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Monday, September 1, 2014

Rallying to Improve Birth

Labor Day has become a big day for the Improving Birth Movement; you might have seen photos of women with signs about what improving birth means to them on Facebook. All over the nation women are holding a Rally to Improve Birth - to advocate for evidence based maternity care. While I'm not able to attend my local rally (here's a link to a photo of me in the newspaper at the August ICAN meeting), I wanted to tell you how improving birth has affected me personally.

You can read Ewan and Cecily's full birth stories here and here, but the short version is that because of the cascade of interventions and failure to wait on behalf of the hospital staff, Ewan was born via c-section, I saw him for about a minute or two right after he was born and then didn't see him again until 3-4 hours later. I ultimately wound up with ptsd and ppd from the trauma of it all. I missed his first bath, his first photos, and what hurts probably most of all, I wasn't the first to hold him. With Cecily, I had a vbac. I was the first to hold her and she didn't leave my side except for the hearing screen, and we were outside the nursery watching.

I have no photos like the one above, which was taken immediately after Cecily was born. If I want to be completely honest, I don't really remember the first photo taken of me and Ewan. However, I remember every second of Cecily's birth.

What I do remember is feeling like a failure, like not only could I not birth my baby but I also couldn't feed him. I remember just bawling my eyes out and telling him I was so sorry that I failed him. That is my major memory of Ewan's birth, which is awful.

Almost four years later and I still get upset about how I was treated during labor and afterwards. I still want to kick myself for not finding the courage to switch providers the further along I got in my pregnancy because I just had this gut feeling that I didn't want to birth at that hospital or with those ob's. However, I am so thankful that I finally did find the courage to switch providers while pregnant with Cecily. It was the best decision I could have ever made. I went from a provider who doesn't "allow" vbac's to one who is very vbac supportive and actually practices evidence based care. It. Was. Amazing.

I guess if I were to make a sign for the rally, it would say: "I'm improving birth because no one has the right to dictate how I birth my baby."

How are you Improving Birth?

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