Essays On Childbirth

I need feeback on adding/deleting details. Sentence structure, fluidity. grammar/punctuation.
identify thesis and making sure ending fits.

It was two thirty in the afternoon on a gorgeous sunny, fall, Tuesday. My favorite day of the week. I received a long awaited phone call from Tacoma General hospital. A nice young lady with a soft voice let me know that there was an open room available and to come as soon as I could to be prepped for induction. I was two weeks overdue in my pregnancy. After hanging up the phone, I just stood in one place as my mind went blank. I then had a rush of excitement and angst. I was about to give birth, and it was going to happen within the next twenty four hours, whether I was prepared or not.

I first ran down stairs to find my mom and let her know the good news. I mumbled "Mom, they have a room opened and we have to go NOW!" so fast, she had to yell my name and told me to calm down and start my sentence over. "We don't need to go right away, Anna." she said. "I have to take a shower and get my over night bag ready." "What about you, are you ready? Do you have extra clothes?, What about the baby bag? Are you going to take a shower or go in the pajamas that you have been wearing for the last two days?" I ran up the stairs and into my room to grab as much belongings as I could and stuff it into a over night bag. I was anxious to finally meet the little baby that had been growing in my body for the last nine months. I was jumping up and down from all the excitement and joyous feelings rushing through my plump, expanded, overindulged body.

An hour later I was ready to go. I did a lot of double checking to make sure I had everything. I checked the car seat to make sure it was in place and all pieces were in contact. I tightened the seat belt fives times. I popped the trunk twice to make sure all bags were in. I plopped into the passenger seat, strapped in and took a deep breath. This would be the last time I leave my house alone. I will be guaranteed to return with a little bundle of joy in my arms.

My mother and I arrive at the hospital forty five minutes later. We drive around the block twice, there is no parking available anyway near the entrance. We drive around once more and finally see a spot about to be opened. Before we even pull in, I have my seatbelt off and my hand on the car door ready to open it. As soon as she pulls into the spot, I jump out of the car and walk briskly to the door. My mother yells "Anna, what about all of your stuff!" I stop mid step, turn and walk back to the car.

Together, my mother and I enter the left wing of the hospital. We pass through two sets of sliding glass doors. My heart is pounding and I feel a little dizzy as we approach the counter. My mother speaks for me and asks directions of where we need to go to get admitted. The receptionist points down the hall and tells us to enter through the third door on the right. As we are walking down the hallway, I am being stared at by all the passersby's. There is a janitor strolling along on the left side of the hallway with his yellow bucket and drenched mop. The smell of sanitized, clean mopped floors and pristine white washed walls makes me nauseas.

I sit down inside of the little room that we entered. I am handed a clip board and was told to read, sign and date the stack of papers. As I am finishing I have a nurse approach me to take my blood pressure and vitals. She then tells me to take a seat out in the hallway, I am looking down and to my right is a little old lady with a wheel chair. She comes up to me and says "get in, we are going to your room" I told her that I was ok to walk and that I didn't need a wheel chair. She snarled at me and said "you better take the chance now while you have it." So I obliged and sat down. I was taken to the fourteenth floor, room 201.

The room was beautiful. There was a bed in in the middle of the room on the right side. The bathroom was in the back right corner. Five feet to the left of the bathroom was a huge oval bay window, overlooking all of Tacoma. It was so clean you could see your reflection in it perfectly. The sun was setting and it cast the most beautiful sunset into the room. Golden rays of light shine through the window and painted the walls yellow. It was breathtaking.

I lay my stuff down and plopped onto the bed to check the cushiness of the mattress. I found the remote and started to pushed buttons and raised the head of the bed up and down. I was like a kid exploring a whole new world of technology. The same remote also controlled the TV. I kept the TV. on for background noise and distraction from all the crazy thoughts that were wondering about in my head.

I wanted my pregnancy to be very private. I had my midwife and my mom with me. I had a great friend named Victoria too. She was there to take pictures and video of my sons birth. The hospital was to far away for anyone to come visit, and that was just fine with me.

When I get nervous I start to fidget and crack jokes a lot. I try to laugh as much as possible so I do not overwhelm myself and start to cry. With this said, the nurse came in. She had told me to get undressed and to put the robe on. She handed me a pair of cotton netted panties and a pad too. I had made a joke that I was here to give birth not be stuck in granny panties. Victoria took a picture of me modeling the underwear. The nurse laughed.

