Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reflections: The Consequences of Ignoring Your Instincts.

As I sit here pregnant again for the 6th time I am trying to come to terms with some of the things I didn't enjoy about my previous experiences. Now before anyone goes there let me make it clear I love all of my kids. Disliking the manners in which they got here is not the same thing. It's not even close. What do they say? Hindsight is always 20/20.

I made choices and decisions during each pregnancy and birth. I learned something new about myself with each pregnancy and birth. While I am not happy with some of the things that happened I am grateful for the road I have traveled. I have been able to meet some amazing women that I may have never met otherwise. I just want to make mention of that first and foremost. I also want to reiterate the main purpose of this blog, which was for me to have a place to express and deal with things before this birth rather than deal with them in labor.

Baby Boy #1

If you haven't read his birth story you can go here: First born Son (C-section)

My initial instinct when I got pregnant was to hire a midwife. Honestly I wasn't entirely sure what a midwife was or did. All that I knew was they were different and from what little I was exposed to they seemed to be more natural minded which is what I was. My only exposure to them was prior to becoming a Muslim. I met a very pregnant lady who had just moved here and we hung out with the same crowd. I had to give her a ride to see her midwife for a prenatal. The way she talked about it drew me towards that if I were to get pregnant.

I ignored my instinct and fell victim to "peer pressure" if you will. And went with the OB/GYN care. That was my first wrong turn.

I also was approached by a Doula at a natural foods store when I was probably about 5 months pregnant. I had never even heard of them before but she explained what they do. At the time I didn't see the importance. Looking back though I think that if I had a doula it could have made a huge difference. After being pressured for so long and having no one supporting my desire to avoid a c-section it was extremely hard to keep fighting that pressure while in labor. Especially as a first time mom. I think if I had just had one person tell me I could do it that would have been enough.

Baby Girl # 1

If you missed her birth story you can check it out here: First baby girl ( failed VBAC attempt so C-section #2)

My instincts were that I could give birth. I never believed what I had been told during my first birth. I was never convinced. In fact after how horrible my experience was knowing deep down it was probably an unnecessary c-section made me really angry. I was angry at myself and I was extrememly upset that I had no support at all from anyone.

There was never a doubt in my mind that I would be attempting a VBAC with this baby. At this time I was also connected to the internet and was doing a lot more research although I don't think I had found ICAN just yet.

I knew that I had a kidney stone. It felt like a kidney stone. I had other urinary symptoms that came with the pain that had me pretty sure that is what it was. I let them tell me it was something else. It snowballed from there. Once I stopped listening to my body and listened to them I made decisions based on that which led me to a failed VBAC attempt. Once again I felt like my own worst enemy.

Baby Boy # 2
If you have not read his story you can read it here:  Second baby boy (Homebirth VBA2C Birthstory Part 1 of 3 **Stillbirth**)

This may amaze some people and may even make some people angry. Don't worry I have become accustomed to this reaction on how I view this birth. Out of all of my births this is the only one that I have no regrets at all.

Why? You ask. Because it was the only time I followed my instincts completely. You see I initially set up to go to an OB again. I did however know that there was no way I would be having another c-section. At this point I had  more access to information and I felt there was no need for a repeat c-section. BUT,  I also felt very strongly that this baby was not staying with me long. So strongly that when being threatened with permanent sterilization I knew that this was not the place for me.  The only thing that went through my mind ( and at the time I was only 7-8 weeks along) was how crushed I would be if this baby died and then I could never have another.

I followed my instincts. When my path crossed with my midwife I knew in my heart she was the one and homebirth was the way I needed to do this.

His labor by far was the most amazing thing I have ever done. I cherish every single contraction, every single milestone, every single minute I had with him to the end. I knew he wouldn't stay but I did my best to provide a gentle birth for him.

Baby Boy #3

If you missed his birth story go here: Baby boy #3 ( Hospital VBA2C after transfer from homebirth)

I don't think I realized just how much a loss can affect you in your next pregnancy. Especially if it is a late term loss. And  for me a loss at birth. There was no moment of relief like " I made it to 13 weeks! whew" or "I can feel him move". There was no ease for me at all.

