Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Got Lucky - by Shayna Eliav

Shayna's first birth from J-WHO's event "What you need to know about birth before you are pregnant."

The title of my birth story was "I got lucky". After hearing Chani's story and feeling so moved I just wanted to give her this huge mega hug. After hearing it every part of me just felt even more grateful for how amazingly smooth things had gone for me and for the wonderful midwifery care that I had received.

My birth (the short version) went like this:
I awoke one morning (11 1/2 years ago)to a strange feeling that I did not recognize. After feeling it a few more times during the hour I realized that it must be labor! Contractions continued all day, most of them light and very manageable, until about 10 pm. That's when I called the midwife to let her know what had been going on and she said, "I"ll probably see you
in the middle of the night."

A half an hour later I went to the bathroom and my water broke - dramatically albeit conveniently - on the toilet! Within minutes I was having tremendous contractions lasting a minute and a half long and so intense. It must have taken me a half an hour to get off of that
toilet because they were so close together. I felt I could not move!
When I finally did, I made my way to the phone, called the midwife and told her my water broke and I was having a lot of contractions. She suggested I try to stay at home a while longer. After the next contraction I called back and said "No way-I'm coming now!"

After struggling to walk the endless hallways of my apartment building, we finally made it into the car and to the hospital. I inched my way through the hallway bent completely over, alone, following (how?) the directions to the labor and delivery area. Soon after arriving my midwife appeared
and I got the happy news that I was already 9 centimers! After a little blowing and a lot of pushing --nearly 3 hours-- my son was born, placed on my belly and we were together. A few stitches from a natural tear were placed and our life as a family began.

I was 22 years old and am quite sure that up to that point I had never been so proud of myself in my whole life. That's the gift of a positive birth experience, and that's what I want to help give to women.

___________________
Even in these crazy times with skyrocketing intervention rates -- which are not making the birth process safer, but in fact more hazardous, traumatic, and dehumanizing us at this sacred, potentially magical time in women's and babies' lives-- I know that it's possible to preserve this gift for women. Like all change, it happens a little at a time--
woman by woman, birth by birth-- you, me, your sister, her neighbor--
its a chain of connections.

Care enough to share what you know.

Shayna

PS Shayna runs the beautiful Wellsprings Center in Crown Heights.
Check it out here.

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