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#31 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 05:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Caroline248
I tell people my last birth wasn't natural but it was pain-med free because I had pitocin. People look at me like I am crazy for not having pain meds anyway....

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ditto here. I was induced, EEZI, enima, broke waters, then pitocin, but no pain meds. I say it was pain med free, but certainly not natural.
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#32 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 05:07 PM
 
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I don't know.. I don't think people should judge really. I had pitocin with my first labor, but because I didn't know it until after her birth I don't consider it any less "natural." It wasn't as if I asked for pitocin to botch the whole thing. They literally did not tell me what it was, only that they were giving me an IV of fluids. :

With my second labor I was given Stadol without my consent or knowledge. It was only when I heard them talking "I gave her meds, but they didn't seem to help any." that I realized what they had done. I was hooked up to an IV because of Group B Strep so it was easy for them to slip things in. My chart specifically said no medication unless I asked for it, and they did not listen to me. Did that make me angry? Yup. But in my eyes it didn't make my daughters birth any less "natural"..especially considering the Stadol really DIDN'T work!

So no, I don't alter the story to say that it was vaginal but not natural...because to me it most certainly was! I also don't find it nessasary to go into every detail with exactly what went on that day with every person who wants to know if it was "natural" or not.

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#33 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 05:09 PM
 
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I know what my definitions mean....and realize that to some women its different. But I would never "correct" someone, who say, tells me she had a "natural birth" and means that the baby came out of her vagina and she had pain meds.

Listen, I loved my epidurals and wanted to marry the anesthesiologists who gave them to me. But when I refer to my first child's birth, I always say "un-medicated". Because I was. No pain meds, no pit. Just a help lock in my wrist
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#34 of 55 Old 11-15-2005, 05:37 PM
 
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The reason I don't really feel the need to define another's experience is due to an experience I had with my best friend a couple of years ago. She had her third repeat cesarean. They kept the baby away from her for 3 hours, not due to any reason but hospital policy which does not typically allow baby in recovery. I was there when baby was born and watched as they wheeled baby to the nursery. I stuck around for about 40 minutes and then decided to go get some lunch and make childcare arrangements for my boys.

When I came back (three hours later!) my friend was all cozied up in her postpartum room, but no baby! I said, "Where's the baby?" and my friend told me they had not brought Her to her yet. I was thinking "What the heck?" I went out to the nurses' station and said, "Um, can she have her baby now?" The nurses made up some excuse about why baby was no in there and then immediately brought her to mom (they had not even nursed yet!).

I was horrified -- absolutley horrified -- but my friend seemed to think it was all perfectly normal. At that point, tempting as it was, what would have been the point of me pointing out to her that her experience did not need to be that way? That in that same hospital if you ask and get your doc's permission, you CAN have baby in recovery and then taken with you to your pp room? I really had to check my anger, outrage, and disappointment at the door because as frustrating as it was for me (and I was so pissed off!) she was at perfect peace with the whole thing. Here, let me come along and tell you how imperfect the whole situation was so maybe you can have grief and stress about it...no thanks -- not my place.

So I guess I figure if a mom is okay with her experience, I let her have it, no matter what our differences in definition are .
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#35 of 55 Old 11-16-2005, 10:37 AM
 
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ldsapmom, I totally agree with your choice in your friend's case. I didn't mean to suggest that we should be judgemental to people we are talking to, especially when their birth has already occurred (in fact, that is the worst time to make them second-guess or regret their decisions! I know, believe me!). All I meant was, the term "natural" needs to have a single, clear definition so that women know what it means and can know all the choices available to them (including unmedicated birth).

I suppose one could argue that it has been given such a definition by the medical establishment (equivalent to "vaginal"), but probably not all practitioners and hospitals use this term in the same way. If I knew a woman well enough, and she said she had had a "natural" birth, I would probably ask her to clarify, simply because of the issues we've talked about here, but I wouldn't express anything but support for her response unless she asked my honest opinion.
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#36 of 55 Old 11-16-2005, 11:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AndiB
I suppose one could argue that it has been given such a definition by the medical establishment (equivalent to "vaginal"), but probably not all practitioners and hospitals use this term in the same way. If I knew a woman well enough, and she said she had had a "natural" birth, I would probably ask her to clarify, simply because of the issues we've talked about here, but I wouldn't express anything but support for her response unless she asked my honest opinion.
The thing is, I think the medical establishment's definition (and, actually, I don't think this is the medical establishment's definition--I think it's just a definition often used by women who have had "mainstream", medicalized births, in part out of discomfort saying vaginal and in part due to a very real misunderstanding of what "normal" birth is like) is actually a distortion of the word's intention. When I think of "natural birth", I think of the "natural birth movement"--which is to say, a specific philosophy of birth meant to counter the hyper-medicalized model that's prevalent in the US.

