Monday, November 17, 2014

Letting Go of Natural Birth When Baby is Breech.

Remember the scene in Cool Hand Luke where the bossman makes him dig a ditch and then fill it again- over, and over, and over again?

I've been having that feeling lately- I feel surrounded by work and tasks and unsettled business when the person growing inside of me needs quiet and calm and simplicity.

How to balance all of this? It feels like a heroic effort is required, like I need to find a part of myself I didn't know about. Isn't that what Luke does in the film? He gives his whole self to the task of being free.

My pregnancy has been positively blissful. I've not had any nausea, swelling or pre-term labor. In fact, I've relished every moment of feeling this little life stirring inside me. On a recent visit to our midwife, we discovered that our sweet baby is positioned head up. There is still a little time for baby to flip to a more optimal birthing position, but in the meantime, we are doing everthing we can to encourage our little person to put that head down and roll like hell.

Eric bought an inversion table on craigslist, so I'm spending nearly 20 minutes every day hanging upside down, as prescribed on Spinning Babies. He also bought some moxibustion sticks. These little herb sticks are mugwort (doesn't that sound like it's from Harry Potter?) burned into charcoal form. He lights the ends like a cigar and holds the heated ends just above my pinky toes. In Chinese medicine, the pinky toe is linked to the uterus, and I imagine this makes it relax and open. Either way, it feels rather nice. I'm also continuing to see a chiropractor who came highly recommended from one of my Waldorf colleagues. Her job is to help align the pelvis and release the sacrum so that baby has the space to move freely.

So far, all of these interventions have amounted to nothing.

I've tried to avoid getting attached to a birth plan. In fact, I've rather resisted writing one since we were so delighted with the practices at Minnesota Birth Center. I felt that imagining the order I wanted things to go didn't really make sense- that I would be better able to trust my body to do what it needs to do in labor if I didn't have a plan in my mind going in. I felt I could be more instinctive this way.

There is still time for things to shift, but a scheduled c-section is no longer just hypothetical. I have to confess there is so much I dislike about the idea of a hospital birth. The bright lights. The strangers. The smell of strong disinfectants covering the faint, acrid smell of sick people.

I believe a natural birth is better for both baby and for me- in the release of hormones that happens, in the powerful contractions that wring the baby and let both of us know that something tremendous is happening.

There is irony in that I was a breech birth, too. My sweet mum labored with me for 28 hours before finally submitting to a surgical birth. It was definitely not the birth they planned, and my dad still talks about how it felt like a failure.

I have done a lot of crying in the past few weeks, trying to come to terms with this bump in the road. In a way, it's a marvelous lesson about parenthood- a reminder that my plans are no longer mine alone to execute. This little person inside of me has their own will and will come in their own time and in their own way.

A midwife of thirty years teared up as she heard my story. "Becky," she said, looking right into my heart. "I have never seen a birth that wasn't beautiful."

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