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"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why I Choose Natural Childbirth

It's a topic that can cause more heated debate than politics OR religion...*mwa-ha-ha*...wait for it...CHILDBIRTH CHOICES.

There are myriads of books on the subject, thousands of websites offering advice, hundreds of documentaries and tv shows all claiming to be the best in childbearing information. So how do you choose the method that is right for you? Especially if you have never given birth before?? Due to the number of messages I've received asking me about it, I've opted to write this blog post to let you in on why I choose pain over 'procedure', and what my experience has been with this choice. If you don't agree...that's fine. If you feel that you know more than I do about the topic and can make an even more educated decision...you're probably right. Write a blog post for your own audience and please don't junk up my comment window w/ wordy advice. :) However, DO feel free to post your own experiences and birth stories since I feel that can only help my 'cause' here.

First of all:

1. Childbirth is not a sickness:

Would I choose to have a tooth out or to have surgery without the help of pain meds/anesthesia? No. But pain in those procedures can only hinder the process, not help it. For instance, pain when you're getting a tooth removed can actually cause the professional MORE problems. The dentist may not be able to remove the tooth completely if you move suddenly as a reactionary result of the pain. Or he might hit a nerve that will leave your face paralyzed forever...eeks! Obviously, surgery of other types could have a similar negative aftermath if you chose not to be deadened to the pain of the procedure. Not so with childbirth.

The pain of childbirth actually TELLS you what is happening. It lets you know exactly where your body is in the labor process and how much longer you (might) have to go. For instance, having gone thru four unmedicated labors of varying lengths (from 3-7 hours in duration), I know exactly whether my body is in 'early, active, or transitional' labor simply by how I feel. If I can talk thru my contractions, I know I'm probably only 3-5 centimeters dilated and I have a while to go. If I can't speak through the pain, and if I feel nauseated, I can almost bet you that I'm at around an 8. If I feel as though the world is caving in on me and am completely unable to cope without help, it's probably about time to push! Yes, I have relatively short labors, but I've heard that these symptoms are roughly the same for longer labors and can also be a good guide for those ladies. Women with shorter labors tend to have a more intense one, while ladies who endure longer labor are typically rewarded with less of an onslaught of pain, but tire more easily.

2. Intervention typically leads to intervention:

I recommend that everyone who is pregnant see the film 'The Business of Being Born'. Yep, the movie's got a major agenda going on, but it also makes a VERY valid point. Childbirth in the United States especially, has become a huge money-making business that typically caters to the convenience of the doctor. In a standard medical practice, most women are encouraged to 'induce' or even to (gasp!) schedule an unnecessary cesarean section, which is major surgery! Doctors advise you that if you're uncomfortable, it isn't necessary to wait for the baby...you can simply check into the hospital, get a little boost of 'contraction cocktails', and check out with a baby. But it might not be that simple.. The labor induction methods most often used by medical facilities are notorious for prolonging labor and making the contractions even more difficult to bear. Which can make a woman who initially didn't want pain medication give in to the pressures of a hospital environment and beg for drugs, or an epidural. These 'synthetic' contractions can also be particularly hard on the baby, causing him/her undue stress. The epidural or medication can actually SLOW labor down, causing the staff to 'up' the dose of medicine that causes the contractions...it also can hinder the urge to push which could result in a very long pushing stage. Many times, a cesarean is finally necessary due to this viscous cycle of intervention...which probably wasn't even needed at all. :(

Again, the research that helped me discover all of this is the main reason I chose to let nature take it's course. In no way am I trying to say that those of you who did not experience the above issues using pain meds or induction options are less of a woman or that you made a bad choice. If your baby is healthy and you are healthy, that's the most important part. But it was definitely worthy of considering, in my eyes.

3. Who says you can't take it?:

While it's true that every one's pain tolerance is different, I don't think doctors give women enough credit! Most women go into labor terrified of the idea of this potential pain, about which they've heard so many horror stories. They don't even give themselves the benefit of the doubt. Don't assume that you can't tolerate the pain just because of what your mother or girlfriends have told you. I've actually seen episodes of 'A Baby Story' where a woman was handling her contractions beautifully and the anesthesiologist or doctor came in and told her she had best 'hurry and get that epidural' before she can't take it any more. Well, I'm sorry doctor but who are you to tell me what I can't handle?? Thanks, but I'll ride this wave as long as I can...

Okay, so now:

1.Fill out an online birth plan.

