My freshman year here at Dixie I was at a party and I talked to a guy that was completing the EMT program. I had always been very interested in emergency medicine-but for some reason I never pictured that I could just go to school for that and then do it for a living. So the following semester I signed up for the program and completely my EMT-basic (an awesome move for a single 19 year old because it’s ALL firemen in that class…). During my EMT training we learn how to deliver babies in an emergency situation and our nurse that trained us was from the East coast. She went on for days about what pansies we West coast women were-that we didn’t know how to labor and all we wanted was the epidural. It was at that time that I vowed that I was a big tough girl and I wouldn’t need drugs to deliver my baby!!
I went on from there to complete my EMT-Intermediate and was seriously considering the Paramedic program and suddenly had a change of heart. It was weird-I just knew it wasn’t what I was supposed to do. So I dropped out and switched over to Digital Motion Picture Production (totally not weird to do that at all) and ended up doing the remainder of my schooling in the Visual Technologies. Unfortunately at the time EMT-I’s made $6.75 an hour and I could make WAY more than that doing just about anything else so I never really had the chance to run ambulance. I worked as a Med Tech, and a severely over-educated lifeguard, but it always left me wondering why I had wanted to/felt so strongly to complete my EMT training.
Flash forward a few years and I was pregnant with Paisley. I had taken this vow at this point to not take any drugs (solely because I.WAS.TOUGH…oh dear) and so I started studying up on what I needed to do to get though labor without meds. It was looking grim. While prego I watched one of my closest friends go through one of the most arduous inductions I had ever seen and end up with an emergency c-section and I went home and bawled. It was terrifying. So I checked every book they had on the subject out at the library and I read. And read. And read. My EMT training had also taught me that delivering at home was a very bad idea (mostly because at the time we didn’t have any Certified Nurse Midwives or really well trained midwives for that matter and by the time ambulance was called it was really bad). So I interviewed and hired the best OB for the job and hoped for the best. We couldn’t really afford a doula (I don’t know if I really knew what one of those was yet…even in all my reading) nor could we afford childbirth education classes, so we downloaded some and watched those, hoping for the best.
Considering it was my first baby and going off still limited knowledge, things went really well. I managed to avoid any really interventions, stayed in the shower until transition-and really ultimately had an incredible experience. At that point I thought that monitoring throughout labor was really important…and so does the hospital staff-but laying flat and not moving in bed is no way to labor, and that’s ultimately what made me take the drugs. I’m glad I did-I was so panicked and so did Jon and being in the situation that we were… I still believe it was the best thing to do! I absolutely cannot ever look down at anyone for getting an epidural because labor is rough!
Anyway, most of that is a bit of a side note-the important thing is that when I got pregnant with Stella it renewed my efforts to learn everything I could about how to best deliver a baby. I was surprised more and more as I really began to look into statistics and studies. It turns out that at home with a Certified Nurse Midwife is your BEST CHANCES!! Continual monitoring really is not necessary! Most importantly I studied the difference between pain and suffering-they are 2 different things. I read many amazing articles on the difference and how to manage pain. I found several books, text books even on midwifery and even doula training and put together my birth plan. And Stella’s birth was an incredible success. I couldn’t have planned it better-it was amazing. Hiring a midwife instead of an OB really made a difference for me, having Jon study and be better prepared made a HUGE difference, having a support system all set up and in place and knowing what to say no to and what to say yes to was key.
Wow, this is getting longer than I anticipated. I think with Stella my attitude changed so much too. I no longer wanted to give birth naturally so that I could prove my toughness-I wanted to experience the whole thing. I wanted to have the urge to push and be more aware of everything happening (I was not more aware-labor is crazy intense regardless). Having her left me wanting to share this-because it is a crazy experience! People pay crazy money to bungee jump and sky dive-giving birth is the highest of highs and the most intense experience you could ever have!
I always said back in the beginning if I went to medical school I wanted to be an OB/GYN, and now that I’ve learned more I’ve realized that I would actually be a better CNM. Being an OB seemed so out of reach, but doing a masters in nursing seems attainable. So lately I’ve been throwing the idea around…go back to school, then back to work…with such young kids…i don’t know… And then I was considering maybe becoming a doula and just working as a labor support for now..nothing medical just support. All of this has been bouncing around in the back of my head working it’s way through for months now.
And then we moved. And went to church. An I mentioned to someone at church that I’m interested in all of this and word quickly got around and I got a call. And now I’m training to be a birth assistant with a Certified Nurse Midwife here in town!! She has a small enough clientele that I shouldn’t be too busy but enough that I get a taste for now. As I sat in my first training all of the stars aligned and I felt like suddenly the last 10 years of my life have prepared me to do this-starting with my EMT training and ending with me wanting to learn more about how to be a doula. It’s all coming together and I’m so excited.
I went to my first birth last night. I got home at 4:30 this morning. It was amazing.