Our Year Of Living (Beautifully) Without WalMart

Saturday, June 28, 2008

alaina's paper about me...

this is a paper that my neice alaina typed about me for college!

the assignment was "Write a paper about someone who is older than you, and who is doing something interesting, different, and important"

i am sooooooooooooo proud of HER for going to college and i am soooooooo proud of ME that i am an inspiration.....

thank you lani and thank YOU for reading it....

Alaina Jennings

Prof. Bollenbacher

English 121-001

June 30, 2008

You're Doing What?!?

"We have a secret in our society. It's not that birth is painful, but that women are strong." This quote comes from one of the many women now opting to choose home-births over hospitalized births. Since the beginning of time, women have delivered babies without the use of pain reducing medications, so why in the 21st century, as we women fight to prove that we are as strong as men, do we let others convince us that we are not strong enough to bear our children?

Steffani Crummett grew up in Versailles, Ohio, third of five children. More than ten years younger than her oldest siblings, and just two years older than her youngest siblings (a set of twins), she developed her own unique sense of self and unconventional way of thinking. Many would describe Steffani as very spiritual and artistic. She goes against what society considers normal, and is happy with her life and the choices she has made.

At the age of 20, Steffani left the farmlands of Ohio for the vast mountains of Colorado, where she met and married Robert "Bobby" Williams and settled in Eaton, Colorado. Together they had one son, Sebastian, born January 8, 1999. He was born at Upper Colorado Medical Center in the nearby city of Greeley. Nearly two weeks over-due Steffani chose to have an induced labor, because she was fearful for the safety and well-being of her child.

The birth story of her eldest child is one Steffani refers to often when asked about her choice to birth her youngest two children, River two, and BellaLuna seven months, at home. She recounts to me the feeling of having lost control over herself and her child, after being admitted to the hospital. After receiving various labor inducing drugs and pain medications, she had seated herself in a rocking chair, in an attempt at finding a comfortable position to sit, while she waited until it was to begin pushing her son out into the world.

When a nurse came in asking her to move back to her bed so the progress of her labor could be checked, she complied. Seconds later the alarm attached to the fetal heart beat monitor began to sound. She was thrown on to her bed as nurses and doctors immediately began prepping her for an emergency Cesarean-Section. Amidst all the commotion Steffani tried to explain that the monitor had simply slipped from position and this was the reason for the alarms.

Nurses were putting an oxygen mask on her face, while shoving papers into her hands to be signed giving the hospital permission to go ahead with the procedure. After repeated attempts she finally got through to the hospital staff that she and her baby were fine, and a C-Section was not needed. "Even when I was otherwise ignorant about birth, I knew my body and what was best for my baby's welfare." She says, pointing out that with all the education doctor's have received, they will never know your body better than you do. After the monitor was put back into place, everything progressed normally, and after 21 hours of labor she welcomed her son into the world.

Shortly after having her son, Steffani met and became close friends with a woman named Marci, who raised her awareness about home-birthing. Steffani knew that she was not going to go back to any hospital to have a child.

Nearly eight years later Steffani had divorced Bobby, and remarried Jonathan Crummett. When they learned they were pregnant, Steffani knew that she would have a home-birth. With the support of her close friend Marci, Steffani stuck by her choice, and gave birth to a healthy baby boy, on May 17, 2006. This is a birthing story she also refers to often, to compare the differences between home-birthing and hospitalized birthing.

While her eight year old son was staying with his father, Steffani went into labor in the comfort of her home, supported by those who had a vested interest in her and her child's well-being. After eight hours of labor, no pain medication, and no labor management techniques, Steffani describes this labor as far better than her first. The bond between her and her husband grew stronger as he coached and coaxed her through her labor contractions, and the birthing of their son, even though as Steffani tells me "Jonathan had never even held a baby, until he helped deliver his own child."

At the arrival of her son Steffani was able to lay in the comfort of her own home, holding her newborn son, without anyone trying to take him away to be weighed or bathed, or any of the various other things doctors deem necessary to do to new-born children.

With her third child, and second home-birth, Steffani gave birth to a baby girl, who was born breech. Many women have heard the horror stories of babies being born breech, and the complications it can cause. Steffani tells me it's not quite as complicated as we have been led to believe. Her daughter came into this world feet first and arms up. As Steffani pushed her out into the world, her husband Jonathan, held the babies feet tight, and together they brought her into this world, safe and healthy.

When speaking with Steffani, you can see the animation in her face describing how she felt during each of her children's birthing. Her eyes brighten with anger and fear at what might have been had she not repeatedly spoke out during the birthing of her eldest child. When she speaks of the birth of her youngest two children she is far more calm, relaxed and comfortable.

Steffani describes this home-birthing as the most self-empowering thing she has ever or will ever accomplish in her life. "If you don't need a doctor to put the baby in, why do you need a doctor to get the baby out?" she asks me, expressing her opinion that it is a natural process to create a child, and therefore it also should be a natural process to give birth. The first moments of her child's life are far clearer to her because of the lack of mind-altering drugs. As a recovering drug and alcohol addict Steffani says to me "I don't use drugs socially, so why would I allow myself a high dosage of drugs while I'm pregnant?" After learning her story it is hard to imagine why any woman would give up the comfort of her own home, only to have her life taken over by a stranger, who decides what is best for her, during the single most important moments of her life.

Steffani often has referred to herself as having been ignorant about hospitalized-birthing. She believes women should be taught about the benefits and risks of home-birthing, and allowed to make their own personal choices. However for first time parents she would recommend having a midwife in attendance in case of an emergency situation. It is her hope that by sharing her story, more women will become aware of the choices we have, and can move from ignorance to enlightenment.

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