Until the beginning of this month, we were planning for an uneventful labor and delivery at the birthing center a couple miles down the street from our home. My birth plan was more or less just to sit or squat in the tub, focus on my breath, have the baby, and then come back home — just as it happened with the Critter.
And then I got the call from one of the midwives at the birthing center, telling me that the fetal hydronephrosis that we’ve been tracking since the 20-week ultrasound had gotten much worse on one side and that the doctor at the clinic where I’ve been having the ultrasounds wanted a second opinion from Columbia-Presbyterian. Also, said the midwife, I might risk out of giving birth at the birthing center.
On the very day that I got that call, I had posted a short piece about the word I had chosen to guide me through this year: give. In the days since, I’ve been learning an important lesson: Sometimes, in order to give, you have to ask for help.
I’m grateful for all the help I’ve gotten from family and friends in the past few weeks. They’ve helped me weather the emotional turbulence in the days (almost two weeks!) leading up to the second opinion, as well as in practical ways. One friend gave me lots of information that helped me prepare for the dreaded appointments at the hospital. My dad and stepmother took the day off work and came down to the city to accompany me to the hospital last Tuesday. And my husband has rearranged his schedule so that I can keep my various appointments, keep up with my work (sort of), and get some extra rest. All of this help (and more) has enabled me to give myself fully to taking care of the Gnome.
As it turns out, the prognosis for the Gnome is excellent. In the meantime, we’re preparing for a possibly more medicalized birth than we had originally anticipated, including (probably — I’ll know for certain later today) giving birth at Maimonides rather than at the birthing center. I have no reason to expect that the labor and delivery itself will require any interventions beyond the change in location, but still — I have a deep-seated dread of hospitals. Knowing what I know about Sphincter Law (“if someone is afraid … the sphincter [in this case, the cervix] can slam shut”), I’ve been working hard to face this fear — so that I can let it go.
In facing my fear, I’ve turned toward birth stories, the kind that Ina May Gaskin has found empower pregnant and laboring women. My sister and many of my good friends have shared their stories of positive hospital births, as have many of my fellow Natural Parents Network volunteers. And so today, I give you links! Positive hospital birth stories galore!
- Posting at the Natural Parents Network, Emily of Embrita Blogging tells about bonding with her cesarean.
- NPN volunteer Melissa of White Noise tells about her two VBACs: with Riley and with Amarys.
- Posting at Country Baby, NPN volunteer Abbie of Farmer’s Daughter tells Joshua’s birth story.
- NPN volunteer Amy of Peace4Parents tells her first and second birth stories — of learning and of strength.
- NPN volunteer Melissa of Vibrant Wanderings tells Annabelle’s birth story.
- NPN volunteer Lani of Boobie Time tells her son’s birth story.
- NPN volunteer Sarah of Parenting God’s Children tells Esther Grace’s birth story.
- Here’s an old favorite of mine: Kristen of Birthing Beautiful Ideas (who has just welcomed her third little boy at home — oh, lucky her!) tells about her “non-medicated, in-hospital, water birth VBAC.”
- And, at The Mamafesto, EZ’s birth story.
Do you have a positive hospital birth story to share? Please, please do share the link in the comments! And thank you!