Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A midwife's unassisted birth

I just came across this midwife's UC story--what a powerful, determined mama! She faced a rare but very serious emergency situation during the birth, a shoulder dystocia. Here is an excerpt from her story, right after she discovered the shoulder dystocia.
There are moments in life when adversity stares you in the face like a hangman daring you to overcome, all the while taunting and mocking your own inadequacies. For a fraction of an instant I felt crippling despair for that which there was no solution for. There was no one to help me or tell me what to do. There was no answer to the question "How"? I was going to lose my child and be condemned with guilt. I would fail to do the one thing my body was built best to do, right in front of my daughters and husband.

My husband broke through my paralyzing haze in the next instant by calling time (how much time had passed since the head had crowned). Reality struck me hard in the face as a contraction built up. I concentrated with all of my might and commanded myself to do this impossible thing. This was my birth, my baby and my body and I would make this happen RIGHT NOWWW!!!

I became instinctual. I opened my legs as wide as I could and braced my feet into the mattress. Then I reached over and behind my head and gripped the back board of the bed. Pulling on the back board, I hoisted my butt up off the bed, arched my back, rotated my hips in the air and pushed with all of the power any one woman can command from heaven and earth. I caught another breath, kept the movement of elevated hip rotation constant with the pressure of bearing down. I was not going to lose this child without a fight. The pain that always invaded my births dulled as I lost my temper and roared loudly through the pushes that brought to birth my child. Finally, I literally felt the release of her shoulder pressure from under my pubic bone as my child gushed forth into freedom.

10 comments:

  1. Very powerful. Thanks, Rixa! This reminds me of the stories you hear of a mother who literally lifts a car off her child. It DOES happen because the mind (and hence the body) is infinitely more powerful than we realize. God/Goddess/Nature does not abandone us in birth.

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  2. WOW! WOW! WOW!

    This reminds me of a part of "Born in the USA" where Dr. Wagner talks about the incredible power inherent in women, especially during childbirth. WOW!

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  3. Jen.b.in.az12/5/07, 9:53 PM

    OK, the birth story was awesome. I was in tears. But what is up with the whole dad-baseball mitt thing? I went from tears of wonder/joy to vomiting when I read that. As I just told Dan, THAT is exactly why we need to bring boys into the world...we don't need more men whose first instinct is baseball with their son. Ick.

    Anyway, rant aside, thanks for posting the story :)

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  4. I read this story years ago...she is a northwest Michigan Midwife and an awesome Mama. Thank you for returning me to her site. (I love her name, Casey!)

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  5. Yeah...but even Eric, the non-traditional male renaissance man, LOVES playing soccer with Zari. He's always making reference to her being a "future soccer star." I guess it's a little less traditional/American Pie than father-son baseball.

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  6. okay.. sorry... dissenting voice here. I didn't find this inspiring, I found it absolutely terrifying. Not because I think she should have been rescued by someone doing maneuvers to free the shoulders, or whatever. It just makes me plain sick with terror. Coming so close to losing my baby is no way ever near worth having a story to tell about how perfect, safe, etc. birth is. I'm not saying UC is wrong, I'm just saying this story just does not cut it as a trust birth infomercial for me!

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  7. I think it is both at the same time. Shoulder dystocia is something that is terrifying no matter the setting, no matter the presence of attendants or not.

    I like Sarah Buckley's approach to birth in one of her chapters, as a multifaceted, contradictory entity. Out of time, but it's a good way to think about something that is both safe and unpredicatable, orderly and chaotic.

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  8. I too, know Casey Makela well. She is the midwife I identified in my own unassisted birth story; I think I broke her heart! She's a wonderful woman and a true sister. She also runs a wonderful midwifery school; The Michigan School of Traditional Midwifery in Harrisvile, MIchigan. I don't know the website info. offhand but, google the school name and you're there. Casey gave me so much encouragement in midwifery. She never treats anyone as "less" than. She also had a very good friend, Karen Kamyzek, another "folk midwife" in Michigan, who died this last year of breast cancer and leaves a genuine vaccum in Northern Michigan and in Midwifery. She was a true heart.....Casey is, I believe, her worthy successor. It was good to read her story again! Thanks.

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  9. Do you think the fact that she (and her husband) recognized the situation for what it was, and also knew what would help, had anything to do with her having a midwifery background?

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  10. I am sure it did, although you don't need a midwifery background to learn the signs of shoulder dystocia, of course.

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