Chaotic mama to 5 plus a bonus one on the way.
Eventually I got to the point that I decided to plan a homebirth, and so therefore, would have a natural birth. DD3 decided she'd rather be born at 30 weeks, so the homebirth was obviously out of the question, but I knew that I wasn't comfortable pumping my body full of narcotics when delivering a teeny tiny preemie baby. I went through 37 hours of active labor with her, and only had a milligram of Stadol at hour 34 (which I regret) to take the edge off.
After all of that, I knew that I could totally handle this natural birth thang, and any future babies would arrive the same way.
Honestly, I loved all of it. I can't imagine being numb and not getting to feel my babies come out. Yes, it's really weird to feel the nose, shoulders, elbows, fingers, knees, etc as they come out, but amazing and exhilarating at the same time. I totally felt like She-Ra when I was done.
Once I found out what an epidural was and how it was done (you seriously want to put a tube into my back, ridiculously close to my spinal fluid, and have me lay down on it??), I knew I didn't want one.
I also didn't want my baby taken away after the birth, didn't want people messing with my body unnecessarily, didn't want to be stuck in a bed attached to a ton of machines, etc.
It was a very instinctual decision.
I didn't really have anyone around who had natural experiences or offered support until later in pregnancy after I'd found a homebirthing doctor and moved across the state.
9yo and brand new as of 4/28/10!
With subsequent babies I did not, and what I found was that the pain was helpful. I know that sounds weird, but it kind of tells you what to do. So You arch a certain way, or move another way and it seems the baby makes its way out. My epi baby was a little stuck! Pushing was harder and longer and he was sleepier!
My natural births have been painful yes, but somehow easier and all resulted in more chilled babies! Very alert, great nursers etc.
I want natural, just because it feels right to me. Also, I have never had pain relief on my right side when I have been given an epidural. So, if I am still going to be left feeling pain on one side, then I might as well, just learn to deal with the pain the entire time.
After my first birth, I have always been able to deal with the pain. As a matter of fact, my last pregnancy I went through my entire dilation and effacement w/o any pain. I didn't feel pain until I left the comfort of my home.
As far as my influences the only birth experience I had prior to giving birth was being born and watching TLC Baby story. I was a c-section baby and we all know what the baby story births look like. I remember being 11/12 and getting upset and knowing that that mom was going to end up with a vaccum/forceps delivery and that mom was going to be a c-section, and that mom was going to have trouble breastfeeding if she tried.
In the end I ended up with an extremely managed birth and c-section delivery, followed by a natural and short VBAC, and am now planning a HBAC.
Sami , wife to , mama to Tate 10/14/05, Kaleb 12/17/07, Bram 3/13/10-11/17/12, Alden 2/1/12, October 2014
These are my reasons why I fear an epidural more than unmedicated birth:
*don't want to be stuck on my back tied to monitors
*don't want my bp dropping
*don't want my labor slowing down and stalling, requiring pit
*don't want that pit leading to my baby's heartrate decelerating
*don't want those complications leading to a forceps or c/s delivery
*don't want to be numbed out so I have to be told when to push, and then tearing up because I pushed too hard
*don't want to be up in stirrups and legs splayed out in someone's face and having them catch my baby when I can do it myself
*don't want the post-epi complications like numbness, back pain, headaches, etc. (I have MS, I already have this stuff anyway! Don't need any more of it!)
*don't want the risk of infection from a messed up epidural
I have a hard time getting across to people that the reason I don't take an epi has nothing to do with me thinking I'm superwoman--I just find the possible consequences of an epidural more offensive than the pain of childbirth.
