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Sunday, August 31, 2014
Not too long ago, an event on Facebook called Empowered Birth Awareness Week came across my newsfeed. It's a global, annual event that lasts from September 1st-8th bringing awareness to empowering birth. The event page explains, "The purpose of Empowered Birth Awareness Week is to grow the paradigm of empowered birth every year by flooding the public with our vision, definitions, ideas, images, stories and more about empowered birth choices." This event is allied with ImprovingBirth.org, The Trust Birth Initiative, and ICAN. I definitely wanted to be part of this event and give us all an opportunity to have more information about what we can do to make birth better as well as support women's and family's rights. I called out to some amazing women I know to personally share a variety of knowledge and experiences as guests here on my blog. I hope that you find the posts to come throughout the week encouraging and beneficial!
I want to take a minute and share with you a bit of my birth story. First of all, I wonder why birth is feared. What makes it fearful? I used to think that it was a fear of pain. But since I've birthed three times, I've learned that it isn't necessarily the pain. I've observed that the fear grows with more procedures and tests. It can become so overwhelming and cause a woman to feel like they have no choice but to succumb to what has been told of them to do. I felt that way, at least. During my second pregnancy, I had developed hypertension to the extent that it was poorly managed on medications. I was always dizzy and sick. I had no energy. I had to switch care providers three times in order to receive the "best" care for my condition. The obstetricians made me feel like I was a guinea pig. I felt violated and scared. I didn't know what to do. The doctor stripped my membranes without my consent during a cervix check at my 38 week appointment. They decided I HAD TO be induced at 39 weeks because there was a trace of protein in my urine. They rushed me to the operating room during the second stage of labor when my baby's heartbeat went down to 40 beats per minute during my contraction. At that moment, my body took over. She was right there, it was my second time birthing and I knew my body was pushing her out. I didn't need a c-section. I told the anesthesiologist, "I can do it!" And I did. She came out like a streak of light, saturated in beautiful vernix. She had a "true knot" in the umbilical cord which they later attributed to her heartrate decelerations during contractions. I hemorrhaged... They took my baby for three hours while monitoring my bleeding. They did not offer to bring her to me or take me to her although she was perfectly healthy. The whole birthing process that I had was difficult, scary and traumatizing.
Why was there any need for them to intervene so often? It's not fair that this one day of your life, so many joyous feelings can be disabled. I think doctors should have more studies done to fully recognize when it's necessary to intervene instead of just because they can. I think women deserve to be able to possess the birth they want to have. Women should not have to fear birth. The goal is that birth practices progress, enhance and promote better outcomes. I want to improve birth!
Do you have a story to share?