If you choose to deliver at a facility (because I'm prone to hemorrhaging, I didn't feel comfortable delivering at home, though I think it's a fabulous idea), fill out a detailed birth plan and give it to your midwife or doctor well in advance of your delivery date. The plan will help guide your physician and will also help you when you are too stressed to think about anything else. If you make it clear in your birth plan, for instance, that you would like to try to deal w/ the pain naturally, it isn't as likely that an anesthesiologist will even appear unless YOU ask for him.

2. Take some childbirth classes.

There are many methods of natural childbirth preparation from hypnosis to The Bradley Method to Lamaze. I actually chose Lamaze, just because I saw it used a lot in movies...haha. The breathing techniques are remarkably easy to use and remember, even for subsequent births. I only took Lamaze with my first child (back in 1999) and used the textbook as a refresher w/ my other three. My coach has been either a friend or my sister in law. My husband just isn't cut out for this type of thing and honestly, I think there are few husbands that really are. :) Many men tend to forget what they've learned when faced with the woman they love in pain...I liked having a solid female to coach me along. My husband was present for the birth of our first son...that was enough for him. Since then, he patiently waits outside the room like those hallway-pacing husbands of yore. I actually prefer it that way.

The pain coping techniques you use for labor can also carry over into the pushing phase. Don't feel you have to deliver in the standard hospital position of partial recline and 'feet in the stirrups'. I gave into pressure for my first three kids and used this position with all of them. I ripped badly, on all three occasions. The truth is, this position is seldom the most practical and doesn't use gravity to help out at all. Do whatever feels best at the time. Last time, I actually laid flat on my back w/ my knees bent, not the most effective but also not giving the baby any 'uphill' climbs. I didn't tear at all, for the first time.
I like to use a stability ball during labor, sitting on it and rocking during the contractions. You can also lean across it to deliver, if you like. But this is just one of many many options.

3.Practice, Research, Exercise, and Rest.

In closing:

-Practice your coping techniques every chance you get.
-Do plenty of research before making your decision, whatever that may be. Take the ridiculous amount of 'advice' that you'll get, with a grain of salt. Remember that your baby's health and yours is the single most important thing and base all your decisions around that.
-Get regular exercise during your pregnancy. I have no doubt that easier labors result from this as well as a faster recovery time.
-Rest as much as you can before your due date. If you rest often, you will feel better equipped to handle whatever nature tosses your way.

Sincerely and for what it's worth,


Brittany_Va-Voom Vintage said...

This is an excellent post! I think a lot of ladies are terrified of trying the natural method because of horror stories told by other women, so it's so good to see a natural momma tell it how it really is! I tried natural with my first baby and I was shaking so badly I could hardly breathe, so I went ahead with the drugs so I could focus. The epidural was one of the most painful things I have ever been through- and that's saying a LOT! I'm due in April and this time, I'll try natural again and see how it goes. Every experience is different! :)

Brook said...

I haven't had any kids yet. But i have watched the business of being born(3 times) It changed my WHOLE outlook on childbirth. I beg all my friends to watch it... Yes it is really pushing ONE way of childbirth but it does it in a way that all different doctors were involved. I was shocked how little most OBGYNs were familiar with midwifes and home birth. The facts also make sense. They pump everyone with all these drugs and the babies go into stress... I love that documentary probably the best one ive seen. Plus I love RICKY LAKE!! Go ricky go ricky!

Kim Bombshell said...

I was blessed with large babies but narrow birth canal. I had natural childbirth when I was 20 years old, not by choice but because I was on welfare. After 48 hours of labor, my daughter was drug out of my body with permanent nerve damage in her shoulder and neck, and I believe that nerve damage is responsible for recurring tumors she has had. Needless to say, it's not worth taking the chance with my younger children and they were both scheduled C-sections.

It is best to really research and know signs of problems. If I knew prolonged latent labor of more than 24 hours means the baby won't fit through the birth canal, I might have screamed for a C-section to protect my daughter.

I would rather side with "intervention" when it comes to protecting my children.

Katy said...

I had three kids all differently, so 3 diff experiences. The first was with epidural, the 2nd was so fast there wasn't time for any intervention, and the third time was so fast I had him in the front seat of my car. In hindsight, I wish I'd just gotten in the bathtub instead. :/
There are pros and cons to everything. I liked the epidural because I did not "enjoy" the pain of course. The downside is that you can't move around for a long time afterwards, waiting for it to wear off!
The only thing I can say is that natural was better, but ONLY because my labors were so quick. I think if I had to suffer like that for more than an hour or two, I would take the epidural.
Anyway, that's just my experience. I'm in awe of women who do it natural and go all day like that!!! :)

Meagan said...

