24 years ago today my husband and I were working towards the birth of our second child, a son. It was not an easy labor, with blood pressure spiking in the stroke range, back labor making things terribly difficult, and due to the problems with blood pressure I was confined to the bed on my left side.
Back then there was only a couple of options for pain relief. IV drugs and something I had never heard of before, an epidural. It was normal to be confined to the bed, regardless of the situation. Positions to aid in labor and delivery were unheard of and the only real suggestions to help through labor was to have a focal point and use breathing techniques. Some of those same breathing techniques are now known to cause hyperventilation and light headedness.
Eventually my son made his entrance into the world, all 9 lbs 12 oz of him. We had some complications due to his size and I am grateful every day that God saved his life. He was so blue/purple at his birth from lack of oxygen he very easily could have died or had severe brain damage. God protected him and gave him to us, crazy and full of fun.
As I look back today I am reminded about a few things. Doulas may have existed then but I had never heard of them. Birth balls, counter pressure, different positions, laboring down was unheard of then. Pushing flat on my back was torture but all we knew. I’m grateful for what I know now and the changes being made in the world of childbirth. Today I am given an opportunity to help women work through labor, using techniques which give women a chance to manage their pain without drugs, recognizing when a position change might speed up labor or relieve pain. I have had the joy of being there when a man and a woman become a family as their new baby arrives and is placed on the mother’s chest. I am amazed at how much has changed in the world of childbirth in the last 24 years. It has changed so much for the better!
I am looking forward to the next few years and seeing the wonderful changes and improvements to come. I am hoping in our little community of Dallas County will also see some improvements. This fall I am working to launch a childbirth class which will give families a chance to not only be prepared for birth but to bring the new baby home. The hope is to send every home with a starter kit to help make it easier to bring baby home. Keep an eye out for more details as everything falls into place.