Thank you to Kelly for sharing her journey. This is an incredible must-read tale from a very strong mama who followed her soul and believed in her body:
"I remember it like it was yesterday - two lines. Excited. Scared. Scared to death. Was I going to be able to have this baby? Would I need a c section? Would I forever be changed "down there" if something goes wrong? Funny enough, my legs NEVER had anything to do with my fears. And I, in fact, have spastic cerebral palsy. I've had it since birth, and lo and behold, I came upon cerebral palsy innocently - during birth. I had lack of oxygen to the brain during birth because the doctors failed to get me out of my poor mother in time.
Now there I was, barely 25 and pregnant. Off I went to my doctor with excitement, you have to think positive right? After my first visit I was already buzzing with WAY too many questions, and naturally, like most women, I wanted DETAIL. I was left to torture Google for countless hours and to be honest I am a "stick to the facts" kind of person and appeal to your best emotions and Google leaves me feeling sometimes less than satisified. I recall going to my three month check up with the doctor, I was even on time, a rarity for me. I wanted to talk to him about my legs now, I was losing my balance because of the weight gain and was a bit frightened at the fact that it was going by so fast and I really did not know how to cope with the anxieties creeping up on me now. I had a belly and it was becoming real to me. I sat perched on the edge of my seat, my heart going too fast. I wanted to hear my baby. I wanted to hear his little heart and remember that I was excited more than I was nervous. He came in and sat down. "Ok, so what are you here for?" My heart SANK. I'm here to talk to you about my BABY. I am scared. I am excited. We are supposed to be in this "together" doctor, said the voice in my head. Instead, I stuttered and responded, "Well.... I'm pregnant". I proceeded to rush out my sentences, telling him about my struggles and worries, and asked almost breathless "can I hear the baby today?". He looked down at his chart and instantly referred me to a specialist for an MRI and pointed out that I will problably need a c-section, because I have cerebral palsy and I am too "tiny" being 4'10 and 90 lbs. Then looked up at me and said "it is too early yet to hear".
Instantly, I could feel my hairs on my neck rise when he said "specialist" and I could feel my stubborn heart say "no" to that c-section. "Last I checked, nothing is wrong with my crotch, and I don't have the best of balance even on a good day". The sarcasm was like venom. He looked up, shocked, and I lost my temper right in that office. How dare he not even know WHY I am here today, how does he even KNOW I need a c section?
My horses give birth completely on thier own, at their own pace. Birth is a natural process.... isn't it? It's like riding a horse - resist the rythym when going for a ride and it will be a bumpy one. Breath, relax, and let the horse take you for a ride and you just may feel empowered.
So I marched out of the office, crying, bound and determinded to have a more logical approach to this experience, and definitely a more satisfying approach to this pregnancy. Next, I found myself a midwife, and a forever friend. I sat in her office a bit hostile. I was scared to bring up my situation again, I didn't want to have to talk about the last 3, almost 4 months of why I was siting there, I didn't want to have to defend my choice to have a more natural approach to something people were doing long before there were doctors, reglardless of their size, shape and mechanics on the outside. She sat down, peering into my eyes with a smile. "Tell me a little bit about you". I can honestly say I was a bit rude, feeling like I had to defend my thoughts and feelings about my pregnancy with this stranger.
After I filled her in with my horrible experience, all she said in the kindest way was "Would you like to hear your baby?" YES! Let's actually embrace this little life inside of me! Let's make this personal, and real, and authentic as the little heart that beat into the doppler, strong and steady like the convictions that beat in my own heart about the way I would like to enjoy my experience. Then she said, "I'm sure you can have a natural, vaginal birth despite your disability. Just let me know how you feel most comfortable as we go, and if there are medical concerns I will tell you, and we will go over it step by step." I was hooked on this woman's simple and logical approach.
Six months later, I gave birth to my first son in under 4 hours - no drugs, no c-section, no medical interference what-so-ever.
Fast forward a few years and there I was at 33.5 weeks through my second pregnancy, I lost balance and fell down in my barn and my body decided it was time for my baby to be born. My second son was born six and a half weeks early. I was terrified that something may go wrong or that this would change things but knew my body was capable of bringing this little man Earthside safely. After 1 hour and 30 minutes of active labour, I welcomed my 5 lb 4 ounce boy into my life.
I made a choice to have this baby and I wanted to feel like I had choices through pregnancy and birth. Some people liken birth to a "ride." Yes, it is. And if you let your body get in sync with it, if you can trust your natural rythyms within yourself, the things that tell your body to speed it up, slow it down, go with it, and to work with it - then yes- birth is that kind of ride. And you know what the best part of that ride? The people in the room with me on that ride believed, empowered and supported me. I was present mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. That's what this whole thing was, and that is what pregnancy and birth is - a choice to have a baby. The way I felt the most comfortable mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
Only I knew what was best for me in a birth experience. I could have been robbed of these journeys had I let someone tell me about my own body and it's limitations. How does anyone know about my personal limitations? Perhaps the only limitation in this scenario was in the mind of the doctor who "thought" I'd need a c-section. To me, my body has no limitations. It is incredible. It gives LIFE. I have so much to be thankful for. I can thank my intuition, and my body - this vessel- for carrying me through two successful births. Thank you to everyone who supported me through this, believing in me every step of the way - my partner, my mother, my nurses, the new consulting OB's and most of all my midwives for hearing my voice in my birth journey."