I wrote this last yr. for our eldest dd after her bio father passed away APR.1st 2009
When I discovered I was expecting my first child in July of 1980 I was so so happy . I was thrilled . I was also seventeen yrs. And hadn’t a clue about mothering or giving birth .
As I walked down the street shared by the giant elms I rubbed my small belly and was so so looking forward to being able to love someone really love without him or her having any expectation what so ever .
I was living with my mother at the time separate from my boyfriend and father of our child . Back then we did not learn we were pregnant until long after 10-12 weeks gestation . My mother also knew right from the start I was keeping the baby . I had a good friend from high school he wanted me to move in with him and have a home birth . To me this seemed kind of radical and I did not like all his pot smoking either. It did spark a way of giving birth naturally though .The only friend I had who’d given birth had had a terrible hospital birth with an epidural, mega episiotomy which took weeks to heal and the poor poor baby was wrenched out with forceps .
I have always been a natural living natural way person my great grandmother was a midwife and medicine woman . Yet I also knew very well the other side coming from a family in the medical community one member of which being a Dr. exploited women and abused them while giving birth etc. I knew full well even at 17 yrs what the medical community was capable of .
My mother being a nurse but coming from lay families background also new the good in the natural way . So began our search for a way in which best to bring my baby into the world in the best and most natural way we could . We both came to the decision we could and would like to go with home birth if we could . However the only Dr. we found doing home births only would attend on the second birth of a child not the first . He did however attend in hospital within a birthing room . This birthing room back then was not how they are now .No rocking chairs or mini fridges etc. this room was just a plain hospital bland beige walls with a hospital bed in it washroom and nightstand . However it wasn’t a delivery room so we took what we could take . Then my mother signed us up for what back then was all the rage in birthing Lamaze classes . We had a really kind sensitive instructor . She was a mum of several children already and had had home births with my dr. as well . Although I wasn’t much into the breathing techniques I really really enjoyed feeling my body , getting to know it intimately and connecting with baby .Being exposed to these healthy people in my life really made a big big impact . I remember the day I felt baby kick it was during the remembrance day services at my high school .I was so so excited and so blessed during that moment of silence my baby decided to take the time for me to just soak it in .
As time went on I continued to go to school which was an alternative school anyway so classes were attended when one wanted to . My boyfriend and I were getting more and more excited and I began to collect just a few items for baby . A cute little white sleeper . A small flowered nightie . Cloth diapers , cotton wash clothes and a little wash tub on a table all made up in my room . I was going to sleep with baby and nurse . We had a wonderful winter pregnancy attending Lamaze , me going to school , eating well and just enjoying that time . My old Siamese cat at the time would cuddle with me and tuck right into my big belly . I wondered how she would react to a new baby .
As spring approached sun grew stronger . I began to think of baby’s name as my due date grew closer for April 4th 1981 . I began to think of names, which I liked , sound means a lot , meaning means a lot as well as perhaps naming a child after someone who holds meaning in our hearts . I thought of the perfect name Sunshine ! I loved this name because it was the name of one of my best friends in school and who also had a positive influence on me . She was away attending free school in England during this time and I missed her quite a bit so I really liked the idea of calling my baby Sunshine . that is if she were to be a girl . What about a boy . I knew that ages ago his name would be Noah . I loved that name and it belonged to my great grandfather who was a very wonderful person I knew from family stories .
So awaiting baby ‘s arrival began . On the bright sunny morning of April 13th 1981 I woke at about 8am . I felt a tad achy and flu like .I cuddled with my cat for a bit and then decided to have a tub a nice hot one . Well that was it . The cramps came on stronger even I who had never given birth new , nope this was not the flu . I felt so good ! I told my mother and I got dressed then we had a nice small breakfast . We then prepared for our hospital journey . I packed my fav old plaid shirt of my grandmothers and my pj bottoms . I packed baby’s first nightie and blanket etc. along . We then took my big bottle of cranberry juice too . Back then they did not normally hook women up to an IV as routine procedure as they do now .
As we drove to the hospital which was a nice long drive I thought to myself and said to baby today is your day , the sun is shining the snow banks are melting and puddles for splashing . One day I will walk with you while you splash in those puddles . Once again I was so so happy .
