The birth of this precious baby has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been contemplating hiring a doula for the process but have recently decided against it.
The main reason is because I love the birth experience I had with Abigail. It was a very private and joyful thing between Andrew and me . . . just the two of us. It was lovely. I think I'll keep it that way.
The reason I was considering one is that I currently have this (irrational?) fear that Andrew somehow won't make it to the birth. He works downtown Cincinnati and we are having the baby in downtown Dayton. He is traveling to NY when I'm 36 weeks pregnant and probably again the week after (although that will be a closer destination). More than likely it will be fine.
However, if I don't have a support person/coach I am not allowed to deliver in the birth center that we love so much. Thankfully the midwives that I see would still be with me in the Labor and Delivery ward and so I think I could still do it natural, although it would be tough!
Okay that being said I want to touch on natural birth and dispel some of the myths I have heard lately. Here we go:
1) I do not think poorly about other women who decide to have pain relief during childbirth. If I am passionate and talk to you about it, it just means that I want you to decide for yourself what is best, not have a doctor or other medical staff tell you that you need a particular drug just so the birth is easier and more convenient for them. (A BIG problem today in Labor and Delivery Wards - heard of Pitocin? - sometimes necessary but usually used when the doctor just wants your baby born). I am all for having a safe healthy baby but I think it is pretty obvious that too many interventions can lead to a unnecessary cesarean section rate.
2) I did not choose to have a drug-free birth because I want to be looked upon as heroic or tough. That's quite silly!
3) I did choose to have a drug-free birth because I believe our bodies were created to do it with the least amount of interventions possible. When we are in labor it is the only time we are in the hospital and we're not sick. It is one of the only times that we are in pain but are not injured or sick. I want to be treated like I'm in labor, not like I'm sick or injured.
4) If you have drugs you probably won't be allowed to walk around or eat. It will probably be highly discouraged. (I'm not sure about drinking. My first practice told me "no" - which is why we left). You will be hooked up to a continual fetal monitor, and an IV. I had occasional monitoring with a Doppler and a hep lock IV (meaning it was in my arm but not hooked up most of the time).
5) I chose to have a natural birth because I felt it was better for my baby and would make breastfeeding easier. This doesn't mean that I think those of you who do choose to have drugs are out to harm your baby or you won't be able to breastfeed. That's not the case at all!
6) Yes, I am hoping and praying that #2 will be easier because I'm not sure I can do the same labor again. Abigail was quick moving at first (7 cm when I arrived) but stalled very quickly. It was probably because I got into the huge warm tub and wasn't walking and using gravity. It was a 15 hour labor with 2 1/2 hours of very painful hard pushing but . . . she finally arrived safe and sound.
I was able to breastfeed immediately and walk shortly after birth. I didn't need a catheter (yeah!) and was able to get up with Abigail (she only woke once!) during that first night. It was lovely.
7) I have never experienced such a euphoric high as I did after Abigail was born. I don't think it would have felt the same if I hadn't felt the pain. The absence of pain and the presence of my daughter was the most unbelievable experience for both of us!
I am planning to have a drug-free natural birth again because of the reasons I listed above but I will admit that I hope it is easier than last time!