Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Magical Placenta Previa-Premie Story

Another peep for Birth Peeps,

I am enjoying reading your stories and insights. How can we make a really difficult birth into a Magical Birth Story? Fortunately, we have a few years to process and integrate what happened "to us" and "in us" before our child can understand language to hear the Magical Story. So, if you can't imagine anything about the experience translating into a "sweet story" at first, you have time to heal.

My mother had five children, she was Catholic and a nurse, so she knew hospital policy which becomes relevant in the story. During her third pregnancy she developed a partial placenta previa and began to bleed around the seventh month. She was admitted to the hospital. I never knew too many details about what happened except this one poignant scene she felt compelled to tell me:

"I was bleeding, weak, kept falling asleep [in labor]. When I opened my eyes, I saw your father sitting in a chair against the wall saying the rosary. They only let fathers into the labor ward when the mother was dying, so I knew I was dying, but I wasn't afraid."

What an image! But to my child mind, oddly, it was kind of a Catholic, romantic, love story. My mother was alive and well when she telling me, so her fleeting thought was not a reality. Her reverie was a reflection on a powerful moment in her life, and it translated in my mind that we often brush death but are not taken, and life goes on. And, I remember thinking how odd that a father only comes in if his wife is dying and not if she is birthing.

This little story also reminds me to tell you one more thing. The story a storyteller tells is not necessarily the one the listener hears. Not every child would take an image of philosophical musings from the story I just told you. Another child might have heard a message about birth being dangerous, or your birth almost killed me.

As we are learning from the postings on this blog, one of the most important tasks of prenatal preparation is to consider not only our First Birth Story (stories) but, what we told ourselves about the story and birth in general as a child! The second half of this task of preparation is to inquire if that childhood assumption, belief, or promise absolutely true, relatively true, and what else is true. This changes our dialogue, our listening, and our new learning.

Can you see that if we don't begin at the beginning and hear our inner-Child's old-thinking,  in some way, what we avoid and what we "choose," and the birth plan we are making now may be a comfortable continuation of the First Birth Plan made by the Child of little understanding. When we consider the meaning we gave our First Birth Story long ago, it may give our adult, or inner Love Warrior, a chance to show up, to step up, and and to participate more fully.

Coming Soon, Change #3 in 50 Ways to Change Birth in Our Culture.


P.S.  I almost forgot to tell you the Premie in the Oven part of the Magical Story. Over fifty years ago when my sister was born prematurely(because of the previa), there was little that could be done in the hospital. My tiny, frail, ruddy-skinned sister, around two pounds, was sent home--to live or die. To keep her warm, she was swaddled and placed in a drawer on the open door of our electric oven. She was fed with an eye-dropper for a while. My mother, grandma and aunties kept constant vigil, sitting in front of the bundle in the drawer on the open oven door. A tall priest came to the house in his black robes and funny hat with the pom pom on it to give last rites. There was crying and more waiting. ... My sister lived and was as healthy as the rest of us. It is a remarkable story.

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