Did I Have a "Natural"/"Pure" Birth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 05-03-2003, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I came across this thread and it got me to wondering whether I had a natural birth, or as some called it, a pure birth. I thought I did. DS was born at home with assistance from midwives and my family. I of course didn't have any medications or pitocin or an IV, but I did receive oxygen during pushing because I was having trouble breathing slowly & DS's heartrate was dropping (not that a dropping heartrate is unusual during pushing). They kept trying to get me to breathe slowly & deeply down to the baby, having DH breathe with me to help, but I was panicky & couldn't do it well enough. So they put me on oxygen. Does this constitute an intervention? If so, then what the hell is a natural or a pure birth? Does having assistance constitute an intervention? Should I have chewed off the umbilical cord with my teeth?

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#2 of 26 Old 05-03-2003, 10:11 PM
 
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I am not sure who gets to label anyone's birth but my own idea of natural is no drugs, and I dont consider oxygen a drug. But who cares really what anyone else thinks, the interventions most of us are trying to avoid are the ones with the bad side effects, I dont mind any modern devices that can be used as a help without really being a hurt in disguise.
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#3 of 26 Old 05-04-2003, 03:48 PM
 
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Well, for my first birth my midwife was sitting between my legs telling me how to push, peering intently at my vagina, and rubbing my perineum with oil, among other annoying, interventive, intrusive things she did. Frankly, none of that felt the least bit natural. lol! I still call it a natural childbirth, though, for the sake of convenience, to communicate to people that it was done without drugs or operatic intervention. But if someone wanted to contest that, I'd probably say that, well, it was not *completely* natural, no, and then shrug. I mean, so what? I guess labels just don't mean that much to me. The thing is what it is, regardless of what word is used to describe it.
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#4 of 26 Old 05-04-2003, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess I know what I feel my birth was. And true, I'm not going to take other people's opinions about what a natural birth was and strictly apply it to my own experience, but I am interested in getting opinions about what a natural birth looks like to others here.

Tell me what you think qualifies as natural. I'm interested in opening up a discussion here, not just talking about my specific experience. I'd like to hear other experiences as well. I'd like to see some brainstorming on this topic.

TIA for any replies.

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#5 of 26 Old 05-04-2003, 04:08 PM
 
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I would have to wholeheartedly agree with the who-cares-what-you-label-it point of view You had your baby, at home, in a gentle, loving, family-centered environment without the use of potentially dangerous interventions/drugs. I say WAY TO GO! That's pretty much as intervention-free as I can think of! No umbilical cord chewing necessary!

I don't believe birth should be seen as a contest.

Oxygen, IMHO, can only be helpful. Let go of the labels.....I would suppose that some would think having a mw would be an intervention. I had my 2nd child in the water, is that an intervention? It's all open to different interpretations. I believe that 'round here, we're all doing the best we can in the circumstances in which we find ourselves by keeping ourselves educated and informed.

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#6 of 26 Old 05-05-2003, 03:54 AM
 
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Who's been trying to tell you you didn't have a natural birth just because you had oxygen? Good grief! It's just air! Your birth was about as natural as it gets! You wouldn't believe how many women have hospital births and have every single intervention in the book except pain drugs, then claim they had a "natural" birth. Some doctors even try to claim that any vaginal birth, even one with pain drugs, is natural, as long as it isn't a c-section! All I can say is, if anyone can consider those births natural, no one can consider your birth unnatural!

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#7 of 26 Old 05-06-2003, 12:24 AM
 
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Annakiss, IMO, you had a very natural birth. But who cares about my or anybody's opinion about how you feel about your birth.

To me "natural childbirth" = no meds.

Interventions.... well.... who cares. Some people may call a EFM an intervention, whatever. Let's say you avoid ALL MEDS in the a hospital birth, but are still attached to the EFM 15 min out of every hour. Is it still natural? I think so. Let's say a friend gives birth at the birth center and the midwife : offers to give her an episiotomy and she says yes. Is it natural? I think so. She avoided everything else up to that point.

IMO, as soon as meds are involved, it's no longer natural.

I was aiming for a natural birth in the hospital. Unfortunately, we opted for PITOCIN after 18 hours (painfree labor thanks to HypnoBirthing ) because my uterus stopped contracting. I was so tired and hungry. It was either PIT or a C-section. I completely forgot about Natural NIPPLE STIM.

So while I did avoid the Epidural, etc... I did have other meds, thus I did not have a natural birth. I'm certain they kept the PIT drip on AFTER my son was born to help expel the placenta. That's not natural to me.

Perhaps the only "true" natural birth is unassisted birth... where the mom is only folowing her OWN cues, instincts. whatever. : (Which reminds me - having a chorus of people telling me WHEN to push DID NOT feel natural to me!!! )

I plan on a midwife-attended homebirth next-time, and if I avoid all meds (even if I need antibiotics for GBS) I'm calling it natural.

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#8 of 26 Old 05-06-2003, 02:29 PM
 
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hi all~
so I went back & read a little of the previous thread from AnnaKiss's OP. Honestly, I didn't have the patience to read the whole thing sorry!
But it is a really interesting thing to talk about what = "natural" ~1st of all, I don't think anyone can really define a word like that. It is just too broad & common. I guess when we discuss natural childbirth we have to add a lot of specific qualifiers, like vaginal, drug-free (then define a drug), intervention free, etc.
~ 2nd, I think it's important not to try to "own" a specific experience in a way that excludes others. As in "I did natural & she thinks she did natural, but she didn't bcz blah, blah, blah."

So, what I think is most interesting & valuable to women as they chose the birth path that is right for them is to understand the *nature* of birth & what for them *intervenes* (to interupt or disturb) in that process.

For example: I am trying for what I have seen refered to as "an undisturbed birth". I have seen this term used in Midwifery Today, in Mothering & specifically by Michele Odent. To my understanding, it refers to a birth where the woman's body leads the way in the birth & the hormones & endocrines can create plenty of endorphins, there is a spontaneous urge to push, etc. The article "Ecstatic Birth" in Mothering (from I think April 2002) was very good about this, sorry I don't know how to link it.

My personal goals for this birth lead me to want circumstances that will feel very safe to me, the less adrenalin, the more relaxed my birth will be. So I have explored what will make me feel safe & for me, a HB with very little mental stimulation, just be there but leave me alone. Having my MW I trust is an important part, for some it might be UC. For me, having to have oxygen might take me out of my "primal" place & disrupt my natural process, so for me it *might* be considered "interventive" but I would never say it was for someone else!

Can't wait to hear what others have to say about this as well, thanks for the thread AnnaKiss!
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#9 of 26 Old 05-06-2003, 03:22 PM
 
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Who's been trying to tell you you didn't have a natural birth just because you had oxygen? Good grief! It's just air! Your birth was about as natural as it gets!
Good grief is right! sheesh...

natural to me, means no pain medications. and as little intervention as possible. i had a friend who went medication free for a long labor then pushed for 3, and had to have help with a vacuum. i tend to think (to me) that is still natural, kwim?

i had a "natural" birth in a hospital for my first child. they did put a "heplock" which is IV access, no actual fluids/meds going through it. i did have oxygen during the last 10 minutes. of course, the nurses had me on the monitor every hour for 15 minutes. i guess to some moms here at MDC, that might not seem "natural" enough, after all, i didnt give birth at home on a red velvet birthing mat, but still, IV access and oxygen doesnt diminish anything.

for the record, i would not consider having an epidural "natural". and i want to make sure no c-section mama's feel bad about their own birth experiences.
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#10 of 26 Old 05-06-2003, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#11 of 26 Old 05-06-2003, 08:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by annakiss
Might there be a reason that more women are having trouble with birth? Some environmental cause? Something aside from just over-diagnosing?
Well, that question deserves it's own thread... No, I don't think it's environmental pollution (it's that is what you had in mind.)

The hospital environment doesn't help much. Everything is almost designed to stall labor! From staying in bed too long and not being mobile.

I do think that we women (and if people want to jump down my throat, oh well ) are not in tune with their bodies. Forgive me for sounding hokey, but we're not in tune with nature. We're supposed to release our bodies to birth (and it's hard to release our control to ANYTHING, let alone birth), release ALL tension and completely relax. We don't know how to. (That's why HypnoBirthing courses rock.) We don't know how. That's the biggee. We need classes... and some classes are better than others. (I loved my Bradley class, but our instructor spend little time on the relaxation exercises. Then they were watered down - and useless! Only one mom in the group (besides me) made it to pushing without meds, but she was tensing up the whole time and in pain. I bow because that was so hard to do, yet she did it. Wow.)

It was thanks to my HypnoBirthing class that I learned
A) to stop fearing birth
B) trust that my body could do it
C) actually look forward to it
D) gain so much confidence, by the time it was over, I KNEW I could do it unassisted in the middle of NYC's Grand Central station
E) completely relax my body from head-to-to at the drop of a hat.

We are so removed (generationally) from what birth is supposed to be like. Instead all we get are mages from TV/movies of women on their backs pushing hard and cursing at everyone in site (which feeds our worst fears about birth.)

My mother had me in a hospital in Brooklyn in the late 60s. Lord knows what drugs they gave her or what the experience was like for her. She died before I could ask her all the questions I have to ask.

The other thing is there is a lot of FEAR. Fear of the pain and the process and that interferes with the process. Fear (anticipating the next contracting and bracing yourself for it - i.e., tensing your muscles) begets MORE pain. Then it snowballs. Then the mom is begging for pain relief in the hospital. Is it her fault? Nope, I don't pass judgement on her. She did her best with the limited tools she had.

Then this drug leads to this (stalling...) whatever... then the C-sec for "failure to progress" (assuming that the babies health was never in danger.)

Just my rambling thoughts.

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#12 of 26 Old 05-06-2003, 11:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tanibani
I loved my Bradley class, but our instructor spend little time on the relaxation exercises. Then they were watered down - and useless! Only one mom in the group (besides me) made it to pushing without meds, but she was tensing up the whole time and in pain. I bow because that was so hard to do, yet she did it. Wow.)
That's surprising. I read that 90% of Bradley Class attendees go on to have drug-free births.

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Originally posted by Tanibani
by the time it was over, I KNEW I could do it unassisted in the middle of NYC's Grand Central station
Wow, that must be some class!

Quote:
Originally posted by Tanibani
E) completely relax my body from head-to-to at the drop of a hat.
I can completely relax my entire body at will, but as soon as I'm hit with a stab of pain, I tense up. The trick is staying relaxed through pain!

Quote:
Originally posted by Tanibani
My mother had me in a hospital in Brooklyn in the late 60s. Lord knows what drugs they gave her or what the experience was like for her.
I was born in a hospital in Leominster, Mass. in 1975. You can read about it on my mother's page:
http://greenhat.5u.com/photo6.html
She refers to me as her "second child" as as her "daughter, born in 1975."

Quote:
Originally posted by Tanibani
The other thing is there is a lot of FEAR. Fear of the pain and the process and that interferes with the process. Fear (anticipating the next contracting and bracing yourself for it - i.e., tensing your muscles) begets MORE pain. Then it snowballs. Then the mom is begging for pain relief in the hospital.
I don't remember fearing the pain or the process prior to labor. I thought it would probably be painful, but not unbearable, so I didn't fear it. As far as the process -- I was sure everything would go absolutely smoothly. I trusted my body to be able to do it. Once the contractions got severe, I did start fearing the next contraction, but it wasn't fear that caused the contractions to become severe because the fear did not exist until after the contractions became severe: the fear was the result of the severity of the contractions, not the cause. Lack of relaxation was also not the cause of pain, because I was perfectly relaxed until the pain hit -- then it was the pain that caused me to lose my ability to stay relaxed. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that, while I agree that fear and lack of relaxation can make pain worse, it isn't necessarily true that eliminating fear and tension will eliminate pain. In my case, I am glad that I did not succumb to the temptation to go to the hospital for pain relief. I had the drug-free homebirth that I wanted, in spite of the pain.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#13 of 26 Old 05-06-2003, 11:46 PM
 
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Wow, this discussion is so deep I'm not sure what I want to say.

