The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.
Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy
These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.
I was barely 19 when my first son was born. I was incredibly ignorant even after 6 weeks of Lamaze and a husband who worked in labor and delivery at the hospital where I was to deliver. It seemed that our best option to avoid a long painful labor (which was all I could imagine at the time) was to have the epidural right away. So after arriving at the hospital with barely discernible contractions, I had my epidural at 5cm, as planned. It was then that things went from bad to worse. The epidural caused me to stop breathing and I had an ambu bag for over an hour. It was a nightmare, being totally conscious, yet paralyzed from the neck down. All I could do was blink and I didn't do that for fear that I would never open my eyes again! In the end, the problem corrected itself, although it was incredible that there was absolutely nothing these medical "experts" could do to undo the damage that the epidural had caused. It wasn't until 2 years later that the full impact of how near death I had been really hit me. By then I was pregnant again. I was terrified. I was determined to have my tubes tied after this birth to avoid any more of these misadventures. But things turned out differently as I gave birth to this son with no drugs. I had the tubal done 3 days post partum, feeling like I had just been lucky. But as the weeks went by and the realization of how different my mothering experience was this time compared to the last "delivery", I began to question the wisdom of the tubal. I began to research and to see that not experiencing the "birth" with the first due to the epidural and its paralytic effect had changed something fundamental in my relationship with my son. The next time, everything was better and I felt like I had accomplished something important.
Some things don't have to be exactly alike to bring about understanding. I may not have a scar in my uterus, but my first birth was as close to a c/section as I would care to be. And I do have a scar on my belly because when my second was 2, I had the tubal reversed. The surgery to tie the tubes is simple, the surgery to repair them is major. I never knew a body could hurt so much! I had a new respect for women who had surgery and had to care for a newborn while dealing with that kind of pain.
So I will not pretend that I have walked in your shoes, but I have certainly shared some of your feelings. I have felt the loss, the uncertainty (my first was pulled out with forceps, could I really get one out on my own?) the overwhelming anger that something precious was taken from me. I remember my first son's birth like it was a video, of someone else. I could have been in the Caribbean for all the help I was! We don't need to hurt as bad as someone else to see and sense that their pain is great.
I once heard a psychologist say that an experience isn't traumatic so much for the actual events as it is for the perceptions of the one who experienced it. It isn't the details that hurt so much, it is the sense that it was beyond our control and beyond our expectations and beyond our ability to cope. What is awful for one of us may be no big deal for someone else.
I have had seven wonderful births since that first nightmare. I have grown in unimaginable ways as I learned that I was capable of birthing my own children and being a good mother after. It was a long slow process and each one has brought out something new. I had a friend ask me once if having so many made it worry free. I said no, it just changes the worries. But fear and worry do not scare me the same way anymore. I am not afraid to be afraid anymore. I know that I can handle my life. I wish I had known that sooner.
I hope this isn't too long and rambly, but I just wanted you all to
understand where I am coming from. I want to help women avoid the trauma
the first time so they don't have to go through what so many of us have
to go through now. We all deserve better.
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