Embracing My Birth Experience by Sharing My Birth Story

June 12th, 2012 by Dionna | 27 Comments
Posted in Carnival and Special Series, Carnival of Natural Parenting, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, My Family, natural parenting, Pregnancy and Birth

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Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

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Even though I had an almost drug-free,1 midwife-assisted, vaginal birth in a birth center with Kieran, I held onto a lot of anxiety and negativity about his birth for quite awhile. But holding onto the fear and regrets wasn’t doing anything positive for me. And I had to figure out a way to feel more confident about my next birth (with Ailia).

One way I prepared myself to feel more empowered during my second birth was by practicing yoga and daily relaxation techniques and affirmations. I retrained myself to put all of my trust in my body. My body knew what to do – I just had to give myself over to it.

Another surprising way that I came to embrace my first birth experience was by preparing Kieran for our homebirth. Since shortly before Kieran’s third birthday, I have occasionally told him his birth story. I had been very careful not to dwell on anything I perceived as negative, and I felt like I gave him a watered-down version.

But in telling him his story more frequently to get him ready for the nitty gritty details of labor, I grew bolder.

I added details of sounds – how I was so loud that his Tio Darin could hear me through several doors on the other side of the building; how papa said I sounded like Louis Armstrong when I roared through my pushing contractions. Talking to Kieran about the noises I might make during active labor and while pushing was instrumental in helping him feel calm when the day actually arrived.

I added details of sights
– how Kieran was born in a gush of fluid and emerged looking up at us, covered in vernix and blood. We talked about how the bag of waters can burst like a dam or trickle like a stream, and what its function is during pregnancy; how babies are often born covered in vernix, and how they can also look bloody immediately after birth. Sharing pictures and videos of laboring women helped Kieran know what to expect when I was in labor.

I added details of the physical work of labor – how tired I felt after hours of labor; sometimes that meant I needed some space and quiet, other times I needed people to help me by rubbing my head and back. We talked a lot about how labor is work, and that even though it might look and sound like I was in pain, it was pain with a purpose, and I was ok with it

I added details of emotions – how I cried from exhaustion during his labor and needed comfort from my support people; how we all cried with joy when he finally was born. We talked about the fact that I might get scared, especially right before the baby was born, and Kieran was firm in his resolve to help me through any self-doubts.

As I shared the details of Kieran’s birth in preparing him for his sister’s, I finally started to make peace with my first birth. All of the things that were not my ideal, they were simply part of my journey in becoming a mother. Even though parts of my labor were not what I had envisioned, that does not detract from the fact that my body is a powerful force of nature.

