
I’m Ruth, I’m an enamored birth advocate and doula. Here are some tid-bits of my second birth/second baby, Annabelle Mae.
What was your due date, and what was your baby’s birth date?
My due date was August 31st, 2010 and Annabelle was born September 21st, 2010.
What was your baby’s weight and length?
Annabelle was 8lbs and was 21 inches long.
Please give a brief, one paragraph synopsis of your birth.
We planned to have an HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean), and after 5 nights of prodromal labor, finally hit real labor on a Sunday. We labored all night and all day Monday. Our doula came over around the afternoon and stayed with us then the Midwife decided to head over in the evening. They filled up the tub and I hopped in. Contractions came and came and came. I moaned and dozed between. My husband by my side every moment. By Tuesday afternoon I was still 9cm, which I had been for hours (and hours). And I was done with all the back labor from hell I was having. I decided to transport, and upon the move to the hospital had some bleeding in my head I thought “my placenta is abrupting” but kept that to myself as my MW assured me it is probably just my cervix finishing dilating. We got there, her heart tones were pretty funky and not responding to the crazy contractions, and I was back down to 7cm. We decided to have a cesarean. Turns out we had a partial abruption of our placenta. It was chaotic, captivating and forced me to submit everything I thought I could control, throwing me into growth I never knew was possible.
What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?
We did Hypnobabies, it worked okay. I got a lot of naps during my pregnancy listening to the tracks!
What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?
I loved that my husband was my rock, it was the most intimate we had ever been. It also threw me into digging up all the old emotions I had stuffed down inside me and brought to light all that needed cleansing.
What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?
The back labor! I could have gone without that. And not being rested. That sucked.
What surprised you about your contractions/labor?
When you think you have everything under control, and you plan all the plans, and cross all the ‘t’s’ and dot all the ‘i’s’, birth will throw you a new one. Birth is life crammed into 1-2 days.
In reflection, would you do anything differently, either before the birth, during or after?
Deal with emotional baggage before becoming totally emotionally vulnerable! It all comes up in labor!
What do you remember the most about your birth?
Holding onto my husband, and him holding onto me, and being so real with one another. So connected.
How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be like?
I imagined laboring 12 hours or so and pushing my baby out in the tub in my living room. Curling up in bed with my slimy, squishy baby and nursing. That’s how I imagined it.
What were your immediate emotions about yourself and or your birth experience after the birth?
I felt like I could never call the shots again; like I had no say in how things would be. I was pissed off that I ‘had that happen to me.’ That it sucked and it wasn’t fair. I felt like a victim. I wish it hadn’t happened to me and would give anything to change it.
How would you describe your recovery?
Recovery-shitty. Between NICU, a week’s stay in the hospital, and insufficient mammary tissue to produce milk, thrush, mastitis, my baby not being able to latch and then back in the hospital for failure to thrive! It sucked. Again, I had no control, and was still fighting to do things my way.
How has your perspective of your birth experience with Annabelle changed since the first week of having her?
Completely different. Having the birth I had opened up so much about myself that I never knew was locked. If I hadn’t gone through that, I would have never seen where I needed to grow, and would have never grown. I would never have trusted my intuition more. I wouldn’t give back her birth for anything.
Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
YES! I have no control and I don’t call the shots. She’s her own person and there are larger plans out there to take place than I could fathom. I can submit with faith, love, joy, and peace. I can let others walk their own journeys through all of life, especially my daughter.
Would you recommend having a natural childbirth or medicated childbirth to other women?
I would recommend a mother have the birth she is supposed to have and being okay with that. To prepare however much she feels she should, to do what she feels is right and be ready to grow and submit to her plans not going the way she thinks.
Any further thoughts, comments or advice you would like to share?
One way or another, birth will cause you to submit. Some of us are just a little more hard-headed than others. ;)