Many a family and friends have questioned our birthing choice and location, and I get it. It's unusual. It took me a while to warm up to it myself. It took me a while to realize that the reason that I, myself, was hesitant at first of natural childbirth was because of the fear that our culture embeds in us early on.
Before I go too much further, I'd like say that I am not judging anyone else for their choice of birth - because it's their own choice. We all need to do what we are comfortable with and what we each see as the best for our family, situation and comfort level.
That said, I do feel like not everyone knows that there are other options or research other options for birth. We as a culture tend to go with the norm, do what everyone else does, and not venture off as the oddball out. I struggled with this a lot as we first found out we were pregnant and I was trying to decide hospital or birthing center? Natural or epidural??? I had fears. I heard scary birth stories. Birth was a frightening thing, right? Including tremendous pain and suffering? And so many things could go wrong, and what if I needed an emergency cesarean?? I had friends very sarcastically tell me "good luck" when I finally did decide that yes, I wanted to do natural and I wanted to go to a Birth Center instead of the hospital.
But....Birth is natural right? Women were created to be able to do this? People all over the world do this in their own homes, and people before the 1950's did this in their homes all the time. It seemed to me that my body should intuitively know what to do because this was one of the tasks that God created it for. Right? So, this was our choice: Bella Vie Gentle Birth Center. Bella Vie is equipped with Professional and Certified Nurse Midwives. The main (far ends of the spectrum) difference of a Midwife and OB is that the Midwife believes birth is natural and should have as little intervention as possible but they are prepared to deal with a situation should one arise, and the OB believes in intervention as soon as possible and views birth as if it were an illness to be treated.
I'm not choosing natural birth because I'm just a hippie, I'm not choosing it because I'm a masochist who loves pain and I know I "won't win a medal at the end of the day" for doing this natural. (I mean, I might make Skyler make me a really cool trophy or something saying I'm an awesome mom and wife. *wink*) Those aren't the reasons I am choosing natural. I am choosing it for several reasons; for me, for baby, and for Skyler. These are some of my reasons for natural, midwives and birthing center:
- They don't rush you to have your baby. They are patient and let birth happen naturally on its own time, without trying to hurry things up. They don't have an "end of shift" that they need to make sure you have this baby by. They take turns taking naps if the labor goes long and over night. They are there with you until the end.
- They have a birthing ball and stool, whirlpool tub and encourage you to NOT be laying down on your back in bed while laboring (more on this later.).
- They let you eat and drink as you desire while you labor.
- The birthing suites are calming and relaxing rooms: birthing spa's. They enable you to feel more relaxed with the "at home" setting, verses the bright lights, medical equipment and busy nurses hustling and bustling around, coming in and out to check and monitor you. A relaxed mom labors quicker than a tense, distracted mom.
- You sit in the waiting room for 5 minutes and then meet with them for an hour+ each appointment, instead of sitting in the waiting room for an hour and meeting with the doctor for 5 minutes.
- You develop a great relationship with your midwives because you spend so much time together and you develop a great trust with them. You know the people who will be at your birth; they're like friends. You're a name, face and friend to them, not just a medical chart.
- I want my baby to come out wide, bright eyed, and not half drugged from an epidural.
I will say that I do not believe doctors know everything. They don't even sort of know everything. They are well educated and know much. They know far more than a random person off of the street. But after learning some of what I have learned, I have sometimes been shocked and think, "wow, do the doctor's not know this?!"
For example, back birthing. (Told you I'd get back to it!). All of your pregnancy, what are you told? Don't sleep on your back, don't lay on your back!!! You show up to the labor and delivery room and what do they tell you? Ok, get on the bed on your back! .... huh? I mean....you're still pregnant while you're in labor, right? And laying on your back cuts off flow of blood and nutrients to your baby....right? Not only that, but laying on your back closes your pelvis 25-30% which slows down your labor progress. And isn't it hospitals that are always so rushed to have your baby and quick to tell you that you are failing to progress in your labor?? Bottom line, if you're laboring on your back, you're not letting gravity help you, you're cutting off blood to the baby, and you're most likely making labor more painful and extended since the baby has to travel sideways, instead of letting gravity bring it down the birthing canal.
I could go on forever, but I'll save it for now. :) My point is: challenge our culture and ask why we do things they way we do. Do research; don't go blindly into your labor and birth just because the doctors know what they're doing and will tell you what they want you to do. Question why we do things and do some research yourself. Question why we are the only mammals that need to go to a hospital, lay in a bed with our feet in stir-ups, be strapped to a monitor and have IV's for birth, when every other mammal just seems to know what they are doing and do it well.
Again, I know there are definitely reasons for birthing in a hospital and that births don't always go as planned. I know that if for some reason I end up in the hospital for the birth of Baby E, that I'm there because I need to be because something isn't going quite right. And I will be thankful for the doctors and high technology equipment. I will be thankful for a healthy baby and healthy me in the end, no matter which way it happens.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. My thoughts and questions. I appreciate you, my friends, and I really truly hope I didn't offend anyone or make anyone feel like they were wrong in how they birthed or will birth. It's a personal choice which you are completely and totally entitled to. This is just my choice. :)