And regardless of whether I could check everything off of my “perfect” birth list – for either of my births – I ended up holding my beautiful newborns.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • I was Foolish Then — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings describes how foolish lack of preparation for childbirth led to a feeling of powerlessness and fear, but that in the end she had her baby in her arms, and that’s one thing she can celebrate.
  • Sometimes no plan is the best plan — Tat at Mum in search contemplates that maybe she doesn’t need a birth plan for her upcoming birth.
  • Disturbing the peace — Kenna at Million Tiny Things thought she would be a calm, quiet baby-haver. Ha!
  • Accepting the Unexpected During Birth — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM imagined herself laboring on a birthing ball but she never imagined where she’d really be most comfortable when the time came…
  • Sacred This Time, Too — Kimber at The Single Crunch learned enough to know that the way she birthed wasn’t they way she wanted to; but she also knew to enjoy it for what it was.
  • The Birth Partner: A Great Natural Labor Companion — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger thinks that the secret to her pleasant natural labors was having a great support system.
  • the Best Thing About My Labor ExperienceCrunchy Con Mommy realizes that amidst all the things that seemed to go wrong with her labor, the love and support of her husband was the one thing she could always count on!
  • Your Birth Was My FavoriteDulce de leche describes some of the highlights from each of her four births and explains why despite the differences, they are all her favorites.
  • Birth Story: Part One – Moon on a Stick! Gentle Mama Moon tells the first part of her birth story to share some of the delight of labouring at home.
  • Embracing My Birth Experience by Sharing My Birth Story — Dionna at Code Name: Mama made peace with her first birth by sharing the story with her son.
  • Focusing on the Beauty of Birth — Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares the beautiful aspects of her birth center water birth.
  • A Joyful Induced Delivery — Amy Willa: Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work notes the meditations and perspective that helped her achieve an unmedicated birth despite being induced for medical reasons.
  • Finding Joy in an Imperfect Childbirth Experience — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells what she learned from her two very different childbirth experiences.
  • What’s to like about a c-section? — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama is glad she her second child at home, but she also cherishes much about the c-section she had four years earlier.
  • What Story Will I Tell? — Rachael at The Variegated Life realizes that the way she tells the story of her second child’s birth matters — and could be exhilarating.
  • I Quietly Put My Hopes to Rest E — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her emotional ups and downs with the highly intervened birth of her special needs daughter, Bella.
  • Tale of Six Births — Jessica at Instead of Institutions appreciates that unique challenges and joys of each of her births.
  • Labouring naturally: nature’s gift — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the most beautiful, spiritual aspect of the labour of her son, the first stages along a bumpy road to giving birth.
  • All The Woman I Am. — Lindsay at This Woman’s Work shares a poem about letting go and surrendering during the thralls of labor.
  • A twin birth story: embracing the unexpected — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her twin birth experience and how she found the silver lining when faced with preterm labor, premature birth, and a two-week NICU stay.
  • Giving Birth With Eminem — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how fiery rap music contributed to an empowered homebirth with her third baby.
  • Two Different Births — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares how she learned from her first birth experience and how to trust yourself and your body.
  • Embracing Our Potential: Birth as a Metaphor — Sheila from A Living Family guest posts at Natural Parents Network and expresses how birth has served as a metaphor to help her through other experiences in life.
  • Little Sister’s Birth Story: Our VBAC Adventure — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama describes the recent birth story of her baby girl, her pride in an epidural-free VBAC, and how her story isn’t exactly the birth experience she had planned for.
  • A Journey in Birth Confidence — Shannon at The Artful Mama shares her experiences with labor during both of her sons’ births.

  1. I had a half dose of Stadol.

27 Responses to:
"Embracing My Birth Experience by Sharing My Birth Story"

  1. Karen at MomAgain@40   karentoittoit

    Thanks for sharing. I still need to make peace with both of my births…

  2. Ruth

    Since you have asked me to tell you my birth story with you, I have been doing a lot of thinking about that day. My birth stories are SO much different than yours, or Shawnas, because I was not “in charge”…the doctors and the medical staff were. I wish I had been brave enough and outspoken enough to take charge like you have but as you say…they were all part of my wonderful journey to becoming a Mother to three absolutely wonderful and beloved girls!!!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I hope that you can figure out a way to embrace your stories, even if you do look at them with new eyes now :)

  3. Crunchy Con Mommy   crunchyconmom

    It’s so funny, even though I am still kind of bitter about my c-section, my son still LOVES hearing about “when the doctors helped get him out of my tummy”. His joy in that story has definitely helped me focus on the positive more!

  4. Julia @ A Little Bit of All of It

    Love the picture! Since originally we had not planned on having my daughter with us during the birth, I hadn’t spent much time explaining the birth process to her. We since have changed our minds so this gives me some ideas of ways to prepare her. :)

  5. Amber   AmberStrocel

    Even though I didn’t plan a homebirth, I talked a lot about birth with my daughter during my second pregnancy. Since my first labour was fast, I wanted her to be somewhat prepared in case I didn’t make it to the hospital for whatever reason. When I showed her photos of a mother giving birth. She said, “Ouch, that hurts the baby!” Then she told me that she’d been squeezed too much when she was born.

    I honestly have no idea if it was a latent memory or her just extrapolating, but it made me laugh. Here I was all concerned about myself, and what I would look like to her, and she was concerned about the baby. You’ve got to love kids, and their fresh perspectives!

    • Tat   muminsearch

      Wow, that is such an amazing memory to hold on to!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      That is so cute! I don’t know if Kieran has ever expressed concern over the baby – other than the fact that he did NOT like that they were born “messy.”

