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January 31, 2012

Comparing Birth Stories

I always knew that my mom had a difficult birth with me. The many times she reminded me that she nearly died while giving birth to me and how i had my cord stuck around my neck so i'd be grateful for the life she gave me was something that still seems to haunt her to do this day. When i asked her if she wanted to be at the birth center for my birth experience, her quick response "NO" followed by a hesitant "do you want me there?" was due to her own experiences in labor. I knew it was a tough time, but i never got the details of it...until recently.

With the past 13 days at home with Annabelle, my mother and I have had time to digest the fact that her baby is now a mom, and for me, that I am a mom. It's still very surreal.

Little pieces of my birth story started to come out and I realized the similarities to our stories as well as how different the outcomes were.

One of the things that the midwives ask you is how your mother's births were. I'm not sure how similar all mother daughter stories will be, but I guess the idea is that they could be similar and so that is how they get background on first time moms. I had no real details except that my mother hemorrhaged a lot and that i had the umbilical cord stuck around my neck. That was really all i knew.

Here is our stories side by side. Similarities and differences.
My Birth
  • I was 13 days late. 
  • Estimated due date: January 30th. Arrived February 12
  • Labor started with the bag of waters breaking. 
  • Hospital Birth
  • Interventions used: induction method (most likely pitocin) and epidural. 
  • Interventions likely caused fetal distress, Dr. suggested C-section.
  • Father refused, hostile birth environment, waiver signed after Dr. informed my father he was killing my mother and me by not allowing the C-section. 
  • Cord wrapped around my neck. 
  • Post Partum hemorrhaging required operation. 
  • Initial Dr. went on vacation, mother had post partum complications.
  • Different Dr. wanted to remove the uterus, father refused.
  • In essence, mom had something similar to a c-section even though i was delivered vaginally.
  • Mother is still traumatized from this birt
Annabelle's Birth
  • She was 17 days early.
  • Estimated due date: January 30th. Arrived January 13
  • Labor started with the bag of waters breaking
  • Birth Center Birth 
  • No interventions.
  • Used Castor oil and nipple stimulation to stimulate labor.
  • 22 hr labor in a positive birth environment.
  • Every time i was checked or we were trying a different position I was asked for consent. There was no threatening tones or language used to get me to along with their game plan. 
  • Delivered vaginally.
  • slight tear, no stitches required. 
  • Post Partum recovery at home and smooth.
  • Same midwife who assisted in birth, visited me post partum. 
  • Happy Birth story

Aside from our due dates (which to me is pretty cool)  and how we went into labor, our birth stories are polar opposites in our experience. However, I do think if i had gone to a hospital, my birth experience would have also been filled with interventions due to hospital policies/guidelines that require you to be in active labor within 12 hrs. I was 6 cm at 14 hrs, but 2 hrs prior i don't know if i was in active labor. And that policy single handedly could have dramatically changed the events of my birth experience.

When i called my mother that morning to tell her my bag of waters had broken, she had fear in her voice. I reassured her and she said she was just worried about getting to me on time, but the fear never left her voice. I figured she was just worried as all mothers would be. Even when i spoke to her later that night at about 10pm when she called to say she was at the condo in DC, I could still hear her fear. I didn't know why until this past week and now i totally understand why. She was scared for me. Her experience is still so fresh in her mind after 35 years, that she still shivers when telling me how awful it was for her. And her relief that Annabelle and I made it completely healthy and happy has given her a renewed faith in the birth experience.

I share this story only b/c i think its really neat that my mom and i do have similarities in our birth stories. Hopefully jotting this down here, Annabelle could always look back if she wanted to compare her birth story (when the time comes) to mine and her grandmothers.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's great that you had such a positive birth experience, when so many women don't. I can only hope I'm as lucky.


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