Good for you Ashley! You are a woman with a true grip on your own power! I am so happy that your family has come along healthy and happily. My mom had all five of her children naturally (maybe some Demerol) but she always described it as "strong", not painful. My little sister is going to have her first baby at home and I am going to fwd this blog to her, to enhance her already stoic position on staying at home. Bless you!

Spideymom said...

I wish I had read this a few years ago. I was one of those people who were talked into a completely unnecessary C-Section by her Doctor. It was my first baby and I was scared. It was a couple weeks till my due date and I was at my regular appointment alone because my husband was out of town for work. The Doctor did an ultrasound and told me that my baby was already well over 10 lbs and he needed to come out. He wanted me to schedule the operation for the next day but I pleaded with him to let me wait until my husband would be home in a few days. I was told by both the Doctor and the nurse that it wasn't safe for me or the baby to let him get any bigger. I was scared and I signed the papers and it was set. I was not ready at all and I cried and cried for days until the morning came. I didn't want to do it but I felt I didn't have a choice. The nurse who got me ready for the surgery asked me why I was having a C-section before my due date and I told her what my Doctor had said. She told me that by looking at me she could tell I didn't have a 10 lb baby in there & asked me who my Doctor was. I told her and she said "Oh Dr."nameless" likes to cut." "It's $1,000 more and he can stick to his schedule." I was terrified and wanted to go home. My doctor breezed in and I was crying and trying to explain to him that I didn't want it. He told me it was my decision but that he was worried about the baby's safety. I went through with it. It's a decision that I regret. Being awake in the Operating room and hearing the weight called out as 7lbs 9 oz I knew I had been tricked. I'm glad to have my precious boy but I am not happy with the birthing ordeal. I wasn't able to breastfeed normally because my milk didn't come in fully. My doctor kept prescribing Reglan to me to jumpstart my milk. Now I see that Reglan is part of a major lawsuit for all the problems it causes. I wish so much that I could have gone through the natural birth process as I had wanted. People need to know this. Thanks for posting.

jewlover2 said...

Brittany...I shook like a LEAF this time...I don't remember it being that way w/ the others. It was weird. :-/

Kim...I hope I made it clear in this post that my beef is with 'unnecessary' intervention. I absolutely agree that where it is necessary, it is a blessing. I consider it a necessity if it is in the interests of protection your children, of course. :)

Stefanie said...

Good job on the post! It's best to be informed, and I think as a society, many women are just going with the 'normal' crowd of checking into the hospital 2 weeks before your due date because that baby 'needs' to come out.
I had both of my children at a birthing center with the help of a midwife. I was able to have water births for both. I feel that my husband would have done whatever I asked seeing me in pain, but with the help of the midwives was able to guide me thru it and even help catch the baby. I had 8 and 10 lb babies, and 10 days overdue for both. Overdue in the sense of being past the predicted date, but still happy as can be, growing and maturing in the womb. YES, it was painful, but it's so amazing to see what your body is capable of and experiencing the miracle of childbirth. The babies were so alert and the whole atmosphere was calming and family-like.

If you have a professional with you, they will be able to answer ALL your concerns about childbirth, help you prepare, and be aware of any signs of danger that would indicate a need for intervention. It's hard to go against the norm, and especially if you have family or doctors telling you you're crazy, but the key to getting the birth you want is to plan ahead like Ashley mentioned.

If you feel like you just can't fathom the idea of childbirth without pain medication - request to not be induced and go into labor on your own. Unless REAL danger is indicated, not because the DR. will be out of town on your due date, or because you're just ready to get on with it. If you are able to go into labor on your own, you're much less likely to need as many interventions. So many times, it's just a domino effect of inducement, pain management, not progressing, c-section.

We can do this, women! It's such an everyday thing now, but I still see childbirth as such an amazing gift!

LAP said...

Thanks so much for sharing your experience and the reasoning behind your choices here! I will say after going through 3 childbirths the one without painkillers was absolutely the quickest recovery and least amount of pain. It was especially helpful for me, since I have issues with progressing. I don't have anything negative to say about intrathecal morphine since I had less pain but felt I still had control, but a lot of that was having a mid-wife in attendance as well. It was great having another woman familiar with childbirth reassuring me of my own success.

