Preparing and delivering for the baby: The story
Get a look to a story of Zam whom i interviewed during a session at arch.center
And the moment that I have been anticipating for days, months, and years even has come. I took a deep breath and pushed down my baby with own power while I followed my body. Before my breath finished, my baby came sliding out of me. While I exhaled, I quietly said that he is born. They put my son into my arms even before cutting his umbilical cord. He was warm, wet, soft, and smelled sweet. He screamed joyfully, and I thanked him repeatedly for giving me this wonderful experience. The doctors and nurses were looking on at that remarkable moment when our son joined our family, confused, happy, and teary eyed. They stared at us with questioning expressions because they had just watched a birth so vastly different from the fearful births they had witnessed in the past—fearfulness that resulted from the negative birth stories that have been handed down to women for years and have eroded their confidence and power regarding birth. How had it come to this?
Forty weeks and 5 days into the pregnancy, my baby and I were still together. I felt his movements less now—they were smaller than they had been but stronger. My phone was ringing off the hook, at least 20 people calling me every day to ask if I have given birth and scaring me by saying things like, “What if something’s wrong with the baby?” My mother was waiting impatiently for her first grandson, constantly saying, “It’s high time the baby made an appearance.” I became so fed up, especially in the last 10 days of my pregnancy that in the pregnancy classes that I gave after my baby was born, I suggested to the mothers-to-be that they not tell anyone the approximate birth date to avoid similar experiences.
I made myself believe that my son would be born in the night, having heard somewhere that animals that sleep in the daytime birth in the night and vice versa (which seemed to show that privacy and protection are important in nature.) In the weeks and days leading up to my due date, I tried my best to go to sleep early every day so as not to be tired when I finally went into labor. I would fall asleep rubbing my abdomen and thinking, “Maybe I’ll smell you tonight baby.” But when morning came, I would wake to find my baby was still saying, “Good morning, mommy!” from my womb.
It was another such morning when I went to the toilet and saw the first thrilling sign that the birth was finally going to happen. My husband and my mother were home, but I said nothing to them because I wanted to stay at home until the contractions became more frequent. I put my hand on my abdomen and could feel uterine contractions, but they were not bothering me at all. We had a nice family breakfast, took a walk by the sea for 2 hours, and went to the market, and then I cleaned my house in a squatting position. (Knowing that squatting is one of the most appropriate positions during labor because it enables the baby to move more easily in the birth canal [ Balaskas, 1992 ], I was seeking any excuse to squat.)
That evening, I was feeling quite energetic and dynamic. At around 9:00 p.m., while we were all watching TV together, I fell asleep on the living room sofa. At 11 p.m., my mother woke me up to tell me to go to my bed, but by then I felt wide awake, so she went to bed herself—a relief to me because I was sure she would treat me like an invalid if she thought the birth was imminent. My husband was not sleepy either, so we decided to watch a documentary about dolphins giving birth. I told him that our baby could come to the world that day, but he just laughed and said, “The dolphin might be giving birth today, but you won’t.” Then he too decided to go to bed.
I was having contractions, but I would not have even noticed them had I not put my hand on my abdomen. I was also feeling some pressure on my perineum, but the contractions I had felt during the pregnancy had disturbed me more. I decided to take a shower, and the warm water combined with the smell of the shampoo made me feel great. I blow dried my hair, put on some nail polish, prepared the clothes I would wear to go to the hospital, and ate an apple. Then, I finally went to bed.
At around 2:00 a.m., I put my hand on my abdomen and tried to time my contractions, which by now were frequent and long lasting. Because of the stories of labor pains that I still had in my mind, however, I didn’t think they could be birth contractions. I switched on my relaxation recording. While I was relaxing my whole body, I suddenly felt nauseous and vomited. My husband and mother both woke up, and my husband said to me, “It cannot be time for birth, but perhaps something is wrong. We should go to the hospital.” We grabbed the already-packed bags, got in the car, and turned on an enjoyable song to listen to during the drive.
On the way, I continued with my breathing and relaxation exercises. I could sense an amazing cocktail of hormones flowing through my body. I had never felt so happy, energetic, and motivated. These were the last moments of my baby inside me, and we were enjoying it! Everybody was calm as we headed to the delivery room. It was 2:50 a.m. The team on night duty was sitting around eating a pizza. I told them, “Don’t trouble yourselves, it’s not time for the birth. We just came in for a checkup.” The on-duty doctor put a hand on my abdomen and said, “The contractions are severe. I think I should examine you.” I lay on the examination couch and he made a vaginal examination.
At that point, I collected myself and asked the personnel to make the head of the bed as upright as possible. Suddenly, just as I was about to stand up, I felt severe pressure on my perineum. At the same time, I felt like I would explode with excitement. Odent (2003) notes that with births where there is no intervention or fear, a sudden adrenaline rush can occur just before the fetal ejection reflex. This is exactly what happened in my birth. Overcome by a sensation like the thrill you get at the moment you parachute off a mountainside and shout out with joy at the top of your voice, I screamed uncontrollably.
Realizing that the doctor, my husband, and the nurse were all staring at me in amazement, I told them, “Everything’s okay, don’t worry. There is no pain, just a sudden adrenaline rush.” Odent (2003) notes that, with births where there is no intervention or fear, a sudden adrenaline rush can occur just before the fetal ejection reflex. This is what happened in my birth. I settled myself back onto the bed and felt the urge to push. My body position was as straight as possible. I took a deep breath and pushed my baby downward with all my power. “Push slowly,” my birth doctor warned me. “The baby’s coming too fast. I’ll have to do an episiotomy.” But I just could not slow myself down, and the episiotomy was done at the last moment. In my terms, it was a natural birth throughout, without any intervention other than the episiotomy. Is it still possible, therefore, to call this a natural birth? I think it is. It was completely natural because the intervention happened only when necessary.
Two or 3 weeks later, when I had the chance to make some time for myself and think about the birth, I wondered whether the episiotomy might have been unnecessary. After all, I had given myself regular perineal massages every day after the 30th week of my pregnancy specifically to avoid perineal laceration or an episiotomy, just as suggested by evidence-based practice (Berghella, Baxter, & Chauhan, 2008 ). I thought my perineum was ready for the birth. Why did they have to do an episiotomy? I had been in a squatting position, which is the most appropriate position for birth, and had pushed the baby by grasping and pulling my knees up toward me. The baby came out of my vagina very quickly both because I pushed my baby uncontrollably fast, and because of the fetal ejection reflex combined with an adrenaline rush. Perhaps if I had been in the “polar bear” position Mongan (2005) suggested for quick delivery, I would have been able to give birth without the need for an episiotomy.
I was in a state of shock after the delivery, unable to believe my baby was now in my arms. It was 3:15 a.m. Just 25 minutes had passed since I had gone into the delivery room. The birth was not the way some people had described it. It was totally painless, joyful, exciting, and quick. My baby was so good. At first, he greeted the world with loud screams, presumably because of the effects of the hormone cocktail, but he calmed down after he was cradled in my arms and heard me say, “Welcome, my baby. We have been waiting for you for so long. We love you so much, do not cry.” He began looking around curiously with his eyes wide open.
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