Oxytocin- it’s a powerful drug!
In this episode, listen to hear how Bess, a mother of 3, experienced more and more oxytocin and bonding with each birth. From a medicated hospital birth, to an unmedicated hospital birth (where the baby was still whisked away quickly), to an intimate birth center setting… it becomes quite clear that the less we intervene with physiological birth, the more room we give to oxytocin. This allows mothers the ability to connect deeply with their babies from the beginning- forming that unbreakable love bond.
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1st pregnancy- Bess says she was young, and even though she knew about homebirth (her mom had 4), she opted for a hospital birth for financial reasons
- Bess had a low-lying placenta. Fun fact! The placenta can move as the uterus grows (it also can move on its own!)
- Bess went into labor on the night before her due date
- Bess had a horrific first birth. She had a terrible nurse who bullied her and coerced her into receiving fentanyl. She then had an epidural. As baby emerged (with both her hands by her face), Bess received a 4th degree tear.
- She did not have a loving feeling towards her daughter when they first handed her over. They pushed her to breastfeed immediately, though she could barely even comprehend what had just happened.
- Bess was living in Korea during her second pregnancy. She began prenatals at a local Korean hospital.
- In this hospital, Bess was made to wear a gown each time in public, and she had to have an ultrasound at each appointment.
- At 20 weeks, after her doctor told her that he was concerned with how big her baby was, Bess switched to an army hospital.
- She asked far more questions this time around and had a successful unmedicated birth. Her husband was a huge support.
- She and her husband decided they didn’t want more children… until one day, suddenly, she knew she wanted one more baby. She bought her husband some beer, they discussed the matter, and they conceived that night!
- With her 3rd pregnancy, Bess started back at Ft. Hood hospital.
- At 16 weeks she decided to look into other options and found a birth center.
- Her final birth was redemptive of her previous experiences. She was able to experience the full effect of oxytocin.
Episode round up:
What a redemptive story. Bess was able to improve her birthing experiences each time, ending with a beautiful water birth at a birth center that allowed for physiological birth to take place. As we head into the episode round-up, I want to focus on just that: The importance of staying out of the way.
The ability to bond with your baby is critical—it sets the two of you up for success in the days, weeks, months and years to come. When babies are unnecessarily removed from their mothers, as so often happens in the hospital setting, a new hurdle is added to the mother/baby team.
I love how Bess’s joy over her third birth was so palpable. It is the true proof that the ability to give birth on your own terms, without unnecessary intervention, and of course—to actually hold your baby immediately after—allows oxytocin to do its magical work. What a joy to hear so much love in a mother’s voice.