Let me start this post by saying I AM NOT A ROCKSTAR,
or a soldier, or anything else that symbolizes coolness, bravery, etc.
I am pretty boring and an expert at nothing.
I don't have passion for much in this world, but there are 3 things I could talk any one's ear off about.
1. is the social responsibility I feel the world (and especially parents) have to children of all ages
2. is the benefits of eating healthy, clean food and growing your own food.
3. is the value I place on natural childbirth
So I talk a whole hell of a lot about number two on here. I avoid number one because this is the fight I fight ALL day long at work. And I have YET to talk about number 3 for fear of scaring away my childfree friends and the few men who check my blog.
You have been warned, I am addressing number 3 today. Mostly because just in the past week I had 3 friends message me on facebook about this and I thought I would share my thoughts here.
So here it goes.
What is it? This is childbirth with minimal medical intervention and no pain medication, IV drugs, etc.
Again, I am no expert. I only have the experience of 2 drug free births and I do not claim to be a pro.
I always knew I wanted to have a natural birth. I am not really the earthy-crunchy type and most people might not have expected this as something I valued.
I do a lot of reading and research whenever I need to know something. I like to investigate both sides before I make a decision. I read a lot about getting pregnant, being pregnant, etc. My mom had me all-natural (go Mom!), before it was common to do so. So I wanted to know why some woman find it so important. Here is what sold me.
1. When you have an epidural you get a giant needle in your back (which may or may not take on the first try) and worst of all you have to spend the rest of your labor hooked up to a machine and mostly in bed.
2. Sometimes it can cause you to have ineffective pushing.
3. You will have to have a catheter placed afterward to help you pee.
Number 1 is what scared me the most. I hate the thought of anything going near my spine and I hate feeling like I am not in control. I wanted to MOVE while in labor. I wanted to experience it with everything I had.
Now, it hurts. There is no doubt about it. However, the pain sucks, but it is managable.
When I was in labor I did all of the following to get through contactions:
Bounced on the birthing ball, danced with my husband, had the nurse/ husband/ my mom push as hard on my back as physically possible to put counter-pressure on the pain, do squats and lunges (it sounds crazy, but it helped get the dialation going and the best of all....I got in a nice warm tub and had the nurse/ my husband/ my mom pour water over my tummy as I contracted.
All of this worked. I didn't scream and yell. I didn't freak out. I didn't beg for drugs.
I just kept moving.
For my first, I did this for about 10 hours. I know that sounds like forever, and I was in labor for longer..but I am talking about active labor. But seriously it didn't feel that long. Because I could keep moving it actually went by fast for me. Now I think it felt MUCH longer for my mom and husband (poor things were pushing and rocking with me all night long).
For my second it was about 5 hours.
When I think back on my labor, tears of joy come to my eyes. It was amazing. I had great nurses, a supportive husband and I was present (both physically and mentally) through all of it. I can remember every moment, every push.
I am also convinced that the reason I had to push no more than 4 times with both babies is because of all the moving I did. Some woman have to push for HOURS. Now I am sure that going natural does not guarantee less pushing...but I know it helped me. I could actually feel the baby moving lower and lower and I refused to stop moving until I absolutely had to.
By the time I got into that bed those babies were already there. One push and you could see hair (YIKES..sorry male readers).
I have a good friend who had an epidural with her first and went all natural with her second. She said that it was so much easier and better the second time. Her recovery was better. She wasn't as swollen (another side-effect of drugs) and she could pee on her own 10 minutes after delivery.
Okay, I am starting to sound like a preacher.....
I did take some steps to be sure I was supported in my decision. I created the famous "birth plan" but all mine said was:
1. I do not want to be offered drugs unless medically necessary (i.e. the baby or myself is in danger).
2. If I complain of pain or that I cannot do it, please offer me another alternative (tub, ball, etc.) to help me get through.
3. I want to breastfeed as soon as possible after delivery.
Honestly I didn't really need the plan. I could still speak and express my wished at the hospital. However, I delivered at a very small hospital with a fabulous staff of nurses. I would have dreaded being at a huge hospital (in fact, I wouldn't have done it).
One thing I learned was that the nurses favored the patients who went natural. I think because it is so rare, they enjoy that part of the job. In fact I often had 2-3 nurses helping me because I think they wanted to be sure I could do it. They helped me so much. I am not sure that if I was at a large hospital that I would have had a nurse who got on her hands in kness and poured water on me in the tub for over an hour.
All in all I actually value my decision to have my babies as I did more than almost any other decision I have made in my life. I was truely so proud of myself for doing something so many woman think they can't do.
Don't get me wrong. I completely understand why some woman just don't want to deal with the pain. But PLEASE, do your research. Drugs may stop pain temporarily, but there are also negatives. Just know the up and down side to every option.
I could get into why I think breastfeeding is so important, but I think I have been high on my soap box long enough for one night. Good luck momma's-to-be. It truely is the best moment in life, no matter how you decided to do it. Don't be scared. Your body knows what to do and woman are the strongest gender for a reason.
Man, now I want another baby! Someone remind me that neither of my kids sleep through the night.