A Picture May Not Say A 1000 Words

Picture this:  A woman in the hospital in labor.  She is lying in the bed, moaning through contractions.  An IV in her arm tethers her to a pole beside the bed.  Her contractions are irregular, often slowing to just four and hour.  She is progressing, but slowly.

If you were to share that image and information with a group of birth professionals, the reaction would be the same from most of them.  Get that woman out of bed.  Get her moving.  Let her eat.  Let her drink.  Get that IV out of her arm!

But let me share the rest of the story.  This woman has been in labor for nearly two days.  She hasn’t slept.  She is exhausted.  She has been drinking water, but has no appetite and is vomiting frequently.  Her exhaustion leads to fear, to doubt.  She doesn’t think she can do this much longer.  Rather than tell her to get up, move, get her contractions going—or worse, administer pitocin– her doula and midwife listen.  Her doula suggests resting in the bed in a position still conducive to labor.  Her midwife suggests that maybe IV fluids would hydrate and revitalize her.

Now she is the picture mentioned above.  And because she listened to her body…. because she had a midwife that knew that the baby would come when ready…because she had a doula that recognized that there is a time for rest as well as activity in labor…. that mom, the one tied to the hospital bed having four contractions an hour, gave birth to a healthy baby boy just 40 minutes later.

– Renee Wymer