You're Not Strong Enough

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from  Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

 (this was written by me and published on a different website about 2.5 years ago, but was removed after the business closed. When I originally wrote this there was a comment that this article is saying that moms who use medications or have cesareans are somehow less of moms.  I want to let any of you who may feel that way know that my intent in this article is to be affirming and supportive of those women who have thought about or want to have an unmedicated childbirth, to strengthen them, NOT to tear down moms who don't want or were unable to have it.

Sometimes women need to choose a medicated birth, sometimes despite everything they do, their child must be born by cesarean.  I have the utmost respect and love for all women, no matter what their story is.  It also takes great strength to get through a difficult birth, especially when things don't go the way you had planned.  Those of you whose stories were these, you are warriors! May you know that your experiences have also helped you be the exact mother that your child needs.)

 

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from  Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

Today there is a lie that is running rampant in our society. Women everywhere are being told they're not strong enough.

You read that right.

From doctors to hospitals to friends and family, if you are of child bearing years or currently expecting, you will hear it everywhere:

"you're going to want that epidural."

"Do yourself a favor and get the epidural"

"there's no way you can do it without pain medicine."

"just get the epidural, there is not a prize for natural birth" 

The underlying message is clear, "you're not strong enough. You need to be rescued from the pain."

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from  Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

This probably isn't the first time someone has told you that you weren't good enough, able enough, knowledgeable enough, talented enough, strong enough, or enough of whatever it was you needed to accomplish something in your life.  Sometimes you may have listened to those voices outside of yourself, maybe more times than you'd like to admit. 

But at least one of those times you probably did it anyways. You listened to the voice inside of you saying you CAN do this. And you did it! It was more than likely a difficult road getting there, but it was worth it. Every time you got back up and kept going made you stronger. It's part of what made you who you are today. So it is with birth.

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from  Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

The truth is you ARE stronger than you think and you are made to do this. Not only can you do this, but doing this will prepare you for motherhood like nothing else can. Yes, birth can be difficult. Yes, birth, can be hard work, some of the hardest work you've ever done. Yes, it can be painful. Yes, it can push you further than you ever thought possible, and then beyond. Birth is also beautiful and amazing and rewarding and worth every bit of work you do to get there. It is only the first of many things in parenthood that take hard work, patience, and perseverance to succeed.

Being a parent will try you like nothing else you've ever experienced. You will have moments that you feel like you can't go another second, and moments that you wonder how you ever lived your life without this beautiful amazing little person that is your child, along with moments filled with so much love that you feel your heart could burst, often all of these in the same day.

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from  Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

Don't buy into the lie. Birth is not something you need to be rescued from. In fact, when well meaning people try to rescue you, they unwittingly steal from you something most precious. Labor and birth are a gift. It is the opportunity to see how very strong you really are. It is the opportunity to work with your baby to accomplish something amazing. It is the chance to bond with your husband or significant other in a way that nothing else can duplicate. It is the chance to let your body do what it is made to do, and see it for the intricately designed work of art it is.

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from  Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

Image provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from Bump 2 Baby and Beyond

Birth is not a scary, horrible thing. It is love, beauty, and work all rolled together. My hope is that if the people around you do not believe in you, that you will stand up for yourself and find others who will. That you will birth in a way that you are honored, and protected, able to birth on your own terms. That you can come to the other side of your birthing time and realize that the strength was in you all along. You are strong enough now and you will be then, too. It has always been in you.

Image provided by Professional photographer,  Karina Schuh

Image provided by Professional photographer, Karina Schuh

written by Liz Derry, CPM, LM


Labor and Birth images in this blog entry were provided by birth photographer/ doula Melissa Rodriguez from Bump 2 Baby and Beyond in Corpus Christi, Texas AND final image was provided by Professional photographer, Karina Schuh, from Alamogordo, New Mexico.

How to make the best out of your hospital birth

Before the Hospital

  1. Do your homework.
    1.  Research the hospitals in the area and their common birth practices.  Do they have portable monitors for the laboring mother?  Do they have squat bars available for pushing? Do they have birth balls available?  What is the c-section rate?  How often do they use Pitocin or other medications to induce or augment labor?  Do they allow family members in the room for the labor and birth? Is there a limit to the number of family members. What is the nurse to patient ratio for the labor nurses. What is the experience of other people you know who have attempted a natural/ un-medicated childbirth
    2. Research your care provider.   How many other doctors are in his/her practice? What is the likelihood that he/she will be at your birth if you go into labor on your own? Are the other doctor(s) in the practice also friendly to natural childbirth options.  How does your doctor feel about natural childbirth? Will he/she allow mom to go into labor on her own, and how far past the due date will he allow her to go before talking about induction? How does your doctor feel about doulas?
    3. If possible, Hire a doula.  Local Corpus Christi doulas include:  Liz Derry with Bay Area Birth (361) 904-6868
    4. Avoid Induction if at all possible.  Ask your care provider early on in your pregnancy how far past your due date he/she is comfortable with you going.  It is important that he/she is supportive of your choice to let baby come when he/she is ready.  Remember, that even if the doctor is pushing for an induction, provided your baby is doing well, you still have the choice to refuse induction.  ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) describes post date pregnancy as beyond 42 weeks gestation.
    5. Labor at home as long as possible.  At home, Mom is able to move about freely, eat and drink to comfort, has only loved ones around, and is not restrained by tubes, wires and monitors.  Mom will be most comfortable laboring at home.  Labor at home until contractions are consistently 3 minutes apart (lasting 60 seconds or more) and starting to get a little closer, or, if you live 30 minutes or more away from the hospital, are consistently 3-4 min apart.  If mom starts showing other signs of transition, such as self-doubt, nausea/vomiting, head in to the hospital immediately.

After You Arrive At the Hospital

  1. Get the nurse on your side. Be nice to the nurse.  Ask her for her help.  Thank her for everything she does.  Praise her when she has done things well or gone out of her way.  Instead of saying things like: We want the baby with us at all times.  We want delayed cord clamping, etc.  Try saying: we were really hoping if everything is ok to keep baby in mom’s arms for the first hour after birth.  Could you talk to the other staff and help us make that happen? We have talked to our doctor ahead of time about delayed cord clamping, but were hoping you might be able to help us by reminding him prior to delivery that that is our desire?  We really want to have an un-medicated birth.  Anything you can do to help us with that would be wonderful!
  2. Get out of bed.  Even with the monitors on, you can typically do things like sit on a birth ball, stand or walk at the side of the bed, sit in a chair beside the bed, kneel in bed and lean over the edge or over the ball.
  3. Go to the bathroom frequently.  This gives you an opportunity to get out of bed more, and move around as much as possible. Ask the nurse to show you how to connect and disconnect the monitor to go to the bathroom and ask if it is ok if you do it yourself.
  4. Get permission to eat and drink from your doctor ahead of time if possible, and if not at least ask the nurse to get the ok for clear liquids while you are laboring.  You need them for energy.
  5. Ask for a heplock (a small plastic tube left in your vein and secured in place) for your IV instead of continuous IV fluids if at all possible.  This will give you more freedom of movement.