living after the death of a baby, living with Autism, living as a family of six, living on our organic homestead, living miserably, hopefully, and with joy, and somedays just living

Instead of some beautiful birth story here, today you get introspection.   As I write this one handedly Micah sleeps peacefully at my beast, warming my body and heart.  I wonder at the meaning, or lesson(s) of his birth, not one I planned, one I am sorely disappointed with.

Yes, I know he’s here, he’s healthy, he’s beautiful.  More than most women, I am grateful for the up and down heaves of his chest, and the small squawks that reassure me he is alive and thriving.   He is rarely put down, usually wrapped snug to mine, or Kyles, chest in a snug wrap to free our hands to parent our other little ones.   Micah is a miracle, all babies are, and we are joyful at finally having him join our family as his own presence.

So why is that I can’t talk about his birth story, why is it that I try not to think about in in order not to burst into tears?   Because I feel like I failed, I failed my Birth Attendant, my husband, my children, my baby, and mostly because I failed my own expectations.

I believe women are designed to have babies,  that medical intervention has in many ways made women to feel as though childbirth shouldn’t be attempted without help, their brand of help. I believe that babies can safely be born at home, that women can overcome labour, and it’s intensity with strength.   A strength that has been stolen from us, by the reassurance of drug safety and an easier epidural birth.  I believed, because I had birthed beautifully at Natalia’s arrival, that I would be capable.

I collapsed.  I prepared for this birth, though not as thoroughly as I had previously.   I believed in myself, and although I had been denied midwifery care by my province, I felt capable enough to deliver at home with the help of a Natral Birth Attendant (NBA).  I was going to win the Gold medal in birthing as Kyle put it.  But I didn’t.  In fact I turned into the kind of mess I feel ashamed of.

My water broke at 12:30am on Friday night.  That’s never happened before.  My water has always broken/been broken in labour.  I called my birth attendant, and tried to get some sleep.  By 3:00am my contractions were 3 mins apart and fairly strong at about 4:00am my NBA arrived, I took a shower and got into the pool we had set up in the spare room.  It was lovely.  I had a tray of snacks, and pulled out the good china teapot and cup and saucer, after all this was a special occasion, our baby was about to arrive.  I took in each contraction with the kind of deep breaths that I had learned form hyponobirthing classes, everything felt okay.  More painful than with Natalia but okay, I chalked it up to the fact that my water had broken and the baby’s head was lower down.  I was managing well.  By 6:ooam my contractions took a turn for the unexpected, suddenly there was a pain in my back that is hard to explain, but worse than that the pain started to shoot down my legs finally cumulating in the feeling that someone had physically grabbed the tendons and muscles in my thighs and pulled down sharply.  The uterine contractions were fine, manageable even.  The additional pain, not so much.  Finally feeling as though I could bear no more I feared the next contraction.  Obviously, the gateway to my failure.  Fear.  I couldn’t manage the pain in my legs I couldn’t stretch them far enough, or hold them in close enough to stop it.  I knew I had yet to experience transition,  the contractions, though very close together, never really felt one on top of another.  Would I even be capable of no let up feeling this way?  Fear did me in, something I felt I could manage,  in the end it was too much.  My natural gentle birth was torn apart by my own psychological weakness.  How could this be?  Me?  I have faced my share of psychological dragons and won, and this was my down fall?  Something I had prepared for?  Finally I had my NBA check my dilation, something I has previously requested not to do.  I knew if I was only half way, I was done.   How low that felt.  Asking her not to be generous she said I was likely 6-7cm with 10 needed to birth a baby.  With my NBA trying to reassure me that we were past half way, and with Kyles encouragement I got back in the pool, and committed to another half an hour.  Two contractions later I had hit my final low.  Far to painful.

In checking my cervix it seemed that the baby’s head was flexed and side presenting.  I still needed this baby to turn before I would likely progress much more or have the pain ease up.  I took two homeopathic remedies to help with relaxation and finally…  Gave up.  I had Kyle call the midwives to say I was coming in to the hospital for an epidural.  I needed a break.  I feel like I should tell you how this makes me feel here, but I don’t know if I have the words.  Right now as I type, tears roll,  I am so full of snot, and there’s this hole in the pit of my stomach or where my heart is. I abandoned my kids with the NBA and took off for the hospital to have exactly the kind of birth I worked so hard to avoid.  I gave up.

