Creative Loafing

I don’t make it a habit of advertising my choice of birth option. Women who brag about having a natural, unmedicated birth are like those women who say they “eat and eat and never gain a pound.” We hate them, right? I’ve been in many “mommy” conversations with representatives from both camps discussing their birthing preference– those mommies who would welcome their epidural as soon as their jeans started getting snug with a post labor recovery time somewhere around their child’s first day at kindergarten; and those who birth twins sideways on their kitchen floor, immediately slip back into their 27’s, and perk up in enough time to get dinner on the table. To each his own. The worst is when the kitchen floor boasting mommy makes the pain-free birthing mommy feel like she’s weak or selfish for opting out of the natural experience– as if to say, “Oh, you had an epidural. Gee, that’s too bad. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish solving the world hunger crisis. Good luck with those tiddlywinks.” I chose to have an unmedicated hospital birth with Salem and a birth center birth where pain-meds weren’t even optional with Amelia. I’ve heard everything from, “Are you just a glutton for pain?” to “What are you trying to prove?” I’ve stopped talking about it in general unless otherwise asked because not only do I like to maintain some degree of privacy, but also because it is exhausting trying to defend or explain my decisions when it comes to child birth. I’d like to say that my reasons are purely deep and spiritual. Some of them are but truth be told, the thought of being numbed while strapped to a bed feels very “asylum horror flick” to me. Even more significant perhaps is the idea that new life is coming into the world. Someone ought to feel that, and that someone ought to be me. “Birth with a bang” as I like to say. Well, a reporter from Creative Loafing Charlotte contacted me recently to share my story surrounding Amelia’s birth back in August and my experience at the Carolina Community Maternity Center. Little did I know that it would make this week’s cover story.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the article…

The born ultimatum

Why is N.C. afraid of midwives? CL travels across the state line to find answers. Story by Paula White.

“Charlotte resident Salina Beasley was sewing black-and-white bedding for her daughter’s room when her first contraction hit. It was 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 4. She was home with her 1-year-old son, Salem, and her mother, who’d traveled from Orlando to help manage once the new baby arrived. Her husband, Clark, was due back in a few hours from out of town.

Salina continued sewing. She mentioned to her mother that her granddaughter may be on the way. The expectant mom then called her husband and next her midwife — it was an action that, in Charlotte, has often been done in hushed tones. Salina, however, had no worries.

The Beasley family had relocated to the area from Atlanta a couple of months earlier. And because the stay-at-home mom and singer was already more than 30 weeks pregnant at the time of the move, finding medical care quickly was imperative. She’d delivered Salem naturally in a hospital without the use of drugs, and she wanted to do the same with her daughter; however, she learned upon arriving in Charlotte that to utilize her insurance for labor and delivery, she’d have to travel back to Atlanta.

That was not acceptable. She began exploring other options.

“I knew I didn’t have the nerve to have a home birth, but I also knew I didn’t want to go through the assembly-line-strapped-to-the-bed experience at the hospital,” says Salina. “I wanted the comfort of knowing that medical interventions were close if I needed them, but otherwise, I wanted to be in a place where I felt my birth was being celebrated as a natural process and not treated like an illness”…

You can read the rest of the article here.

After I read this, I called my mother, my husband, and my pastor to say, “Check me out! I’m in the paper!” Then I had to laugh when I realized that what makes for headline coverage in the 21st century is something that women have been doing for hundreds of years, some of them right on their kitchen floor. I do hope you enjoy the read, and I hope that mommies everywhere simply remember that they have options when it comes to making decisions surrounding the birth of their child. Also, if you live in the Charlotte metropolitan area, I’d love to share more about my experience at the birth center. Those mid-wives were a Godsend, and I would plan for a rerun birth there in a heartbeat.

Ok, now I realize that by discussing childbirth, I’ve opened a can of worms. I can’t wait to hear your comments. Ready…. GO!

 

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11 Comments

  1. December 2, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Hey Salina- I loved this! When I had Max 15 months ago, we were all set for a natural/ unmedicated hospital birth- but after 55 hours of labor, I was too exhausted to think about pushing him out– so I got pain meds, enough to sleep for a few hours, then pushed our little man right now, after my nap.

    Now, that I’m pregnant again, I’m already doubting my ability to do it– what if it takes that long, what if, what if, what if– but really feel like a natural birth– “birth with a bang!” :)– is the way to go. This post totally encouraged me to try it again. Thanks!!

    • ladylullabuy said,

      December 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      I’m thrilled to hear it. You absolutely can do it! And don’t feel bad for a second that you got the meds on the first go around. Be encouraged that no matter what, your little life is coming into the world and you will have your own story to tell. I look forward to hearing it!!

  2. December 2, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Kudos Salina for bringing up a hot topic but one that deserves a lot of thought and discussion. How cool to have your experience written about in the paper! Lots of women are going to be encouraged by reading about your experience having little Amelia!

