Occasionally, I listen to the local Christian Radio station out of NYC. One day, a month or so ago, I heard an advertisement for a midwifery practice in which the woman, speaking about her birth experiences with them, said she felt they helped her keep God in the birth experience. It stuck with me.
I gave birth to Little Man at a free standing Midwifery clinic in Colorado. I loved it. I never thought I would go that route. Really. N-e-v-e-r. I have an unusually low tolerance for pain and stress on my body. I can’t even keep track of the number of times I’ve lost consciousness due to a relatively minor injury, like a random sharp pain on my arm in the early morning (yes, that really happened). Then I watched “The Business Of Being Born” and it changed things for me.
I really do feel that my first birth at the midwifery helped me fully incorporate God into my birth experience. The midwives helped me trust that God gave me a body that could handle the delivery of my son without intervention; something I never believed I could (or might want to) do before.
As my husband and I contemplate our next child, I find myself sad that we no longer live near that birth center. I miss them. I felt so incredibly empowered and nurtured throughout the entire year that made up my birth experience (9 months prenatal and then 3 months postpartum). My prenatal visits were slow paced, laid back visits where the midwife asked a few questions, I felt comfortable asking all sorts of questions without feeling silly, and there was a brief exam that was generally limited to a belly measurement and listening to the baby’s heartbeat. When it came time for delivery, I was free to choose any position and location I wanted and the only people in the room were the midwife, the nurse, and my husband. I never felt crowded or overexposed (despite the fact that I took off all my clothes – another thing I never, ever in a million years thought I would do). Immediately following my delivery, though I was sent home within four hours, I felt incredibly supported. The midwives called to check on me, I had an in-home appointment two days following my delivery, and, for my entire year postpartum, I felt completely comfortable calling them with any question, any time of day, with the knowledge that I would always be treated with love and respect.
Where I live now, with no local free standing birth centers, my options are more limited. I could go the more mainstream route, with a doctor and a hospital, or I could choose a midwife and deliver in a hospital or at home. The hospital option, whether with a doctor or midwife, scares me a little. My idea of a hospital birth is: people hovering around me in an overcrowded room with bad lighting and less freedom of movement and choices. After my first experience, I’m sure you can imagine why this picture might cause alarm. I do also know, however, that my mental picture of a “typical hospital birth” is not necessarily completely accurate. I, unfortunately, have also not heard many accounts that make a hospital birth sound much different. [If you have one that will help me change that mental image, please share it!]
Whatever choice I ultimately make, I know God is everywhere and he is just as much a part of a hospital birth as any other. I just hope that when my second child is born, I have the same awesome experience and am, again, able to feel God’s presence in my delivery.