At the hospital I became the type of woman I never wanted to be.  Rolled into the delivery room in a wheelchair moaning in pain, begging for an epidural.  During drive to the hospital, the pain was not life ending, thanks to the homeopathics I took, but still far worse that when I was in the pool.  Once at the Hospital, they needed me to pee, to check my cervix, have a strip read, put in an IV, and wait to have the paperwork from admitting before they could call the anesthetist.  After checking I was only 5 cm dilated and baby seemed to be presenting flexed and sideways.  There was also mention that the baby might be compressing the Sacral or Sciatic nerves.  I conceded that I may not even be halfway and tried to wait while all the right boxes where checked off before the anesthetist could be called.  Finally it was all done, he was called, and he couldn’t come right away because he was with another patient.  I had this happen before, I voiced my concern that in waiting I would likely birth my baby with numb ankles and be frozen to my nipples postpartum, just as in the twins birth.  Nothing seemed like it was going right at all.  Suddenly I felt the need to push, a quick check showed I was ready, and three or four pushes later Micah was born.  Too exhausted to reach down and catch him, or lift him to me.  I sunk into the bed.  Just then the anesthetist came in, too late, thank God.  Micah was born in just over twenty minutes from arriving at the hospital.  Kyle pulled his shirt off, and scooped him up, I couldn’t even muster enough to hold him to me.

Coming upstairs to write this I can’t help but see the birthpool half deflated between the sunroom an the linen closet, waiting to be put away.  It lays crumpled, not having served its intended use, and it makes me feel sad.  Micah likely being the last means it wont have the chance to get it  right, and likely neither will I.

In telling my disappointment to Kyle, he reminds me to look down at the perfect living baby we have created, he tells me that it no longer matters how he got here, but that he is, to rejoice and celebrate that fact.  But it is not the looking down that I am disappointed in, in fact, I do rejoice at Micah arrival, he is perfect, I love him, I hope we get to keep him, but it is the looking back that is so hurtful.


Comments on: "Of Great Dissapointment Comes Great Joy" (8)

  1. I don’t think I could ever begin to understand what you’ve gone through but I do think that fear is something we’ve been given to protect us in some instances. So maybe the way Micah was born was for a reason and the fear was the catalyst to help you realize that you guys needed to go to the hospital. Like I said I can never understand what and how you feel but I’m with Kyle on the “it no longer matters how he got here”. You have a beautiful baby boy and as you move forward the “how he got here” will more then likely fade as you develop so many more awesome memories with the new little one.

    You guys have an amazing family and the strength that you and Kyle have is indescribable to be honest. I don’t know anyone else with the strength you guys have. It’s honestly amazing.

    Much Love!

  2. Erron – when I read your post I cried. Don’t ever feel like a failure. You made and carried this beautiful baby and despite the delivery he has joined your family. My first baby was a horrific birth but what got me to get over it is the fact that if I stayed home things could have gone horribly wrong and how would I have felt if something happened to my baby because I insisted on the birth I had planned so much for. It’s all in hindsight now. You had no idea that everything would have been fine if you stayed home a bit longer. Stop beating yourself up and start turning those tears into tears of joy that you and Kyle made this precious baby and you have a lifetime of happiness ahead. None of my 3 births were what I had wanted or planned – but that’s not important – I think that it’s a bit selfish to think of myself and what I want. Our bodies are yes designed to birth babies but we have no control of what happens in utero. Please erron -when you look down at Micah look at your blessing not a failure. Xxxxxxxxx

  3. Fiest, Erron, congratulations on the arrival of your absolutely beautiful baby. I love the pictures of him you have shared on Facebook and I can’t wait to meet him in person and sniff his fuzzy little head.
    I’m sorry his birth didn’t go as you had hoped. While there is some validity in the “Well he’s here and you’re both healthy and fine” sentiment, it would be a great injustice to belittle your disappointment at the turn in events. Birth is more than a physical event, and you sound very sad about missing out on the satisfying emotional experience you’d been dreaming of.
    I think that you did an amazing and wonderful thing in birthing him despite his presentation. It sounds like the pain you experienced was far from typical and I hope that you can move past feeling like you’ve failed by seeking help when you reached your limit. I hope you can take the time and the space to process your feelings so you can just focus on basking in your baby’s newborn days.
    I love you lots and I send you lots of hugs! I’ll call you when I’m back home next week.