Da un altro Mondo said...

I had both my daughters naturally, I must admit a C-section scaried me much more than a natural childbirth! Here in Italy neither epidural nor drugs are much in use, C-sections instead are preferred by many doctors... luckily mine wasn't one of these!
Although pain was quite strong, both my deliveries remain my happiest and most intense episodes in my life.

Katy said...

re: the shaking -- I thought that was because of adrenaline? That's what one nurse told me...
I shook really bad but it was right after the births.. is that not normal? lol (as if anyone has the same experience!) ;)

LittleMissBossy said...

I liked you before but I really love you now. How great is it to read this. I am totally on the same page and I love it especially in the superficial world of vintage/style/beauty blogs something so profound is said.

Shaking - I so far only gave birth once but I was shaking so much at one point that it really scared me. I did not expect that, I did a lot of research but never came across this. I had a home birth and the wise elder midwife told me not to worry it's a good sign it means transition. The hormones are going crazy. I remember my thighs shaking so strongly that I could not stand up any longer, it was the most horrible part of labour. But it passed.

It will be interesting if you'd come up with clever nursing vintage (or inspired) outfits. Easy access but still glam.

Wicca'd Witch said...

In the UK things are slightly different, and reading the above stories I have never been so grateful for our NHS!

I had a birth plan for my son. Entonox only, no episiotomy, no opiates and I wanted to move around as much as possible. Unfortunately I was 11 days overdue, and my son simply decided not to be born. I did not want to be induced, and hung on till the last minute when labour started naturally. Then stopped. Then started again. Then stopped. You get the picture. I was scared. This wasn't what I expected at all.

My midwife was brilliant. Doctors only show up in an emergency, the midwives run the show. Nobody dares argue with them. She monitored my contractions and encouraged me to kneel on all fours as my son's spine was against mine, and this was causing the irregular contractions and slow labour. As his heart rate was dipping slightly she advised that I should have my waters broken to try and get things moving.

Boy did that work. By that point I was exhausted - I'd been in labour for 48 hours and was still only 4cm dilated. I threw my birth plan out of the window and begged for the epidural. I was given this, but was still able to move around (it's like a half dose - it numbs the pain but still allows movement). This worked for a few hours and I could sleep in between contractions - but this didn't last for long. The pain got worse and worse but I was too ashamed to admit it (as in my labour-addled state I thought I was being a complete wuss as I'd had an epidural and that was supposed to stop the pain). It turned out that the epidural had stopped working!

Wicca'd Witch said...

(continued from previous - it was a loooooong birth!)

By the time anyone realised the epidural wasn't actually working, it was too late to have the needle repositioned and I was confident that I was FINE and did not need other drugs (I clung to the entonox like a baby to it's bottle though!). I started to transition and I too shook like a leaf. My legs and arms and feet quivered and I remember saying that I had had enough and I would like very much to go home and not have a baby thank you very much. My midwife was amazing. She held my hand, she helped me to breathe, she encouraged me to push as hard as I can. Sadly both me and my son had no energy left, and his heart rate started to drop. I remember the doctor turning up as everyone leapt into action. I was terrified, and the midwife explained that Reece had passed meconium in the womb, which is a sure sign of infant distress. They wanted him to be born quickly. I was given the option of an episiotomy as this would help speed things up and prevent an emergency caesarian. I agreed, the doctor made the cut, the ventouse machine was on stand-by just in case, and I was so scared I cried for my mum. My midwife rubbed my feet and hands and told me that I was going to do this, that she didn;t want to let the doctors win this battle and she'd be willing to place bets on my ability to push my baby out.

Three HUUUUUUUGE pushes later and my son was finally born. Absolutely NOTHING went to plan, but I did it, and I lived. I have never felt as powerful, or as elated as I did at that moment. I'd been in labour for three days (hard labour for 15 hours) and I did it without a proper epidural, without opiates, without any heavy drugs and I'd discovered that I really, REALLY love entonox.

The only thing my doctor did was to perform the episiotomy and check Reece once he was born. The midwives did everything else. I cannot ever thank them enough, they were utterly amazing. They bathed me, they gave me tea and toast, they took photos, they cuddled my son, they held my hand and they made me feel so safe.