  6. My son is just about 2&1/2 years old now and we are expecting the arrival of his sister in late September. :)
    I loved reading your post and it’s made me very aware that I’ve never discussed my sons birth at all with him, although he has watched a few birth videos and seemed very comfortable about it. I am definitely inspired now to begin to have these kind of conversations with him, and I can well imagine how it may also help prepare me a little more for my second birth.
    Although my first birth didn’t go well in the end, despite and possibly because of the magnitude of the experience, I find myself today a much stronger woman!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      You totally should! That was about the age I started telling Kieran about his own story. And you can’t help but transform some of it into a more positive image in your mind when you are sharing it as a joyful thing :)

  7. Charise@I Thought I Knew Mama   ithoughtiknewma

    “Even though parts of my labor were not what I had envisioned, that does not detract from the fact that my body is a powerful force of nature.” – I LOVE this!

    I’m so glad preparing Kieran was such a powerful experience for you!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you!! I hope he feels empowered to be an amazing birth partner someday, if he finds himself as a father :)

  8. Tat   muminsearch

    It’s fascinating how telling our stories helps us come to term with them, especially if we have patient and supportive listeners. It must be even more special that your listener was your child and the other participant in the same story.

    I love how brave you are in sharing your pictures. I edited mine until you could see almost nothing :)

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Tat – funny story about one of my birth pictures (I think it is in Ailia’s birth story post) – we only got one picture of my entire labor. Tom took it from behind as I pushed on all fours. Ailia’s head was halfway out, and the picture is pretty grainy. I personally love the picture, but the main feature is my rear end ;) I shared the unedited version with the lovely volunteers at NPN, because I had to share it with someone, and we had quite a few giggles over the pose (but I think most of them also appreciated the birthing aspect for what it was!). Birth isn’t always “pretty,” but I think it is beautiful regardless.

  9. Momma Jorje   MommaJorje

    It is beautiful how, in preparing Kieran, you really prepared yourself. :-) And what an amazing little man, so determined to support his mama.

  10. Deb @ Living Montessori Now   DebChitwood

    I love that you prepared Kieran for his sister’s birth so well. I think children generally enjoy hearing about their birth … even if it was a difficult birth. Our son always loved that his birth reflected his personality, and I think he appreciated that we were so grateful for his healthy arrival.

    It’s fascinating that we as mothers react as differently to childbirth as our babies do. During labor I tended to become very quiet when the pain was at its worst, and everyone in the room would ask if I was alright … even my husband who knows me so well. It’s great that there really isn’t one “right” way to do childbirth. And I love that you’re having this Carnival of Natural Parenting theme to help mothers see the beauty in each unique childbirth experience.

  11. Rachael   RachaelNevins

    All of the things that were not my ideal, they were simply part of my journey in becoming a mother.

    Thank you for that perspective, Dionna. There was so much that was not ideal in the weeks leading up to the Gnome’s birth — and, for that matter, our stay in the hospital afterward. But it’s all just part of the path — and now here we are: the Gnome fat and happy, and me looking forward to cuddling with him on this rainy June night.

  12. Amy Willa   Amy_willa

    I think it’s awesome that you shared your birth story with Kieran and prepared him for Ailia’s birth!

  13. Hi Diona! How empowering! I am also preparing for birthing my first child next month and affirmations, visualization and breathing exercises are part of my routine, along with belly dancing and various massages.

    Thank you for sharing your real story, without scaring or sugarcoating!

  14. Thanks for some inspiring reading!
    I stumbled upon this Blog Carnival by chance, having just updated my own blog today on a very similar theme.
    Too late this month but I will be looking out for your next carnival.

  15. It took probably 4 yrs for me to be at a place of being able to stop despising the fact that our planned homebirth turned into a hospital birth. Stuff happens, and you either accept it or let the stress of regret take a toll on your health.

  16. Andrea   talesofgoodness

    Wonderful story. I didn’t think of sharing all of those details with my daugther, but I did share that mommy was going to feel very tired for a while and that was natural. And that even if I was sleeping she could come quietly curl up next to me. It’s amazing how stoic and selfless our little toddlers can be. Thanks for sharing.

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