  4. Erron … I am so sorry that it didn’t go the way you had planned. It always seems like a shame when good planning and intentions do not get used to the fullness that was wanted. But trust that you knew what was best. At that moment, you knew what you wanted, and you did it. You have had three births, with not all of them being ideal. You know what feels right, and wrong during labor. And you reacted accordingly based on that knowledge.
    Don’t beat yourself up for making a choice that seemed like the best option at the time. And like Kyle said, the result speaks for itself that you did everything right through the pregnancy and the labor. You have a gorgeous little man.
    All the love.

  5. Oh Erron! my heart goes out to you. I understand what it feels like to feel as though you have let down yourself, your partner or your baby, when the birth experience doesn’t go as you had envisioned. But as others before me have said- the most important job was already done. You grew him! He’s here and most importantly loved and well nurtured. It’s hard to put something like this in perspective when you are still in the early days of postpartum and the experience is so fresh; but honestly there is something to be said for modern medicine 😉
    As my mother told me when I was expecting my first “Don’t be a martyr. It’s not like the child is going to come to you when they are 16 and say ‘thanks mum, for not getting an epidural it’s made ALL the difference’ ” lol
    Biggest, Bestest wishes to your entire family!

  6. Thanks everyone, I think I should clarify that I haven’t been wallowing in misery. I’m enjoying my time soaking up all the new baby, watching an excited brother and sisters, and hanging out with Kyle. Mostly, I’m very happy. I know in time it will be a story, a truth of events, but right now, I feel a bit grieved. For me writing makes me feel better, letting it go on to the page purges my soul. As I said through great disappointment comes great joy, and there is no greater joy in our lives right now than our family, and how the newest member completes us. For the love you’ve poured out on me there is no thank-you big enough.

    • Erron,

      I think you were an incredibly brave and strong woman Erron, in labour this time especially, and I am very relieved and happy that Micah is healthy. Congratulations.

      I know that I may represent the modern medical institutions in your eyes, and admittedly a lot of what we do takes away from the “natural/traditional” rites of passage in birth and death.

      Unfortuately doctors make mistakes and hurt (often), kill (not often i hope), and sometimes can’t save people and babies. Other times we hurt people when there was no intervention needed at all.

      Generally, we emote “my way or the highway” – we want to poke and prod and we want to take your blood and bodily fluids, and check every body cavity you have repeatedly. We will even use salad tongs or cut out your baby when we feel it is necessary. Whether it be emergency doctors or surgeons,
      we are trained to save lives – often excluding the patient’s personal beliefs, preferences, and hopes for a natural birth.

      I wonder if the extra pressure I put on you and Kyle to go to the hospital for your birth added to your feeling that you failed somehow in your birth plan, to have a perfect natural birth at home, by your wishes, with enough pain and all the sensations and emotions that I could never understand or appreciate. However, good doctors are worriers.

      For example, today – at my hospital a multiparous woman with no medical or obstetrical problems gave birth vaginally to a seemingly normal looking baby that simply would not breathe. There was no apparent cause for this so the baby had to be intubated and sent to the NICU. The obstetrician who I know fairly well was really upset and shaken up over the whole situation. I think should have this baby was born outside the hospital, without immediate resuscitation measures, he would have died.

      The pain you must have suffered, I hope I will never have to experience – because I could not endure it.

      There is no shame in going to seek a doctors help, in intolerable pain and suffering, due to partially obstructed labour with compression of the sacral plexus and severe sciatica. Thankfully Micah turned or you or God turned him and everything turned out fine, but this is not always the outcome in my experience.

      I know life does not bring us exactly what we plan, and that our prayers are not always answered, and as such, we should not feel guilt and disappointment in our imperfections as biological entities living on a sphere flying through the universe caused by a giant explosion.

      I love you Sister in Law!!! You are powerful 🙂

  7. Don’t let anyone tell you that it doesn’t matter how our babies get here. It’s not *ALL* that matters, but it matters. It matters a lot. It’s ok to be both so happy that your baby is here, and also sad about the way they got here. One doesn’t negate the other. (Something I learned from ICAN, after my cesarean with my first child) Feel your feelings. Love your baby. And keep on writing. Glad to have gotten the chance to read your blog.

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