By Heather Vogler

I had a wonderful, healthy, easy pregnancy.  I expected my birthing experience to involve a good amount of pain, but I also thought it would at the same time be wonderful, beautiful, and amazing in a life-changing sort of way.  And well, it was most certainly a life-changing event.

When I was pregnant, I had a healthy lifestyle and read the books recommended by my OB/GYN and took the classes offered by the hospital.  I also got a lot of my information from talking to other women.  I wish more mothers had shared their feelings about how they gave birth, emphasizing how extremely important and powerful your birthing experience is, how it will effect you for the rest of your life… good or bad.

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Every woman and baby’s birth experience is important, yet so little time or energy is focused on this issue.  When a woman is pregnant, all the talk is about the stuff that happens before and after giving birth.  Everyone is concerned with her degree of morning sickness, and with what she can and cannot eat.  Everyone is eager to find out what the gender will be, what color the nursery will be painted.  But almost no one asks any details about what kind of birth experience she is planning, or discusses the necessity of having a solid plan and support system.

I think it is important to share this information with other women.  It is important to share what went well, what you didn’t like, and consequently what your emotions were during and after giving birth.  I am not asking women to share horror stories of the pain involved with giving birth, or to tell other women what to do.  I am asking that they share how they were made to feel while giving birth.  Were they being nurtured and supported?  Or were they mostly left alone in the hospital room with their nervous husband, a nurse occasionally checking in on them?  Were they given the time needed for their body to labor and deliver?  Or were they encouraged to “hurry up,” or else they would need to have a c-section?  Did everyone respect and follow the birth plan they had created, or was that a waste of time?  Did they feel empowered, or were they told what to do, what was best for them and their babies?

When I share my birthing experience, I do so in hopes that it may help someone else ask the right questions, do the appropriate research, and have the birth experience they deserve and desire.

When I found out I was pregnant, I scheduled an appointment with my OB/GYN.  We went over all the basics of healthy eating and exercise and such.  My due date came along, and my OB/GYN insisted I needed to be induced, for the safety of my unborn baby.  But I felt, deep in my heart, that this was the wrong thing to do, that it wasn’t time yet for the baby to be born.  After a lot of arguing and worrying, I decided to do what I was told.  After three days of failed induction (Cervadil and Pitocin), I had a c-section.  My baby spent seven hours in the NICU.  Meanwhile, I was alone in the recovery area, located in the basement of the hospital.  When I was finally allowed to hold my baby, she was literally exhausted and would not open her eyes to look at me.  No one asked about our experience, because everyone was trying to focus on the good… the beautiful new baby we had.

During the next month, breastfeeding was horribly difficult, yet another disappointment.  I spent many, many hours with tears running down my face, on to my breasts and my also crying baby, who was hungry but unable to figure it all out.  We had missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime, critical moment for bonding immediately after birth, and she had too many second-hand drugs (from the induction and c-section) circulating through her tiny body, causing us to struggle to achieve a successful latch.

After a lot of effort and energy, I have finally healed myself of all the anger and guilt I felt with my birthing experience.  I still have some sorrow, for the injustice to my baby to be brought into the world in such a way.  But the lesson I learned, and my message to other pregnant women, is to trust yourself and listen to your heart.  The act of giving birth should not be feared, it should simply be respected.  Please listen to your body, listen to your baby.

If anyone wishes to share their birthing experiences please contact  Heather Vogler at 440-5455 or [email protected] .