First off, you all made really good points. Thanks for the replies.
Don't you think there's something about the way women get all competative about birth (well and all things, really) that's odd? Why are we set up this way socially? Is it something that you think has been passed down from a patriarchal society? Why do we feel compelled to think badly of other women who birth "unnaturally"? Shouldn't we be feeling badly for them instead, see them as victims of a male-dominated medical culture? I suppose I do feel that way generally, but this competativeness has a sneaky way of creeping in... And instead of sitting around discussing what we think natural is; instead of debating the details of giving oxygen or having assistance, shouldn't it be about empowering women? NOT educating - because I feel that term has an inherently authoritarian feel, but *empowering*.
I mean, the whole reason I brought this up is that I felt there was something odd about the original discussion. Well, initially, the other thread was about how it seemed weird that doctors and more mainstream women regard any vaginal birth as natural, which, if you're talking epidurals & pitocin or even analgesics & IV fluids, does seem a bit odd. But then the discussion got more heated & people were mentioning oxygen and then even the idea of assisted births - no one said this is the only thing that qualified as natural, that wasn't specified, but these things were mentioned, which I found weird. So I got a little offended.
I can see how one could believe that *any* hospital birth is automatically interventive b/c it's in a hospital, which is going to disrupt the natural process, but I don't necessarily agree with the notion that natural births can't happen in a hospital. I really am beginning to think that rather than argue semantics, we should say "way to go!" even if a woman had a vaginal delivery just b/c the cesarean rate in this country is SOOOO high that it's kind of incredible when women are permitted to birth normally (whatever that means). And I think that I need to really work on accepting that other women feel that they need drugs, for whatever reason. That that should be an option really. Pitocin is not evil. What's evil is when these things are used unnecessarily or routinely. Might there be a reason that more women are having trouble with birth? Some environmental cause? Something aside from just over-diagnosing?
I felt lucky to have the birth I had. I felt like I really let my body lead me for probably the first time in my life. I'm beginning to think that the birth actually healed a rift between myself & my body. At the time, I remember it being weird that the midwives were busy writing stuff down while my birth partner & my husband helped me deal with contractions and did counter-pressure for my back pain. I remember it being kind of odd that as I went into the bathroom alone w/my husband (at my own request), that everyone else sat around chatting & eating lunch. But then, the whole thing was kind of weird really. I can remember not really knowing what I was *supposed* to do, but then contractions would come & I would just do whatever I could. I took helpful suggestions to eat & drink & change positions. I needed someone there to remind me to pee & to bring me fluids & cold washcloths for my head. I needed the lay midwife there to suggest getting out of the pool & laying on my side for pushing. I needed someone there to acknowledge that I *was* already pushing. I couldn't talk for myself. I couldn't really communicate. I needed them to tell me to breathe. And YET, none of that felt interventive. It was all merely suggestions from the people around me who were there to help me. I needed that help. And the fact that the midwives just wrote stuff down at first & would occasionally come over to listen to the heartbeat shows me in retrospect that they respected my ability to do what I needed & my birth partners' ability to help me. They were sitting back waiting for us to need them, and when we did, they came. There were 8 people besides myself at my birth and they were all helpful. I knew from the get-go that they were there to do things so that I didn't have to. They fed me, warmed blankets & towels, cooled washcloths, filled the pool, helped me to the bathroom, and cleaned up when everything was over.
I firmly believe in birth as a process beyond control. It is good that we have obstetricians who can get babies out when moms can't. It is good that there are places to go when babies or birthing moms have trouble. It is important. But, as all of us at MDC know, there's been a gap develop between what we can do and what needs to be done. Where else but in a country that starts wars for oil rather than give healthcare to children would it be easier to cut babies out than to let them be born naturally.
Anyway, I'm forgetting my point. The point is that I think that the whole system is messed up & I'm sure you all agree w/me on that b/c this is the homebirth forum. The point is that "natural" is whatever we think it is. The point is that I think I'm regretting the topic just because I realize now how counterproductive it is. Or maybe that's why I brought it up in the first place - because I started to feel as though we're getting off the point here. We're not here to tell women what to do, but to feel good about our experiences as birthers. We're here for healing & support and I just don't think that saying that a woman who has help to birth her baby or gets a bit of air isn't doing it as nature intended is a bit off. Yeah, I think that a baby coming out of an abdomen instead of a vagina isn't quite "natural", but I think that making that the point lacks compassion. All of us would do anything to have healthy babies. I would take the drug-induced, chock full of intervention labor for my son to have been born perfect any day.
Sooooo sorry for rambling.