I was on my way home one early morning and there were two bran new fawns in the tall grass next to the road (it was a private and quiet dirt road leading to an old driveway). I stopped to look. They were still getting used to their legs. They had been born probably hours before. I saw their mother was there too, just a little ways away. She was coaxing them to stand up and follow her… away from me. One of the fawns, that had already been standing, unsteadily started to follow her. The other, legs shaking, stood up and followed her as well. I drove off to leave them in peace.
Labor is hormonal. Do you think that mother doe would have let me watch her give birth? Hell no. If I would have been anywhere near her while she labored her labor would have stopped progress until she felt like she was safe and alone again. Why would her labor have stopped though? Adrenaline. Labor is a VERY vulnerable time in a female’s life. Which is why women need to feel VERY comfortable with their surrounding company and place of birth. Otherwise, adrenaline – the fight or flight hormone suppresses oxytocin, thus suppressing labor.
Ever wondered why women can fail to progress? One major reason is not having enough space, away from prying eyes (your partner can even get in the way), to let the labor hormones flow. Birth is very primal. Hormones are very real. Episiotomy, or cutting the vagina wider to make room for the baby has become a routine in hospitals in America, and elsewhere too. I am not saying that it is not necessary to make the cut, actually it becomes necessary because of hostile birth environments. Women tear all the time, even after the episiotomy. What I am saying is, a more private, intimate labor environment allows labor hormones to flow more normally. The right hormones in your system during labor and birth make for a very stretchy vagina that will not tear, or at least tear less. Just by knowing this you have more control over your birth. Pain killers/drugs, are other hormone inhibiting factors to consider when planning for your birthday. Drugs kill the labor hormones that nature intended for labor and birth, which in the end just makes things harder and/or longer. What you want to do is avoid ripping from hole to hole, c section, laboring forever, ect.
I am not talking about this is make women feel like to have a good birth experience they have to find a little nook somewhere alone and private like a wild animal. I am talking about this to give women more options when they are planning their for their big day. If you think you are going to run into privacy issues first make sure you labor at home alone for as long as you can (as long as you and your partner are not scared and freaking out, fear causes adrenaline), use some prenatal appointment time to talk to your care provider about incorporating privacy into your labor, and practice a line to help you get some private time when you find you need it. It might be your partner who you need space from, hospital staff, a home birth midwife, your mom, or perhaps your best friend that you invited to the birth. Honestly it doesn’t matter who. You need to think about you. Stay calm and some good lines might go like this: ‘Please, I need privacy to let my hormones flow.’ ‘I am fine, leave me alone. I need privacy to get into it.’ ‘I really need some space, to focus on the baby coming out.’ Do not fight with anyone. Remain calm, ask for privacy, and trust your body and trust yourself. Trust others to listen. You are the boss apple sauce.
I am not going to tell you how to feel, I just know how I feel. If I have to poop I will try to find a private bathroom. If a stall is my only option and there is someone else in the stall next to mine I might wait til they leave. Basically, it is less embarrassing to poop in private. If you are going for a simple less embarrassing, less traumatic birth remember you are the mother doe. If labor is stalling, or you need a minute or an hour just ask (or tell your partner to ask for you) for some well deserved privacy. Hospital staff is definitely going to be less willing to let you have the privacy you need, so the best thing to do is to go into the hospital after you have labored for a while on your own at home. Let the hormones flow! You are a woman, your birth experience matters, and you CAN do what you need to do.