Thursday, September 15, 2011

25 Years and Counting

Well today is a very special day for me - 25 years ago today I attended my first birth as a labor assistant.  Over these 25 years I have accompanied hundreds of families through their births.  I've even worked with mothers and daughters in their own births.  It's amazing to see these children grown up - and remember that I was there when they entered the world.

So what have I learned after 25 years.  I started with such a devoted passion that each mom should have an unmedicated birth - it just felt right.  I had experienced that myself 3 times and just knew that any mom who could have an unmedicated birth would be forever changed.  Well, I do still believe that a mom who is able to meet the challenge of labor unmedicated - is profoundly changed. BUT I have also learned that an unmedicated birth is not the right path for every mom. Sometimes the option of medication or interventions are just what is needed for a birth.  And more importantly - no matter how focused a mom is on having an unmedicated birth - babies can change all our plans.  I've seen so many moms work through days of labor only to face the tough decision of a surgical birth - through no fault of their own magnificent effort - it was just the way it was going to have to be to have a safe delivery.

I've also seen time and time again the power a dad plays in the whole process.  His presence is always welcome and needed.  They are the strength of the room in so many ways and it is a joy to see a couple rely on each other to bring their baby into their arms.

I've learned that age can diminish your stamina but not your passion.  I will attend a birth tomorrow, #744, and yet I will be as excited to be there as I was with my first birth.  I feel so comfortable around labor.

Labor is a unique challenge - but one that can be met head on with support and knowledge.  It is a path women are equipped to walk - so the more we can remove the fear from this process - the better off all moms-to-be will be.  A healthy fear of this amazing process is normal. But a dreaded, worried fear of labor needs to be changed through more and more great birth stories.

So - 25 years and counting - thanks for the memories!