From the Natural Mumma blog: I’m delighted to welcome the inspirational author and activist Thais Nye Derich to the site. Thais’ new memoir Second Chance: A Mother’s Quest for a Natural Birth after a Cesareanoffers an honest and encouraging look at vaginal birth after c-section. Thais’ work really resounds with me because it is all about listening to your instincts. Through her wonderful blog and her upcoming book, she informs and inspires women, helping them to feel in control during childbirth. Here she talks about the delivery of her first child, and how childbirth can be a journey of self-discovery.
I want to post this interaction between a writer and an agent on Facebook because it’s like nothing I’ve heard before, but I don’t because I’m scared. I better not tell anyone about this or everyone will do it and I’ll lose the trust of this agent. I’m doing my part to hide possibilities from writers, to keep the old publishing processes intact and undisturbed
Thirty years after she disappeared, I did the unthinkable -- I called my troubled mom to find out her story.
The first link that comes up on my Internet search is a mug shot of my mother in an orange jumpsuit, hazel eyes wide open like she’s trying to look less drunk. Her skin is smooth and tight. Only the thin white hair fanning around her face gives away her 70 years. The arrest report is from 2003. The reason: driving under the influence. I’m relieved it’s not something worse.
Before I can shut my eyes, I see the details around me. The room looks a lot like the ones on TV. This is where people’s hearts stop and surgeons talk about expensive restaurants while taking out organs. A nurse straps a tight Velcro belt over my chest and then ties my wrists down with two smaller straps.
Sitting on my side of the bed, in the same spot where I had just given birth the day before, I began to write. The pile of bloodstained sheets still stacked in the corner of my bedroom. I meant to write about how I went from an unplanned cesarean to a home birth and lived to tell about it.
Nate is six months old when his pediatrician tells me that I can start feeding him solids. I am so excited to offer him something besides rice cereal that I run down to the store with him to buy a couple of baby-food jars. He bounces close to my body in the baby carrier.
week past my due date with my second child, I’m slowly climbing the front steps of my San Francisco apartment. My eyes hardly move from my feet. The rhythm of my squeezing belly paces my steps. I remember how greatly I was misinformed before the birth of my first child, three years ago. Women have been giving birth forever, I thought; how hard could it be? My heart pounds. The brick steps up to my red front door seem never ending. I’ll go to a birth class and study birth books; spontaneously begin labor; go to the hospital; and then, the baby will just come out. I stop and grip the railing. But things weren’t fine. I begin slowly climbing again. This time, I’m going to trust my own body.
I was terrified about being a parent long before I ever became one. It all started when my four-year-old niece slept over and ate my husband’s candy pink allergy pills. She went limp in my arms, and began drooling when I called poison control. I carried her down the street to the hospital a block from my apartment in San Francisco. I felt like I was in a war zone with a wounded soldier bleeding to death as I raced him to a medic.
Many months ago, before October 2013, I submitted a piece to Creative Nonfiction Magazine. They were requesting submissions for their Babies Anthology co-edited by Alice Bradley. I, also at the time, had a personal essay about a solitary walk I took on the eve of my second son’s birth. It’s actually a chapter in my book. And at the suggestion of my writing mentor, I crafted it into a stand-alone piece. So the meeting between the magazine’s need for personal essays around babies and my completion of this essay happened simultaneously, and I submitted my work.