Friday, July 13, 2012

H.H.'s Birth Story: The natural high

H.H. in her birth story below shares how hard it was for her during the rough transition phase of birth not to choose the opiate that the medical staff was pushing on her. Thanks to her inner strength and the support of her doula and spouse, she was able to stick with her plan for a natural birth that resulted in a fast and easy delivery.

H.H's Natural Birth

So I woke up on my birthday August 22 with what I thought were contractions. I thought this is my birthday gift, the birthday of my first daughter.  I remember making a wish the year before blowing out my candles wishing for a new life and new chapters, well I got my wish, a new chapter was unfolding. My birthday was the day that I was to have my first prenatal massage, what a luxury that was. My husband picked me up from my massage and we went to an Italian restaurant for dinner where I had some of the most amazing pesto ravioli that I have ever had. It was a warm night and it was about an hour walk home. I felt good and decided I wanted to walk home. By the time we got home my contractions were becoming more intense. I was up all night going to the bathroom and wondering if my water had broken slightly. My spouse slept. He woke up at around 6 and said we have to call the doctor, I was concerned that my water had broken, and that I needed to go to the hospital. I did not want too early to the hospital because I wanted it to be as natural as possible, no unnecessary interventions. But I did have GBH and I was supposed to take antibiotics when my water broke.

A taxi came to our home in Brooklyn and brought us to Downtown Hospital near Chinatown, Manhattan. The cab driver seemed to take a lot of back roads and hit a lot of potholes.  When we arrived my doula was there waiting for us. She was a friend of mine and a fellow dancer and pilates teacher who had already given birth.  She decorated my room, we got my big pink ball out, and the music on. I had prepared for many performances in the past and I did feel that this was my biggest performance coming up. I remember the first thing that we did was to take walks down the hallways stopping frequently to do hip figure eights.  

The day went on and physically everything got more intense. At one point I wanted brownies, I regretted this latter when my body wanted to purge everything. As everything physically got harder, mentally it got harder. I began to wonder if I could do it. I felt like I was going through a rite of passage. The nurses were not supportive of me walking around, making a mess, they wanted me drugged and in bed, I think that they thought I was a bit crazed. One nurse came in and said, "you really should have some Stadol, so you can get some rest". I felt so vulnerable and so scared at the moment that I looked at my husband and said yes. My doula and my husband reminded me of my birth plan, and then I felt the need to push. A half hour later I gave birth

Surely if I had taken the opiate my whole birth process would have been radically slowed down, and who knows how it would have ended up.  After giving birth I felt the biggest high, I often felt this after a performance, but this was intensified by 10. My husband was amazed by the transformation, an hour ago I was so deep in my own world, scared of the unknown and now I was laughing and eating brownies.  I truly feel this was a rite of passage, where I had to face my fears, doubts, and physical pain and come out the other side to a new life with a new life.