Why I’ve Distanced Myself from NCB’ers

NCB’ers (otherwise known as those in the natural childbirth movement) stand up for many things – none of which they are shy to share. Back when I was pregnant, I knew I didn’t really fall into a category, but if you had asked me then I was aimed for what I believed was a natural birth. I didn’t want an epidural, Pitocin, or any “drugs”. I was going to use the heck out of that jetted tub. I was seeing a midwife – but little did I know that my CNM would be seen as a “medwife” – not someone with my best interests.

I struggled in labor, and things did not go as I had planned. After hours and hours of stalling at a 9, I think everyone in the room knew that something had to be done because this was spiraling backwards – not moving forwards. An epidural and a low dose Pit drip was administered, and I spent about an hour and a half wide awake before it was time to push – finally out of misery and knowing so well that my baby was on his way. Bonding? It was excellent. I spent the whole night staring at him, studying him – the perfect little baby that was so unbelievably cute and that no one could take from me for a second – except when I wanted a shower, which took me about three minutes… a personal record. I went home with nothing but a raving review of my midwife and the immense pride I felt for the amazing birth I had – no matter how long, miserable, horrible it was – and for my perfect son.

My love for this perfect birth led to reading. I began to toy with the idea of becoming a CNM myself. I studied, I read, I researched. I accidentally stumbled onto a popular birthing facebook page one day, which then lead me to a blog about the things that health care providers say. I began reading to discover what I wouldn’t want to say to a patient someday. Soon I began to read it and believe the comments. That’s where I lost myself, I think.

I began to doubt my CNM. Was she a “medwife”? Had she not had my best interests in mind? What would have happened without the Pitocin? Sometimes I would stare at my son and feel as though I failed him. Who knows what all those “interventions” did to him?

As I became more involved, reading more blogs, following more facebook pages, I also became more involved as a nursing student. My class reports – no matter what class – centered around childbirth, pregnancy, or women’s health. In reality, I think they kept me grounded – scientific research isn’t perfect, but paired with an intelligent and skeptical mind, you can really analyze anything.

I went on to give birth to my daughter, with the same CNM in the same hospital, but no Pitocin, no epidural, and not a mere utterance of such from the nurses or CNM. In fact, the only debate I really remember is me in transition saying “I can’t do this… I’m not going to be able to” and my CNM saying “You can, you’re doing great, and that baby is coming in less than half an hour” – and she was right. I think the sheer terror of the potential of hours and hours of horrible labor were behind the words I spit out, and her confidence was all I needed. Although I’ll admit my husband replying with “You’re silly, you ARE doing it” were pretty darn nice, too – but hey, he hasn’t witnessed 1,000+ births. What does he know?

My faith was somewhat restored in my CNM. I was confident and pleased with birth #2, and I can’t say I’ve doubted it for a second. And while hours and hours of labor isn’t fun, I would never be able to say that one birth trumped the other. Both gave me beautiful children, and isn’t that the priority?

Yet I still continued to follow these pages quite regularly. One night – one particularly bad night, when my three year old was simply a terror, I finally ended up shutting myself in my room, where I sat on the floor bawling. My husband was left to diffuse the situation outside first, then cautiously enter, unsure of what was really wrong or what to do. He sat next to me and I crawled in his lap and cried “What if this is my fault? What if this is my fault for failing when I was in labor?” I sobbed for I don’t know how long. It felt like hours. Hours and hours where I sat there blaming myself for all that happened in my labor with my son, and how his spirit, his intelligence, his curiousity and his damn stubborness was surely my fault for not having the “perfect” birth that NCB’ers talk about, by themselves in a rented pool in their living room, or with a home birth midwife – a REAL midwife – not a “OB in disguise” like I had.

