Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Birth thoughts... Funny moments...

If you're a mum, do you ever just randomly start thinking back to the birth of your baby - kind of out of the blue, as if you subconscious had stumbled over something and thought it would bring the memory up?

I know that, sadly, a lot of women cannot think back to the birth of their child without enormous feelings of despair, anxiety or anger, and that those memories will ambush them when they're not ready, because they're never quite ready to relive what ultimately was a traumatic event in their life - even though it was also the moment that brought them the child they love so dearly and feel massively protective of in the wake of this trauma. (long, rambling sentence, sorry)

For this blog post, I guess I'm talking about those mums for whom the birth of their child was probably a challenge - like running a marathon, or some other endurance activity - but for whom it wasn't necessarily a traumatic experience.

Do you ever find - without occasion - that you are back in that place, reliving the events and having revelations about how you felt or what happened that somehow got forgotten in the post birth euphoria or sleep deprivation?

I do. It may be an ADHD thing, or possibly not.

Last night my mind stumbled upon the birth of my fourth. He was born at home. There were a couple of funny moments in the last five minutes of his birth that I was finally able to make sense of. I thought I'd blog them case I go on to forget them.

To set the scene for the first funny moment, I have to explain that in natural birthing advocacy circles there is often a lot of quasi-spiritual talk about the pregnant woman going into herself or into her cave during labour, particularly the latter stages of labour...

Now I see some of you rolling your eyes, or getting ready to click away but bare with me, I'm not about to have us all link arms and begin a rendition of Kumbaya.

Anyway, the idea is that the labouring woman isn't disturbed from the act of labouring and connecting with her baby and doing what she needs to do the birth the child. She is supposedly often quite unaware of what is going on around her and so it's considered good and right to keep noises and talk to a minimum and keep lights dimmed so as not to distract the woman from her reverie...

This is where I tell you this has never happened for me. Some would say it was being I was in hospital for my first three, but that doesn't explain the fourth at all.

So, let me tell you about the funny moment.

It was about 8.55am. Ari would be born at 9am, but of course none of us knew that time frame for sure. I was close though. I was feeling the pushy contractions but was not pushing with them just yet. Deep inside me, I was waiting. Though I didn't know it at the time.

I heard a car door slam outside. I recognised the sound of that particular door and that it was right outside our house. I heard foot falls along the long driveway and I said to my midwife and my birth attended. 'Someone needs to open the door, Jayne is here.' At first there was no action from either of them, so I said, 'The door. Jayne is here.' The birth attendant hesitantly got off the bed (I couldn't see her as I had my head tucked into my arms at the end of the bed, but I could feel her hesitance). She opened the door and there was Jayne.

Later the birth attendant and the midwife told me they hadn't heard the car door slam or Jayne walking along the driveway. They were focus on the moment, on observing me as I laboured. They were deep in the trance of birth.

So, why wasn't I?

As I reflected on this last night, I found I had been, but in my own way. I really think this is an ADHD thing. You see, a lot like how I've heard autism described, people with ADHD have difficulty shutting out the world around them - well, except when they're hyper focusing. We don't pick up as much information as a person with autism might, we aren't as overwhelmed by it, but it's there; the sights, the sounds, the smells other people don't notice, we can't help but notice.

The other thing is, I believe a birthing woman would never be so entranced as not to sense danger. Some, possibly very small, part of her is aware of her surroundings, but in most women in this state it is pushed right back especially is she is surrounded by a circle of carers.

In my case, I probably didn't feel my circle was complete until Jayne was there. She had been at my third son's birth as well, and had taken on the mothering role, my other birth attendant took on the sisterly role, and the midwife was, of course, the sage. As soon as I knew Jayne was in the room, I started to bare down, and within a couple of minutes, Ari was born.

The second funny moment I realised I'd had - and this moment is actually what started me thinking about the birth of my son last night - was a sort of popping sensation.

It wasn't my waters breaking.

The popping was in my conscious mind, or in my heart, or in my soul - I'm really not sure - but at this moment, as I write it, I can feel that moment. I realised I'd felt that moment with each of my children, at different times.

With my eldest the pop didn't happen until he was laid on my stomach and he glare at me with his angry and confronted black eyes. *POP*

With my next three, it was just in the minutes before they entered the world. *POP POP POP*

That moment is when I finally recognised that this child was a separate person to me.

You see, throughout each of my pregnancies I'd always felt that my baby was an extension of me. I always felt strange talking to my foetus because for me it felt like I was talking to my pancreas or liver - and I'm not in the habit of talking to my internal organs.

So, last night it dawned on me that I had a moment just after Jayne arrived where I felt a *POP* in my conscious and it dawned on me that another person was about to emerge out of my vagina, and I had no idea what this person was really like or if they'd like me, or if I'd like them.

The popping moment for me is a moment of such clarity when suddenly I'm fully aware of the enormity of bringing another person into the world, and the imminent reality of it. It's not frightening so much as awakening.

Ari awake and alert at two weeks.


Did you have that moment? Or is it just me?

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