Sharing My Birth Story

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The
following is a sponsored post by Merck for Mothers

A
woman will never forget the moment she became a mother. Birth is one of the
most transforming and important experiences in any woman’s life, and I believe
if our society valued birth more, then America would not have such a high
maternal mortality rate.

Maternal
mortality is one of the oldest and most preventable medical tragedies on the
planet, but despite medical advances, maternal deaths continue. And while
globally, rates of maternal mortality are going down, in the U.S. rates have
increased over the past 20 years. In fact, 49 countries around the world have
lower maternal mortality rates than the United States. Every 10 minutes in the
U.S. a woman almost dies from a complication due to pregnancy or childbirth and
some “near
?misses” can result in severe health
problems that can affect a woman for years.

Merck for Mothers is a long-term commitment to address
maternal mortality, raise awareness of the issue, bring others into the effort
and advance new, life-saving technologies. Part of raising awareness is by
empowering women, and one way to do this is by encouraging them to share their
birth stories, which is the chief reason I have decided to share mine.

This
is the first time I have shared my birth story, although it is my third birth.
I don’t know why I waited this long. Perhaps I was waiting to share my birth
story in a different forum or perhaps I was hesitant to post it because it
shows vulnerability or seems preachy about natural birth or is too personal and
private.

Whatever
my reason for not sharing, I disagree with my feelings before. I think mothers
who share their birth story aren’t being preachy or oversharing. I think
mothers who are brave enough to share their birth story bring a message of
courage, strength, and support to other expectant women.

Merck
for Mothers encourages people to share the details of the day someone they love
was born at
www.facebook.com/MerckforMothers to help raise awareness of maternal
mortality so that they can make it an issue that receives the global attention
it deserves. (For every story shared, a donation is triggered by Merck to Join
My Village, a program from CARE that empowers women and girls and supports safe
pregnancies and deliveries.)

For
every birth, there is a story be told and through sharing, we can lend a hand
of support and a word of encouragement to other moms-to-be. Telling our story
requires revealing to others our incredible will and soft underbelly at the
same time. Telling our story requires sharing the most harrowing and most
special and intimate time in your life. Telling our story means you are
cheerleading for every mother, telling her YOU CAN DO IT!

So
through the literal blood and guts and tears of agony and sheer joy, here is my
birth story. I hope it helps you on your journey to motherhood.

For
my son, James Solomon: June 17, 2011 you arrived at 8:54 AM. Your journey from
the arms of God to mine was, in earth time, very quick and intense.

Just
like my previous two births, I wanted very much to have a natural labor and
delivery. My wonderful midwife had caught my first two boys, seeing me through
every prenatal visit and being by my side through all the hard work. Now, with
my amazing birth partner husband, Mary the amazing midwife, and the wonderful
staff at the medical center who honored my birth plan, respected me and my
family, and treated me with utmost dignity, I found myself ready to give birth
one more time.

Contractions
had been occurring for weeks prior, which started with my emergency hospital
visit in May. So when they started up again the night of June 16, I would not
have given them much attention if I had not been actively trying to induce
labor, using every (safe and natural) method under the sun.

Unlike
my labor with my first two sons, I actually got rest between contractions,
feeling no pain between each one. In fact, my husband was actually able to snap
pictures of me smiling and looking rather normal between contractions.

By
the time we left the house, my labor had progressed considerably. I was doing
my yogic breathing, yoga postures for labor, and a “centering meditation” I had
practiced for this very moment. We arrived at the hospital about 90 minutes
later, despite morning rush hour traffic. My husband was outfitted like a pack
mule…with my yoga mat, my birth ball and my iPod which I had specifically
outfitted with music for pain management/birth playlists.

I walked
to triage where Mary effortlessly hooked me up to EFM (which I do not like but
did not protest because I knew she would do it quickly). Then she checked me.
She said, “you are 8 or 9 cm.” I was so relieved to know all that laboring was
paying off and now I was close to meeting my baby.

Things
started moving quickly since the nurses realized I was about to give birth at
any moment. They rushed me into an L&D room and I mustered the focus to
walk to the room myself.

This
labor was very different than my last though. I could feel it. This time
transition was lasting longer, and I could not explain why. Transition was
different. This birth was different.

After
Mary broke my water things moved quicker. I began to push in earnest. I pushed
once, then twice…but he was not coming out. I even said, “I can’t push him
out!” But the nurse at my side said, “yes, you can do it. Yes, you can.” So I
pushed again. After about two more pushes, my baby boy’s head literally popped
out. But his shoulders did not. I had to push again, and again…and then his
shoulders worked their way out.

That
moment when my husband put our baby on my chest was absolutely beautiful. A
rush of great relief and joy overtook me. In that moment, the pain was
instantly gone. I said a prayer of thanks.

Then
something very different happened, and I’ll never forget it. The experience was
akin to the few times in yoga when I think I have felt, what ancient yogis
called samadhi, a kind of superconsciousness.

Time
slowed to a crawl and I saw no one else’s face in the room…no one’s but my
husband’s and newborn son’s.

The
rest of the room, and the world, was in very slow motion, a very distant blur.
The only life I saw was my own, my husband’s, and my son’s…and it wasn’t in
“normal color” either. All three of us were in a kind of suspended, super
Technicolor animated state. I felt love abundantly, a great peace, and a joyous
calm I knew I could access at any time for the rest of my life simply be
recalling this memory.

In
hindsight, now almost two years to the day, the ‘superconsciousness theory’
still holds true. When I want the greatest peace and calm, I return to those
times in my life where I believe I was as close to Heaven as I can get on
earth. Giving birth is one of those times.

We
did it together, James and I, June 17, 2011, our special day, forever.

I
felt incredible, empowered, and most importantly, well supported, thanks to an
amazing husband/birth partner, staff, baby-mother friendly hospital/center, and
knowledge of birthing and birthing options.

May
is a time to reflect on motherhood and celebrate the moments when a woman
becomes a mother. A mother is the cornerstone of a healthy and prosperous
world. Ensuring a healthy pregnancy and safe childbirth is important not only
for the health and well-being of a woman and a mother but also for the
prosperity of her family, community, and society. Share your birth story at
 Facebook.com/Merck
for Mothers

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