From the time I knew I wanted to be a mom, I knew natural childbirth intrigued me. When I was a nanny I would sit and rock the babies I cared for while reading their mom’s books on birth and pregnancy and breastfeeding…every part of the birthing process was fascinating to me. Absolutely nothing has changed…I still find it fascinating. When Tony and I got pregnant, I told him that I wanted a natural birth, no drugs, no epidural. When he didn’t laugh at me and tell me I was crazy, I loved him even more. Of course, there have been times when he will tell me that it won’t surprise him if I lose my shit and cave in and get the epidural…and that if I do, it won’t matter to him…afterall, he doesn’t have to squeeze a watermelon out of his pee hole (his words, not mine). But I think he knows I can do it, and that support means the world to me.
So for the past week, while I haven’t been writing much here, I have been reading tons on the internet…personal stories of natural childbirth…different womens’ experiences, whether in a hospital setting or at home. I’ve been talking with a friend of mine who has had both of her children naturally and intends to do the same with her third who is due any day now. I have a list of books to check out at the library, mental and physical exercises to practice, and prayers to pray. And after doing just the little amount of preparing that I have done, I must admit, a lot of the fear that I was feeling about giving birth has dissipated.
A lot of people I talk to react the same way when I reveal that an epidural isn’t in my plan. “Oh, you say that now…just wait!” And while I am not naive, and I know that anything can happen, and does, in childbirth…I am positive that as long as the baby is healthy and I am healthy throughout the process, I can do this without interventions. I am aware and open to the possibilities of emergencies and unforseen hurdles, and to that I say, I will do whatever needs to be done. But if I am lucky enough to have a problem-free birth experience, I want to feel every twinge, ache, pull, tear, and burn I can feel…because everything worth having in this life is worth working for. And everything above and beyond is a gift. And I want to be completely present for every moment of it.
We aren’t using a midwife or a doula, and in my training to be certified as a childbirth educator I met many women who were advocates of both professions. And while I may or may not use them with future pregnancies, I have decided to stick with an obstetrician for this one. I currently stand in the middle of the great debate between medicine and nature, and having trained beside both physicians and holistic professionals, it is unfortunate to witness their disdain and distrust of one another. So I feel that is is safer to go through this birth with the knowledge that I have attained from both ends of the spectrum, and when I feel I am being pushed or coerced too far to one extreme in the process, I will speak up. I’m hoping things will run smoothly. So far, our OB hasn’t tried to talk me out of my decision to have a drug-free birth, but he has “smirked” at some of my questions and has become defensive with others. But Tony and I still think he is well-educated and looking out for our best interest, and in the end, I think he will go along with whatever we want to do as long as the baby isn’t in distress.
Does anyone have any birth stories they would like to share? Positive or negative experiences in the hospital or with medications? I would love to hear about your experiences!