How One Mom Is Taking Her Power Back
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Janice Roodsari. I’m a wife, a mother of twins, a licensed Registered Nurse and a Child Birth Educator. I advocate for many basic rights but the bulk of my work is as a volunteer with The Real Diaper Association, a grassroots non-profit organization that supports both cloth diaper advocates and cloth diaper users. I am a Real Diaper Circle Leader and a Board Member of The Real Diaper Association.
Tell us a little bit about your birth story.
I had a pretty normal pregnancy, other than the fact that I was pregnant with fraternal twins. Often times, twins are considered a high risk pregnancy and mine was treated as such. I was told a midwife could not attend my birth because of the twin pregnancy. I was encouraged to schedule a cesarean section by my OBGYN because of the risk of birth injury with a twin vaginal birth. I trusted my doctors, had worked with them as a labor and delivery nurse and it didn’t take much to sway me. Pregnancy is one of the most vulnerable times in a woman’s life. I wanted my babies to be safe and healthy and would have done almost anything if it meant their safety. At the time my twins were born, my only birth experiences were clinical hospital births. I had a strong desire for a vaginal birth and asked about it several times but was scared out of it with stories of birth injury and a possible breech delivery with baby B.
I went into labor naturally and enjoyed the anticipation and excitement of early labor. I smiled and joked with my husband a lot and went to the hospital early in the morning, wondering if I would be taken directly into surgery or if it would be a long wait. I labored for a little over 3 hours before walking into the operating room. My nurse was a friend from nursing school and was a great comfort. While walking to the OR and after getting my spinal, I had a couple much more intense contractions and was 4 centimeters when they started surgery. Although my twins were delivered without complication, it was the longest half hour of my life. Everyone in the room got to see my babies before I did and although both babies had Apgar scores of 8/9, I only got to have them placed next to my head for a minute before they were taken away to the nursery. They weighed 5 lbs. 10 oz. and 5 lbs. 13 oz. It was very upsetting to be separated from them. Add a spinal headache, surgical recovery, and learning to nurse twins and you could call me a hot mess!
What do you feel you learned/gained/discovered during the birth of your twins Kyra and Dylan?
I learned that no matter how much you respect, like and trust a practitioner, it’s best to interview several (and look into different types of birth workers) so that you find a person that will support you in your birth choices. If I had found a practitioner that would have supported my desire for a vaginal birth, I would have trusted my instincts and planned for a vaginal birth. (I would have also been grateful for the option for surgery in a true emergency.)
I also learned that it’s really important to talk about all the details of your decisions with your partner and make sure they are as educated on the reasoning behind those decisions as you are. Research is vital to making informed birth decisions. Don’t expect your practitioner to know what you want or to make the right decisions for you. It’s important to know what you want and it’s equally important to communicate those desires to your practitioner. I also learned that there is always more to learn. Just because I had worked as a labor and delivery nurse doesn’t mean I didn’t need to research.
How did/has your birth experience affect/ed you as a mom?
Unfortunately, I made decisions about my birth based on fear and I was left feeling less than capable. Despite being a registered nurse, I lacked confidence with breastfeeding, sleep and what to expect. I looked to books instead of my babies to tell me how to care for them. Trust and instinct are SO important in birth and motherhood. I now know that just because something has become “the way we do things”, doesn’t mean it is the best way or the way it should continue to be done. Although I’m sad that my birth experience wasn’t the one I dreamed of, it is my story and has helped me grow into the advocate for birth reform that I am now.
What do you wish other moms knew before giving birth for the first time?
I wish I had known what a difference taking a natural childbirth class would have made. It would have given me a much more well rounded base of knowledge to build upon with my own research. I wish all moms knew their rights in childbirth, and would take the time to learn more about the risks associated with unnecessary interventions, elective cesarean sections and non-medically indicated inductions. (Sites like childbirthconnection.org are a great place to research!) I wish every mom could have an awesome birth doula and supportive partner and I wish every mom knew how capable they are and that their decisions should always be made with informed consent and not based on fear.
What is informed consent?
Informed consent means you get information about the proposed treatment, what the benefits of the treatment are, what the risks of the treatment are, what the alternatives are to the proposed treatment and their risks and benefits, and finally, what would happen if you did nothing.
As an RN, how did your background affect your view(s) around your own choices when it came to giving birth to your twins?
Ironically, my experience as an RN gave me a false sense of confidence. I thought I knew much more than I did. It’s been a blessing in disguise though. I’ve learned so much from my own experience. And now, I can help educate expecting parents about the birth process, their rights, and give them resources to support their own birth experience.
This post was written by Janice Roodsari. Janice is an active member of The Real Diaper Association. The Real Diaper Association brings you School of Cloth in November and The Great Cloth Diaper Change in April. Visit http://www.