- Educating myself to the best of my ability about all of my possible options - for both best and worst case scenarios.
- Preparing my mind and body for the experience through classes or home-study, including good general prenatal care (healthy eating, exercise, etc.)
- Choosing a birth support team that I trust will assist me in making decisions that are truly in my and my baby's best interest.
- Expecting the best. Positive thoughts all around! Even creating that vision in my mind.
- Accepting and embracing whatever happens after all of that preparation, choosing and positive thinking has been done.
I think back on the miscarriage I had before I had Lincoln, and I still feel that it was as successful, loving, and well-planned as I was able to make it - all circumstances considered. That birth experience was more painful and dark and horrible than anything I've ever experienced in my life, but it was also still sacred, intimate, lovely, purposeful and mine and my little baby's still the same. Success is as much or more about the journey of getting to that end point as it is getting to that end point. Is it not?
Oftentimes, that endpoint isn't even what we thought it would be anyway. I thought I would be getting a baby when I saw that faint second line on that pregnancy test. And I did became acquainted with that little spirit for a short time. But more than that my journey took me to a different endpoint than I had expected. At that birth's endpoint, I became acquainted with sorrow, and with humanity. I grew a little deeper. I gained an experience, and story to share, and heart to understand others just a little bit more. That was the endpoint for that birth. Yes, and it was a success.
I know other women who have had similar experiences to mine with the endpoints getting off what appeared to be the right course. And their "unsuccessful" births with tragic outcomes - they were successful, too.
But where am I going with all this anyways? Oh, yes! I remember now.
The outcomes of birth are often unexpected. But, just because they are doesn't mean that we can't hope, prepare for and expect the best. Whenever my choosing to have an unmedicated birth with Lincoln would come up, it was often met with resistance, eye-rolling, or reminders of all that could go wrong. And in the end, despite the dissent, Lincoln's birth was pretty ideal - though not completely what I had envisioned. First of all, it was so fast that I hardly had time to put on my pants and get to the hospital before having the baby - making my arrival very hectic. Also, I had an episiotomy - blast that little cut! And Lincoln having to stay in NICU for several days and having to be on oxygen and an apnea monitor for several weeks after the fact certainly put a damper on things. Even still, I love reminiscing on my birth experience with Lincoln. Because despite it all, I feel assured that because I had prepared as much as possible to have the best possible outcome, and had positive expectations for what would happen, though not all I went as I had expected, envisioned, or hoped, I was still at peace with it all. It was a great success.
I believe that women most often feel disappointment, regret and sorrow over their birth experiences when they missed out on one of those 5 things either through negligence, misinformation or lack of resources. (And, women sometimes feel momma guilt despite their best preparations, but that is just silly, ladies. And in your hearts you know that. That is not what I'm alluding to above.) The negligence, misinformation, and lack of resources - that is what I'm always looking to combat. That is one of the reasons I feel so impassioned about talking about birth and all the options and visions for it that are available, with friends and complete strangers alike! Because, if you don't know what is out there, you really can't make a choice! Am I right?!
Anyways, here is what I was really going to write about when I started this post. The one I've been contemplating most lately is the fourth one - expecting great things.
Squire and I attended a "Childbirth Choices" class at the birth center last night, and I started practicing my Hypnobabies this week as well - and I am just feeling giddy about it all. Now that I've given birth once, I feel so much more at ease about what to expect. Not that every birth goes exactly the same, because no two do. Some from the same mom are drastically different! And I recognize that, too. But, I've been in that place before. I've overcome the hurdle once. I know better how my body reacts and how intense things will get. I know I can do it without the drugs. I know that the mind has pretty incredible influence over our bodies and experiences. So I'm sending all the positive thoughts to my little one in hopes she catches a glimpse of my vision for her special day. I'm letting all my little inhibitions go and expecting my ultimate dream birth. Which I'm sharing with you all now - maybe if I get it all down in writing, Santa will let me have these things as an early Christmas gift? ;)
I hope and expect:
- To recognize when real
contractions"pressure-waves" start, so I can get to the Birth center and have a bit more than 26 minutes to get acclimated to the new environment before my baby is born. At least a couple of hours, please!
- To be even better at utilizing my Hypnobabies techniques.
- To be in better control through the pushing phase this time.
- To avoid another episiotomy (or tear) if at all possible.
- To have a calm, comfortable, low-lit, intimate water birth in our local birth center.
- For Squire and I to be able to hold our baby for at least an hour or longer before anyone takes her away to weigh, poke, or prod her.
- For no transfers or long stays in the hospital - for me or baby.
What does a successful birth mean to you?
Is there anything you could have done to make your birth more successful?
What would your dream birth be like?