Despite all that, I came away from my birth with shame. I was embarrassed that as a doula I hadn't hired a doula and I thought that I must've done something wrong to be in labor so long. I was plagued by dwelling thoughts speculating what the midwives thought of me, wondering if I had been a "trouble client" for laboring so long and not having a doula.
It took me a few days and lots of reflecting with the hubbo before I started combating the shame. After asking the hubbo for umpteenth time, "So I didn't do too bad?" I realized my longstanding mental habits and low esteem were threatening my birth memories. I decided it was time to "do the doula" and help myself.
I told myself that A) It doesn't matter what the midwives think and B) I'm just a client to them, they won't remember me or my birth after a while! I emphasized how big Baby was, a fact that I was minimizing, ("it doesn't matter how big the baby is, any labor over 15 hours is just too long") when in reality it makes total sense for a big baby to take longer to get out. I also reminded myself that never once did I "give up" or "lose my shit." It was difficult but I kept coping, plodding along, no hysterics-that's not being a burdensome client, that's not embarrassing, that's commendable.
It was also important and difficult for me to stop comparing births and stop trying to give myself a grade. I think this was closely tied to my low self esteem and worthlessness issues. I spent all my school years and college years trying to get perfect grades to somehow make myself feel worthwhile, to earn love, and I was blindsided by how compelled I was to grade my birth. Everyone's birth is different and as the husband put it, "Ya got the baby out and you both were healthy, that's an A+!"
So, it's been a journey but I'm proud of my birth now. I even found myself walking around the other day thinking, "I'm a unicorn!" It's a rare thing to have a birth like my birth and that's nothing to be ashamed of!
The hubbo is convinced things would not have turned out so well had we been receiving OB care and birthing in a hospital and I agree. He thinks I would've been a cesarean for sure or at least torn or cut to high hell. It's scary to think of what my birth would've been like had we been at a hospital and we'll never know, but I do know it's heartbreaking to think I would've missed out on catching my baby and scary to think how much more difficult recovery would've been with birth injuries or a cesarean scar! I'm so lucky that I knew my options, a lot of ladies just don't have a clue what they're missing out on when it comes to maternity care and I'm lucky enough to have found out before I was in labor.
Oh, and did I mention my husband is now an outspoken supporter of out of hospital birth centers and unmedicated birth? Apparently he went into our pregnancy and birth with healthy skepticism and came out a changed man!