Pushed

 Pushed   : The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block is a must read for anyone who cares about maternity care = everyone. Block explores maternity care with an incredible balance between credible research and anecdote. Her voice consistently searches for the truth while maintaining a focus that aims to shed light on the experiences of modern women navigating the shockingly muddy waters of having a baby in modern America.

I especially appreciate Block’s investigation that pushes back against the damaging and infuriating phrase, “The only thing that matters is a healthy baby!”. Of course a healthy baby matters, but so does a happy mama and family. As anyone who has experienced a traumatic birth, nearly 85% of women in the U.S., this simply isn’t true (Northrup, MD). In a modern society, we can do better for our mamas, babies, and families.

Not only is Pushed a history lesson for many, it has the power, through knowledge, to instill confidence  in women when discussing their birth options with their healthcare provider-no matter where or how they choose to birth. On a deeper level, Pushed can also be a tool in opening conversations with our mothers and grandmothers regarding their birth experiences.

Pushed is the updated and evidence based resource I was looking for during my first two pregnancies. I read it throughout my third pregnancy, and I still regard it as one of my best resources for discussing home birth with those who have questions and/or concerns. It did take a bit to get through as several sections are dense with statistics. Get your highlighters and pens ready to take notes! I would also suggest a few post-it notes. Enjoy!

Emily’s Home Birth

emily-home-birth_I figure I had better get Emily’s  home birth story written before she is 21. First of all, it was amazing. Her birth was amazing due to all the wonderful support we have in our lives… I’ll get to all that.

After several, four, horrible experiences at The Woman’s Clinic of __________, Ryan and I decided to seek out a midwife and have a home birth. We were already 21 weeks into the pregnancy and a little worried. My best friend’s sister had two home births with the same midwife team that delivered herself, my best friend, and two of her brothers. I quickly got her info, and Ryan and I met with her at Starbucks. We fell in love. Mary and Pita are a mother and daughter midwife team. Mary has been catching babies for over 30 years and exudes a calm, confident understanding of birth . We could not have felt more sure of our choice. Mary came to our home for all prenatal appointments. How cool is that?!? She has a holistic approach to health and is a firm believer that pregnancy is not an illness. Our thoughts exactly.

I will say that my pregnancy was wonderful. I loved every minute of it. Ryan and I feel lucky to have had such a great experience while I was carrying Emily. For me, enjoying the pregnancy was half mental. If you have the mentality that your body is made to create this life, you are more apt to not think of the changes in your body as an illness. I also think that getting up early, moving, working, eating well, and living life as normal as possible is so important. Our birthing classes reinforced the idea that pregnancy is natural. Our midwife, Pita, and her friend, Amber, taught our Bradley birthing class. It was a ten week series that set us up for the successful birth of Emily. (Off soapbox).

We wanted to have a non-medicated birth at home. I knew I would not be relaxed and/or comfortable in any other setting besides our home. I wanted to be free to move and labor however I felt most comfortable. I didn’t want anyone checking my progress or filling my head with fear/doubts about my body’s ability to give birth. Our birth team was behind us 100%. Not only that, but they love births. Everything about them. Continue reading

Mary Beth’s Birth

 

Weighing in at six pounds 12 ounces.

Born April 4, 2013 at 10:17 AM

I thought I was going into labor the night before it actually happened. I was on spring break, and we had moved into our new place the weekend before. We also had a contractor coming in the morning to finish our hardwood floors. We seem to remodel when we have babies… not doing it a third time (the remodel, not the baby). So, when I woke up at 5 AM with contractions, I thought it best to not wake Ryan. I timed them instead. The contractions were kinda strong and 10 minutes apart. I thought I was just having some joint pain. This was a common sensation the second time around. However, the “joint pain” was fairly consistent. I decided to wake Ryan when they were eight minutes apart. Good thing too. The contraction were quickly 7 minutes, then six, then… you get the point. We called our Midwife, Mary.

Correction: Ryan called Mary while I called my mom to ask if we could have a baby in her living room. I laugh as I type this, because it sounds so crazy. I couldn’t have a baby  in our new house because I wanted those floors finished ASAP. My mom said to come on over. I packed our bags, jumped in the shower, and prepped for having a baby (mentally). It’s all  mental, folks.

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