That was 12 years ago. I've not forgotten the pain, and I've not forgotten the fear - but I'm desperate to do it all again, because it's the best thing I have ever, ever done. I live too far away from the hospital to realistically have a home birth, but I'm going to go into it with eyes open, and birth plan non-existent. My body will tell me what it needs and you are quite right - we need to be able to trust our own strength and ability to do this.

Sorry for the ramble! I did have a point somewhere...mainly that doctors are useless when it comes to the birthing process, and if profit is involved then they have a definite conflict of interest. Some conditions are serious and require medical intervention, but to be deliberately misled in order for someone to line their pockets...that's disgusting. This is why I am glad to have the 'socialised' health care system that we have. It puts women back in control of their own bodies, and leaves you able to trust your doctors and midwives if they say intervention is necessary. Whether you can afford it or not is not an issue.

Mrs. Jeffries said...

As mother of 5 gigantic teenagers ... I am very happy to see this post. My children were all natural and I was very lucky not to have encountered any complications. (Even with my 9lb. 10oz bundle!) I cringe every time I hear of a mother scheduling her baby's birthday. The young mothers today are being fed a line of crap by the medical industry. Babies are (usually) born in a hospital for medical intervention when things go wrong and this has reduced the mortality rate of mothers and newborns tremendously. However, giving birth is a natural act. Your body was created to do this very task and it is the primary reason we are made differently than men. I think that women, who have no medical needs, health issues or emergency situations, that opt for medical assistance during childbirth are acting selfishly. Unfortunately, this selfishness is robbing them of experiencing one of the most sacred acts a body can perform. It is a shame.

jewlover2 said...

wicca'd witch...your post made me cry. BEAUTIFUL!

kATY, I think it is normal but somehow I avoided it the other three times. This time, I couldnt stop the shaking at all...it was crazy.

Andrea said...

My birth experience was in some ways different with each child and in some ways, it was similar. While I was prepared for natural childbirth with #1, I ended up with just about every medical intervention short of c-section due to pre-eclampsia at 32wks. For the sake of my life, he had to get out of there NOW. I felt like a failure as a mother for the first couple months of his life. With #2, he was able to come at his own time and I labored for about 6hrs naturally. Up until that time, it was manageble. That's the the births became similar. Overnight, #2 changed position and it turned into back labor, just like #1. My midwife and doula tried everything, but nothing can prepare you for the stabbing pain of back labor. My only complaint about the natural birth industry is that so many of the classes, educators and heath providers try to make women feel like failures and terrible mothers if they aren't successful in a completely natural birth.

jewlover2 said...

Andrea...I had horrible back labor w/ my 2nd child and can identify...it was the worst by far. I do feel that if mine had gone longer, I would likely have asked for meds of some kind. I don't agree w/ women who try to judge others, saying 'if I can do it, you can do it'. Everyone's pain tolerance and experience is different. I just wish more people would at least TRY it. :(

LMH said...

My second daughter is due in May and I have been pondering this exact subject. With my first daughter I was terrified of the pain and knew that I wanted meds but I delivered early before I had a chance to discuss the different options with my doctor. when I got to the hospital I was so overwhelmed I am sure they gave me options but I don't remember them I just went with epidural because I recognized it. I hated the way it made me feel, I was paralyzed and unable to move my lower body. My bed was slanted at a weird angle and I kept sliding down it and my mom and boyfriend had to keep pulling me back up to the head of the bed by my arms.I have never been more uncomfortable or awkward in my life. Then halfway through labor the machine in charge of the epidural drip ran out of batteries and it wore off. When the anesthesiologist finally got back to my room he gave me an extra boost of meds to get me back to painlessness. This boost left me completely numb from the breasts down. What he was unaware of was that they were about to have me start pushing. So now I am trying to push and couldn't feel anything. My daughter was stuck in the birth canal and things were getting scary. My doctor finally switched off the epidural so that I would be able to feel enough to push and if I had not figured out a way to flex my muscles even though I couldn't feel them they would have had to intervene through a c section. I really wish I had had the confidence to attempt to do it without drugs. This time I am definitely doing a lot more research on the different pain management options. I know that I do not want to repeat that experience. Thank you for opening up and sharing your own reasons for your choices especially since I know what a hot button issue it is and I am sure will start quite a bit of debate.

EverFive said...