I lay in the bed as the nurse checked my vitals, blood pressure and temperature. She said she needed to get and IV started. That's when I freaked! I hate needles, and the feeling of it poking your skin and piercing the vein in your hand. I started to cry and told her I did not want an IV. As a general rule in my mind, when you are in the hospital staying overnight I always thought you needed an IV hooked up. I was wrong. After calming me down, the nurse handed me a 44oz. cup and told me I needed to fully drink one of those an hour. I was relieved and totally abided to it, no way in heck did I want that needle in my hand. The nurse wrapped a monitor around my belly to check on the baby's heart rate. He was doing just fine.

I was dilated two centimeters but was not in labor and had no sign of contractions. The nurse told me that I needed to open up more. She sent me on a walk around the fourteenth floor. I was prancing around the hallways and stopping to do a little boogie shakes here and there. I was waving at all the nurses. There was a group of couples that were getting a tour of the floor. I did a little dance for them too. They all looked at me as if I was crazy. When giving birth everyone expects the worst pain ever and the mother to be not mobile at all. I was feeling ecstatic. I felt I could dance around the world.

At 5 p.m. the nurse came back into my room to check to see if I had dilated any more. I was up to a four this time. She said the doctor would be in soon and to wait patiently. I fiddled with my thumbs and watched the news on the TV. I was hungry and asked to get room service. They brought me some dry chicken and rice pilaf, with a side of orange juice. Though disgusted with it, I devoured the food within minutes.

Finally after three hours of patiently waiting, the doctor came in. She was a very quiet middle aged Asian lady, with kind eyes and delicate hands. She made me lay down and scoot to the edge of the bed. She asked if I was ready to have my water popped and to begin labor. I said "Lets get this show on the road!" The doctor inserted a plastic stick and popped the bag of fluid inside of me. It came rushing out and soaked the sheets of the bed. I was embarrassed, but the doctor reassured me that it was ok. I felt exposed and unaware of what was going to come next.

Ten minutes after my water had been popped, I had a rush of excruciating pain contract through my upper abdomen and in through my lower pelvis. The doctor said I had started to labor and contractions were going to become strong. The wave of pain came every four minutes. It happened so fast that I could not catch a breath in between. No longer did I feel like I had control over my body. It took the nurse, my mother, and my midwife to ease me up off the bed and into the bathtub. The bath tub was equipped with water jets on all sides and was a standard tub. I lay my lower back on one jet as it soothed the horrible pain retracting through my body.

The contractions now were every two minutes. I was in the bathtub maybe twenty minutes. The nurse checked and I had dilated to seven centimeters. She explained to me that the bathtub was not big enough to give birth in and that I needed to get out and move to another room. They had a big bath tub filled up for me, so that I may labor an under water birth.

It took three ladies' full body strength to lift me up and out of the bathtub. I could only walk a few steps. I was inadequate to make it to the other room. As a contraction came on and paralyzed me from my belly down to my thighs I landed on the bed on my hands and knees. I cried out in pain as I felt the baby push through my pelvis. I thought he was going to fall out right then and there. The contraction passed and I was able turn over on my back in the bed.

The contractions were now every thirty seconds. I was not able to take a deep breath and started to panic. My body took over and my mind went blank. I could hear nothing. The voices of my mother, nurse, midwife and doctor floated in the air and dissipated. All I could do was scream in agony. I just wanted it to stop.

The doctor let me know that it would be in a matter of minutes before the baby was to be brought in this world and take his first breath. She placed a mirror between my legs so I could see what was going on. My mother propped me up with her arms and held me tight. She soother me as much as she could. The doctor told me on the next contraction that I needed to push through my bottom and hold it for a count of ten.

As the wave of heat, pain and sweat enveloped my body, I took a deep breath and pushed. One, two, three, four,... "please make it stop!!!" I screamed. As I tried to push, my contraction ceased and I would have to wait for another one to come on. On the second push I could see my sons head crown at the opening of my vagina. It made me want to push more, but the contraction stopped. His head had sunken back in to my body. Three times in a row this happened.

Finally, on the fourth push I felt a release of pressure. My sons head had come out. The doctor had told me to push lightly. As she helped ease him out of my body, she turned his shoulders to help him make way through the rest of the birthing canal.

The doctor reached up and lay my son upon my chest. The most intense, beautiful, serene moment of my life. This perfectly pink little wrinkly body lay dependant in my loving arms. I just brought another human being into this world. All I could say was "Oh my GOD!"

After all the commotion subsided and everything was under control. I look back and think of all the wonderful things I learned in the three hours of laboring a child into this world. It takes patience, and understanding. I had to be vulnerable and trusting with strangers. My body took over and did what it needed as it lacked in mind. It was the most intimate moment of my life. I would do it all over again.

Hyphens: It was two-thirty in the afternoon on a gorgeous sunny, fall, Tuesday. My favorite day of the week. I received a long-awaited phone call from Tacoma General hospital.

She was a very quiet, middle-a ged Asian lady, with kind eyes...