I consider my 2nd birth pure- natural- whatever. It FELT SO RIGHT! Isn't that what matters? I do find myself though, being snotty when someone tells me about how great their epidural was. Then I remember my hospital birth with dd. The nurse did not encourage me in any way, and pushed an epidural telling me it would be hours (I was in transition and delivered an hour later). No wonder moms take the drugs or beg for them... someone has to be there for them and tell them they CAN do it!

I had a homebirth with a midwife, some may consider that un-natural. Well, without a midwife I would have had a hospital birth because no way dh would have gone for an unassisted birth! Yes, my midwife did try to strip my membranes at 39w5d because I was a stretchy 4cm and 90% and had been having contractions for weeks. Yes, my midwife broke my water for me at 9cm- heck it had been bulging for three weeks!

You know what, I was hardly in any pain until I was pushing. I didn't get any drugs of any kind. No one cut my vagina/perineum with scissors (and gosh, does that make a huge difference recovery-wise! ). No one strapped monitors on my belly and made me stay in bed. No one told me it would be hours and did I want an epidural (good thing I didn't listen to the nurse during my first birth or I would've gotten the epidural in time to push ).

For me, not going to the hospital made it natural because I was in my own environment and I was in charge. No one was going to do anything without my permission.
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#14 of 26 Old 05-07-2003, 12:44 AM
 
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Wow...

Well, it is unkind and distasteful to go about judging the experiences of others, 'Sorry, not natural enough!' Puh-leeze! But I can understand how/why it happens. When you (I, whatever) have gone thru a lot of effort to become educated, prepare yourself and your environment, attendents, etc so that you can have a birth that is natural, intervention free, etc AND luck comes your way and it works out that you don't NEED any you have a right to be proud. And you feel a little miffed when someone who was doped to the gills uses the same word to describe her birth simply because the baby came out her vagina. Yes, I'm thrilled anytime someone avoids a section... at this rate it may soon qualify as an Olympic event. But it stings my pride a bit to hear a heavily intervened birth called natural. Maybe how someone who really busted ass in college feels when someone boasts about a degree from a mill.

So, I empathize with and sometimes engage in that form of snobbery. Guilty as charged. And once you start judging it becomes a slippery slope, I guess. But oxygen? Honestly!
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#15 of 26 Old 05-07-2003, 02:10 AM
 
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in my case i called about as natural as it could be, under the circumstances. the big thing for me was that i was my own advocate and was involved in the decision making. i didn't have an agenda, other than to come out with as little adverse effect on the baby as could be avoided. i knew too many drugs wouldn't be good for me either, but we're both connected at that point, so it worked well for both of us. i'm sure that the hospital staff appriciated my involvement without getting screachy about my 'birth plan', in the end, we were a team. and that's what matterd the most to me. incidentally, i wasn't planning on going to hte hospital, I was going to stay home, but the baby had different plans and arrived 2 months early (he's 2 months old this week! 'due' Sunday).

my birhtstory is in my sig. i think if you're happy with the outcome, it's just fine. and i think you have to let go and allow things to unfold, you can't control birth anymore than you can herd cats or collect rain with a butterfly net. just breathe.

blessings

Lori
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#16 of 26 Old 05-07-2003, 02:32 AM
 
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hi again~
so, I think this is a very productive discussion, AnnaKiss, don't regret this topic! It can be difficult, but I think we are all acting in our capacity as advocates of empowering birth & empowering women, especially ourselves.

It is a mind-freak when the state of modern obstetrical practice makes major abdominal surgery so common (& "outcomes" so dependable) that it is the only type of delivery regarded as truly "unnatural." And I do think that is about people who will never experience the intangibles of birth & so discount the importance of giving birth from the woman's perspective. The OB community in general has so much faith in the certainty of it's surgical skill and so much doubt in women's bodies. I understand that & expect it of them, obstetrics is primarily a surgical discipline. Marsden Wagner's article about Maternal Mortality in the most recent Mothering makes excellent points about this.
Quote:
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 do find it disturbing when the medical community takes a planned induction, epidural & vacuum extraction & labels it "natural." It would be pretty easy to resent the woman who experiences this, but I think we all agree that is so counter-productive. What I resent is the medical business taking something from all of us women, co-opting it, twisting it, & selling it back to us without it's soul. The level of education that most people have about birth is so low, & the power of our culture's negativity about birth & women is so strong, that most people just eat what they are fed.