I also don't think that trying to develop accurate definitions of our terms is the equivalent of being judgmental. As a vegetarian (and sometimes vegan), I've seen the problems that this can cause. Every "vegetarian who eats fish" or "vegan who eats eggs occassionally" makes it that much more difficult for those of us who actually use these words properly to find foods we can eat--friends, family, and restaurant waitstaff get more and more confused about what those terms actually mean, because people use them improperly. I have actually been to a wedding where the "vegetarian" entree was fish! Accurate definitions are crucial to conveying meaning--and, in the case of food and birth choices, to conveying our values. I don't look down or judge on a woman who makes an informed choice to have an epidural--but for her to say that she had a "natural childbirth" makes it that much more difficult for people to understand what I mean when I talk about how important it is for me to try to have a natural childbirth.
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#37 of 55 Old 11-16-2005, 01:14 PM
 
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Well said, Amanda. As a vegan, too, I have run into the same thing you mention -- someone who thinks that he is vegan b/c he doesn't eat red meat (but does eat milk, fish, eggs, poultry...) Sometimes terms get so muddied that the person using them to describe themselves (or their birth experience) doesn't even realize that she is misusing the term.

I don't begrudge my sil for having an epidural, but I do think that it muddies the waters for those of us who are meaning unmedicated when we say "natural."

eta: I also don't like the fact that those of us who choose the natural method of doing something often have to change our terminology to define our choices. For instance, we could start using the term "unmedicated" instead of "natural" but, to me, that is causing us to define a normal birth experience in a way that is comparing it to a medicated birth with the medicated birth being the standard of normal (UNmedicated). Much like someone who chose to leave her son intact is often forced to say UNcircumcised b/c intact doesn't have much meaning to the mainstream without the less natural alternative against which to compare it.
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#38 of 55 Old 11-16-2005, 02:55 PM
 
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I personally don't consider most hospital births natural, even if there were no pain meds. Being pumped full of Pitocin, monitored, forced to stay in bed, pushing flat on your back, and having a three-inch cut in your perineum is NOT natural, even if it was unmedicated.

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#39 of 55 Old 11-16-2005, 04:20 PM
 
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I try not to get too worked up over birth semantics. I think most people around me feel that natural=vaginal. I personally feel like there was nothing natural about my first two births (in hospital ) e.i. there is nothing natural about being confined to a bed for 12 hours straight via IVs and EFM and IFM...most mothers dont' "naturally" want to push out a baby while laying on their back while people hold them spread-open, if their left to move about on their own. But that's my personal take that I usually keep to myself when enduring a chit chat about birth with some women. I'm not about to tell them their birth wasn't natural if that is the term they use. I guess that would be a tad bit offensive huh
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#40 of 55 Old 11-16-2005, 11:16 PM
 
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Thanks, JesseMomme & minkajane, for being bold enough to post what I've been too chicken to post...I, too, feel that most nonmedicated hospital births aren't "natural."

What does "natural" mean? Vaginal, yes. I think it also always means drug-free. Most importantly, it describes a labor and birth process that does not have any unwanted or unneccesary interference.

Not to be crude or gross, but indulge me while I use an example free of the politics of birth, or the anger at the attending OB & drug-pushing L&D RNs on duty or whatever:

For example, today I took a poop naturally. I didn't need drugs to get it going, or to ease discomfort during, and I didn't have anyone watching me, making me anxious. I pushed in whatever way I needed to, I felt safe and secure in my own bathroom, and in fact, this was such a natural and private event, it feels wierd talking about it here. My culture dictates that I pooped on a toilet, and wiped my bum with toilet paper, wheras a natural bm in another culture might be in the woods, or might be with water to rinse off afterwards.

I think that's what a natural bowel movement involves. I think a natural birth experience shares quite a few similarities, namely: no drugs, no cutting, no probing, no observation. Sometimes my kids like me to keep them company while they poop. Sometimes I have a kiddo near me, or dh brushing teeth in the bathroom while I poop...and I think many times natural-birthing women have birth supporters, not observers or interveners, in their midst.

There's a group of mamas who call non-messed-with births "pure births", and I think that's an apt term.

I think it's very important that a non-"natural" birth be recoginzed as a valued, potentially wonderful event. A c-section birth is unnatural...and that's why it's great. Women and babies dying in childbirth is natural; babies malpositioned such that they can never be born, so they die in the womb, that is natural. That doesn't make it good.

