Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Oh, It's Possible

So the past few days the interwebs have been blowing up with commentary - both positive and negative - about Kate Middleton & Prince William welcoming their second baby, a sweet little girl.

Much of the commentary has been about how beautiful the baby is (and she IS! Have you seen her?), much has been about the lineage of the Royal Family and where this sweet princess falls in the way of the crown (blah, blah, blah), but most of what I've seen is commentary on Kate and how she looked in their first photo op as they were leaving the hospital.

Because how a mom looks when she leaves after giving birth is the most important thing of ever. Certainly not how she feels or how the birth went or how breastfeeding is going. I even saw a comment on Facebook that it must have been a c-section because she looked so good.

Wow. Just wow.

I've also seen a lot of commentary on how the royal surgeons were standing by, but it seems as if two midwives were actually the ones to catch the sweet princess (note I didn't say deliver the sweet princess - Kate did the delivering, thank you very much).

Now, I obviously don't know how the birth went down, but I do know a few things and based on what I know can make a couple assumptions.

First of all I would bet money that she didn't have a cesarean birth. Walking out of the hospital 10 hours after giving birth would be pretty darn difficult if she had - certainly not impossible, but difficult.

Secondly, since she actually does look as good as she does, I'm guessing that her birth was pretty natural with little-to-no interventions whatsoever.

One of the blog posts I read was written by a mom who didn't see how it was even possible for Kate to look the way she did. The author then went into detail about how horrendous she felt and looked after she gave birth. How swollen she was everywhere - feet, hands, face, etc; how miserable she felt; how she just absolutely couldn't believe that anyone could even stand upright, let alone the pain of having just delivering a watermelon sized object through a grapefruit sized opening wilst wearing a "diaper" for her postpartum flow. It really was convincing, and I can totally understand where she is coming from.

Based on the things this author was saying, I'm guessing she had a bit of an "assembly line" birth experience. From the sounds of it she likely had an IV for fluids (which can cause extra swelling after birth) perhaps while being induced with Pitocin or maybe along with an epidural (which can cause back pain, making it difficult for some to stand upright for a little while), and if those things were true she likely was told to "push, push, push - as hard as you can" while laying flat on her back which very easily could have caused a tear or maybe she was even given an episiotomy. If those things are all true, she could have also easily had forceps or a vacuum used to help pull the baby out - all of which can contribute to more excessive vaginal pain than if her tissues remained intact and instruments weren't used. Now obviously this is all speculation - I have no idea how this mama actually gave birth.

As a doula I have seen all kinds of births. I have had 3 very different births myself. One thing I know for sure, though, is that the less interventions that are used, the less chance for all of those dramatic after-birth symptoms. Can you feel rotten after having a completely natural and non-intervention birth? Of course. Can you feel great after a very intervention-driven birth? Absolutely! Are the chances as great for either? Definitely not.

Every single intervention used during birth blocks some natural function that your body normally performs. Sometimes they are necessary for one reason or another, but many times they are used because something else was blocked so mom's body isn't doing exactly what it should. For instance: When a mom is induced with Pitocin, it doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier, and Oxytocin (the natural, mom-created hormone that causes contractions) is overtaken and not produced in very high volume. Since the natural hormones are not in full swing, natural pain-relieving endorphines are also blocked from being produced in high volume. Since mom is having contractions and her body isn't making as many natural pain-relieving endorphines, she is more likely to opt for an epidural, which blocks things even more. She won't be able to move around much (if at all), and will likely deliver on her back, which reduces her pelvic size by 30%. Since her pelvis is much smaller and there is less room for baby to come out (not to mention she's pushing "uphill"), doc might open up her vaginal opening more with an episiotomy or even use foreceps or a vacuum because mom is just so exhausted from pushing for so long and not making enough progress.

Do you see the domino effect?

I am one that felt absolutely wonderful after my natural, intervention-free births. If I had an army of people dressing me, styling me, and getting me "glammed up" for a public appearance, I totally could have done what Kate Middleton did....heels and all.

Would I have wanted to do that?

Not in a million years.

You know what I was doing 10 hours after my last birth? I was snuggled up with my sweet new squish, nursing her in my jammies in the super quiet and restful comfort of the couch in my own living room. My husband was right next to us, the kiddos were sleeping soundly after a late night full of the excitement of welcoming their new baby sister, and it was blissful.

I don't know the details of Kate's birth, and frankly unless she wants to share them it's really none of my business. What I do know is that she is a brand new mom and no matter how her birth went I pray she gets some snuggles and bonding in with her new little arrival. I hope that after her brief public appearance while leaving the hospital that she can put herself into a new-mama-cocoon like I did and lounge in sweats, hair in a ponytail and no makeup. Her sweet baby is way more important than how made-up she looks anyway. Just because it's possible to look that glamorous after giving birth doesn't mean she should have to.

Happy baby moon, Dutchess Kate!


No comments: