Last night Brother woke up about two hours after we put him to bed. He just wanted to snuggle. I was more than happy to oblige. I sat on the couch, snuggled with my blonde guy and my blonde little guy, thinking how precious times like this are. Ah, beautiful motherhood.
So, today I promised to talk about controversial things. But my desire isn’t to be controversial, but to start you thinking. So here goes. My soap box. Natural birthing.
I never understand why people don’t choose natural birthing. I mean, I understand that in some rare cases things like drugs or c-sections save lives. I have a few friends whose lives were literally saved by a C-sections. But not very many. For the most part, the American model of modern birth isn’t a very great model. In developed countries, America pays second highest for maternity care, and has the second to worst birthing statics. I’ve believe that Cuba is the only country with worse birthing statics in the developed world. Hmmm.
I’m not hatin’ on hospitals here, I just think there are some mentalities that need a lot of change. I have done the whole “try for a home birth” thing, had a c-section, had a VBAC, had Gestational Diabetes, gone weeks past my due date, and seen a lot of different things, even though I have only had two kids. My first labor was a really long, hard, painful labor, ended with a C-section. The C-section, though it was the quickest easiest part of labor, was a heck of a thing to recover from. I don’t EVER want to have one again. Ever! So although I was for natural birth before, now that I had a really hard experience going through natural labor, followed by a C-section, I am a bigger believer in natural birth than ever before. Here’s why…
You get an epidural, then you end up getting pitocin, so that labor will keep going. The pit generally makes you hurt more, so the epidural gets upped. Then the pit has to get upped. The baby starts freaking out, because even though you can’t feel how strong the pitocin induced contractions are, the baby can feel them. The truth is, whether it’s because they had bad home lives as children, or because they feel under appreciated, most DRUGS are CO-Dependant! Which is too bad. Because they seem so nice and friendly.
I’m just like everybody else. A “pain free” labor sounds fantastic. But I know that an epidural doesn’t always mean a pain free labor, and no meds doesn’t necessarily mean a painful labor. For example, my mom had an induced labor, VBA2C (vaginal delivery after 2 c-sections), a 9 lb, 10 oz baby and says, “It was a lot of hard work, but it didn’t hurt.” She hasn’t just forgotten, she still remembers the pain and craziness from the first labor she had (which like my first labor, ended in a c-section). But she says that her last baby, which was her first vaginal delivery, didn’t hurt. We are talking about my MOM here people. The lady who gets a buzz from ONE Twinkie. One. If she could have a pain free labor, especially under all those odds, I suppose it could be possible for almost anyone. I’ve heard other stories too, but her’s is my favorite, because she is such a lightweight… And caz she’s my mom.
An epidural may or may not mean a painless labor, but it does dramatically increase your risk of having a c-section. Most interventions increase your risk of a c-section. Most interventions also increase your risk of more interventions.
One thing that most people don’t know is that when it gets really intense, when you are SCREAMING for drugs, when you feel like you might never stop being in labor, it probably means you are almost ready to start pushing. It’s almost OVER. Your baby is coming really soon.
I often say that not getting an epidural is like not having sex until you’re married. Either you are passionately NOT going to do it, or it will happen. You don’t “wait and see how I feel.” Because that means you will have sex, or will get the epidural, depending on which situation you are in. In the birth situation this is why you have a doula. They dramatically decrease your chances of having major surgery. Here is what happened in my labor.
Me, “I want a walking epidural.”
Doula, “No, you don’t.”
Me, “YES, i DOO.”
Doula, “You’re almost done.”
Me, “Who DOES this?” (unmedicated birth)
Doula, “Lindsey, Nikki, Chrystal, Me…”
Me, “Alright. Stop. I need to breath.”
If you survive transition, which is EXTREMELY likely, your body will kick into gear and you will meet the inner lioness. Really. You will make sounds you didn’t even know you could make. You don’t need to be told to push, and you certainly don’t need to lay down on your back.
Then, baby comes out! Your body is swept up with love drugs! You encounter one of the most profound victories of your life, while being with the new love of your life. (Hopefully you’re also surrounded by a few other people who you love.)
It’s a heck of a job. Yeah, you’ll be sore for a few days. But you probably won’t feel like you’re splitting open every time you move for the next six months. Yeah, it might seem mildly insane. But since when were you trying to be sane? People don’t talk about the rush that having your baby naturally is. How there is no feeling quite like it. There is something so amazing about being convinced to the deepest part of your core that you could do ANYTHING. It’s something I would never want to rob a woman of. No, there is no trophy. It’s way more valuable than a trophy. Plus, the rush of hormones, undisturbed by chemicals, is the best high ever.
I love both my kids the same. Both births were learning experiences. But I would say STRONGLY that natural birth is so worth the struggle and any pain that you might experience.
In conclusion I would say two things.
~Ask GOD to give you the things that are really important to you. Really. He cares for you.
~Do your homework.
Take a Bradley Birthing class, or something similar.
Watch The Business of Being Born, and maybe even Pregnant in America.
(Both are currently on Nextflix. I cried through both. The B-of-BB I probably watched 4 times in two weeks.)
Read up on risks, birth stories, and interventions.
Research hospitals, don’t stop till you are happy with your birth team and birth place.
(I’m guessing that this will require asking lots of questions.)
And for crying out loud… GET A DOULA.