Dr. Miaken Zeiger | Wednesday November 18, 2020
Birth of Margot.
Wow, you are so courageous! And this is your first…? What if you need pain medication, medical intervention, etc.?
Why aren’t you at a hospital? Don’t you want a doctor around…?
What will you do if something goes wrong?
These were just a few responses I received when sharing my plans to have a home birth. There are many reasons I elected for a home birth, but the main reason is how I view birth. As I shared last month, our approach to birth in this country has dismal outcomes in both maternal and infant mortality. Pregnancy and birth are approached as a condition, something that needs to be treated; how the treatment is delivered is evaluated through the many tests available – blood tests, ultrasounds, stress tests, and more. All of these tests/outcomes can place unnecessary stress on mom and baby; often leading mom and/or our healthcare practitioner down a rabbit hole of looking for something wrong. Worse, it gives women the opportunity to question and doubt the capabilities of their body to grow and deliver a healthy baby. Condition, treatment – these are words used in allopathic medicine, our current healthcare system. Pregnancy is not a condition, but a normal, healthy physiological response of an intelligent body.
Allopathic medicine uses the label “geriatric pregnancy” for any pregnant woman over 35 years-old; a category I fall into. If you know me, you know I don’t like labels, nor do I like for anyone to put a cap on my potential. Understanding how mainstream medicine approaches pregnancy and birth, I wanted to create boundaries around the language and approach used in creating an optimal environment throughout my pregnancy and delivery. After all, women have been giving birth since our existence… what could be more natural than pregnancy?
That is why we chose to work with a midwife at home. We trust in the intelligence of life, the natural process of pregnancy, and honor our baby’s growth and potential by interfering as little as possible. I’m not advocating that tests and interventions are unnecessary, but the importance of appropriately evaluating the health of mom and baby and their associated risks; and providing individualized care based on that evaluation. We are grateful to have found midwives to partner with who shared our philosophy. Additionally, they were providers willing to have open dialogue regarding best practices, clinical recommendations, and benefits to testing/potential interventions to help us make the most right decision for us and our baby. Not to say our pregnancy and labor were not without its challenges, but we approached it with an open mind and heart and trusted our midwives to provide us with appropriate clinical guidance. Because of that great support, I was able to deliver Margot at home, un-medicated with a few loved ones present.
In order for a woman to deliver, midwife Ina May Gaskin1 discusses the importance for the mom to feel safe and vulnerable in her environment. A change in lighting, introduction of a new person or test, even a loud noise can immediately stall labor. Being at home, having the ability to move freely, eat and drink when needed, in my own clothes – provided a level of ease, comfort and safety that supported the natural progression of my labor.
And labor: it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done (prior to parenting!). Most first time moms labor for 24+ hours. My labor came fast and quick, lasting around 8-hours, and not without its own stress. Margot’s cord was short, which didn’t allow her to rotate properly through the birth canal. She presented asynclitic, which means her head was bent towards her shoulder as she traveled through the canal, placing increased stress on her head, cervical spine and shoulder. I had a natural birth and did all the things to support my health and that of Margot’s; and yet, there were complications.
I’m grateful my dad, the original Dr. Zeigler, was present at the birth. Margot received a chiropractic adjustment on her first day of life – as I had intended. An adjustment to support her recovery; and give her the opportunity to express a vitality and health at the start of life. And, of course, I will continue to check her as my dad did me, to support her most optimal growth and development of her brain and nervous system for her fullest expression of life.
On a side note, my recovery has been profound. I was up and moving around the day after Margot’s birth. There was no tearing. I’m nearly back to my pre-pregnancy weight. My body is healing. I share this with you because when you choose to be proactive with your healthcare, your body responds differently following trauma, stress, exposure to disease, etc. You’re more resilient, adaptable to the internal and external stressors we are exposed to everyday, ALL THE TIME.
• Thank you, for showing up for you in your chiropractic care.
• Thank you for showing up to spinal workshops. By being more informed and making healthier decisions in your day-to-day life changes your trajectory in health and vitality.
• And, thank you for sharing what you know with your loved ones. Every person in your world who makes healthier choices will compound the choices you’re already making, and make for a better future for you and yours.
Together, we can build the health of our community. Love and appreciate you! Grateful to have your support in this journey… and grateful to have you in my community.
1. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin