For my sister doulas, for anyone attending birth, this article by Jan Tritten will ring true. My most treasured memory is of Austin’s birth, my second born. As a doula I have more than my share of sweet memories of happy birth days, I’m blessed that way. I will always remember the births of Gavin, Victoria, Alexander, Michael, Sophia, Azuree, Levi, Macy, Simone, Makai, Violette, Owen, Gianna, Jade, Cole, Linus, Titus, Jackson, Nadia, Kyra, Will, Paloma, Diego, Donovan, and Pippa Blue, Nadia, Rhianna, Luke…!
In the story linked above the author treasures most her home birth. And I too treasure my son, Doug’s homebirth. But Austin was born in a hospital! So what makes it my most treasured memory?
10-28-77 I gave birth to Andrea Dawn in the dawn of the morning, eight hours after arriving at Salida Hospital in Colorado. In those days the protocol was to shave the laboring woman’s pubic hair, give her an enema, demerol, and pull baby out with forceps. Childbirth classes did not prepare me for this! To add insult to injury the nurse gave me a pill instead of my baby when she found me crying in my postpartum suite! Can you blieve it – Mommies and Babies use to be separated!!
Two years later 10-28-79 I gave birth to Austin. The difference was that I prepared for a homebirth. I never found a midwife in those Colorado Mountains and although in the end I gave birth in the same hospital, I felt prepared to catch my own baby (UC). I found Ina May Gaskin’s book, Spiritual Midwifery and Suzanne Arms book, Immaculate Deception more than self help books, these books changed my life! During my pregnancy with Austin I also read everything by Grantly Dick-Read, Birth Without Violence by Frederick Leboyer and Husband Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley.
Austin was two weeks late which prepared me spiritually. Anyone who’s been there knows waiting tested my patience and sanity : ) I walked every morning straight up a Colorado Rocky Mountain (Harvard to be exact)! I walked under the golden aspens and blue Colorado sky and I prayed. I was in between homes and staying with my girl friend, Kristen. The sisterhood we shared played a very significant part in my overall wellbeing and the actual birth.
My husband was working out of town when I woke up in labor at 3AM on 10-28-79. My girl friend and her husband had just gotten home from a late dinner party. I got into the shower. Oh it was so comfortable there! I could’a stayed there forever but I felt pressure building – instincts kicked in. We had a 45 minute drive to the hospital and we needed to stop for gas. I remember that gas station well! To stay relaxed I rolled my head and shoulders ensuring there was no tension there. It felt great staying loose I could feel my body open, but I probably looked like Rocky Balboa staying loose before a fight.
We arrived at the Salida Hospital at 5:30AM. The red headed male nurse who admitted me said I was 10 centimeters dilated. Then he quite nervously said, “I’ve never caught a baby before”. but Dr. Leonardi got there just in time to catch. They did not have time to shave me, give me an enema or take my 8 lb. 14 oz baby by forceps (they still did an episiotomy). It was such a quick and comfortable birth! I was euphoric and in love with my baby and with life!
My girlfriend was ‘allowed’ in delivery with me. This was very special for her since her two boys were born by cesarean section and she really wanted to witness a natural birth. Many years later, after I’d been a doula even, I realized that my girlfriend, Kristen Kaiser, was my doula at Austin’s birth! Thank you Kristen : D
How important birth is to women!