A natural birth is not automatically a good birth. A non-natural birth can be a good birth. A natural birth is an intervention-free birth. A non-natural birth has interventions. Most USA births involve lots of interventions; many of them drugs, and so most USA births aren't "natural." Many interventions are not "good", like episiotomies, and women think painmed-free births are unusual/unreal, and so "natural" has come to mean "good." (You can buy Natural Cheetos ...."natural" don't mean a dang thang!)
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#41 of 55 Old 11-17-2005, 02:52 AM
 
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tinyshoes, I think your entire post was extremely well put. This paragraph...

Quote:
I think it's very important that a non-"natural" birth be recoginzed as a valued, potentially wonderful event. A c-section birth is unnatural...and that's why it's great. Women and babies dying in childbirth is natural; babies malpositioned such that they can never be born, so they die in the womb, that is natural. That doesn't make it good.
...spoke really well as to why there shouldn't be positive/negative connotations to the word natural when applied to childbirth. Natural is often best, but not always. I think I would be more comfortable with the word if the connotations were absent.
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#42 of 55 Old 11-17-2005, 05:47 PM
 
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I personally don't consider most hospital births natural, even if there were no pain meds. Being pumped full of Pitocin, monitored, forced to stay in bed, pushing flat on your back, and having a three-inch cut in your perineum is NOT natural, even if it was unmedicated.
You just described my hospital birth exactly. But to be fair, I asked for the pitocin because they wouldn't let me walk around or leave me bed to help me get farther along (if your water breaks, you are now high risk?) I had showed up at the hospital fully efaced and 6 cms and they were so panicked that I was still walking around and talking with out drugs. I did not want to be strapped to that darn bed all day waiting for her to come out. But I didn't use any pain meds. I personally think that for someone to say it was a natural childbirth with an epidural sounds silly. But I don't let these things rub me wrong. I'm proud of myself for not using meds even if my birth wasn't "natural". I'll be even more proud of myself when I use no meds during my homebirth next time. People can say whatever they want about their own births (in my opinion) even if I think they are wrong or annoying for saying it. Even though it can make things a tad confusing. (Have I made any sense )

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#43 of 55 Old 11-18-2005, 03:15 AM
 
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This is something that squicks me regularly. I feel sometimes that the terminology "natural birth" has been appropriated by the medico's with the specific intent to be detrimental to the original "natural birth movement". (paranoia? maybe.) As a result, most mainstream women now identify natural with vaginal, and that is absolutely all it means.

Do we need a new term for what used to be called natural? I think so. unmedicated only goes so far.

Because naturally, one would have freedom to go where they want, eat what they want, have whoever they want or don't want present or absent, choose the position they want, decide when they're ready to birth, and really be the birthing woman, not just the center ring attraction at a 3-ring circus!

Unfortunately, I don't have any good ideas at the moment. oh yeah... duh. purebirth.
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#44 of 55 Old 11-18-2005, 11:01 AM
 
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I hereby declare myself a member of the new American Purebirth/Freebirth Movement!

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#45 of 55 Old 11-18-2005, 05:30 PM
 
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Well I did have natural hospital births and I was pumped full of pit or anything else and I had no drugs of any kind and I pushed on my hands and knees. Natural enough? I think we can get a bit too carried away sometimes with these definitions. Since I had my 10.5 lbs DD#2 I have been getting a lot of the assuming natural just means vaginal. Most people are shocked enough that I was able to have her vaginally but when they realize I had no meds they about fall over. All that said I understand where it comes from because in medical terminology a vaginal birth is a natural birth. That has crept into our culture and so now we get "natural birth but with an epidural of course."
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#46 of 55 Old 11-18-2005, 06:41 PM
 
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The use of "natural" to mean "vaginal" bugs the dickens out of me, too. I wonder if the high c/s rate is responsible in part. So many women how have c/s that a vaginal birth of any kind seems normal in comparison, because that's the natural escape route from the uterus, as opposed to somebody cutting a new escape hatch.

I also wonder if this new use of "natural" is a backlash against the natural childbirth movement.

"Natural" gets used for so many things that I usually just say "I had an unmedicated birth" or "I gave birth without the use of pain medication" or something like that. I talk pretty freely and matter-of-factly about my births. I'm not a martyr or a masochist, I'm a normal woman who really doesn't like feeling pain, but I don't think that pain medication is healthy for me or for my baby, I have the ability to work through the pain, and I *need* the pain to help tell me what to do during labor/birth.

Plus, oh, that endorphin rush. Mmmmm. Gotta love a good birth high.



