Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Birth Story--Save the Children

The State of the World's Mothers (SOWM) report is Save the Children’s signature annual publication, which compiles global statistics on the health of mothers and children, and uses them to produce rankings of nations within three groupings corresponding to varying levels of economic development. We have produced the reports annually since the year 2000. Though the core report indices are the same every year, each year there is a new feature or story angle added to it. In 2013, the new feature is the Birth Day Risk Index -- the index compares first-day death rates for babies in 186 countries to identify the safest and most dangerous places to be born.

I have been asked to share my birth story, and I am quite honored to do so.  My experience will probably be unique due to several factors.

  • I used a midwife.
  • I had my baby at home.
  • My daughter lost weight due to insufficient breast milk
So here goes.  I got unexpectedly pregnant with my first and only child back in 2002.  I was one of nine women on staff who got pregnant that year.  I was already overweight when I got pregnant, but thankfully my good health kept my risk low.  From the beginning, I insisted on using a midwife even though my insurance refused to cover such procedures.  I had no ultrasounds and only the tests my midwife said I absolutely had to have done.  I chose not to learn the sex of the child, and the only concern happened in the last trimester--my blood pressure was up.  I nearly had preeclampsia, but due to natural products and finally bed rest in my last month, all was fine.

I went into false labor a couple times before I actually went into full-blown labor.  My husband, my parents, my sister-in-law, and my niece were at the house.  My husband was skateboarding in the garage when I first when into labor, and my mom had to convince him it was really happening.  It was the evening before my 29th birthday, and it looked like the unexpected would happen.  My child was going to be born on my birthday!

My labor was pretty intense, as you can imagine.  I can remember vomiting everything I had eaten, and there was one time I passed out.  I remember crying out in pain and saying I couldn't do this.  I had nothing to ease the pain.  My blood pressure spiked pretty high, and I lose enough blood that I almost could have had a transfusion--I probably would have had I been in the hospital.

My midwife did exactly what was necessary.  I remember she had to break my water.  And my sister-in-law was a little too loud at times as she helped me through the labor.  She and my mom were on either side of me as the moment got ever closer.  I can remember the intense stretching occurring as my child's head began to crown.  My sister-in-law told me to look in the mirror so I could see how close the child was.  However, I didn't want to.  I just wanted to focus on the task at hand.  

I can recall the intense relief when I pushed my child out, and one of the first things they told me was that I had a girl!  I was so happy because although I had told myself that it wouldn't make any difference, I really wanted a girl.  I somehow knew this would probably be my only child--I think my premonition on that was right since I am now a single mother.

I know I said something about my daughter not getting enough to eat in her early weeks, and that is true.  For five weeks, she nursed almost around the clock, and my midwife's assistant did not really take care of issues that she needed to.  To make a long story short, my midwife called us in, and she discovered that Martha was not getting enough breast milk.  We had to supplement with formula, and God was good enough to keep my daughter safe during that time.  You would never know there were any problems like that now!

That's my little one at around six months.

Isn't she a doll?

And she is still a doll--she will be 10 next month!

What a difference when I compare my story to the rest of the world.  My daughter was actually bigger than this little one when she was born, and they even think my daughter was born early.

I believe that babies born worldwide deserve the kind of care I receive because infant mortality is much easier to keep from happening in today's medical science world.

This video reminds me of my early fears of having my little one.  I think all mothers go through this, but with the help of God, my midwife, and my family we made it through!


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