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Saturday, June 21, 2008

She came, she saw, she conquered...

...the business of being born.

So you've been wondering where I've been eh? Well, among other things, I've been delivering babies!

On Thursday, June 19, 2008, my friend gave birth(naturally) to her first child! Notice the picture above of the handsome little fella. I had the pleasure of having a front row seat as I played the role of the "doula" during his birth.

I can admit openly (now that its all over) that I was a bit nervous about being in the delivery room with my friend and her husband for the birth of their first child. Although I have given birth to my own two little bundle of joys, neither were without the aid of an epidural. I have only felt contractions without any interventions until about 6cm dilated, so I knew I would have to search for more insight into natural birth if I was going to be of any help to my friend after that point.

Fortunatley, I felt much more prepared after finally viewing the The Business of Being Born documentary in its entirety(everyone should see this!). I prayed and asked God to make me a blessing to the expected parents and interestingly enough, I seemed to have a "knowing" that she would go into labor when she did, and everything I needed to happen to make me feel prepared seemed to have fallen into place by that time. God never ceases to amaze me!

When I arrived at the expected parents home at about 5am Thursday morning, my friend had already been in labor for about 5 hours. The expected dad and I worked to keep her comfy and encouraged for as long as we could at home, but when we begin to notice signs of her being in the transition stage of labor(vomiting, hot/cold flashes, and hicupps), we made our way to the hospital.

Now, I don't know how "normal" this behavior is for someone giving birth naturally, but my friend's goal was to have a birthing experience that felt calm and natural. She didn't want anything to interfere with her expereince that may cause her to feel as though she was in some type of "medical emergency." Hence, she trucked down 3 flights of stairs with no assistance, decided to forgoe the wheel chair they offered her as she came into the hospital, worked her way down a long hallway at 6 and 1/2 cenitmeters dilated to the room she would give birth in, requested a heburn lock instead of IV, and believe it or not, never raised her voice much higher than normal conversation tone. To say the least, the nurses, the midwives, and the hospital staff were amazed at her behavior. Silly me, what was I thinking? I should have tied a cape around her neck and put a gigantic "S" on it so people would not have mistaken her for someone else;)

The expected mom moved from 6 and 1/2 to 10cm dilated in about 3 hours and then it was time to push. At that point, she was very tired and wanted to know when all of this would be over! But, she pressed on with no drugs. After about an hour and a half of some very intense pushing the moment we all had been waiting for finally arrived. There was this little person, with ten little fingers and ten little toes! Both of the parents were elated and I think everyone in the room felt a host of emotions: relief, joy, love, wonderment, and admiration. Afterward, the new mom said her pain was minimal and that although there were times during the labor that she wouldn't have minded the good Lord taking her onto glory, natural birth was: "doable."

The proud mom said that prayer and having so much support really helped her. She found to be a great resource. She also saw the Business of Being Born which I think made her and her husband even more determined about having a natural birth and gave them some ideas to make that possible in a hospital setting.

Seeing my friend give natural birth awakened my mind even more to the feasiblilty of it. In addition, I believe that there is something about that challenge that evokes a greater sense of value for the process of birthing and the life that enters the world as healthy as God designed for him/her to be as a result of the hard work done during that process. I'll leave you with these quotes on birth that reflect my sentiments on the the issue at this point:

"We've put birth in the same category with illness and disease and it's never belonged there. Birth is naturally safe, but we've allowed it to be taken over by the medical community."

-Carla Hartley, founder of Trust Birth and the Ancient Art Midwifery Institute

"...experiences have clearly shown that an approach which "de-medicalizes" birth, restores dignity and humanity to the process of childbirth, and returns control to the mother is also the safest approach."

-Michel Odent, MD

"We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong."

-Laura Stavoe Harm

Another friend of mine recently gave birth naturally and you can read her birth story at:
Thanks to her and everyone who commented and shared their natural birth experience in the comments section of my "The Business of Being Born" post!

Do you have an interesting birth story? What helped you during labor and delivery? Please share your experience in the comments section, or type a link.


  1. L.H., Thanks so much for sharing this! I had natural birth with my first child and would offer these ideas that really helped me:

    1) Birth is natural. It is not a sickness or disease, so rather than praying for "healing" pray for "grace" to get thru the challenge ahead.

    2) Childbirth is painful but the pain is purposeful- The pain tells you and your body which position to get into to better help the baby make its exit.

    3) Getting medication due to fear and having natural birth due to pride are both spiritually damaging

    4) Mary, Elizabeth, and a host of other women in our bible didn't have epidurals.

    5) Birth is a natural process, nonetheless natural birth requires knowledge and preparation (which is best coupled with prayer).

  2. Thanks for the mention, but the three in the link has one too many "e's". :) Try Katie's Pregnancy Journal
    I've actually given some thought to becoming a certified doula and offering my services free of charge to single moms or women who don't have the support they need. In my community, many women are left for weeks and even months at a time when their husbands go to the oil patch. I don't know how common it is for them to have their babies alone, but I'm thinking about doing this down the road so that they wouldn't have to. I have to say, I'm jealous of your opportunity to be there for your friend's labour - I'd love to do it sometime for one of my friends. :)

  3. Anonymous, thanks for sharing your birthing wisdom with the rest of us! I find what you said about wrong motives being spiritual damaging to be very interesting and helpful as well.

  4. Katie, Becoming a doula sounds like a great idea! I have a friend who is a certified doula and she was a ton of help to me in preparation for this experience! I was considering going through training for as well. I think the role is so important because women really do need the support of other women, epecially other moms during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum.

  5. I watched The Business of Being Born just a few minutes ago. I'd seen it mentioned here so I found it on Netflix!
    I loved it! I thought it was super informative and helped solidify my decision that one day, if (Lord willing) I have a baby- it will be done naturally and preferably at home. :)


Your ideas, questions, and comments are welcome!