Monday, October 6, 2014

Thoughts on childbirth

I'm not talking C-Sections. I know nothing about C-Sections other than what I've heard from friends. 
I applaud those women who have needed them and had to deal with the resulting recovery.

Before I begin, I'll give you my history... 

Baby #1: Induced at 41 weeks (after I pretty much begged) and given pitocin and an epidural at 4 centimeters.
Baby #2: Got to the hospital when I thought I might be in labor on my due date. I was about 5 centimeters and got an epidural, but ended up giving birth so quickly it really didn't work until after the baby was already born.
Baby #3: Planned natural childbirth/water birth. Ended up delivering on the hospital bed shortly after arriving, one week before my due date. (No time to fill tub.)

Before my first child was born I had a ton of fear about labor and delivery. I was so freaked out at the thought of how much it was probably going to hurt that I resigned right away that I would get an epidural as soon as it was humanly possible. I'd heard horror stories and they had all made natural childbirth into something that I was unable to handle. To be honest, I didn't read any books but I did watch plenty of those terrifying childbirth shows on TLC. I regret being induced, but hindsight is twenty twenty. After over 30 hours of active labor Isaiah was born, maybe the threats of a C-Section motivated me to push through after all those hours. I didn't eat, drink, or walk that whole time. One of the first things I asked for after he was born was a drink of water. 
By baby number two, I was a little more informed but still very afraid. I gave more time after going into labor before going to the hospital, because I knew it could be a long road. I knew I could handle labor at 5 cm without an epidural, which encouraged me for the next time.
Baby number three is when everything finally clicked. I could do this. My body was made to do this- and it did! It was intense for a short period of time, but otherwise very tolerable. Not the horror movie I had played in my head so may times. I relaxed, joked, ate, drank, and took my time getting to the hospital. In fact contractions were three minutes apart and I was texting a friend to update her and only realized that maybe things were progressing more than I thought when I really stopped to think about it. So what's the difference in my perspective? Read the next paragraph...
If you are a woman expecting a baby (first or not), I HIGHLY highly highly recommend that you read anything by Ina May Gaskin. I didn't until my third pregnancy and I could have saved myself countless hours of worry. Specifically her books Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. She walks you through what to expect like a grandmother would, making you excited to tackle the challenge of natural childbirth. If you're looking for a realistic expectation of what labor will be like, please watch Birth Story, a documentary about Ina May and her team of midwives on 'the farm.' It follows several midwives as they help laboring mothers deliver safe babies.

The moral of the story is this: Your body was made to give birth to babies. Childbirth is not abnormal or a disease to be treated, it's natural and the intense contractions you feel are supposed to happen. Women have been giving birth since the beginning of time. They did it and you can do it. Even if you feel afraid. Some of them did it and then got up and went about their work in fields. Labor is intense but its not impossible, its not too much for you, and it is fleeting with a great reward at the end. Finally- You should ultimately do what you feel most comfortable with. If you read and inform yourself and still decide you want an epidural, I fully support that choice. I treasure all of my birth experiences and thank God for three healthy children. 

New baby smell...

About 30 seconds after Evie was born. She was all clean because she was born in the amniotic sac and they had to break my water as she came out. We think of it as her first baptism. ;)

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