GUEST BLOG: BIRTHFIT Mama Melinda Rushing
After having a traumatizing experience with my first birth that ended up with an unwanted emergency C-section, I was left feeling scared, depressed, and empty. With the addition of not being able to physically move and the pain of the surgery, my anxiety was palpable. I knew in my heart that this not how women should bring a life into this world.
After I was able to move without painkillers, I decided that I needed to do something to empower myself, from a birth experience that shattered my confidence. I wasn’t sure if CrossFit was for me, but I heard a lot of positive things. I was at the point of looking for anything positive in my life and I found it. While in my first class when I was doing a bear crawl, I thought this movement was pretty easy, something I used to do before my child was born, boy was I wrong. My core was so weak when I rose up out of the movement; I fell flat on my face. I wasn’t on the ground for no more than a couple of seconds when two of my teammates picked me up off the ground. That’s when I knew that CrossFit was for me. Not only did I get physical help from my couches and teammates, the emotional support was really what got me through the tough days of basically rebuilding my body and sprit.
When my daughter turned 18 months, my proudest moment was when I ran in our local pump and run with ease. With my daughter cheering me on, I felt that I left the physical remnants of the trauma in the past and I was ready for the next step in my healing. I felt like I had unfinished business, I wanted a birth on my terms, not anyone else’s, so I decided to have another child.
The second time around I did my research, I choose to work with midwives after going to an OB that told me that I most likely will have another C-section again for I was too old, and the second child was almost always bigger than the first. My midwives had a completely different approach to birth, and encouraged and educated me on how to have a successful VBAC. I still continued CrossFit until I was 36 weeks, I added things into my diet to stabilize my weight gain and keep my uterus healthy. I went to weekly chiropractic care to ensure that the baby was in the most optimal position for delivery. I was feeling strong and energetic throughout my entire pregnancy, however towards the end I still had a lingering fear that I would have another C-section. To help with that anxiety, I also visited a hypnotists that guided me visualization exercises where I was experiencing the birth that I wanted. We also incorporated the mental focus that I have while doing CrossFit and transferred those feelings and sensations to the birth.
On August 2, 2015 I went into labor on my own (without pitocin that was given to me in the first pregnancy). For the first 4 hours I took my midwives advice and had a glass of wine, ate something and slept for as long as I possibly could. By then I went into active labor, the midwives moved me into different positions, which was so helpful not only to take your mind off the pain but also made the time pass quickly. My desire was to have a water birth, but towards the end of my labor I couldn’t get my bearings so I did the thing I knew I was good at, squatting. All the air squats and wall balls I did in my pregnancy paid off. After 5 hours of active labor, I delivered my 2nd daughter, naturally, with no pain medication, no interventions, in an environment with the most encouraging women I know.
Accomplishing my VBAC closed a negative chapter in my life. CrossFit was the vehicle to help me not only to rebuild my confidence and physical strength but to also constantly strive to improve in all aspects of my life and the lives of my daughters.
Photo credit: Poppy &Posey Photography