Friday, December 14, 2007

Crossing the Portal, the Old School Way

I just stood there in Pottery Barn the other week, in front of a phone that looked just like the lovely heavy black phone that we had when I was little. You know, the one with the rotary dial that, when you needed to dial 9-1-1, took such a long time for that 9 to rotate. No wonder they didn't stick with the British emergency code of 9-9-9. The emergency would have been over before the dialing was done.

So, still standing there, lost in space and time, I started to think about my low-tech childhood in the '60s and '70s, how I skipped to Kerrisdale school in my skirt and walked through old door marked "Girls", and how my parents decided that it was totally unnecessary to have all the new high-tech things that were in the stores - how we shared a party line, had no answering machine, no voicemail, no calculators, no computers, no videos or DVDs, no recording devices, dishwasher or washer/dryer. We just had one little black and white TV with rabbit ears, a clothes line, and a hand cranked mangle to make life easier. (I laughed when I heard the editor of Canadian House and Home say just last week that her laundry room would not be complete without her most luxurious appliance - the mangle. Well, this one's electric, and it presses sheets, but hey...) It was truly an "Old School" childhood, and time was our ally.

So, I really noticed those multi-coloured cut-out letters stuck on the window at BC Women's Hospital the other day - "I DO IT OLD SCHOOL - ASK ME HOW". I kept thinking about those words as I helped a client through an almost 48-hour unmedicated, uncomplicated birth. After 31 hours at home, we went to the hospital to birth "old school" style. The tools at hand were our hands and eyes and ears and wisdom (other than my client and her husband, "We" also included nurse "Wendy" aka Michelle, and the Family Practice Group 2 docs Ron and Sheena, who all have the guts to go "old school"). Time, on this day, was our ally, for we needed a lot of it to accomplish the goal. The high-tech equipment didn't seem to know how to behave with us. The blood pressure cuff kept pumping itself up even when no one was there, and that brand-fangled-new monitor didn't work as well as the doptone, so it was turned off.

So, things were kept as simple as possible. On and on...dancing in the shower, rockin' an rollin' on the ball, just one contraction at a time, one breath at a time, listening to lovely music. To get rid of a puffy cervix at 9cm, we used the Trendelenburg position on the bed (no epidural necessary) and lots of encouragement. We used hip squeezes, hip shakes, swirling and spiralling hips, visualization, trance-inducing techniques, foot rubs, endorphin sleep and dreams, squatting, kneeling, walking, tears, hands, eyes, and love....liberally. And this amazing labouring woman drew on the strength of all her life, with the aid of a few sherpas, and did what all women have the power to do, climb the highest mountain ever - birthed her baby with arms outstretched to touch his body.

And when that baby came, it was pure joy. No exhaustion, just sparkling laughter and smiles and "I'm as high as a kite!" (love those endorphins) and an eager, wide-awake little boy who came out with his meaty fist stretched to the sky. Ahaa! The culprit - just one little hand had slowed things down. We knew it! But, with time, this little man and his mum had worked it out.

When the pediatrician came later to say "Hi", she actually bowed down before the woman, saying "I am not worthy." And the doctors agreed that, if any drugs had been used, it probably would have been a cesarean. And the nurses outside were in awe, knowing that there's an initiative in the hospital to reduce the intervention and cesarean rates by encouraging low tech/high touch birthing, and wishing that they could have seen how it was done.

I am in awe of the couple at the centre of the whirlwind, this vortex of birth. I thank them for trusting in birth, for trusting in the body, for trusting their baby, for trusting me to calm their spirit and their wild eyes, when I'd say, "It's fine, it's normal, you are safe, you can do it," or "She's safe, she has the strength to do this."

On this day, I think all three crossed the portal, the old school way.

by Jacquie Munro, Vancouver Doula (www.vancouverdoula.blogspot.com)

11 comments:

TawniAline said...

wonderful story :) don't know what else to add--thanks for sharing :)

Katrina said...

Wow, reading this almost made me cry. It gives me confidence in my ability to birth.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jacquie, i was directed to your essay from the Lamaze site. You are as eloquent as ever. It was good to "hear your voice"
Sharron Gibbs

linda said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Joyce

http://www.videophonesguide.com

Generic Viagra without Prescription said...

This is really great blog post found here..... your blog having very unique content.... Thanks very much!

college board said...

Very interesting material. Well when there is so much a new. Many thanks, simply class

online essays free said...

It seems to me that a woman who is supported to labor as she instinctively wants to, is a woman who will likely feel positive about her birth experience and future parenting skills.

dating said...

I hope you have a nice day! Very good article, well written and very thought out. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

wisdom teeth extraction cost said...

It seems to me that a woman who is supported to labor as she instinctively wants to, is a woman who will likely feel positive about her birth experience and future parenting skills.

Free Poker said...

The most famous form of poker is a game of Texas Hold'em. It attracts the most fans . The game takes a full deck of 52 cards. The task of the players is to win a pile of chips posed by arranging the best hand of cards or frighten other players their bets. In Texas Hold'em , each player is dealt two hole cards , hidden from the eyes of others, and dealer (with English dealer) on the middle of the table puts the five community cards .
www.onlinepokerfree.eu
free poker cash 5 dollars
www.freebonuspoker.eu
no deposit bonus
www.pokerbonussansdepot.biz
ohne einzahlung pokern
www.bonussenzadeposito.biz
bonos sin deposito
www.bonossindeposito.info
This is a preliminary round game , which begins even before the cards are dealt. Two players on the left side of the button on a designated player , the first to pay a small and big blind ( small blind and the big blind ) . Then, the dealer distributes the cards. The bidding starts in pre -flop person sitting directly to the left of the player located in the big blind . Then we move clockwise rotation . Each player decides to continue participation in the game. As a final decision is made by the player sitting in the big blind . If earlier there is no raise can check (check ) or raise .

Poker Bonus said...

Caribbean Poker is a game with very simple rules and with the possibility of frequent and high won on good terms , and accumulating jackpot - also very popular. There is probably no casino in the world where terrestrial Internet and no one could play a few hands in the " Caribbean " .
The official English name is Caribbean Stud Poker and Caribbean Poker at a glance . Keep in mind that the phrase " Stud " is a general term for a wide group of varieties of poker , not just for poker Caribbean .
Play poker Caribbean to the test! No registration, no pay ! CLICK HERE and play poker caribbean like in a real casino ! The trial version for free!
www.pokermaniac.eu
bonuses for player
bonuswithoutdeposit.eu
ohne einzahlung pokern
www.nodeposit-bonus.eu
bonos sin deposito
www.bonossindeposito.biz