Jacquie Munro, founder of the "Slow Birth" movement, is an experienced doula and childbirth educator and is well-known for her individualized, intuitive approach to supporting families in the childbearing year and beyond. Since 1987, she has provided support at over one thousand births, at home and in hospital, and taught thousands of expectant parents. At home, Jacquie lives only a bike ride away from four generations of her family. You can usually find her at the park or beach, playing beside her twin grandsons who call her "Deecy".
Monday, December 22, 2008
Birth with Two Snowmen
Birth is never what we expect. Even though we may say we don't have expectations...we do.
So, when I arrive at the hospital around 6am with a client who is 7cm and stretchy to full dilation...there's a part of me that expects her to be happy and nursing her baby by lunchtime. Admit it, Jacquie...after almost 800 births as a doula...you do have certain expectations.
Yes, I must admit, I do have some expectations. But, so do you. If someone told you the birth story later..."she had her beautiful baby girl at dinner time"...you might say, "I expect that she had an epidural (isn't that something that usually slows the labour?)" But, no, she had no epidural, no pain meds at all. Things just slowed down to 1 or 2 contractions every ten minutes for most of the day. She even managed to sleep.
What made things slow down? Probably not just one thing. Perhaps it was a combination of our collective expectation (totally subconscious), head position (asynclitic/deflexed), and/or compound presentation (hand or cord in the way?) Or maybe it was, as some cultures believe, the will of the baby. She might have just wanted to be born at dinner time..."I don't like breakfast!"
So, though I'm sure we all had the expectation of a quick and uncomplicated birth, that just wasn't this mum and dad and baby's story. This birth was our reminder to respect the need for infinite patience, and to respect each baby's journey, each family's journey together.
How else would we all have had such a special day to watch the snow quietly, honour the passage of time, and see their family gather, build two snowmen, and shed great tears of joy when the baby finally arrived. I don't think the day would have been quite so wonderful otherwise.
- Jacquie Munro, Vancouver Doula