Great, informative Post!! I don't have anything to add but I wanted to share my birth story. I had my first three children in the hospital and with epidurals. Even though I never require a c-section I have experienced every other medical intervention under the sun. I left the hospital after my third child feeling physically broken and mentally devastated. I kept wondering...what is wrong with me? When I found out I was pregnant with my fourth I did tons of research and decided to go completely natural. I found a homebirth midwife and her birth is the most inspiring experience of my life. Turns out, there was *nothing wrong with my body.. Nothing! I hope you don't mind if I post a link to her birth story. It's so long, I don't want to junk up your comments. I created a blog with only the story on it to share with anyone interested in natural labor and delivery. www.eversix.blogspot.com
If you prefer that I post just the story here, of course I can do that, too. :)

Marie-Anne said...

Great post! I had an epidural when I was in labour with my daughter. It was a friday night and the anaesthesiologist was going home for the weekend, so it was last-call. Even though I was in early labour and doing fine, I thought it would be best to have and not need then to need and not have. Unfortunately it only numbed my legs. So they kept turning it up and up and my legs got more and more numb. Hard labour while being paralized in bed SUCKS! Eventually something similar to runners high kicked in and I was properly out of it. My 'labour high' did more for me than the epidural. I think if I had the use of my legs it would have been a cake walk. My daughter didn't budge during pushing either. I think if I had the use of my legs we could have tried different positions before resorting to vacuum and forceps.
I did make a birth plan. However it was my first time and I had no idea how I would handle it physically and emotionally. I decided to use it as a tool to explore my options rather than a fixed plan. "In the even of.....In case that....If I feel...." I learned a lot and my attitude going into labour was flexible and open.

Things I wish I had known:
-Epidurals don't always work.
-You should get a friend to play bad cop. I was very vulnerable (exhausted and out of it) in the last stages of my labour and it would have been easy for doctors and nurses to make decisions over my head.

boldenjessica said...

i was young (17) with my first in 97. i didn't know any better. they said my lobor wasnt progressing quickly enough. i went to the hospital because my water broke, slow leak, the indused me. i went from one contraction that was a mild discomfort to the next contraction that was the most pain i ever felt in my life! i was horrible and scary. if i kew then what i know now i would have never let them do that. also it caused me to dicide to get drugs with my second because i was terrified of going through that again. my 3rd came out so quick i didn't have a chance to ask for drugs. 2 hours from the time my water broke to the time he came out. almost did make it to the hospital

Brittany_Va-Voom Vintage said...

about the shaking, I also read that it was just a transitional labor thing. Apparently, it has something to do with a rush of hormones. I don't know what it really is but it was freaky! I hope it doesn't happen this time!!

CherryRosesea said...

Great post!! I am not planning of having children anytime soon but always thought that id like to try natural childbirth. since i have never fully researched the topic, i did not know although am not surprised that doctors would prolong your labor just to give you more drugs. shame on them!!

Da un altro Mondo said...

I'll be eternally grateful to a midwife here in Voghera Hospital when my second daughter was born - after many, many hours of labor Sofia wouldn't get out at all, doctors were talking about C-section. This lovely girl came to me and said in my ear, "I don't like they give you a C-section, when you had your first baby naturally!" and opened my oxytocine drip as wide as possible. Instantly big contractions followed, I felt a urge to push hard! and half an hour later I had a beautiful baby girl in my arms. Thanks Norma!
P.S. what is Entonox?

casey said...

Thank you so much Ashley for this post! :) While I have yet to get pregnant, it's something we've been talking about a lot lately in regards to the near future, so I've been starting to contemplate different birth methods, etc. I tend to be a bit on the natural side of things anyway, and am more freaked out about unnecessary cutting/pain meds than the pain of actual childbirth! I agree that these things are a fantastic boon to pregnant women who need them (especially in the face of a complicated birth or a situation where the baby is in distress); I also think that modern medicine doesn't give women the credit they deserve in regards to being able to live with the pain. After all: women have been giving birth naturally for thousands of years--we've got to be kind of tough to endure that! ;) Thanks for your insight; I'm bookmarking this post for later reference. ;)

♥ Casey | blog

avargonen said...

Hypnobirthing is a great method for natural childbirth...my first birth with my daughter was very tramatic and long. For our son we took hypnobirthing classes and delivered naturally after only 5 hours....I have to say, the shorter labor WAS more intense. Watching the Business of Being Born was my inspiration. This myth about women not being able to birth is seeping over into breastfeeding also...we are made to feel like we are not capable of anything anymore. :(

LaceyWhyte said...

