It's funny the things that trigger my trains of thought. I was just reading through blog posts and article shares on Facebook when I came across a great share by Invisible Midwives, Broken Birth and Developing Doulas. The article was a from The Daily Mail. Imagine that, the Daily Mail with a positive birth story.
It was a lovely story. I love hearing about birth in all her glory, but hearing a simple birth story is wonderful. And it made me think about the things that women have said to me about birth. I've met with women who have told me that they have low pain thresholds so they won't be able to birth without drugs. What makes me smile is that in the five years I've been a Doula, those are the women who seem to "breeze" through it.
I have been blessed to witness what I can only call "silent" births. Ladies who have gone down into themselves as they labour. They turn off their thinking brain, they shut out the outward stimuli and they become one with their bodies. Now I'm no hippy by anyone's standards, but I can and do testify to the amazing power of their births. One of my ladies, whose story is on my website was keen to have a normal, natural birth. She went into labour and was calm and serene, gently contracting away. We arrived at the hospital birthing centre to be told that she was only a few cms dilated and that she should go home. Fortunately the birth centre was very quiet and I managed to persuade the Midwife to let us hang around a bit. I sent my lady and her husband for a walk. She was soon back as the contractions had built. She either walked about the room or stood in the corner as the surges washed over her. She listened to and trusted her body. Then she made three long, low, bovine noises and the Midwife said "Yep. Things are happening". And within a short wee a gorgeous baby boy was born.
Another of my ladies used gas n air throughout her labour. She fell asleep between contractions. She was sure that she would want an epidural and so it was rather wonderful to watch her snooze her way through labour. Her husband had a huge grin on his face the whole time. At one point the Midwife said "she's really going to have to wake up to have this baby you know". She had a beautiful daughter.
One of my ladies whose birth ended with a caesarean section also laboured quietly through. The labour was long and hard, but she breathed her way through it and had the caesarean when it was clear that this baby wasn't making an entrance any time soon. She feels (in common with another of my section ladies) that hospital was the reason why her contractions were ineffective and kept stalling. She had contracted pretty well at home. She's due a second baby soon and has elected to have a Homebirth (HBAC) and yes, I'll be there for that one too.
Most of my ladies that labour silently don't believe me when I tell them afterwards. They are mostly convinced that they were screaming like banshees. Often a Midwife will not believe that they are in labour because of their lack of noise. It's why I think that it is important to look at the whole woman when she's in labour. Her mouth may say nothing, but her body speaks volumes. I love the Midwives that quietly watch the Mum and gently put things in place for her. It's a special skill to be able to sit on ones hands and wait. Some people have a real need to be doing something, anything all the time. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, child-rearing... it's all about waiting.