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Mindful : August 2013
Ariana Mohit and Zed Bates wanted to have their baby at home, but complications forced them to induce labor early and deliver at the hospital. practices is to prepa re people to be present a nd en- gaged during the joyful moments that we too often easily miss and the tough moments we push away, which only make them tougher. Labor for Amy was no cakewalk—it is for few—but she says the birth of her daughter “was worlds better” tha n her son’s. It was “a mag ical, beautiful, sacred experience. It was so full of the joy that was absent before.” If Amy got close to the birth she wanted, Ariana was going to have to find a way to love the birth she got. Her water broke on a Sunday afternoon, and then she spent the rest of the evening and night waiting for contractions that never ca me. This can be da ngerous because the open a mniotic sac puts the baby at risk of infection. For two days Ariana waited for her body to go into labor a nd struggled with her caregivers’ escalating pressure for inter- ventions. First, it was checking into the hospital before she’d gone into labor. Then, it was the fetal monitor the nurses insisted she wea r. Then it was the drug her midwife wanted her to take to get the labor going. After eight hours of using all her mindfulness skills to get through the intermittent contractions, she was still ba rely dilated and her midwife fea red that if things didn’t progress Aria na would have to have a Caesa rea n. Next, she had to wrap her mind around getting Pitocin, an intrave- nously administered drug that induces powerful contractions. Which meant a catheter a nd eventu- ally an epidural for the unnaturally intense pain that “hit like a Mack truck.” At each step Ariana started to resist and then checked her lifelong impulse to dig in her heels. She made herself calmly listen to the rationale for each deviation from the natural birth she wanted and then accept it. “At one point I had a catheter, an IV, and an oxygen mask—a most unnatural birth. But my spirits were up and I felt very accepting.” Sixt y- three hours after her water broke, she delivered a healthy daughter. Zed had his own experience with acceptance: he left Ariana’s room at one point and ran into another expectant father from the class in the hallway. Like Zed and Ariana, the other couple had wanted to have their baby at home, but complications forced them to induce labor ea rly and deliver at the hospi- tal. She, too, was on Pitocin, facing an epidural, but was at peace with the change of plans. Her husband handed Zed a little clay heart that someone had given them. Across the front was the word “accep- tance.” When Zed brought it in to share with Ariana, she jokingly said, “I don’t wa nt to accept.” “I’ve given you the heart now,” Zed replied. “ You have to.” ● August 2013 mindful 51 PHOTOGRAPHBYCHRISTINEALICINO