I HAD to add an addendum to week 16 ’cause since I posted this yesterday, we’ve had an ultrasound and know the sex of the babies!!! The US tech (Katie…LOVE HER) asked me what we thought they were before hand, and I told her, “If you tell me anything other than Baby A is a girl and Baby B is a boy, I’ll be floored.” And sure enough, IT’S A GIRL…and…IT’S A BOY!!!
Baby Girl (formerly known as A) was sucking her finger, and Baby Boy (formerly know as B) did a full flip for us. Healthy baby twins, a girl and a boy. THANK YOU UNIVERSE. I might just go hug a complete stranger…
16 weeks. Pinch me. I am so psyched to be moving into month 5 with 4 months “under my belt” so to speak. (and that’s one long belt…) I’m not quite as big as the chick in this picture but as my belly grows with each passing day, I can see those days are getting nearer… and I’m loving it.
This week for me has been all about thinking about BIRTH. The birth of our twins?… yes, in part. Will we have them at the same hospital as we had our other two? Will baby “A” be head down when the time is right? Will Baby “B” follow “A” right on cue? Will we deliver in a Labor & Delivery room or in an OR (as I was recently told is often the case when birthing multiples.) But even more than the details of our babies’ births, I am thinking about our birthing trends as a nation… alarming. Let me give you the stats:
– Our big hospital in town boasts a 44% cesarean-section rate
–2007 US birth statistics show that 31.8% of births are via cesarean section.
-The percentage of cesarean deliveries has increased by 50% since 1996 and is more than double the World Health Organization’s recommended rate of 15%.
-Research conducted by the World Health Organization shows that the risks of cesarean outweigh the benefits when the c-section rate exceeds 15%.
Don’t get me wrong. I value the notion that if my babies and/or I are in crisis, we will be managed with the best emergency care the world has to offer. But it dawns on me… this over medicalization of birth… these declining natural childbirth numbers… could it be that our doctors and our nurses are being trained for crisis?
There’s a wise old saying that goes, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Could it be we are handing our medical professionals only a hammer with nary a birthing ball in sight?
Let me give you a little back story on my week and WHY I am thinking about all this heavy stuff. I just saw this amazing play by Karen Brody called BIRTH (a group of us here in St. Louis, including MyMommyManual I am proud to say, sponsored this showing.) The play is part of a larger, global arts-based movement called BOLD, a movement that is ALL about one thing: inspiring communities to put mothers at the center of their birth experiences. I’m SO all about this movement. SO.
EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME
As a woman, I have to say the single-most-important, the single-most-formative experience I’ve had in my life has been giving birth. Going through natural childbirth with each of our girls was a trip, one I can only fondly describe as Zen Buddhist Meditiation meets mountain climbing with a 70 pound pack on your back. 😉
Thorough childbirth, with my husband and doula at my side, I came into my own. I moved, I grunted, I got down on all fours and squatted and moaned. I swayed holding my husband’s shoulders, soaked in hot water and sat on the birthing ball. Mostly, I learned to listen to my body and to trust it. I also met some of my greatest fears along the way… self doubt, fear of all kinds… and I overcame them.
After the birth of our first, coming at 2:22am (26 hrs start to finish) I was high. I didn’t sleep for another 17 hours. My husband on the other hand was out like a light not two hours later in the empty hospital bed beside our new baby and me (sweet memory!) I was seriously high on life. And yes, also high on those great post having-a-baby-endorphins! In those hours just after Reilly’s birth, I can literally remember stepping into my power, stepping into the realization that I was a powerful woman; that each of us are born with this potential, each and every one of us. I remember reflecting on the awesome-ness of what I had just been a part of. I had given birth to another human being, something women have been doing for as long as humans have walked the earth. I felt at once connected to the deep roots of women throughout all time, and I drew on this strength. I drew on it not only in these sweet euphoric moments after delivering our first child, but later during some of the more difficult first weeks and months, and again during the birth of our second child. I’m still drawing on this realization today. We are connected.
Birth helped me to trust my body, to marvel at it, to realize there is an ancient wisdom that resides within me, there to guide me through birth and beyond. It has been no small thing for me to realize I am connected to women through out all time. And this gift I got, through birth. It has had many, many ripple effects in my parenting, personal and spiritual life… all empowering.
Sound insane? I hope not (but I’m OK with it even if it does.) I’ve talked to other woman, good friends of mine, that have also had positive, empowering birth experiences. My births were both in the hospital and non-medicated. Many of my friends with these similar feelings also had their babies naturally. For some it was a home birth. But for still others it was with an epidural… even following an emergency C-section.
There is a common thread, but not only that it be “natural”. The thing I’ve come to in all my discussions with countless moms on empowering birth experiences is that it’s important to be heard, to have a say… to feel supported. The women I talk with, even some that ended up getting a c-section, experienced the transformative powers of child birth when they felt “in the center” of their birth experiences.
This is why I flipped when I read the vision and mission of BOLD. It is this very thing, getting women back in the CENTER of their birth experiences. It’s important. It can have far reaching effects on our self love, our parenting, our relationships, our nation and our world.
GET IN THE CENTER
The most important thing we can do as women (and men!!!) preparing for the birth of a child? For me it is this… GET IN THE CENTER OF THE BIRTH EXPERIENCE YOU ARE CREATING. Get education and support. Have a team around you that you trust.
We as woman NEED to have people around us giving us good information, supporting us, not with fear and convenience factors, but with compassion and understanding of the importance birth can play in our lives, not just in a day, but in and for a lifetime.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on BIRTH, BOLD, and your own birth experiences. It’s important for us to witness each other’s births. Joyful or painful, transformative or tragic, will you share your birth story(s) with me?
“Hailed “The Vagina Monologues for birth”, Birth is a documentary-style play based on over one hundred interviews playwright Karen Brody conducted with mothers across America. It tells the true birth stories of eight women painting an intimate portrait of how low-risk, educated women are giving birth today.” – Learn more at www.BOLDACTION.org.
39 Weeks : We are so BLESSED!
37 Weeks : Crystal Ball
36 Weeks : Pre-Birth ENERGY
35 Weeks : House Arrest
34 Weeks : Like “Cantaloupes”
33 Weeks : Blessingways and Birth
32 Weeks : Other New Moms & Icing
31 Weeks : Newborn Baby Checklists
30 Weeks : Sage “New-Mom” Advice from a Friend
29 Weeks : Placental Encapsulation
28 Weeks : Pregnancy Calf Cramps to Wake the DEAD
27 Weeks : Holiday Maternity Fashion Tips
26 Weeks : The Nursery
25 Weeks : Back to Baby Names
24 Weeks : Cord Blood
23 Weeks : Baby Fat
22 Weeks : Baby(s) Moving! Time for Belly Massage
21 Weeks : Flu Bug
20 Weeks : Parents As Teachers
19 Weeks : Sleeping
18 Weeks : Breastfeeding
17 Weeks : Childbirth
15 Weeks : Baby name Game
14 Weeks : Prenatal Yoga
13 Weeks : Mindful Nesting
12 Weeks : My Changing Pregnant Body
How Spirit Moves
Baby Watch is published in partnership with Kolcraft
Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003, Suzanne co-owns a holistic health center with her husband Shawn in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne is a Co-creator of My Mommy Manual and the online parenting course, Yogi Parenting, a positive parenting approach for raising kids of all ages.