Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tiny Guardians

Hubs and I began our first birthing class last night. It was fascinating to see the Asheville demographic represented alongside us. There was: a climatologist, a police officer, a cranial sacral therapist, a massage therapist, an environmental engineer, a UNC-Asheville staff member, an ecologist, two medical students expecting their first baby, and a solar power engineer/installer and his wife, who tends to their mini farm.

Jan, who began the practice back in '97, began by quoting one of my favorite parts of Pam England's Birthing From Within: It's a lot of work, it hurts, and you can do it. She then began describing the work that she and the other nurse midwives perform for their clients as being "Guardians of Natural Birth." That really resonated with me. They're not there to tell you what to do, Jan stated. Their objective, their goal, really, is to facilitate natural birth for you, allowing the woman to tap into her own innate inner strength and wisdom to help the life within her emerge as naturally as possible.

We watched a video after a discussion of early labor (that'll be the format these next 4 weeks-discussion, followed by a video, which works perfectly with my preference for visual learning). I've watched footage of live births before in my life (although, admittedly, not in a long, long time). Maybe it was because it's so literally close to home, but as that first child emerged in the birthing tub and was immediately put onto its mother's chest, tears just streamed down my face, falling onto my shoulders. In fact, just thinking of it now is getting me choked up.

It's incredible, and magical, and beautiful, and painful, and absolutely awe-inspiring to watch new life emerge. Whether it's from a baby chick, pipping its way into the world, a sack of tiny spiders timidly climbing out of their fragile home, or a human infant, transitioning into the greater world, birth is a mysterious, wonderous thing of deep beauty.

T-minus 48 days 'til Nugget.

*Image by Nikki McClure from here.


Angel Funk said...

Nikki McClure is my all time favorite, she is amazing! I love Birthing from Within, it's a wonderful book. I'd have to say that the "and you can do it" part was the most important thing for me to remember during my births, I even wrote it down on a piece of paper so I could remind myself if I needed to. And my doula and husband reminded me too. You will do great!

Deirdre said...

I've witnessed several of my nephew's births and coached a friend through labor - it's the most amazing thing I've ever experienced. The world stops for a moment while a sacred thing happens.

Sue said...

Natural childbirth is all those things, and is so incredibly worth the physical challenge. My two kids were both natural (one in a birth center, the second at home). I confess I was not drawn to natural childbirth because I was one of those serenely-centered women who can experience childbirth as a spiritually transcendent experience; I simply wanted to avoid the unconscionably high chance of a C-section that a hospital birth offers.
Yet I would never give birth any other way. My experience of it was empowering, all-consuming, transcendant, exhausting, exhilarating and deeply, deeply satisfying.
Congratulations and have a wonderful final trimester, labor and delivery!

EcoGrrl said...

i forget the name of the documentary dvd but it featured rikki lake having her baby naturally and the whole discussion on childbirth is amazing. have you seen it? incredible.

a good friend of mine had her baby naturally with water birth and her only word for it was 'primal'

ashley english said...

aimee-you're referring to "the business of being born." i actually haven't seen it, and i don't think we'll be watching it in my birthing classes, but it was brought up tuesday night and i know enough about it to feel like i've watched it already.

yeah, primal indeed. women laboring naturally make all sorts of moans and groans, which i plan to do myself!

Natashia said...

those moans and groans you make during labour are so distinctive! almost like lowing, and they certainly come from somewhere deep inside you. My daughter was a home birth and it was an amazing experience.

also check out 'the womanly art of breastfeeding' SUCH a great book