When we arrived at the hospital the room was available we were blessed as there was only one birthing room back then . I think it was about 12pm when we rolled into that room . I was already into some good cramps . There were several nurses who would not stop coming in and out of the room it drove me nuts .Then a student nurse kept pestering me about the menu for the next two days of my stay there . Poor thing I look back and how I snapped at her for asking me if I wanted peas or potatoes for supper . I drank my juice up and my mother tried to get me to focus on my focal point , some sketchy watercolour on the wall . I do not like focal points . I closed my eyes and blocked them all out . I did get up to go to the washroom once and had a bowel movement . The student nurse had wanted to give me an enema but there just was no time .In transition for just a short time I began saying “ I want I want “ everyone said “ what do you want ?” I in my mind was thinking “ drugs “ yet I knew better then to say it out loud . within a few minutes this feeling passed . I think deep down even at that age I was a strong woman . By about 1:30pm my water broke . There was meconium in the water . I personally think baby picked up on how stressed the nurses were making the whole birthing environment My doctor who was out playing golf no doubt had still not arrived . meconium of course the nurses became quite hysterical . Control , birthing room , how could they have control ! It was as if they were lost no idea what to do . I began pushing . It felt great ! They called in a resident doc as mine was no where to be found . Nurses panicking saying don’t push don’t push we have to take you to the delivery room because of the meconium in the water . so onto a stretcher I was placed . Then wheeled into the delivery room or rather the ugly green room . Doctor taking over giving me a very unnecessary episiotomy. Thank goodness it was very small . Push push baby out ! girl ! girl ! They brought her to me right away . I held her and lay there . My mother God bless her thought to place a blanket over us so the light would not hurt the baby’s eyes . My baby looked up at me ! She had dark dark hair and her hair for the only time in her life had curls just like her daddy . Wait a bit oh push push again ! Placenta !
Then they take your baby away . I went to recovery and she went away . while in recovery an older nurse came in and she said have you passed any clots ? I said no . She came over and started pushing on my stomach so so hard I had tears in my eyes . I yelled “ you are hurting me ! “ she just kind of grunted and went away .
Then my boyfriend came in . He brought me a book for the baby son of raven son of deer . I was so happy he came . Sorry he did not connect spiritually with baby or pregnancy how I did but happy he acknowledged our daughter .
That night I slept with baby in my room but my roommate kept the tv on all night I did not need to watch Johnny Carson .
The nest morning a social worker came by . He said I best not give the baby my boyfriends last name as so many young parents do not stay together . Wow what a terrible example to give young couples . Tell then they are going to fail right off the bat .
I was trying to nurse my daughter and really liking it then my real doctor came in and a nurse . I have to say he was no different then any ego boosted doctor . I think although he did home births women most certainly could not do birthing without him or rather at least not safely . He looked down at me then at the nurse and said “ having some trouble nursing I see “ not even recognizing me in the room . Hello ! I then started to cry . Thank God for hormones ! I said how all I wanted was to go home and how I couldn’t sleep it wasn’t good for the baby etc. He released me that day !
Home we went . Car seat . Babies needed car seats ! We had to go out and rent one first . We drove home another wonderful sunny day . On our way home we drove by my gramma Grace’s house as it was right near the hospital . She came out to peek at baby in the car .
As I lay in bed nursing baby , watching her .My gift , my light . Hope this is real hope . My job is to be a mother the best mother for this baby I can be . I told her all about her beautiful daddy how I would play her Led Zepplin and she now needed a name . I loved the name Sunshine as I mentioned earlier however when I told my boyfriend this he said no way only people with blond hair can be named Sunshine . Ok stupid yes but I was influenced by my peers and he was one of them . He said how about a good Russian name . We were both reading dostoyesvky at the time . He wanted Patrucica , Sonia , I said no . Natasha . Yes I liked that name . Middle name ? I think it was my mother who said Rose . I loved flowers and I pictured the wild roses my gramma fed us in the summertime . So Natasha Rose she is . She is still my little Sunshine girl . When Natasha was a few months old I remember telling a friend we met while out walking I loved pregnancy , birth and motherhood and I wanted at least 12 children . That summer I found the quaint little bookstore and bought myself 3 books which would encourage my views of birth and parenting . These books were Birth by Raven Lang , Loving Hands by Fredrick Leboyer and Be a Bird a Tree a frog yoga book for children .
I also would like to dedicate all my birth stories to the most special loving memory of Catherine Young who published my stories and encouraged my writing . She always wrote to me inspiring me in parenting ,birthing , and natural lifestyle .
This is how I always envision Natasha , dancing , forever dancing . Here she is 3yo in playa del carmen MX campground
Natasha 3yo at palenque MX
Yes , Dancing again at 8 yrs. Chetumal MX