Labor Repose

Labor Repose
LaborPayne during her 6th homebirth (9th baby) at age 44

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Position, Position, Position

I just have to say that those Haitian ladies really know how to move in labor. Without medications to keep them drugged and bedridden (they are no beds either after all!) they get up and move throughout their labors. In early labor we have them walk and drink water. During active labor I saw them sway their hips, kneel on the floor, get on all fours and sway back and forth, crawl around, stand and squat repeatedly, bend over holding on to beds and tables, lean against loved ones while squatting between their knees, tailor sit, and on and on and on. Because the women squat a lot while doing chores and cooking, they found it really easy to get into positions I can only dream of getting into. I was really impressed. The positions they were using as they labored, really allowed the pelvis to open and the babies to come down. More than once I suggested (to the OBs, not the midwives) to let the moms off the delivery table and let them move around. I did very little to direct their movement. I let them do what felt good to them and they sure showed me some new stuff. They were all over the floor. No birth ball needed! I never saw American women do the kinds of positioning I saw the Haitian women doing. Some were absolutely silent, but others were very vocal with their contractions. They chanted and even sang throughout their labors. I learned so much about the wisdom of the body in labor as I observed and worked with the Haitian mothers. My homebirth experience really prepared me to be useful in this kind of birthing environment.


Brittani said...

I am a nurse midwife and was just contacted by a group and will probably leave for haiti in 6 weeks. I am so excited to read your blog and see all about your experiences!

LaborPayne said...

Congrats Brittani,
It will be a wonderful experience for you. It is an opportunity to give, but you'll be amazed what you receive.

Anonymous said...

This was awesome to read. I feel so hindered in labor, still self conscious even though I want to do this or that...crawl or whatever. I do move though, my midwife (Jeane) commented that she loved how much I just paced around. I love to hear women just knew to move and do what they needed to do.

Thank you by the way, I may have found you and written this to you. I had a midwife, and yes my last birth (baby #7) was in the hospital but to have a midwife with me made all the difference. She listened to me, observed, rubbed my back, suggested and asked and didn't order. She involved my husband and didn't treat him like a second class person in the room. I got to hold my baby right away and had no fuss about the meconium that was on one took her away. I gave her the first bath myself. Thank you for all you do. Even though I didn't brave home birth I did jump out of OB and two nurses observed a midwife work with I had a very normal birth. Baby was OP with a tilted head, she came out after 10 minutes of pushing and I had a very small tear. The nurses saw me with no medication...and saw a calm midwife when there was a long decel toward the end. (malposition and a tight cord...the midwife mentioned the cord and baby just wouldnn't turn from OP...though we tried positions and she tried to turn her...maybe it was the cord this one time). Anyway, I overcame my own weird fear and the midwife turned out to be a lovely person who supported me well in birth.