Let’s look at this more closely, though. Why, when we arrived at the hospital at +2, was the baby still inside of Mama an hour and a half later? I had a “Cave Birther” on my hands. Many women, when getting to the hospital in early labor, will stall out with the bright lights, the blood draws, and the list of questions. But this particular Mama was PUSHING when she got there, and typically that doesn’t stop for God or Anybody. What gives? Cave Birthers are the most sensitive of all the birthers I attend. They are bothered in all stages of labor by change, conversation, the presence of strangers, the presence of “new energy” in the room, by lights being turned on…anything that is not their safe, warm, close, familiar birthing environment. We got to the hospital and she had been actively pushing in the car, with contractions that were perhaps three minutes apart. By the time we got out of triage, they were more like 7-8 minutes apart, and really quite short. By the time the midwife called the doc in to catch, it had been an hour and a half of very few contractions. The woman said no thank you to the cesarean, and the doc left for a while, to “see what progress she could make, if any.”
I got the mama up out of the bed, turned off the lights, and had her start walking and doing lunges, and after a few lunges, she got into a good pattern again. She immediately dropped herself into a squat and roared like nobody’s business. After ten minutes of this, she started to crown up. Wonderous, for a woman who “couldn’t have a vaginal birth because the baby was so big,” don’t you think? An hour later, her baby in arms, she looked at me and said, “When the doctor came in, I really didn’t think I’d be having a vaginal birth.” I looked back at her and said, “I knew you could do it all along. We don’t grow babies we can’t birth.” The doctor looked at me with a very puzzled look on her face and said, as she walked out the door, “I didn’t think you could do it, either. I’m really surprised.” Really? I wouldn’t have guessed.
Again, this goes to believing in the intrinsic ability of a woman’s body to work the way it is supposed to work. It has done so for millennia, why, all of a sudden, can American women not have their babies vaginally? So much of it has to do with the practitioners and their belief in the wisdom of women’s bodies. Or their lack thereof. Please, do have a conversation with your care providers. If they are saying they’ll let you “try,” or that you can “certainly” have a vaginal birth…”as long as you meet the criteria.” Hmmmm. Does the criteria involve being induced, which dramatically reduces your likelihood of having a vaginal birth? Does it involve non stress tests? Or ultrasounds to determine weight (so grossly inaccurate at the end of pregnancy that it can be laughable) or fluid levels (same story)? Good things to ask, before you decide to but your trust in a care provider. Take a good OUT of hospital childbirth ed class. Trust your body. Trust your body. Trust your baby to be a team member. Trust your body. It has a wisdom, you just have to listen to it.
Oh, and in any case, make sure you have read as much as your brain will hold, and get a doula. In this birth climate, it’s just that much more insurance that you will have a birth that is more like the one you hope to have.