As I got older I realized there were valid reasons for natural childbirth, but I wasn't really interested in having babies and didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it. Then one day I was writing a story about a breastfeeding issue (I'm a reporter) and I stumbled onto MDC. I started reading homebirth stories and at first I thought it was totally fringe and freaky, but then as I read them they totally and profoundly resonated with me. It opened up a whole new universe and even though I wasn't considering having a baby any time soon, I immediately knew I would want a midwife. When I got pregnant a year or so later I went into full-blown research mode. That's when I really learned about the idea of evidence-based maternity care, the idea that the standard interventions actually often have worse outcomes than the natural models, the idea that it's important to a women to birth in a safe and comfortable environment with emotional support, and the idea that labor isn't necessarily unbearably painful. It was like an entire paradigm shift.
For me it was less about whether or not to get an epidural, and more about avoiding the medicalized hospital model of childbirth and the whole slew of interventions it entails.
I had a really wonderful gentle homebirth and I'm so glad I chose that route.
Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
SAHMlovin' to DD 10/00 & DS 10/04 If your son is intact, keep him safe, visit the Intact Care forum Circ, a personal choice, Your SONS 11/98 6/99 Thyroid cancer survivor. With 5 & 2 Boxers wishing for
Until that point the only people I knew that had natural births (nevermind a homebirth) were on MDC. Even after I had my 2nd kid I got crap from people that thought there was something wrong with me for making the choices I did.
I never was allowed around birthing. The closest I came to seeing my brothers born was going to school one day and coming home to my mom holding a baby.
I guess I was just blessed to be so ignorant! And I am VERY glad!
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
I became more knowledgeable about it after two events. First, when I was 13, my aunt had her 9th baby, and chose to have an epidural despite having 7 of the other 8 naturally with no issues. She suffered some sort of event, thought to be either mini strokes or a spinal headache. Whatever it was, she is still sick 7 years later, and frequently suffers dizziness and crippling headaches. I haven't talked to her much about it, but my oldest cousin says my aunt knows it was from her epidural. I decided that a day or two of pain could never be worth years of health problems, even if those problems are one in a million.
When I was 17, my SIL had my first niece completely naturally with a CNM, which got me reading. I quickly decided I wanted to be a doula, then decided I'd like to be a CPM. Hearing about SIL's two beautiful natural births makes me look forward to experiencing it.
So, in summary, it's a few things; my unnatural fear of needles makes me want to die at the thought of putting it in my spine, my aunt's experience, but mostly my whole attitude about birth. I know it'll hurt(unless I'm one of those lucky orgasmic birth women), it might be long, it'll definitely be hard work, but I'm designed to do it. I actually can't wait to be pregnant and go through labor!
NMY, uber-crunchy, college student, doula-in-training, health food store worker and future librarian
Also I am an MD and during my Ob/Gyn rotation in med school I saw a LOT of highly managed births and not a single intervention-free one. I was horrified at the powerlessness of the laboring women - eg they'd be pleading to walk around and were told sternly to stay in bed with the monitor on. It seemed so dumb - obviously the women's bodies were telling them how best to get the baby out and the hospital staff were throwing up hurdles left and right. No wonder the hospital had a 40% section rate. So yeah, I *also* saw a lot of C-sections and I learned from that experience that I never, never, never wanted a C-section (or any surgery really).
I'm not strongly opposed to epidurals - eg if the woman is really tired and sapped by pain I think an epi can be helpful in giving her a 'second wind' to finish the delivery - but on balance I think if you can do without, that's a little better. And personally, I'm definitely eekier about a needle in my back than about labor pain.
Overall the best advice I got was from my mom - stay home as long as you can! I showed up to the hospital already pushing and way past the option for an epi or anything else. Worked out perfectly. Hope I can pull it off again next time around!
Me, DH, DD1 (5/2009) and DD2 (10/2011). DS due 6/2015.
I'm not crunchy. I'm evidence-based.
Vaccines save lives.
I know a lot more now about the details of birth and how interventions affect them, and if it was available I would be having a home birth this time. Since it isn't, I have been doing hypnobabies to teach myself to relax and let my neocortex be a little quieter.
I don't believe in that "feeling the experience" stuff that people talk about when discussing natural birth. I'd rather NOT feel the pain. .