It took two or three times for me to get up the nerve to read this and I am so glad that I finally did. I am so glad that you had mentioned what aa person chooses does not make them any less of a woman because those are the same words I've said thousands of times since the birth of my daughter (my first child) last April.
I easily feel that I was verbally abused by women-strangers, friends, and family-who didn't agree with my choices. Nevermind that both my daughter and I were and are happy and very healthy.
I'd just like to say thank you. You have said the same thing that they did but in a much more diplomatic and understanding way.

Lorie B said...

Having had four as well, I know where of you speak (and very well put,might I add). My first they talked me into inducing. After two days of fairly hard, but not progressing labor they finally broke my water. I had vicious back labor and got an epidural. Three days and ALOT of meds later, I had my baby.
Baby 2 and 3 I waited until I went into labor. I had researched induction in the meantime and I didn't like what I had found out. Baby #2 was about 12 hours. I did have an epidural, but it never took. So she was natural. Baby 3 was a little longer. I stalled in labor completely about 3 AM, so we got an epidural and tey gave me meds to sleep. When the doc got in at 9 AM he boke my water and he was born around noon.
My last one...hahahahaha....I woke around 5 AM when my hubby got up for work. "Don't go in." I told him. No pain, no reason, but I just insisted he not go in. Then, around 6, I old him to callmy parent to pick up the other kids. Still no pain, no real reason, but I DEMANDED he do it. When my folks arrived at 6:30 to get the kids, I was on my bed breathing-screaming through hard contractions. They left and we left. I made hubby put trash bags and towels all over the car. We live around 45 minutes (in good weather, but this was Feb 7 in a snowstorm, from the hospital). Water broke while on the highway. He drove 100 all the way on the highway. We got to the off-ramp, and I had to push. We arrive shortly thereafter at the hospital. He pulled up to emergancy, shoved at the first nurse he saw and went to park the car. By the time he got to my outpatient room, I was pushing. Baby was born within 10 minutes of arrival. He was sidways, the doc said or I wouldn't have even made it that long.

Note: I had a horrible post birth recovery with #1, I was out shopping 2 days after #4 was born. I wouldn't induce again, unless the baby was in major distress or something. Hated it. Natural worked so much better.


Wicca'd Witch said...

Entonox is nitrous oxide, otherwise known as 'laughing gas' or 'gas and air'.

It is the best thing in the world. EVER.

They had to prise that mask out of my hands after my son was born ;)

Anastasia said...

Both of mine ended up being high risk. But I was planning on using drugs. And I admire you so much. I think I've commented before about it, but you are a warrior. A valkryie!

Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

I tried all natural with my first but after 16 hours of fighting the pain I got an epidural and pitocin. . which I'm really happy I did because 6 hours later he was born a 10 pound baby!! My second son I took the drugs probably after 6 or 8 hours and had him 7 or 8 hours later.

I have 4 friends who went all natural and I think that is amazing. If someone can do it, I applaud them, since I wanted to as well. . .but it doesn't always work out like that and no matter what. . if they're born, they're born and there is the joy of their child in their arms.

I really wish more women would realize that it is a very good thing to have a child born naturally out of the birth canal rather than wanting c-sections like I've heard so many ladies beg for (which to me is insane). My best friend had her first daughter completely natural without a problem but her second daughter she had lots of issues and complications and they had to save her. Her baby almost died even after they took her from the womb too and I know that was all really rough on my friend because she was hoping for another all natural birth but is very happy they did what they did or she'd have no baby.

Honestly. . .birth lessons were pointless to me. I know some people loved having them though. What needs to be taught is what happens AFTER the baby was born because I was soooo clueless. I had no idea about anything that was going to be happening to my body. I wish people taught that! They only teach what happens when you are ready to go into labor, in labor, and what they do to the baby afterwards (with cleaning, weighing, etc). . .but after I had my 10lber. . .I had really really bad issues because of the stitches going way up my bum crack that I had to sit on a special pillow for 3 weeks after birth and it killed to walk in that time. I was in such great pain. I didn't know about all the bleeding, the way you had to clean yourself, about how painful that first pee was, about how to nurse. . .so now whenever a friend of mine gets pregnant I tell them what to expect and they are thankful about that because they don't learn it even when taking classes!!!

Mrs Cleaver said...

