Shauna and I agreed that a traditional hospital birth with drugs wasn’t right for us. It wasn’t about doctors, who are great, and it wasn’t about judging pain killers, which some need. We tend to live an unconventional life, and a natural child birth without pain killers fit with our lifestyle. Shauna also wanted to have an active role in her pregnancy and natural birth with a midwife allowed that.
We weren’t ready for a home birth and thus decided to have our daughter in a midwifery. We started our research by watching The Business of Being Born, a documentary about child birth.
We formulated a game plan. Rather than have a traditional child birth, Shauna would give birth:
- Using self-hypnosis (she took a Hynobabies course) rather than pain killers,
- Have a doula (a natural birth mindset coach),
- With me in the room the entire time.
Now when you tell people you’re going to have a natural child birth, the first reaction from others is concern or hate. AREN’T YOU WORRIED YOUR BABY IS GOING TO DIE?! People tend to get angry when you make choices they didn’t make, it’s as if they view your choices are somehow being a judgment on theirs.
Midwifery is far different from the stereotypes:
Midwifery, as known as obstetrics, is a health science and health profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period (including care of the newborn), besides sexual and reproductive health of women throughout their lives. In many countries, midwifery is a medical profession. A professional in midwifery is known as a midwife.
Everyone has a “horror story” about a midwife, and most of those are fake. What about hospital horror stories? Confirmation bias for the dominant narrative (hospitals are good and midwives and doulas are for hippies) means you’ll only hear about problems during birth that happen at midwiferies rather than at hospitals.
The midwifery has a full staff of nurses and mid-wives. They all have education and experience. There is also a hospital nearby for emergencies. According to our midwifery, fewer than 3% of women need to leave for a doctor’s office. Also, midwives and the nurses are experts in delivering babies. They are present the whole time unlike many OBGYN’s who come in right when the mom is ready to push the baby out.
Our midwifery only selects women with low-risk pregnancies. You’re required to undergo extensive childhood education.
A doula is a birthing coach, and the right doula is a game-changer.
A doula (/ˈduːlə/), also known as a birth companion and post-birth supporter, is a nonmedical person who assists a person before, during, and/or after childbirth, as well as her spouse and/or family, by providing physical assistance and emotional support. The provision of continuous support during labour is associated with improved maternal and fetal health and a variety of other benefits, including lower risk of induction and interventions and less need for pain relief.
Shauna’s contractions began increasing in intensity around 2:30 p.m.
Our doula arrived to our home at 3:30p.m., she began coaching Shauna through the process.
Shauna’s doula was also her self-hypnosis coach, as Shauna and I went through the Hypnobabies course together.
We arrived at the midwifery at 6:02 p.m. There wasn’t any drama or freak-outs, which is unusual if you’ve ever seen a movie depicting birth. Americans tend to make child birth, a highly natural process, like a medical emergency.
We got settled in. It was low-key at first. When the midwife did her cervical check Shauna was 7cm dilated.
Once it was go-time, I stayed in the delivery room (which as you can see above is a bedroom) with Shauna and used mindset coaching during the delivery. We had developed some mantras and Gorilla Mindset framing techniques to guide her through the pain.
One technique we developed together was to imagine what she’d say to Cyra when she was born. When in “discomfort” (Hynobabies teaches you to change language patterns, so rather than saying “pain” we use “discomfort”), we’d change Shauna’s focus. “Imagine Cyra is on your chest. What are you going to say to Cyra when you see her?” During the transition phase of her labor when her contractions were really strong and intense I kept saying “You can do anything for 1 minute.”
Shauna rocked it.
Our first child, Crya, was born at 8:38 p.m., weighing in at 6 pounds and 11 ounces. It was a smooth delivery process at a midwifery assisted by a doula. Shauna did not take any pain medication. Cyra arrived with eyes wide open, looking alert.
While I am not here to sell anyone on midwifery, my experience with the process of delivery was another reminder that most of what we know (or think we know) is a lie.
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