For me, a big part of it was women have been doing it for thousands of years, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.
And I have to admit to a certain 'macho' streak that is so frowned upon for some reason - I wanted to know I could and would deal with the pain of a normal childbirth.
I don't necessarily view epis as evil or even all that risky. I fully support any woman's right to choose an epidural for her birth, especially if it's difficult. For me it's about the aesthetics of it, the idea behind it - I like accepting challenges that are naturally presented to me.
Then I started research, cause I wanted the best for my baby and for me too. I came across all the studies, the websites and decided natural is better. It was then I decided I want to nurse my baby and so on. I literally was clueless before my research!!!
I used to think women who choose natural births are crazy and people who nurse longer than 6 months must be weird... I realize our mainstream society doesn't talk about these things so I am never offended if a non-parent tells me how weird I am... they just don't know and have had no reason to research it!
Yeah. I wanted to go natural because I was led to believe it was possible, that it was the best for me and for the baby, and all the other lies we get fed. Well guess what? It didn't freaking happen.
The natural birth community led me to believe it would work out because if you plan, do this, do that, get your doula, etc., etc., birth will be a unicorns and fairies.
After what I went through trying to get a natural birth to fail miserably, I wish I hadn't known a damned thing about it. I'm sure now, a year later, I'd be a lot better off ignorant of what I missed instead of pissed off at everyone here who it did effing happen for.
Yeah, I'm bitter and angry and pissed off at natural birthers. I'd like to say more, but it would be filled with UAVs.
I'm sorry. I consider myself a cynical realist, and I can't buy into the unicorns and fairies stuff either. I do think it does a disservice to women to discuss childbirth in strictly glowing terms when it isn't that way for everyone. For a LOT of women, actually.
I didn't know anyone who'd had an unmedicated birth and I wanted to know what I would have been missing.
I also read a lot of birth stories and there was something so very different in how the story was told by moms who went natural or who had going natural as their goal.
It grew from there.
We think green! Gentle mama to 3 amazing kiddos. Recovering from religion.
LIFEschooling. Extended NAKing. Graduated cloth diaperer.
2. I wanted my baby's first moments to be clear. She came out aware, calm, and very focused on the people who were present at her birth. I didn't want her to come out doped up.
I never, ever thought that it wouldn't hurt. That is just silly to think that if you do all these things, that it won't hurt. In fact, I had heard so many horror stories and so many people trying to talk me out of natural birth, that I kept expecting it to get worse and worse, and it didn't. It hurt a lot, but was manageable by sitting in hot water, moving a lot, moaning, and using counterpressure. I kept waiting for it to get to this peak of pain, and then next thing I knew, I was pushing a baby out. So it does hurt, but it's not so bad as the horror story tellers will make it out to be (then again, I didn't have back labor or an breech or anything like that).
ETA my mom and other women role models had classical medical/surgical births. I had been a support person for two natural births for my sister, so I did have an idea of what I was in for, although my sis' experiences were very different than mine (she was in the hosp the whole time, mostly flat on her back, whereas I was the squatting, moaning queen of my home til I went to the hosp 30 mins before dd was born). So I don't think that my mamas had a lot of bearing on my choice. I just wanted to trust my body and let it happen.
We labored at home until I was at 7, went in to the hospital and labored another hour or two until I was ready to push. Then the OB and nurse went completely white and got very, very scared. Turned out that until my water broke as I was ready to push, they didn't realize that she had a prolapsed cord. The waters had been cushioning and protecting it, and her heart rate had stayed fine. She was out in four pushes, and the L&D nurse, who had never seen an unmedicated birth, was amazed. Dd2 was perfectly fine. My OB told us that if I had had the regular epi/pit cycle it would have been an emergency c-section, but probably too late to save her.
This time around, not only are we going natural, but also having a homebirth (as soon as dh is persuaded, anyway ).