Excellent post!Good on you for talking about it.I think it's sad that so many women aren't really told these things & just treat it as a surgical procedure because that's all they know.
With my last one i just had the midwife & my husband & they left me alone unless i asked for them which suited me just fine.I ended up naked on the floor,leaning on a lounge chair & when the baby started to arrive they just slipped some blankets & towells under me & my husband helped deliver our little boy:)No pain killers or interference,totally natural,and afterwards i just sat there on the floor with a blanket over us & my baby cuddled against me,skin to skin ,until i was ready to get up & start the rest of the process ie:cleaning ,weighing etc
Apart from having to catch my breath immediately after i didn't feel tired or dopey just happy & euphoric.It was a great experience i recommend it to all the expectant mothers out there:)
Don't get me wrong it wasn't a walk in the park but compared to my other births where i had inducement & drips in my arm & needles in my thigh & constant interference & my baby whisked away from me at the end it was 100 times better.

Sarsaparilla said...

I've so enjoyed reading all of these wonderful birth stories. Obviously this is a topic that women are passionate about!

My two babies were born in the 80's, nice & easy (well, relatively speaking) drug-free deliveries. So long ago, I've completely forgotten the pain! My main memories were the beautiful surprises at the end of my hard work: It's a Boy! and then the second time - It's a Girl!

Back then, I remember being quite proud of my natural deliveries and that I managed to remain relatively calm through the pain. But the truth is, I didn't do anything special - I was simply very blessed to have inherited "fast delivery genes" from my mother. Not all of my six sisters were quite as lucky as me.

vanity_acefake said...

Wonderful post. Have delivered 2 babies -my son in hospital with diamorphene and my daughter - at home, no pain medication, delivered her myself (alone!!!) as she decided to be born very fast, my best friend was taking my son next door to be babysat by a neighbour when Fleur arrived so she missed her birth.
Hospital birth was wonderful but turns out I am allergic to diamorphene. Home birth amazing if slightly unprepared for.
Would definitely do home birth again.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I'll be posting one on Breastfeeding at some point soon; the second biggest and most heated discussion amongst Mothers other than the ways they chose to birth their children. Good luck, Mommy! As for me, I had my children both by c-section. My first child was delivered via emergency c-section when we learned his feet were already almost out of my body through the birth canal at my 38-week checkup. With my second child (seven years later), I chose to deliver the same as her older brother was born so that they could have a remotely similar birth story to talk about later in life. :)

Crafty Doll said...

Hi, new to your blog. Congratulations to having your sweet baby girl! I couldn't agree with your post any more than I already do. I'm currently expecting baby #3 and watched "The Business of Being Born" a month ago. It totally opened my eyes and now I am planning on doing Hypnobabies and having an all natural birth at a birth center. I've always wanted to go all natural since baby #1 but was scared into having an epidural by my nurse, during labor. I'm not going to let anyone brainwash me into thinking that I can't do it without interventions. Not this time around. Great post and best wishes to you and your family!

Kay Tracey said...

Thank you for this post. I found "The Business of Being Born" while preparing to teach a class in Intro to Women's Studies, and even though the class was cancelled, what I saw really opened my eyes. Have you read Marsden Wagner's _Born in the USA_? To me, that was even more eye-opening. It's amazing how this kind of information isn't more readily available, so thank you again for putting your voice out there.

Marie-Jo said...

Thank you very much! I'm due in 2 months (our first, a baby girl) and also preparing for hopefully, a nice delivery. Luckily in Belgium, we're not that medicalised and cesarians are to be avoided. Thanks for the link for the birth plan, I made mine. Since my gyn is due around the same time, I'll be delivering with an unknown one and this way I have the possibility to put together what I've been telling my gyn over the past months.

Lizzie Deadstar said...

I definitely applaud you, a standing ovation in fact for being able to do that without pain medication. I've only had one child, and I was induced "cause you're due date's today anyways, so why not" =\ so the contractions before the pitocin wasn't that bad but once I had that fake contraction stuff in me I was out of my mind in pain(I DO NOT RECCOMEND LETTING THEM GIVE YOU IT!!) not only was the pain unbearable but my daughter's heart rate went way up! Not worth it. They gave me an epidural and it only lasted until right before I was ready to push and they turned off the pitocin...so while giving birth to her, I felt it all and it was a painful BUT wonderful feeling to do that. Next time around, I'm doing a home birth. lol

My birth video(not for the weak stomached): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-V0M0nyIPc

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