As of writing, our third son’s pregnancy is past 41 weeks and my wife and I await his arrival any day now. It’s a time of hopeful anticipation, worry, and uncertainty. It’s also a time of revelry. Who is he? What will he look like? How is he doing in there?! Is there anything else we can do to coax him out?! (Believe me, we’ve tried all the tricks out there)
We wait. Or, is he waiting? Artificial constraints get placed on when this is supposed to happen: due dates, timelines, etc. Expectations form, and if nature doesn’t move according to established medical algorithms, then something is wrong, isn’t it? Or, perhaps not?
Our first son was born in the hospital. Being new parents, we didn’t know what to expect, and became aligned with an OB/GYN that shared our values. As such, we went along with the process of going the route of a hospital birth. Even as it happened, though, we became acutely aware of how much we didn’t want that. In hindsight, it was a stark example of the exquisite conflict between vitalism and reductionism. Vitalism, which fundamentally informs how we view health and disease in homeopathy, honors the individual nature of each person. We don’t all measure up the same way. Even with the best laid evidence, there are always outliers. And what are we supposed to do with those? Vitalism honors the body’s wisdom that it knows what to do, if given the best chance to do it. In childbirth, this can’t be any more important.
In the hospital, my wife was forced to be induced because she carried him to 42 weeks. We were told there’s medical liability for keeping the pregnancy from moving forward past then. Yet, our son had enough fluid. My wife was healthy. All his vital signs were impeccable, same with hers. All was well. Yet, we had to remove him from the most mysterious and pleasant place he could have been. To me, it was a matter of managing risk more than it was honoring the mysterious process of childbirth. Risk management vs. wisdom-honoring. Vitalism vs. Reductionism.
And here we are again, faced with the same circumstance.
Our second son was born in the comfort of our home with trusted midwives. It was entirely what we wanted. The midwife model upheld the modus operandi of how we wanted to bring forth new life into this world. It was beautiful, and seamless.
Fast forward to present day: just yesterday, my wife had an appointment, and arrangements were made that if our third son goes to 42 weeks, she would have to be transferred from the care she’s receiving with midwives to a hospital. It’s not what we want. Consequently, this artificial number has placed undue pressure on my wife, making her feel something is wrong; whether with her own body, or with him, stalling progress even further. To me, it’s all so unnecessary, and it’s about managing risk vs. honoring a process we don’t know enough about. We were told the risk of still-birth suddenly increases past that magical date. But, don’t invasive procedures of induction also carry their own risk?
We know a lot thanks to modern medical science, but still so very little about this mystery of childbirth.
We named our soon-to-be born son Lucas, which means light-bearer, or bringer of light. Perhaps when he’s ready he can help shed more light on this subject for us all. :)