Today’s letter is a really special one…something pretty close to my heart. Just a few days ago, my son, Bodhi, met my midwife.
That sounds so normal, right? Pretty unremarkable? Well, no, because he never met her on the day he was born. A doctor (who was also wonderful) ended up delivering our beautiful baby boy 14 months ago. And, since that day, I haven’t seen my midwife who lovingly cared for me during the second half of my pregnancy and during nearly two days of labor before heading to the hospital. That’s right - I had a planned home birth…but there’s a story for another time.
I guess should back up a little bit, right?
Around week 20 of my pregnancy, I had been seeing a midwife and doctor team affiliated with a local hospital. And, to be honest, my experience just wasn’t sitting right. Sure, I’ll forever remember the day the hospital midwife and nurse found our baby bean on the ultrasound, confirming that I was nine weeks pregnant. It was just weeks before Christmas. I couldn’t even look at the monitor until I heard that they’d found our baby. We had been through so much to get here.
And, sure, the prenatal visits were pleasant, but I just didn’t feel supported, seen, heard. In fact, I asked the doctor what he thought about medical intervention during birth and was told: “You’re not going to get a medal for natural childbirth.” OUCH. Well, that was my last visit.
Luckily, a dear dear friend had shared her home birth experience, something I was already considering, and passed along the name of a local Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). I was nervous to make the phone call, nervous she’d be filled up with clients, but luckily she had room in her calendar and I went in for a complimentary prenatal visit. That turned into another visit. And another and another. Each visit ranged from 30 - 45 minutes in length. Mamas, that’s NOT the norm for prenatal visits. My midwife really got to know my body. We developed a relationship. She helped me feel confident in my ability to birth a baby. Her mantra, “Birth works” resounds in my head all the time.
On the night that I went into labor, my water broke first and contractions started within minutes. My doula came over maybe an hour or two later. And, then came the midwife because everything was happening so fast…until it didn’t.
Some days, I’m still coming to terms with how difficult my labor was. Due to exhaustion, two hours of pushing at home, a cervical lip, and a baby’s head slightly tilted, I was admitted to the hospital 22 hours after labor began. I remember my midwife buzzing about to the doctors, bringing them up to speed on my labor. I remember her taking my hand on the bed and telling me my body wasn’t a failure. This was beyond my control. She said that if I were her daughter (and she has a couple of daughters), to take some pain medicine and rest so I could push this baby out.
I hadn’t seen my midwife since that day in July 2017, but thought of her often. At first, I was angry and upset with my body after my labor…and to be honest, maybe I was angry at her. Although, now I realize she wasn’t to blame for my hard labor at all…no one was. I just wanted someone to direct my frustration upon. See? We’re all human in the end, even us yoga teachers. But, before moving to Rhode Island, I knew I wanted my midwife to meet this baby she had cared for in my womb. And, so I called her and made the drive to visit.
It was like a day hadn’t passed. She snuggled Bodhi. She smelled his hair. He observed her face. He tried to squirm from her arms and play with her dog. She helped me re-live my labor at home, his birth. She remembered everything. She wanted to know about my postpartum experience. She wanted to tell me she thought of me, too, and that she knows if I want to do this again (i.e. birth a baby), that my body is capable and strong and it can be beautiful.
I’m not sure why I wanted to write this to you today. Perhaps, I want you to know you have options for your pregnancy and birth. Perhaps, I want you to know your body is capable of doing magnificent things. Perhaps, I want you to know that if it takes you over a year to completely heal and process your birth that it’s okay. And…maybe…I want you to know that midwives are awesome, too.
With so much love,
P.S. Did you have a midwife deliver your baby? Or did you have a doctor? What was your relationship like with him or her? Please share below. I’d love to hear it and will respond to each and every message! In the next post, I’ll be sharing some definitions of care providers like midwives, doctors, doulas, lactation consultants, etc. for those who are wondering (because I certainly was!).
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I share encouraging, informative, and down to earth messages, each with a healthy dose of humor and honesty. Basically, the kind of thing I'd want to read during pregnancy and later postpartum...because gosh motherhood is confusing. When you subscribe, you'll receive my messages on What I wish I would've known before baby & a quick guide on the Yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy.