Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Others

Per the previous post on the subject of others present at birth. It might behoove the dear reader to know that I have done it both ways. My last birth went quicker than expected and no one made it in time, not even the midwife! My husband caught the baby. (To this day she and he are as thick as thieves!) Most of my previous births were overrun with "helpers." It was not unusual for me to have six or seven folks- all with assigned roles mind you. I don't like folk just standing around, they all had tasks to perform. To tell the truth, they didn't bother me much, since I mostly just ignored them. My husband and I would retreat to our bedroom and shut the door during transition and no one would come in till I was pushing. Even when I was pushing, I was so fixated I didn't notice them. I would be holding my baby in my arms and suddenly think, wow, when did all these people come in here? Their presence was beneficial because I had them doing stuff, cooking, cleaning, entertaining the kids, but leaving me alone, unless I wanted a massage or counter pressure or something. It was more like having a staff, then a birth team. Even the woman I selected to be my doula this time (a nursing student about my age who has had homebirths of her own), I expect will spend more time helping the midwife than in direct contact with me. When I sat down to really think about this, prompted by the blogging at "Autonomous Birth" I began to see how really independent I am with my births. I need gophers more than attendants. I need my husband, and I want a midwife, but not hovering over me. After that I really only want someone to run interference and keep everyone else away from me, by answering the door and the phone and telling everyone to get lost. One important note here- we NEVER, EVER call anyone and tell them we are in labor except the people who are coming to the birth. I saw this repeatedly in the hospital as an L&D nurse. The couple would call and tell EVERYONE that they were on their way to the hospital and the hordes would descend. Those who didn't come to the hospital (even though they weren't invited to the birth) would call every five minutes. This would disgust me to no end- because it was so disruptive to the woman's laboring process. (Of course most of what goes on in the hospital is disruptive to the woman's laboring process!) We don't tell anyone we're laboring. What for? So they can worry and fret- and bug us about it? We just call them when we have a baby in our arms. Another important note, I don't want anyone present who fears birth or has unresolved issues about birth in general or birth at home. I expect folks to be excited, curious, in awe, or eager to be a witness, but never fearful. I don't tolerate fearful folks at my births. If I think they are going to bring fear, I don't invite them or I uninvite them. I never feel obligated to follow through on an invitation to my birth if I think I have good reason to uninvite them. I don't fear birth and do not tolerate the presence of folks who are nervous, worrisome, or fearful. (This is the basis of my policy about no mothers or mothers-in-laws at births.) Thinking about "the others" and what they have to offer at birth (a skill, a comforting presence, the ability to clean things!) and why they should be there has been very beneficial for me. I know my husband and I can have an unassisted birth because we've already done it. I do desire the presence of a few to tend to safety and logistical matters. That being said I am at peace about the presence of the midwife, her apprentice, and my doula at our birth. Now I need to get all three together so they can meet and to see if they will work well together. I won't hesitate to ammend the list if there is friction. After all, to quote a well delivered line from the movie,Hustle and Flow, "I'm in charge!"


I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

Great line for a birth: "I'm in charge!" :)


kirsten said...

I can't wait! Sounds like a dream birth! So glad I get to be there -