Throughout our lives we are often presented with situations that catch us off guard and provide great lessons. While there is truth in the fact that we create our lives and our circumstances through our choices, occasionally things happen in a way that seem beyond our control. These are the moments when we can use our perspective to accept the situation and assess the lessons that are awaiting us. Depending on the emotional attachment to the situation, this can be extremely hard to do but is critical for us to evolve and grow. I recently faced this with the birth of my daughter and believe it is one of the best lessons I have ever had regarding acceptance. I wanted to share with you in hopes that it can help anyone who is trying to accept a situation that has felt outside of their control.
For nine months my husband and I planned and trained to embrace the birth experience as naturally as possible. While I know that this isn’t the “norm” in our society today, it felt very important to me that I controlled the environment and energy that surrounded my daughter’s birth. I wanted to truly feel the whole experience. I planned a home birth with an amazing midwife, hired an extremely supporting doula, took hypnobirthing classes and did daily prenatal yoga. I was blessed with an easy pregnancy and there was no doubt in my mind that this would be a beautiful experience for my daughter.
My contractions started on a Friday night and continued at various intervals until Tuesday morning. Starting Saturday night my supportive team surrounded me as the contractions became closer together and each morning we rested as the contractions slowed down. There were many moments I felt completely relaxed, embracing the experience, and there were other moments that seemed much more challenging. The furthest my contractions were apart throughout the days were 10 minutes leaving my husband and I little sleep. Monday night was the most intense night as contractions ran into each other leaving me confident that there was an end in sight. By Tuesday morning they slowed again. I wasn’t progressing despite the many days of labor. We decided to transfer to the hospital to try an epidural, hoping that it would help my body relax enough to progress. Ironically, I progressed the most on the way to the hospital and arrived there almost ready to deliver. The epidural gave me comfort for about an hour before I began to feel the contractions again. The hospital staff determined that it was time to start pushing and I proceeded to do so for about 2 hours with no movement. At this point, my beautiful daughter was tired and after her heartbeat started to drop so my husband and I decided that a cesarean section would be the safest option for her. My daughter was born at 1:17 pm on Tuesday completely healthy and happy.
I have replayed those days many times trying to determine what I could have done differently. I have assessed every decision, every feeling and every conversation looking for answers as to what went “wrong”. While we have tried, we can’t really determine what caused the delay in progressing in labor. Theories surround her position or my previous back injury, but we may never know. As I have thought through the experience, I have felt many different emotions. I felt like I owed my daughter more strength, more determination and more love. I had a lot of guilt that I “gave in” to the epidural and thought the problem may be that I couldn’t relax enough for a natural birth. The fact that she didn’t come in the world in the calm loving environment I planned has weighed on me and I have wondered what sort of energetic impacts there will be. When I have spoken with other moms who have had an unplanned cesarean I have seen a common theme of guilt. Depending on the circumstances leading up to the procedure, it seems everyone I have spoken to has wondered what they should have done differently, whether they were planning a natural birth or not.
While I still have moments that make me question our decisions and I am sure I still have a lot of thinking and healing to do, the conclusion I have come to is nothing went “wrong”. As with everything, the whole experience was divine perfection and filled with many lessons that I continue to uncover. Throughout the days of labor I learned many new things about myself regarding my strength, persistence and love. I learned what I am willing to do to ensure those I love are safe as well as what it takes to ask for help and allow for recovery. I had experienced a deep level of vulnerability, something that I have always struggled with and continue to try to embrace. The connection with my husband has strengthened beyond what I could have imagined and I now have a new respect for his love and courage. We are all stronger and humbled by the experience.
Taking time to look at the situation from the perspective of learning versus understanding has allowed me to truly accept it. I may never understand why things happened exactly as they did, but I can accept the lessons that it provided and be grateful for the experience. Taking this approach with any situation that feels outside of our control allows us to own it in a way that paves the path towards acceptance. It is only when we can truly accept a situation that we can embrace the gift of healing and growth it offers, which is the largest lesson this experience gave me.
With deep gratitude…
I was recently asked if I would try a natural or home birth again and my answer is absolutely. At no point did I feel like me or by baby was at risk and everything was handled to ensure safety was the top priority. I want to thank the below individuals who were amazing support and recommend them for anyone looking .
Midwife – Jennifer Hoeprich at Moxie Midwifery – Jennifer’s support throughout my whole pregnancy was more than I could have asked for. I had 24-hour support with any question and each appointment gave me the opportunity to check in physically, emotionally and spiritually. Her approach made the whole experience of my pregnancy a sacred journey that I will always treasure. Throughout my labor she was a calm support that gave me complete comfort in the safety of my baby and me. The assistant midwives that came were also extremely supportive and made me extremely comfortable. The postpartum support she provides has been a key part of my healing and I am deeply grateful.
Doula – Lanita Ugstad at Empowering Birth Project – Aside from being an incredible prenatal yoga instructor and a great resource for ways to approach birth, Lanita was an incredible source of strength for me throughout the whole experience. Her faith in my ability to handle whatever came gave me such trust and enabled me to push through the tougher times. The many hours she spent with me were filled with unconditional service trying to keep me comfortable and support me emotionally. In addition, her support in my processing the experience has been key in me accepting how the situation unfolded.
Hypnobirthing – Kelsie Thelander at Fearless Mommas – These fantastic classes gave me great insight on what a birth experience could be like and taught me how to really trust in the body’s wisdom. Kelsie continued to be a great resource in releasing fear after the classes and truly demonstrated how much she cares for her students.