When We Don't Fit the Mold

I had hoped for a natural birth. I gave it all I could until it was glaringly obvious that the route I had prepared and printed out directions for was not the path for me-- For all the millennials: printing out directions was something us old folk did before GPS.

I labored for just under 33 hours at home, suffering through multiple complications, which, in hindsight, I now understand necessitated immediate hospital transfer. I had entrusted my midwives to pick up on all of that, but they never did. Despite suffering through hours of full body convulsions, and me mentioning a foul smelling discharge, no one even took my temperature. Thankfully I put 2 and 2 together on my own and eventually urged to be transferred to the hospital for what I described as an "emergency cesarean."

My midwives appeared critical of this decision and seemed to withdraw their emotional support at the point when I demanded surgical intervention. It seemed to me that they felt like I was giving up prematurely. I'm sure they would disagree with my thesis, but I would remind them that perception is reality and this old adage is only amplified for the laboring mother. Regardless, I couldn't have cared less about the judgments of others in those moments, because I knew with a mother's intuition that the game had changed and that my baby and I needed the skill set only a credentialed surgeon could provide.

Unfortunately, my son didn't survive the OB my midwives had called in and arranged to have meet me at the hospital. This newcomer to my birthing nightmare did not answer my prayers and take me straight to the operating room, but instead prioritized her staunch natural birth philosophy over my myriad of presenting complications. She refused to call for surgical intervention until my son's heart stopped inside me, nearly twelve hours after I was first admitted.

The OB proclaimed adamantly, "there is only one way to birth a baby" and left me to linger in this kind of cruel limbo. This form of dishonoring and negligence is a rarely spoken about reality for far too many mothers and unborn children... And the trauma we endure is only compounded and refreshed by a birth community who refuses to hold space and discuss this uncomfortable truth.

This insidious and secreted form of malfeasance must and will be addressed head on. As long as we ignore the families violated and dishonored in this way, the birth community falls well short its responsibilities.

So many seem blind to how the patriarchy has infiltrated even the most sacred of spaces... Including the bond between birthing mother and her entrusted birth team... We convince ourselves we are "fierce advocates" and "warriors for women," when, all too often, it is we who silence and dishonor our sistars when their reality doesn't fit our moralizing birth mold.

Because of all the delays and refusals to grant the timely cesarean my son and I so desperately needed, I had the luxury of undergoing an unmedicated cesarean, leaving me with a baby who was never to cry or open his eyes, and who doctors assured me had "no chance of recovery or quality of life." We spent four days with him on cooling blankets in NICU, until we removed life support and said goodbye alongside friends and family in a lovely transition ceremony there at the hospital.

Kali Ra Iman: August 11, 2016 - August 14, 2016

Kali Ra Iman was a strong 9lb 13oz bruiser of a baby. It took a hell of a lot of negligence to get his little heart to stop beating...

I will never accept or take on as my own the judgments cast by so many in the natural birth community upon those of us who don't fit the natural birth mold. To the contrary of those propagating oversimplified mistruths, this mold is NOT one size fits all. I shudder to think how many families have been crushed when care providers attempt to force mothers and their unborn blessings into spaces and scenarios not meant for them. How many times does that magical mold become a claustrophobic coffin?

Divinity speaks through every birth. Goddess forgive us for the damage we do when we silence that sacred voice...

I came across an article yesterday entitled "Monstrous Births" that goes a long ways toward speaking truth into a birth community that rarely makes space for those of us who feel anything but "empowered" by natural birth as the label promises.

Here's the link: https://thehairpin.com/monstrous-births-3d666cda5030