Finding Joy in an Imperfect Childbirth Experience

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My First Childbirth Experience

Finding Joy in an Imperfect Childbirth Experience

Will (one day old) with Terry and with Deb, 1985.

I planned to have a natural childbirth experience with my first child in 1985. I had read Maria Montessori’s writings about newborns. (Melissa from Vibrant Wanderings gives a good explanation of Montessori’s thoughts in “Montessori and My Journey through Childbirth Education.”)

My husband and I read many books on natural childbirth. We also had a wonderful family doctor and a small-town hospital with a midwife-like nurse who taught our natural childbirth classes. Everything went well even though our son, Will, was 19 days overdue. Respecting our wishes, the doctor had let us wait.

After I’d been in labor for a number of hours, Will went into fetal distress. An obstetrician was called in, and I ended up having an emergency cesarean. Fortunately, Will came through his experience in good health.

Of course, it was a bit disturbing to hear the nurses exclaim right away about my son’s huge head and huge feet. (Made me wonder what he looked like!!!) He was a large baby with his head circumference in the 100th percentile for quite a while.

The joy on seeing my healthy new son made everything alright, and I was able to follow many natural parenting principles from that point on. (Here’s a post on “My Top 3 Natural Parenting Principles.”)

My Second Childbirth Experience

Christina (one day old), 1990.

Christina (one day old), 1990.

I was still committed to a natural childbirth experience for my second child in 1990. Because of my earlier cesarean delivery, I was required to have an obstetrician and to have my baby delivered at a larger city hospital with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and better emergency services. I found an obstetrician who was warm and caring, and the hospital tried to create the best birth environment it could. So the requirements really weren’t a problem.

Our daughter, Christina, was born two days early. She was a nice size but smaller than Will and was an almost textbook natural delivery – not too long of a labor and with no need for drugs of any kind.

What I Discovered from My Childbirth Experiences

I had a fever for a few days after Will was born, and it was definitely more difficult to recover from a cesarean. I was amazed at the quickness and ease of recovery from a natural childbirth.

Still, each experience was special in its own way. I loved that the medical professionals I had both times were warm and caring people who respected my wishes.

Christina (one day old) with Will (5), 1990.

Christina (one day old) with Will (5), 1990.

My husband and I were able to laugh that the labors and deliveries reflected our children’s unique personalities. Will, who likes to take his time and create secure transitions, literally had to be pulled into a new environment. Christina, who’s always dived into change ahead of her time, was two days early and moved quickly into her new environment.

I didn’t find any problems with the medications that had to be used for the emergency cesarean. Will was wide awake. Christina, on the other hand, slept for almost two days even though no drugs of any kind were used. But Will and Christina were both beautiful, healthy babies … what really mattered.

And that’s why I think it’s possible to find much joy in an imperfect birth. I was told that if my childbirth experience with Will would have been 50 years earlier, both Will and I most likely would have died. I think I have much to be grateful for.



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

This post was written for the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting with the theme of Embracing Your Birth Experience 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.

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:

  • 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.


For some of my most popular homeschooling posts and more information about Top 25 Homeschooling Moms, see Vote for the Top 25 Homeschooling Moms 2012. Thanks so much for voting and for encouraging me! 🙂

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