The Satisfaction Of Opportunity
By By Keisha Graziadei-Shup
Photo by Jon Shup Photography
Disclaimer: This personal birth narrative was written by Keisha Graziadei-Shup. Opinions expressed here are hers and do not necessarily represent New Life Birth Center.
Riding in the back of a rickety ambulance while mostly naked, feverish, still having contractions, and with zero abdominal strength to hold me from flopping around like a dead whale was admittedly horrible. It was an agonizingly slow 30 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything in my life more than to be out of that ambulance.
I understand why women would want to avoid such a transfer, whether from a birth center or from their home, and just go to the hospital to begin with. It wasn’t unsafe necessarily, but it was very miserable. But, I was less concerned about comfort, and more concerned about not having a c-section. Thus far, the birth center provided me every opportunity to avoid the c-section.
In the end, it seemed that Baby Jael was stuck on my pelvic bone. My pelvis just wouldn’t open wide enough to let her pass. Not until she was out would we know that she was almost nine and a half pounds.
She was a large baby relative to my small frame — 5’2” and around 135 pounds at my normal weight.
It wasn’t something anyone could have known until she was out — whether in a birth center, at home, or in the hospital. No birth location could have predicted or prevented this.
In the end, the birth center still gave me every opportunity to do it naturally while the hospital’s philosophy would have been to intervene much sooner, forever leaving me to wonder if I could have done it myself or not.
Under my circumstances, had I started in the hospital I would probably have had a more comfortable labor. That’s important to a lot of people. I get that.
However, in the hospital I wouldn’t have ever been able to truly test the limits of my body or live out this universal feminine experience to its fullest, according to nature, with all its glory, unpredictability, and imperfections. And I wouldn’t have been able to give Jael and myself every opportunity to do what’s most natural and, what I believe to be, most healthy.
Yes, it was very hard work, and miserable and nerve-wracking at moments. But because of the opportunity to do it myself, I received the satisfaction of having gone through it, and of having the opportunity to accomplish what I believed to be best for my baby and me, to the best of my knowledge and convictions.
To learn more about how midwives and birth centers make a difference in the community, visit the New Life Birth Center’s Why A Birth Center? or What’s A Midwife? page or give us a call to schedule a free birth center tour and orientation at 540-482-0505.
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Sierra Petty says
Thank you for sharing. This is so helpful! I too want to water birth and give my body every chance to have a most natural labor. It’s worth the risk of extra discomfort. Thank you again.
Hey Sierra, you bet! It’s our hope to provide women with a nuanced view of childbirth so they can make the decisions that are best for them and their families! I’m really glad this was helpful for you. -Keisha