My photographic hero/icon/inspiration, Dorothea Lange's birthday was yesterday, she was a pioneer for female photographers... I felt her quote on courage was fitting for this blog post.
After you read and watch this birth story, if you yourself had a similar birth experience, I ask that you please leave this precious momma some uplifting words of encouragement and healing. As women and mothers we are each other's biggest supporters!
Meet Marlia. She wanted as natural of a delivery as possible. Her birth plan took a few turns along the way. But watching her, each step, each change, accept with grace and bravery what was unfolding was truly inspiring. I hope she reads this and believes each word I say. She showed true courage under pressure. The first curve ball was an induction versus spontaneous labor, which meant pitocin. She labored for hours on end, battling and breathing through each contraction, holding off as long as she could without an epidural. Progress was elusive and the pitocin was at it's near highest level. Marlia had managed her labor amazingly, pitocin contractions are no joke, and at that level I'm in awe she made it as long as she did without the epidural. So yes, epidural was her next curve ball. But again she embraced it, charged onward with her goal set on a safe delivery for her sweet little girl. Fast forward a few more hours, pitocin maxed, epidural in, Marlia just wasn't dilating. I must say I was so very impressed with her OB who let her labor and try as long as she had, but Marlia was officially past 24 hours of labor since her water broke with a small fever setting in. So after 24 hours of true grit and determination, Marlia was taken back for a c-section. No tears, no fear, just strength... that is all I saw at least through my lens. I wanted to hug her, pray over her (which I prayed to myself throughout the day/night), I was so proud of her, and soon her baby would be here, safe.
Madilyn had come down transverse (ever so slightly sideways), there was no way she could descend far enough down to dilate her cervix. There was no way sweet girl was going to be born the way her momma had envisioned. I've since talked several times with Marlia, and like any momma, she's going through the stages of grief over the unexpected events of her delivery. Things did not go according to plan, and I think it's ok for mom's to be sad, to be frustrated that they "missed out" on their ideal birth. But I also, so desperately want my mommas to know, that with 100% certainty, there was nothing else she could've done to change that outcome. So I pray, that after the sadness, and frustration passes over the coming months, that Marlia can watch this slideshow and see the strength, the courage, the determination, and the rock star momma she was for her little girl as she came into this world.
Marlia, you amazed me in that 24+ hours, I'm so very proud of you!