Birth faith – a better birthing experience gas in back shoulder

I was given a beautiful gift that Friday morning. While I started filling the pool in my bedroom with Denise still timing my contractions, I realized something wonderful. I felt no fear. I felt completely calm and confident. I felt totally ready to experience what was coming. All of my apprehension, dread, and anxiety about the birth had been completely swept away. That was a miraculous and tender mercy I hadn’t expected.

I did, however, have some feelings of disappointment bubbling under the surface. At one point, on Thursday, when I texted to give my midwife an update on my labor progress, she said something that, in my highly-sensitive and open state, caused me to emotionally retreat from her. She said, “Please try to stop determining if this is labor. Seems like you are trying to control it.” I know she was trying to be helpful, but nonetheless I felt chastised. I didn’t feel at all like I was trying to control things. I just assumed she may have been wondering what was happening with my body since hours had passed since our last communication, and she had requested that I keep her posted. It also helped me to verbally acknowledge that I was still making progress, even if it didn’t look “real” from the outside to anyone else. What I wish she had said instead was, “Thank you for keeping me posted. You are doing so well. Everything that is happening is bringing you closer to your baby,” or something like that. Instead, I felt chastised for making observations about my progress and less and less inclined to communicate with her about what my body was doing. This made me sad because all of our interactions during the prenatal period had been really warm and wonderful.

Off and on over the years I have come up against the same inner struggle. It basically boils down to this: should we envision what we want (a righteous desire) and expect (or have faith) that it will happen OR should we surrender to the flow (divine design) and trust (have faith) that whatever does happen is for our good? There are pitfalls either way, I think. And perhaps it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Perhaps one approach could be right in some situations and the other best for different circumstances.

For the past week, I have battled internally with this struggle in regard to my currently-in-utero 6th baby’s position. Multiple times he has turned transverse. He moves a lot, in fact. It’s my understanding that women (like me) who are what medical terminology calls “grand multipara” (having delivered five or more infants) often have abdominal and uterine muscles that are loose and flaccid, giving the fetus extra room to roll around, even at full-term. That definitely seems to be the case with my baby.

Despite being an English major and lover of literature, I haven’t actually spent much time reading fiction over the past several years. Most of what I have read has been non-fiction, a lot of it related to education and homeschooling. Perhaps it was my third-trimester solitude-seeking that prompted me to read two novels in the past week? Today I thought I’d post a review of the book I finished most recently, Jolina Petersheim’s The Midwife.

I hadn’t heard of this book when I saw it on the shelf at Goodwill, but anything birth/midwifery-related usually catches my eye, so I quickly perused the back cover and placed it in my cart. The Midwife is a story told with several voices coming from two time periods. In the past, we watch Beth (the main character) grapple with being a birth mother for a surrogate pregnancy and navigating her tangled and awkward relationship with the genetic parents. In the present, eighteen years have passed, and we watch the main character, hardened from years of heartache, fulfilling her role as the head midwife at Hopen Haus, a Mennonite-led home for unwed mothers in a remote and run-down area of Tennessee. In the present we also hear the perspective of Amelia, one of those pregnant young women who has come to Hopen Haus. Her purpose in coming is to decide what she will do about her pregnancy–have an abortion as her mother wishes or choose a different path.

Maybe it’s that I’m 30-weeks pregnant and my filter is less filter-y these days? Maybe it’s that my 2-year-old has been especially two-ish the past few days? Maybe it’s that I’m not sleeping very well lately because my bladder wakes me every five minutes (OK maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it seriously feels that way)? I try to focus my blog on sharing helpful and meaningful information. But I also try to keep it real. Today I’ve got some stuff I want to get off my chest. Or, rather, I’m going to throw a tantrum blogger-style. Here’s some stuff that drives me crazy.

This one is first because it’s one of my #1 pet peeves. Just last week, a conversation with a friend stirred all my doctor issues up again. I’ve been talked-down-to, laughed-at, lied-to, ignored, misinformed, and physically hurt by too many doctors. Most of them male. I don’t trust doctors, in general, and to be honest I don’t like them, in general. Of course this probably means I will one day end up having an experience in which I will eat my words and sing the praises of doctors, but… in the meantime… I generally just do everything I can to avoid them.