    To me the main thing an expectant couple needs to think about is getting as educated as possible for the birth of their baby. So many couples just go to the doctor expecting him or her to tell them what to do. Be proactive! Learn all you can about childbirth and be prepared.

    When I had my daughter 25 years ago, I discovered the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth. We lived in NYC at the time and in that entire city, there was only one Bradley teacher. We had such a good experience with it that after our daughter was born, we became certified teachers and taught for 5 years. So I’m a stickler for getting educated and understanding your options and all the interventions that are commonly used. Also, when you are educated you can weigh the risks vs. benefits of things like pain meds, ultrasounds, circumcision, etc., etc.

    God designed women’s bodies perfectly to give birth. The vast majority of women can have a wonderful childbirth experience if they prepare themselves. My best advice is: learn all you can, know your options, ask questions and get educated!

    Blessings!

  3. December 2, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    This is great! You are famous!

  4. Donna Davis said,

    December 2, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Salina, I’m so glad you had the “natural” experience with both of your babies. I would have liked to have done that as well. Unfortunately, because of pre-eclampsia and toxemia, I had to have C-sections. Since I had my last baby twenty-four years ago, I’ve noticed how much the C-section rate has climbed. Women who have pre-eclampsia/toxemia are given sections so early in their pregnancies–as early as 24 weeks. My condition started at 24 weeks, but I spent time in hospital until Elisabeth was 34 weeks. Women need to educate themselves and not let doctors scare them into early C-sections. I don’t even like to think of women who schedule a C-section for convience’s sake. A C-section is MAJOR surgery, and there are complications. The same goes for natural birth. Education is the key. I was ready for a natural birth with my son–I took the LaMaze classes even when I was on bedrest (with the doctor’s permission). Please keep this topic up-front. BTW, I’m a little older than your intended audience, but I love reading your thoughts on motherhood. Tell Pastor “Duke” hello from me!

  5. Melissa Musson said,

    December 2, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Awesome, Salina! Thank you for sharing your amazing birth story. I love to read/hear about other Mommies and their birth experiences, especially when it’s as successful as yours. Like, Kate, Kip & I discovered The Bradley Method with our first baby and the information we gained from that is immeasurable. We have had four little blessings, each one a new & different but beautiful experience. I do completely understand your feelings of ‘defense’ and ‘explanation’ . . . it is exhausting!

    Love reading your blog! You are a beautiful writer and so full of wisdom.

    Blessings!
    Melissa

  6. Tabatha said,

    December 2, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I love hearing tales of birth, from the sad ones where nothing went as planned to the unexepected, delivery on the side of the road in a taxi ones. You can learn something from each and every one.
    My first birth, with Xavier, was your typical, confined to a bed in a ward with several other women moaning & screeching. I did get to choose drug free, which was the only good thing about the experience other than meeting my son. I had no privacy other than a curtain that billowed open anytime someone walked past. Jamey was downstairs making phone calls and they almost didn’t let him in when it came time to move me to delivery. Down a hall lined with people, bare from the waist down, they pushed my shoulders back to the bed when I tried to sit up to push. During my 3 minutes of active pushing, I was grunting with effort and trying very hard not to punch the nurse who insisted on commanding me “No noise!” repeatedly. It was horrible.

    Delivery with Mykalah was also drug free, still in a hospital, although a smaller one. But other than those similarities, it was a different world.
    My nurse encouraged me to walk as much as I’d like, and I did so, marking off many yards, if not a mile or two. When I felt I was ready, I headed upstairs to my own private labor & delivery room. Soundproofed at that. No ringing telephones, no outside noises at all. I had family there, although I wasn’t taking much heed of them. When the time came to push, I was able to situp, grab my thighs, grunt with effort and in general take charge of my own body’s reaction to the situation. My doctor was pregnant with twins herself when she delivered Mykalah. She (the doc) cried a bit as she handed her off the nurses to get cleaned up. It wasn’t a comforting warm bath in a suite 😉 but thank God it wasn’t a duplicate of the first.

  7. Stephanie said,

    December 3, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    This is soo cool! Congrats, my friend!! Can I have your autograph? 🙂

  8. Leigh Anne said,

    December 7, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Hi Salina,
    Thanks so much for sharing your story! My husband and I are hoping to start having kids next year and your story was very encouraging. We watched Ricki Lakes documentary last year and were very challenged by her message. It is awesome to hear from women in the Charlotte area who are living it and experiencing what we saw in the movie. Again, thank you for being willing to be vulnerable with your story even when people can be critical or defensive. Like you said, to each his own!

    LA

    • ladylullabuy said,

      December 7, 2010 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks so much for your encouragement. Im honored to be able to share my story if it gives others hope and confidence. Blessings to you in your journey toward mommyhood!


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