I’ve been reading a ton lately on childbirth. I’m about to experience it in a couple months for the second time. You’d think once you’ve experienced it once, you’re good to go… but that’s not exactly the way I feel. I actually hope that my birthing experience is much, much different this time around…
The first time around… I experienced: typical OB-style prenatal care, induced labor (on OB’s advice), difficult and long labor (due to the drugs for inducing), an epidural, and typical hospital post-partum care.
This time around… I hope to have: a natural start to labor (no inducing!), a shorter labor with more regular contractions (rather than 14 hours and contractions on top of each other the whole time, which was due to the inducing), no epidural or other medicated pain relief, and more control over my own experience (birthing positions, what happens to the baby immediately following birth, when to breastfeed, etc).
My first birthing experience was wonderful, in that it resulted in my little man’s entrance into the world. He is my baby, and always will be. It was also pretty darn good, considering all of the horror stories I’ve read about outdated and pointless obstetric practices. Looking back however, the thing that I most regret (or “am sad about”, since it wasn’t exactly my fault) is that no one told me that childbirth was, really, nothing to be afraid of (excellent blog post on not fearing childbirth here) … that I was designed as a woman for it, and that I should trust my body and my baby to do what needs to be done (other than extenuating circumstances, of course).
NYGH (the hospital in which I delivered Isaac) has a ton of good practices such as rooming-in, understanding the importance of skin-to-skin, promoting breastfeeding, and allowing movement during labour. All of these are extremely important to me, especially now that I’ve learned more about the whole subject of labour and childbirth.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know enough to question the standard newborn care practices, such as the vitamin K shot and antibiotic eye drops. This time I know more, and my husband and I can make decisions together, and share our wishes with the hospital staff. I would absolutely love to deliver at home or at a birthing center next time with a midwife, but it will depend on where we’re living (there are no midwives in our area, sadly). I am beyond thrilled that I have a doula, however, who is in my small group. I think her support and presence will make a world of difference, in so many ways, especially since some of our wishes will be a little out of the norm.
This article sums up my current feelings quite well, and hopefully communicates why I am becoming increasingly passionate about the subject of natural childbirth. There is so much more to “natural childbirth” than simply not getting any pain relief (and there are non-medicated pain relief options, such as a hot shower/bath, which I experienced first-hand as incredibly powerful in relieving pain during labour). There is also a lot more to the whole idea than simply pain management. It’s an entire worldview on the subject of how you desire to labor and bring your child into the world. It views pregnancy and birth as beautiful and natural events, rather than medical events. I don’t know how you feel, but to me, this resonates strongly.
It’s not only for hippie-granola-unshaven-tree-hugger-chanting types, it’s for any kind of woman. This time around, I am actually looking forward to the experience of childbirth.
What do you think about natural childbirth? Have you thought about it before? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this important topic!
If you’ve given birth before, how was your experience? (Help me out here, I’m looking for the wisdom of those who’ve gone before me!)