I think all of this gets back to the question of, so what is natural & why is "natural" so valuable to us? I think it is bcz we value the empowerment.
Quote:
... natural because I was in my own environment and I was in charge. No one was going to do anything without my permission.
Can we define a truly "natural" birth as a woman led birth? What if that woman's preference is highly medical & interventive? Do we think that if all women were exposed to the correct level of advocacy/education/empowerment we would all choose to have calm, empowering births at home? One thing I have noticed in many of our replies is that many of us have refered back to our own personal birth philosophies: undisturbed birth, hypno-birthing, Bradley, etc. Yet, I think we all recognize that there are many paths to birthing, and are just happy to find one that works for us.

I can say that I am truly excited to get on with my upcoming birth & test out some of these ideas in real life! I think this discussion is really helpful to me as I continue to come to understand the decisions & choices I'm making.
blessings, Maria
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#17 of 26 Old 05-07-2003, 01:23 PM
 
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I thought I'd add my point of view. Before I do that, I'll say this, i've never had a home birth, for 2 reasons, where I live, we have no coverage for midwives, and cost is a factor, and 2, my babies were very late. and "at risk".

I'm pregnant again, and am reading all I can. My first child broke his water enough to cause a trickle, then he sealed it again, not uncommon. They ruptured my water in the hospital as he was 13 days past my due date, and 18 past the Dr. due date, and for the fact that the membrane had ruptured and they were worrying about infection. My second was late and huge and the U/S showed deterioration of the placenta. I was induced, and did it without further drugs, the labor was excruciatingly painful but i did it drug free. The third same as above, but I opted for an epidural, as the memory of the second labor was scary. It was a peaceful labor, I walked until they ruptured the water at which point the epi was used. I was alert, peaceful, and had a wonderful experience. My Dr and I have a wonderful rapport. I held my baby shortly after she was born. I had the epi for a whole 45 minutes, she came fast. It was turned off when she was born and removed when dh brought the baby to give her her first bath.

What's my point? I make no claims to a "natural" birth. But having had interventions, I get looked down on by many who home birth, go natural. I'm no less of a mom for it, people walk up to me in restaurants to compliment on what wonderful well behaved, pleasan children I have. My kids often tell me they think I'm the best, that they are glad I'm not like so and so mom. I must be doing something right!

I agree that interventions are often misused, perhaps overused as a rule. But it doesn't make any woman a bad mother for it. Most childbirth classes in these parts are aimed at making the Dr. and hospitals job easier.Women are taught these to be the way to go. When my son was born I'd never heard of Bradley, AP, there was no internet, or not easily accessible anyway.

I think women do what they feel is best in their circumstance, and they shouldn't be judged for it. There is a lack of education of the general public. Not everyone knows AP, natural child birth, bradley, birthing from within. It doesn't make them bad because they do different, they just do different.

All that said, I'm pregnant again, and I am hopeful that this baby will come without being induced, that i'll learn the right techniques to manage my pain. I dont' want any intervention. But, my baby will come first, if induction, oxygen, forceps, whatever is needed to bring him to me safely, I'll do what it takes. And I'll never apologize for it.
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#18 of 26 Old 05-07-2003, 03:00 PM
 
