An excerpt from my personal diary entries written for 'The Natural Parent Magazine'.
Entry 19 "Paper trails"
I recently received my hospital medical records after requesting them from my midwife. There are still missing moments from my birth (and I think there always will be) that I am trying to find closure with and these records serve as a big puzzle piece. Our integration of birth physically, mentally and emotionally takes time and I still have a long road to travel when it comes to the layers of my own healing. A big part of this for me is around the acceptance of my c-section and understanding the reason why I had the birth that I did. I guess I want to understand the WHY because I want to know if there is anything I could have done that could have changed the outcome. Turns out I couldn't have... Failure to progress. There it is, written under the 'C-section Notes'. Reading this hit me hard with grief and insecurity. I invested so much to have a healthy pregnancy, to do all the right things towards having the birth I envisioned - not just for myself but more so for my baby. I laboured for over 2 days, giving it my all to bring Beauden earthside without intervention and yet, trying to tell myself I haven't 'failed' giving birth doesn't come easy when you read words that are so official and final. Having access to these notes has slowly helped me come to an understanding around why my body and Beauden's labour just didn't happen as I had hoped. It was determined that Beauden's umbilical cord was too short which was ultimately preventing him from descending. (The average length of an umbilical cord is 50-60cm (normal full term newborn infant). A long cord is defined as >100cm and a short cord as <30cm. There can also be as many as 40 spiral twists in the cord, as well as false knots and true knots). I have yet to look at Beauden's placenta which has been tucked away in the freezer and I know this will also contribute to helping me understand his birth. Many of us know and feel so deeply about changing the 'language' around birth and it is most definitely time we changed the term 'failure to progress.' To me it suggests that as women our bodies have failed to do what they are naturally designed to do, and we all know that is not the case but when you have personally experienced that, it's hard not to take it, well, personally. I want to acknowledge that as part of my healing, I need to honour the birth I did have. It was still beautiful, because it brought life into the world and for that I am in awe and eternally grateful. As women the capabilities of our bodies are amazing and choosing to have, or needing to have a caesarean section is just as powerful as any other way of birth. Sometimes our babies have their own plans of arriving in this world and this is the courageous journey that as women, as mothers, we must surrender to. Vanessa As women, we can experience a range of challenges and difficulties during our transition into motherhood including the acceptance of our birth story, anxiety, depression, and general adjustment difficulties to becoming a parent. Having a space to talk through, explore how you are feeling and what you are experiencing or have experienced is extremely important in the health of your wellbeing, your capacity to recognise your own needs and in feeling connected to the developing relationship with your newborn.
To feel prepared for your birth and supported during your postpartum recovery, contact Vanessa.