[QUOTE=ldsapmom]When I came back (three hours later!) my friend was all cozied up in her postpartum room, but no baby! I said, "Where's the

OMG, I would be FREAKING OUT if I were separated from my newborn like that! I feel all stressed out just reading it.

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#47 of 55 Old 11-18-2005, 06:43 PM
 
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Oh, and I love the term "pure birth"!!!

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living whatever they sing is better than to know  - e.e. cummings
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#48 of 55 Old 11-18-2005, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanetF
Gotta love those naturally occuring epidurals
exactly. I see how there is a lot of grey area as to what is "natural" but I don't see how the heck an epidural qualifies. That's like calling a Big Mac organic... no judgement, just trying to see how anyone could call an epidural part of a "natural birth"- I'm sticking with the "they're just to afraid to say vagina" theory

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#49 of 55 Old 01-04-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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Just realized that above I posted that I was pumped full of pit etc when I actually meant I wasn't pumped full of pit etc.
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#50 of 55 Old 01-04-2006, 04:22 PM
 
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I agree with PPs that natural just means not-a-c-section. I NEVER use natural to describe my birth, because I had SO many interventions and ppl often assume I had a c-section, cause you know, I had interventions (apparently that's the only intervention that counts).

It would be nice if we could use the terms the way we like and everyone would understand them, but we have to accept that we live in a society where the norms do not include us. Everyone I know has either an epidural of a c-section or both. Many women assume that you HAVE to have pain meds, birth in a hospital, have an OB, lay on your back, be monitored, etc. These are the accepted paractices and it's often unheard of for anyone to venture away from that.
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#51 of 55 Old 01-04-2006, 04:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mizmerricat
I've noticed people making the same sort of statement too. I think the biggest issue is our culture's discomfort with the body & reproductive system especially. Sadly, women are uncomfortable even saying "vaginal". "Natural" has become a terribly innacurrate but socially appropriate euphemism for those who can't bring themselves to even say the "V-word".
Vaginal. Vagina. Vulva. Clitoris. Labia. Penis. Testicles. Scrotum. Anus. Breasts.

Muwahahaha!
Did I miss any? Hehe!
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#52 of 55 Old 01-04-2006, 08:59 PM
 
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I will be having an unmedicated vaginal delivery with this coming babe. I had an unmedicated vaginal delivery with ds2 and a c-section with ds1. They all had to come out no matter how you say it. If you have a c-section the baby was surgicaly removed. If you had a vaginal delivery said baby came out of your vagina. If you had medication, you had a medicated vaginal delivery or a nonmedicated vaginal delivery. Its about facts and being clear. Natural is a term that is defined by interpretation.

I think it is up to us to be clear and say what we mean. If we want the world to change we have to change it. SO what if people feel uncomfortable, they will have to get used to it. I want my baby to come out of my VAGINA. My entire vulva will be sore and tired however I prefer this to surgery. My anus will swell and I hope my perenium stays intact.

I challenge all of us to say what we mean. VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA!!!!!!!
Shock the public ladies!!
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#53 of 55 Old 01-04-2006, 11:10 PM
 
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I think this must be partly due to a lack of knowledge. My best friend and I were watching some TV special that followed a baby from conception through birth, and the mom gave birth standing at the side of the bed. I told my friend beforehand that I had heard that's the position the mom chose to give birth in, and she was absolutely AMAZED. She had NO idea that it was even possible to give birth any way other than lying on your back. Literally, her jaw dropped open and her eyes bugged out as she said "REALLY! Standing UP?!?!?!" I couldn't tell if she was impressed or horrified.

I think many people just don't know it's possible to give birth without interventions of some kind, or assume that only happens by accident - they think no one would CHOOSE that, now that we have great modern technology and medicine, you know.

My friend is TTC, and is determined not to have an induction or a c-sec unless it's absolutely necessary, but she definitely wants pain meds. So, I would say she's planning a vaginal birth, but not a "natural" one, IMO.

I am really hoping someday to have a natural homebirth, which to me means no pain meds and no interventions, but with a midwife attending.
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#54 of 55 Old 01-04-2006, 11:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveChild421
I just heard a lady say this exact statement on A Baby Story- and I have had a few relatives/co-workers say the same thing. Now, I'm not judging them for having an epidural- but epidural does not = natural. I think they mean vaginal- I just don't get why one would say "I had a natural childbirth with an epidural OF COURSE" like there's no other option other than a C-section...
Jen,

Same here and now I hate hearing this on A Baby Story and from other places as well.

Thank you.
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#55 of 55 Old 01-05-2006, 02:14 AM
 
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What about "gentle" or "peaceful" birth? Or "internally focused"?
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