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I would never say that someone is a bad mother because she didn't have a natural birth. I just think that natural birth is a good thing to aim for, because I think, when it can be acheived, it's better for both mother and baby. If a woman makes an informed choice to have an intervention because it's necessary in her situation, I have no problem with it. The only time I have a problem with interventions is when they are used routinely by doctors on *every* woman, whether the situation calls for it or not. It bothers me when the doctor makes the decision without the woman's informed consent. I am a crusader for homebirth because I believe the midwifery model of care acknowledges the ability of almost every woman's body to give birth without intervention. The medical model of care does not seem to acknowledge this, and a woman is statistically more likely to be subjected to unnecessary interventions if she plans a hospital birth. This is just a general rule, however: there are always exceptions. There are doctors who seem to respect the midwifery model of care, and there a midwives who seem to follow the medical model of care. I am glad that there are hospitals and obstetricians that have the technology to deal with the rare problems that do come up, but it is my opinion that, if women's bodies were trusted to be able to give birth naturally, and women were empowed to give birth in their own homes, fewer than 10% of women would have a medical need for obstetricians or hospitals.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#19 of 26 Old 05-08-2003, 01:46 AM
 
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Ok, so I haven't read EVERY post yet, but I just wanted to answer your question: "What do you think a natural birth is?" To me, it means no drugs. That's about it. When I get to thinking about it, I think that includes vacuum or forceps use.

Ok, I wrote a lot more but thought it wasn't relevant! Boy, I like to ramble!!!
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#20 of 26 Old 05-08-2003, 09:50 PM
 
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During my first birth, they catheterized me just for a minute to drain my bladder. I was hugely insulted and felt it was totally unnecessary. I cried !

I also hated having anyone tell me to push when I did not feel like it unnatural !

Yet...

Now I feel that any birth is perfect and pure.

Birth just IS.

It is a moment of time so unique in the universe that it has never happened before and will never happen again.

Koanos.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#21 of 26 Old 05-08-2003, 09:54 PM
 
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There is a thread over on the VBAC Forum asking the same question.

I remember in 1971 seeing a television news show with a story that promoted "natural childbirth" with acupuncture. The show featured a mother having a Caesarean section with acupuncture needles as her only anesthesia. This was supposed to be natural childbirth.

To each his own.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#22 of 26 Old 05-09-2003, 01:04 AM
 
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Intresting topic. I guess I wrote off natural childbirth a long time ago. There is no natural. I mean how is birth supposed to be done? Is unassisted natural? i would argure that it is unnaturalk to go this alone without a qualified midwife attending. After all it is only natural to want osmeone there who is skilled at helping in my opinion. So that isn't what qualifies it as nutural. Is it unnatural to accept lifesaving intervention? I think it is onl;y natural to do what is best for your child. So that isn't it. Is it unnatural to have pain medication? I think that one is an easy yes. I think pushing the baby out yourself makes it natural.

Then comes thw question is natural better than unnatural. What is best ius having an empowering birth that is right for you and best for your baby. We had one at the hospital, one at home and then went back to the hospital. The most "natural" and definitely the most satisfying experiance was my last birth that was more or less at the hospital (long story). It certainly wasn't a natural comfortable setting, and there was a certain air of panic. My midwife was trying to catch a baby in not so comfortable quarters, while fighting off Dr. who should have been in thier offices doing thier thing and in the mean time there was an audiance of strangers out in a waiting room a few feet awy listent o every sound I was trying realy hard not to make. A far cry from natural now that I look at it more closely :LOL. but thier were no drugs, no monitoring, I didn't even know I was in labor. there was no suctioning even when she refused to breath (kinda wish we hadn't gone so natural there) but it was a great birth. better than my natural home birth.

Who knows. I wish people weren't so competitive but I see it every where, especially here. Sometimes it drives me crazy but othertimes I feel myself getting sucked in with everyone else.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#23 of 26 Old 05-10-2003, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! Reading all the replies has been great. I'm glad to hear all these different points of view & to see this expand to a larger discussion. I really think it's valuable to discuss these things not only for our individual futures, but sort of as a consciousness-raising thing - bringing issues about the politics of birth to the forefront of our minds. It's about women's health.

I've been contemplating maybe one day training to become a doula. Since experiencing birth myself, I feel that it's just incredibly important to empower women to trust their bodies & to not be taken advantage of.