I had way too much fear and I let it control me instead of allowing my instincts to play their role. I knew he was fine. I  knew he wasn't too big. I knew I could give birth. I knew he would be born alive and healthy. What affected me was the fear of losing another baby. The fear of the unknown. The fear of what people would say if something bad happened this time.  Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear. There was so much of it that I literally had control over what my body would and would not do. I completely stopped my labor at full dilation because I needed to check out of the birth. The closer I got to pushing the more fear set in and the more I fought to keep him in.

My biggest regret is not addressing a lot of my feelings about my loss before getting pregnant again. While my decision at the time to transfer ( yes it was my decision and even though my midwife begged me not to go for fear I would get a c-section she never stopped me) was instinctual in that I knew what I needed in order to move forward, I am mad that I didn't listen to the instinct that was telling me all was well. Ignoring that one led me to a less than ideal birth situation in which I had to fight to avoid a c-section and had to deal with a bunch of other non-sense as well.

I just want to throw in here that I had found my voice by this birth so I had no problem standing up for myself in the hospital.

Baby Girl #2

So here we are at my most recent birth which you can read about here: Baby girl #2 ( Planned homebirth turned marathon 52 hour labor hospital VBA2C)

Ok so this one is still pretty fresh and I haven't written any of my regrets or grievances about her birth (outside of the birth rape ) thus far.

I ignored my instincts again. I knew the baby would be fine and the birth would be fine. I made a huge mistake though which affected my labor big time.  All throughout my pregnancy some friends of mine wanted to be at my birth. One was at my last birth and in all honesty in that birth I needed a lot of people around me. So initially the idea wasn't crazy or off the wall. 

As I got closer to my due date though I began to get really instinctual. I knew labor would start at night (which it did). And I began to feel like maybe no one needed to be around. I felt that this birth I needed to be alone. I didn't want anyone else around. I made the mistake of not voicing that to anyone. So once word spread that I was in labor they were there. Because these were people I cared about I had a really hard time expressing the need to be alone and asking that they leave. I did not feel comfortable. What did this lead to? A very long and drawn out stall of labor. I was stuck at 7 cm for well over 24 hours. How do I know it was having them there that affected me? Because my labor never progressed until they went home. Once they went home I gave birth 6 hours later.

Another instinct I ignored, knowing that I had progressed and birth was near. I had intended on not having another cervical check. I knew in my soul that my baby had descended and that I was getting closer to birth. Because I ignored that I became a victim of assault in the name of birth.( link above for that story)

Impending Birth of Baby boy #4

So here I am now having gotten all of that out and I am trying to remind myself to follow my instincts. I have been very in tune with my pregnancy this time. I did have an ultrasound due to the fact that I am a c-section mom and I know how serious placenta accreta is. Before getting this ultrasound though I knew this baby was a boy and I knew that I had an anterior placenta. Both things were confirmed at my ultrasound. 

I am writing this to help me remember to follow my instincts not my fears. My instincts have never failed me. My fears have.


  1. Thank you for blogging your feelings. I can relate to many of your birth stories and feelings (I feel like I've written them!). I'd like to e-mail you, do you have a way to get in contact? Thanks.

  2. I'm the one that posted the full link to your blog on My OB Said What?! It has taken me a few days to get this far in your blog (little kids + out of town = not much time on the internet). I just wanted to say that I LOVE what you said at the end of this post: "My instincts have never failed me. My fears have." I am going to write that down and remember it! I think it would make a good mantra :)

  3. Thank you for posting this article! Many times we feel that it is beyond
    our choice or capability to choose the birth we want. Reclaim the
    experience and empower yourself and your voice!!

    Sandra Maurer shares a deep and intense aspect of hospital birth that is
    rarely brought to light, or that we choose to ignore….Birth Rape.

    Inform yourselves on what this could look like and how you can have the choice to speak up and stop this.

    Have the birth YOU want and deserve

    learn more here!

    we would love for you to write a post on this intuitive process of choice and voice if you ever want to get in touch with us!