Friday, July 27, 2007

Childbirth and fear

It never ceases to amaze me the way people hold such varied views on labour and birth. I was most prompted to write this post after reading a few different comments on Karla's blog. I guess this portays a highly medicalised, american view of the whole thing. I simply say American cause Karla is American (my best friend who is also amercian goes completely against this stereotype I have to say having trialled a homebirth with her first birth - sadly Rhys was posterior and rebelled against coming out the natural way. Her second birth resulted in a drug free natural delivery of a 10lb 2oz baby girl).

The thing that gets me the most is the intense fear that so many women seem to have towards childbirth.
  • The fear of pain.
  • The fear of "something" going wrong.
  • The fear of being out of control
  • The fear of the unknown
For an educated society there seems to be a whole lack of education about the whole process I have to say. We believe overall (as a western society) that hospital is the safest place to be to give birth. For a woman who has a normal pregnancy with no indications of potential complications, this simply isn't true. Fear leads to anxiety, leads to tension, leads to a decreased capacity to cope and an increase in pain felt, which then only perpetuates the cycle... There is such a thing called the cascade of intervention. When doctors intervene in what should be a natural process it is no wonder that more and more procedures are required to get a baby delivered.

Take this as an example. A womans labour is medically induced. It means that an IV line needs to be placed
in the womans arm. It means that the baby is likely to be closely monitored involving the mother having to lie on a bed - which then means freedom to move and find the bodies most comfortable position for labouring is way limited. The drugs used to induce labour result in contractions stronger and more intense than if natural labour had occured... and this leads to a much increased likelihood of pain relief being used - in particular an epidural, which then comes with its own risks. Afterall having a needle inserted into ones spinal column has its dangers.

As a result of being confined to a bed being monitored, numb or at least partially numb from the waist down from an epidural, unable to use gravity and their own sense of where they are at with their labour, lends this woman to being at the mercy of the the judgements of the medical staff attending her - in my mind, completely disempowered. At this point the chance of having an emergency caesarean is greatly increased - not really suprising is it! And of course caesareans which we seem to view more and more as preferable to pushing, come with the risks that all major surgerys carry - we seem to forget this.

Don't get me wrong.
  • childbirth IS painful (at least in my experience)
  • sometimes things go wrong
but with support of a caring husband, midwife, and friends and lots of reading/knowledge of the birth process and other peoples positve experiences there doesn't need to be a fear of any of those things I listed at the top of this post. Childbirth is an amazing thing which we as women are privileged to experience (don't remind me of that comment of course when I am in labour!) It's the only painful experience I can recall that results in an amazing reward at the end.

I remain open to accepting medical assistance should that become absolutley necessary, but I look towards my impending labour and delivery and silently affirm my strength and ability as a woman to do what the billions of women before me have done.

I will now step down from my soap box...

p.s. the photo at the top of the post is just after giving birth to Isabella. She is probably minutes old.

Monday, July 23, 2007


My Isabella is officially fully toilet trained - I am so excited! I won't go into details for sake of her privacy. She is a very private, sensitive little thing who insists on locking the door and being by herself on each visit to the royal room. Let me just say I am thrilled to now have only one daughter needing nappy attention during the day (at least for the next 7-9 weeks!)

She is changing so rapidly and this has been even more evident since she started kindy. Everything is replied to with a "why mummy?" Incredibly inquisitve and follows up with some very intelligent comments and questions...

My Hannah is such a darling, and comes out with hilarious comments and facials. One of the ones that make me laugh the most are when I put her ear drops in or wipe her butt (at nappy time) with a cold cloth... she puts on this funny face, shivers and says "dats weally told mama" (translation - that's really cold mama). The other one is after she fills her nappy, she comes up to either me or Reuben and says... "I done poooooos".

I wanted to pop in this pic of Reuben and the girls, cause its cute and they have so much fun together...

This one here is when we had a sleep out in the lounge a couple of weeks back. We toasted marshmellows in the fireplace and then put the girls to bed on mattresses on the floor in sleeping bags. Sadly they actually didn't last the night out there and we had to transfer them both back to bed at about 10pm. Kind of cool having a wee family night though...

The other exciting thing for me recently was being at my close friend Kristens birth - at least at her daughter Raegans birth. It was quick and intense and drug free. There is something amazing about seeing a new life being born, you can never really get over the mystery of it I don't think. It all brought it a bit closer to home for me though. In 7-9wks that's me! Thinking positive thoughts right now cause I know I can do it - again!

thats all for now - seeing Rhondda tomorrow (midwife) so maybe an update will follow...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Two months to go... and the increase of capacity

...and a month of no space to blog. It has been a hard month into my third trimester. Being pregnant third time round is a definite step up to the first pregnancy. Which brings me to a point of thought I have again pondered on occasion over the past 4 wks.

If I were to graciously allow a friend without children to care for my kids for... lets say for a full day, wake up to bedtime... I'm sure that by the end of it that friend would graciously hand them back and thank me for providing them with the best form of contraception available. Now I think my kids are actually pretty good generally. The fact is though that full time care of a3yr old and 21mth old (although immensely rewarding) is particularly draining at times. Add to that being pregnant and you pretty much have a recipe for exhaustion.

This is where the concept of increasing capacity comes into play. If you take the example of building aerobic capacity. An untrained person can build their ability to run further and faster by training. Starting off they may last only 5 minutes in a run, but by training regularly every week, over a period of months, it is possible to build the aerobic capacity to run a marathon.

When I relate this concept of building capacity to motherhood I see how my capacity has grown significantly already. I remember back to when Isabella was born. Everything was new, the sleep deprivation overwhelming, her first week of life the longest I have ever experienced! And shortly there will be three. When push comes to shove, I am far from the perfect mummy. I yell at my kids sometimes and have had to apologise to them on many occasions. I have much to learn and its a pity you don't get to practice parenting before the real thing. But I know that my capacity for doing the (IMHO) most important job in the world is growing and will continue to do so. When I begin to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of what will be in a short 9wks, I can remember that with God's help my capacity will increase once again. I am already gleaning training tips from friends who are walking this path with me and hopefully I can pass on to others what I learn as well.

So unpack it further if you like, Capacity and its ability to grow...

On a completely different tack, I am thinking at this point in time that Coco is a boy, and we have a first name picked and ready to roll. I guess time will tell...