By Jasper’s mother, Nichole Bergstrand
I revised my birth story many times hoping to capture my audience in a way that would create emotion and thoughtfulness but, out of a personal desire to incorporate the private struggles that ultimately lead to the birth experience I had, it will suffice to emphasize how a single persons experience can not always capture the truth; all of us must add the details to our own stories so that they become real. Sometimes I think about how everything would be different if I had chosen an alternate path to take through this life; Maybe I would own a grape vineyard with an elegant winery where hosts would gather to share stories of success. Instead of being a creative woman who transforms typical experiences into something that can be translated maybe I would be sitting in an office directing my work team proud of the accomplishments I worked diligently for.
When I think of everything that my life could be instead of what it is I am forced to acknowledge how all of them execute stories of success where in each possible outcome I would have just chosen an alternate path to the same destination. I remember a twenty-eight-hour labor and vaginal delivery that took place within the walls of a large and fast-paced research hospital. Afterward, a nurse told me in her amazement that she had never known a laboring mother to be allowed that time to birth in all the years she worked there and, I remember how thankful my physicians were that I quickly recovered from a confusing combination of issues that could have taken my life. As I was approaching the end of labor, fetal monitors indicated that my son was in a physiological state of distress but I assured him with a soothing voice that he was still safe in my womb; his body immediately responded with a lowered heart-rate which allowed me to continue birthing him without needing a surgical delivery. The strength and awareness my son possessed after he was born makes me think back to how he would make eye contact with people and track me as I moved around the room.
When Jasper emerged into this life sleeping peacefully I think that it was to let everyone know how we all made the right decisions. With a midwife supporting me emotionally during my birth after I needed a necessary hospital transfer and an educated medical team with a nurse-midwife working on my behalf, I had the birth experience that captured my attention and transformed my life. It took me several months of healing before I was able to see how fortunate I was to have experienced the power of care that is possible when midwives, physicians, nurse-midwives, and other providers work in unison to support the desires of birthing mothers when it is possible. As a new mother, I learned to cherish the knowledge that our best care providers are the ones who support us regardless of what they call themselves or what clinic they work in.
I wonder what my days would be like if I had not experienced what ultimately taught me to advocate for my own needs, as if it was the final piece of myself I needed refilled to trust the intuition that is engrained in my biology to ensure my survival, and the survival of my offspring. There are many things about my pregnancy and birth choices that I could go back and change to create a more desired outcome but I also know that any path would have lead me to the same place. As if right on cue, when I moved my baby down the birth canal I was surprised that I only experienced pleasure because my baby was finally here.
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