It took a couple of days for me to level out before I realized the error in everything. NCB’ers tell you to have an empowering birth – one that makes you feel incredible about yourself. I did – twice – and then spent some time where that was taken away from me, and I began to doubt that the incredible feeling I had for weeks after delivering both of my children was well deserved. They then mentally vaccinated me with horrific ideas of all the things that would be wrong with my son because I had “failed”, and all the things that were wrong with me because I wasn’t patient enough, didn’t wait, didn’t “know enough” to manage the pain – and I began to feel as if I wasn’t even a woman, and had no right to birth a baby. They left me bawling on the floor one night, convinced that the Pitocin used to get my labor moving again was so dangerous, so harmful, and so awful of me to do that I had destined my son to be a mess – without little regard for things in natural labor that cause issues, too, like hypoxia in labor having a very strong correlation in a lot of research to be associated with schizophrenia. Do you ever see a NCB’er mention that?

I have such a smart son, and such a clever little girl, and while neither are perfect, both are beautiful, healthy, normal kids who were born in beautiful, healthy, normal ways – and never again will I doubt what I did for them. I will not let anyone lead me to believe that anything I did in labor made me a horrible mom, or destined them for anything. And never ever EVER will I doubt my CNM’s – to this day I think I got better care than I could have imagined, and the best partners in my labor that I could have asked for. My births were perfect, even if they weren’t perfectly natural, perfectly intervention free, or perfectly at home. They were perfect for me, perfect for my husband, perfect for my babies… and no one else has any room to say otherwise.

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Back off, mom!

We stopped at a park today while I was touring the state of Minnesota to eat some Subway and burn some energy. After we filled our tummies, we went to play. Nick encouraged Ollie to try to walk across these:

Apparently I’m paranoid. But I do know better. I was hovering. He was clinging for life, scared to try to move from one hanging platform to the next, and I was instructing, cheering, reaching out…

And Nick said “Back off, mommy. You need to let him do it.”

I shrunk away, knowing he was right (must let that preschooler discover he can do things instead of instilling doubt in him!), but still just wanting to help so much.

And you know what? He made it. He did it, all by himself, which prompted me to jump around like an idiot in the middle of the park and then bust into a quick rendition of “We Did It!” from Dora. Wow, how my life has changed.

Anyway, play resumed, and I quickly found myself at the top of a platform that Ollie was climbing to. I rushed over to get this shot:

I’m not kidding you, as the shutter clicked, he was saying “You need to back off mommy and let me do it myself!”

It’s a sad day.

Hate.Love.

There are some things about me I hate.  I think we all have them. 

The hook at the end of my nose.

The way my ears stick out just a little more than they should, so they kind of look silly.

My husband says that my fantasy about a nose job is “silly and unecessary, because your (my) nose is perfect”, and I don’t even know if they can do anything about my ears – but I’ll live with them the way they are.  I have other things I’d rather spend the money on.

Yet what I found kind of funny is I was looking at pictures I’ve taken over the last few days, and I was looking at pictures of my daughter.  I just kept thinking “gosh, she’s just so darn cute!”  (Pretend she is, even if you don’t think so, because I’m her mommy, and I think she is – and that’s the way it should be!)  And then, as I was going through them, I noticed this:

And this:

And you know what?  IT. IS. SO. DAMN. CUTE.  I don’t get it.  I hate it on me.  Some days I’d like to take a scalpel to my nose and tape my ears down, but on her, it’s perfect.

Of course, you may not think so.  For all I know, you’re thinking “Oh, that poor kid, with that hooked nose and those silly ears!”  I don’t care.  It’s adorable.

Does that mean that tonight I went and looked in the mirror and thought “Wow, my nose and ears are perfect, just the way they are”?

Hell no.

I still want to tape and cut, tape and cut.

Yet if she ever says she hates it, or wants to get a nose job, I’ll tell her no, she shouldn’t, because her nose is absolutely perfect just the way it is.

Now, if she comes to me with these and wants to do something about it….

…well, then it would be hypocritical to say no, don’t you think?

Of all the traits I have to pass on, I really hope that this trait becomes extinct.

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