20 months ago, a few days before Christmas I was trying to check into the hospital. My water had been broken for 16 hours. I was gbs+ so I knew I would need antibiotics to protect my baby from the infection, and with my waters released I knew to prevent further infections I should not have any vaginal exams. The Gatekeeper, aka nurses’ station, told me that I couldn’t check in unless they confirmed my water had broken, since I was very much not acting like a women in labor. The surges were coming, but I was still walking and talking through them. I showed them a copy of my birth plan, which my ob/gyn had signed off on, stating that I did not have to have any vaginal exams. They said without the exam they would not check me in. I said fine, I am going to go walk around Ikea, they then told me I couldn’t leave if my water had broken- I was in the proverbial rock and a hard place. After much discussion with my birth team, and the nurses, it was agreed upon how they could check my waters. I had given very detailed informed consent, and even more detailed informed refusal. The nurse ignored my informed refusal, violated me, and set me on a path that would change my life forever.
Every journey begins with a single step. My first step into Empowerment, my "I will not go quietly into the night! I will not vanish without a fight! I will birth my son! I will do this without oppression! Today we celebrate our Birthing Day!” (Modified from a quote from Independence Day) was when a nurse, who was up fiddling with my IV bag, said “You need to stop pushing, you will swell.” I looked at her and said, “I was on your drugs for 8 hours without a change, I started to listen to my body and I went from a 3 to an 8 in an hour. I will continue to listen to my body.” The nurse left the room, not believing I had a baby coming. This was the Friday before Christmas, so they were short staffed. My mother, who has attended over 200 births as an MA, and my doula, hit the call button and shouted: “we see a head”. The nurse peaked in the room, didn’t even look and me and said “no there isn’t.” The next surge I had birthed my son’s head, and the nurse started yelling for people to find a doctor, mine hadn’t arrived yet, there was none in the hospital. The nurse helped with my son’s shoulder dystocia, and I had a hospital accidental unassisted birth. There was no doctor, or midwife, present; on the birth certificate I almost put my doula, since she was practically the one that delivered my son. I have never been more Empowered then in that moment. I endeavor to make other women as Empowered as I was.
After returning home from the hospital
Through a series of unusual events, and because I have a unique skill set, last February I found myself involved with an event bigger then my wildest dreams. We had our first meeting to discuss Premiering some birth videos produced by the Touch of Life, and have a nice get together as a group of friends. In just one week, instead of a film premier for 30 people, we were looking at 150 guests and 20 paid vendors- it became evident we needed to upgrade our venue. One month from the day of our first meeting, an event was born, with 450 attendees and 35 vendors, all coming together for one reason to- Empowering Fearless Birth.
Empowering Fearless Birth is now preparing for its second event. We have upgraded our event again and have a mind blowing group of Guests of Honor, Panelists, and Vendors to further the cause of Empowering Fearless Birth. EFB looks different to different people, including those on the organizing committee. For me it is about mother and baby, having rights to their bodies; where people are respect for making the choices that are right for them. No two families are the same, no two children are the same, and what is right for one is not always right for the other. When we force things on others against their wishes, whatever that is, we take away their rights and damage the human family. I will fight for your rights to make your choices as a parent, and I will never force my views on you. You are Powerful, You are Awesome, You are the Perfect Parent for your child.