In my line of work, I hear or read birth stories -- a lot of them. It's no secret that the birth of my last child was a whirl-wind: abruption, extremely precipitous labor, a baby feared to be in cardiac crisis. My birth story is about a blissful intention that turned into a potential medical emergency, the kind of emergency that makes those fearful of out-of-hospital births feel smug. So when I hear or read the beautiful birth stories, a part of me still hurts. My birth story is full of disappointment and fear and politics: OB vs. midwife, blood, numb shock, the image of my non-breathing, seconds-old baby being shaken so vigorously that I, too, lost my own breath.
This week, at the Mass Friends of Midwives Birth Circle, a pregnant woman shared her fear about a repeat c-section. A midwife in the circle gave her wise advice. "Re-envision this birth," she said, "And imagine it as something beyond avoiding another c-section. Let that past experience go, and allow this birth to be all that it might be."
And taking the advice meant for someone else, I want to re-envision my birth story and see what's bautiful. The story that shows my faith in birth and in my body. The one where I can feel the muscles of labor, and I command all other muscles to surrender to their activity. The one where I'm rocking and swaying, working with my body to move my baby down through my pelvis. The one where the sounds of my breath and voice -- formally trained from years of singing and yoga --are the soundtrack to my daughter's beginning. The one where I push two times, knowing that with the third one, I will do it, I will push past the resistence and not feel it break, but instead give way to a whole other person. And the one where my daughter latched right on to my breast and expertly nursed herself to beautiful pinkness.
Yes, that birth story. That's mine. That's the one.