Most people think of birth stories as warm and cuddly pieces, filled with glowing parents and happy babies. The truth, of course, is that there are as many ways to be born as there are people to experience them. And while every birth story contains two important characters – a mother and a baby – there is a whole slew of other participants that can make for a not-so-heartwarming piece.
Does a good drama have to include a birth? However, having discussed last month that emotions are inherent to a dramatic piece, the beginning of new life certainly seemed a good place to, well, start. A mother of three, I can testify that the birthing process contains a great deal of emotion – and I didn’t even swear at my husband.
There is a myriad of stories to tell, however, that aren’t so bright and cheerful. Consider the first chapter of Dean R. Koontz’ ‘Lightning.’ A mysterious stranger stops the doctor from delivering baby Laura by kidnapping him until the delivery is concluded. The stranger ties up the doctor and delivers a lecture on sobriety and a warning that the doctor will die if his habits are not changed. Once the baby is born, the stranger cuts the ropes partway and leaves, never to be seen again. Talk about an intriguing birth story that never comes near a baby!
Or look at the birth of poor Wade Hamilton in ‘Gone with the Wind.’ To Scarlett O’Hara, who cannot flee burning, Yankee-assaulted Atlanta until Melanie has delivered the new baby, the new life is nothing but a nuisance.
Consider the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, who sprung, fully formed, from her father’s head. Now that’s the way to go – mom skips not only the delivery but also the anxious teen years!
And no matter what you believe, it is difficult to deny that story of Jesus, and his birth still has repercussions around the world. If nothing else, consider the fate of the other baby boys born in Bethlehem at the same time.
I’d like to conclude with a real-life occurrence of birth I experienced before I ever married or had children. My sister dropped out of high school and wound up pregnant at seventeen. Despite promises that my mother would help her raise the baby, my sister decided to put the child up for adoption. The tense atmosphere of the delivery room hung over everyone as my mother struggled with her emotions, feeling pushed out of her natural place as grandmother by the adoptive mother. Emotions ran high that day, and not all were warm and happy.
Stories about birth have serious potential for drama. I’d like to challenge each of you to consider childbirth from a different angle – or even from the everyday angle – and write a short story
Natural labor may be over-rated for some, but for me, it was an adventure that started weeks before the delivery day. My first born was delivered via a planned induction complete with a full dose of Pitocin, breaking of my water bag, an epidural to relieve painful contractions, and 12 hours of labor. My decision to be induced had everything to do with being diagnosed with a distended (enlarged) kidney and feeling confident I needed my personal doctor in the delivery room with me.
With my son, I decided early on I would go into labor naturally, would still receive an epidural but not until I needed it. So, when at 36 weeks after a long, fun-filled Memorial Day weekend, and several pulled abdominal muscles, I started contracting and didn’t stop for hours: I thought this is it! My stomach was rock solid, spastic and the pain – gut wrenching. We were in the middle of a small town and didn’t even know where the hospital was. We called my doctor to confirm what we should do. After explaining I was going up and down boat and pool ladders, picking up a 30 lb toddler and not stopping for several days, the doctor explained the stomach spasms I was having were muscular-skeletal and not labor contractions.
I returned home and almost immediately developed a cold with a bad cough. On top of this, my husband was going out of town for a full week, and I was experiencing more Braxton Hicks contractions. Having almost no energy and no plan in place, I put myself on bed rest just hoping I would make it past 37 weeks. At 37 weeks and three days, I lost my mucous plug, which exacerbated my fear I would go into labor without my other half, scheduled for a work trip two days away. He’d only be gone 48 hours this time, but with a full moon approaching and a strange feeling I’d be giving birth soon, I put a plan in place this time. Two girlfriends agreed to stay the night; one would go with me to the hospital, and the other would stay with my toddler.
The night of the full moon, thunder and rain awoke me. I went to use the restroom and noticed a contraction, but ignored it and went back to bed. An hour later I woke up with another contraction, and then every 30 minutes I would wake up with another one. By 6 o’clock in the morning, I was having contractions every 8-12 minutes. My husband was on a red-eye back from San Diego, CA. I went in to wake up my friend, and we continued tracking the contractions. We called the doctor and made an appointment to get checked.
Susy Richards is a lovely mother of 3 (3 years, 4 years and 5) and simple woman who is ready to share her priceless experience with other mommies around the world. She is an Advanced Practice Provider who passed birth doula and postpartum doula courses at Childbirth International in 2013. She is passionate about providing holistic care and is involved in pregnancy research currently publishing her articles concerning pregnancy on site rocketparents.com