Then I got an email from a friend-of-a-friend that made my day yesterday. She had discovered, two weeks before her due date, that a certain medication she was taking would prevent her from having an epidural. So she was scrambling to prepare herself for an unexpected drug-free birth at the last minute. A couple of friends alerted me to her predicament, and I quickly whipped-up an email with attachments and links and tips.
Her baby came early, before she felt as prepared as she would have liked to be, but her birth went beautifully. She had a very fast (2.5 hour) labor and arrived at the hospital ready to push. She said the thing that got her through was remembering this post relating running to birth. She was a runner in high school so she could relate. And, while coping with labor, she imagined herself doing 200 meter sprints with a running friend by her side, cheering her on. In the end, she said:
We were really blessed and I cried. To be truthful, labor was a lot easier than I expected. I suppose I was waiting for a feeling of daggers and swords all through my lower region. Thankfully, it wasn't quite like that. . . . It's very likely I will have to do natural birth every time from here on out, but if it is similar to what I just experienced, it won't be so bad. It was beautiful!I don't know whether the birth process matters as much as I think it does. Perhaps it matters little for most women. But once in a while I have the privilege of helping a woman discover the strength and beauty of giving birth. I can't help everyone or change everything. But I can help one. And then another one. And then another. And hearing them say, one by one...
"I feel so much more informed and empowered to deliver naturally and feel strongly that I can absolutely make it!"
"You have inspired me!"
"I know now that I can do so much more than I thought I could... that my body is capable of so much more."
"I have never felt so much love before. I knew that this was one of those life changing and life affirming moments that couldn't be experienced any other way."
"It was beautiful!"
Those are the moments when I know birth matters... even if just for a few women. And they are the reason I carry on.