Okay, I figured out what the story is missing. You know, every movie or novel or TV show... everything you enjoy involves some TENSION and then resolution. Your story is well-written, and I know YOU had tension that day, but the reader does not feel any tension while reading the story.

What can you say at the start of this to make the reader worry about how it is going to end? Can you start it with a misleading, somber tone? Can you tell something about a complication to the pregnancy? Anything to make it a story with a conflict and a resolution.

You could achieve this even by mentioning, in the first paragraph, that you are going to tell a secret about childbirth, about the serenity that immediately follows the pain. You need to connect the beginning to the end, and add some tension... some conflict. For excitement!

The most important thing I learned when I was working as a nurse-midwife at an obstetric ward was that every mother wants to have a special, wonderful childbirth experience. This is true even though the birth itself is of diverse and mostly uncontrollable processes. Let me share two birth stories with you.

A young mother had gained almost 50 lbs during pregnancy. Her obstetrician and all the nurse-midwives expected that her labor would be long because of her excessive weight gain. However, her labor unexpectedly progressed so rapidly that she gave birth in the labor room, not in a delivery room, soon after her husband arrived, surrounded by her family members. There was no medical staff present at that moment. It was so fortunate that she had no vaginal wound or heavy bleeding and her big baby was very healthy. From the perspective of current medicalized childbirth, such an incident is usually regarded as dangerous and unacceptable. It was, however, to me, just a natural birth. Instantly, I told her that how wonderful she and her baby were, because she was able to go through childbirth very well on her own. The obstetrician supported us with reassurance. She looked relaxed by our praise. I apologized that I could not attend her during her birth. The relationship between her and the staff was not damaged at all. On the contrary, she became a more confident mother than other mothers, and she enjoyed childrearing with successful breastfeeding. She and her husband later invited me to their home, and we talked about her childbirth many times.

Another mother had an emergency cesarean section and delivered a healthy baby. As her labor progressed, her fetal heart rate dropped, and the obstetrician concluded that she should have a cesarean section. They went through the process of informed consent, but due to the circumstance, it was unlikely that the mother could really pay attention. I was concerned that she did not talk about her childbirth experience during her hospitalization. Just before she went home on the 10th postpartum day, I asked her if her childbirth experience was positive. I learned that, in fact, she did not understand why she suddenly needed a cesarean section. Still, she was happy to have a healthy baby. The informed consent process did not work for her after all. I explained to her the labor process that she and her baby had experienced, showing her the fetal heart rate records. She listened to me seriously, and then, I saw her smile for the first time!

Childbirth is the essential event of a woman's life as a mother. It is health care providers' duty to help make the mother' s everlasting memory of her childbirth experience special. Mothers and their family members are so sensitive to what they are told by obstetricians and nurse-midwives that they remember it for a long time. Sometimes parents sue their obstetrician and/or nurse-midwives, because of unforeseen childbirth outcomes themselves, or because the parents feel that they and their baby were not respected or fully informed by medical staff. Thus, their memories and experience that should have been happy are damaged.

I became interested in the nature of humanistic care in labor and childbirth to help the mother's birth experience to be special. As a result, I am studying the practice, training, and professionalization of doulas in the U.S. "Doula" is a Greek term meaning "a woman's servant." A doula typically attends a mother's childbirth continuously, encouraging, massaging, and praising her, like "mothering the mother." Dr. Dana Raphael, an anthropologist, first introduced this term into the maternal-child care field, mainly referring to breastfeeding support. Then, many researchers such as Dr. Klaus and Dr. Kennel, pediatricians, studied the effects of doula support on various childbirth outcomes. Many studies concluded that doula support may reduce the rates of medical interventions during labor and birth and may have positive psychological effects such as increasing mothers'self-esteem and satisfaction with their childbirth experience. In particular, the effects are striking in regard to socially disadvantaged populations such as low-income, teen mothers, or minority women. However, even in socially advantaged populations, several studies revealed that the mothers who were taken care of by a doula had better experiences.

Consequently, I think that doula care is worthwhile considering in Japan. The majority of people in Japan are affluent and middle-class. Japan has the best health care system and has achieved the lowest rates of infant and maternal mortality rates in the world, but social connections in the community are being weakened. While we do have to appreciate and maintain the achievements of our health care system, socio-psychological support by doulas may humanize childbirth care to make mothers happier and more confident. I plan to promote research and practice regarding doulas when I return to Japan in a few years!

 

Reference
Klaus, M. H., & Kennell, J. H. (1997). The doula: an essential ingredient of childbirth rediscovered. Acta Paediatrica, 86(10), 1034-6.
Raphael, D. (1981). The midwife as doula: a guide to mothering the mother. Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, 26, 13-5.

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