During my pregnancy, I went to a teaching hospital for a bladder infection. Big mistake! They really wanted to mess with me. I was there for 7 hours, strapped to a fetal montitor & an IV. Honestly, I was greatful for the IV, but that's b/c it got rid of my kidney pain & urinary tract discomfort. Anyway, from that experience I learned first-hand how difficult it is to stand up to doctors & nurses. They wanted to do an ultrasound & we had not had any & felt like we didn't really need one. I asked to discuss it with my DH for a minute & they said, "sure", but didn't leave the room! They made us sign an Against Medical Advice paper, which they didn't have pre-printed (which just shows you how accustomed they are to getting their way), so the OB hand wrote it & it actually included language that said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that "regardless of what it meant for my baby" I didn't want this procedure.

At any rate, my point is that I know how HARD it is to stand up for your rights. The whole system is set up against you. In a hospital, you lie half-naked in a bed, further distinguishing your place as a patient & theirs as doctor. Culturally, these roles are authority figure and layperson, professional and inexpert. So the whole thing is subversive. It's also obvious, because when you do manage to say "no", they lay a guilt-trip on you thicker than any MIL could. I just don't understand what's so hard to understand about the idea of no drugs, no unnecessary procedures. I remember after my experience at the hospital, talking to my mother & she kept saying that they were trying to find a way to do a c-section at 30 weeks, I guess to try out their skills as residents. I'm so glad that didn't happen.

So I've babbled some more, perhaps a bit too incoherently.

anna kiss partner to jon radical mama to aleks (8/02) and bastian (5/05)
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#24 of 26 Old 05-10-2003, 04:13 PM
 
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well lets see my first i had 5 hours start to finish no drugs but an almost dead baby that doesnt seem natural my second was a bugger water broke at 5;55 delivered at 4:35 with internal monitor,pitocin no pain relief none of this was in my birth plan so ..... Needless to say there is varying degress of natural i believe the body knows the path to take sometimes there has to be intervention i think that teh baby has to come out regardless and you are not weak to have to have pain relief or intervention not every birth is the same so natural is what u make iT
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#25 of 26 Old 05-10-2003, 11:33 PM
 
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I think this is a great discussion. I would hazard to guess that part of the reason that there is so much "competition" is that IRL, most of us don't get very much validation for our birthing, whatever it was. BUT *especially* if it was going for a unmedicated birth, homebirth, etc. So it is nice to be someplace where that is valued, ie, MDC. And sometimes that probably evolves into competition.

HOwever, I had to also take issue w/this:
>>>? i would argure that it is unnaturalk to go this alone without a qualified midwife attending. After all it is only natural to want osmeone there who is skilled at helping in my opinion.

For some of us, that might be the case, but for us, it was not. DH has never wanted anyone but us there, though we had paid professionals w/our first birth. I am not trying to ignite the whole birth competition attitude again but to be honest, for *US*, there was nothing more un-natural than people sticking their fingers in my vagina, or taking my blood pressure, or assigning me positions while I was trying to tune into my *own* wisdom from within. I am not arguing that a freebirth is more "natural", though you *are* a heck of a lot more likely not to get an epidural!! LOL. Yes, many have birthed for centuries attended by others, though I would also argue that their capacity was significantly different than a couple of generations ago when the communities were smaller and devices & gizmos were less prevalent (and court cases less!!) And TBH, yes, I am very proud of our birth...especially our latter, because it was an expression of who we are and was an incredible amount of work for us. It was a work of art for us, as I imagine many of your births were for you!! BUT, I ****DO NOT ***think it has more value etc than any other type of birth.
Anyway, that is an aside.
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#26 of 26 Old 05-11-2003, 02:38 AM
 
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I, too, do not mean this as a debate about whether midwife attended homebirth or midwife-free homebirth is "more natural" (I think they are both natural), but I just wanted to mention that my midwives did not perform any vaginal exams during my labor, nor do I remember them checking my blood pressure. They did listen to my abdomen with a fetoscope, and they suggested some positions, which I appreciated, because I was having trouble tuning into my own inner wisdom (not because of their presence - I was having trouble before they got there). I hope this is not interpreted as an argument -- I just wanted to mention that midwives can be very non-invasive.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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