Natural Childbirth…Who ME?!

Once in a blue moon, we are all capable of surprising ourselves.  In the past, whenever I thought about having babies or even when I found out I was pregnant, I was whole-heartedly against the idea of natural childbirth.  I always heard pregnant women insisting that they wanted to go all-natural and I would just laugh to myself and think, “WHY?”  Even the pregnancy “Bible” (What to Expect When You’re Expecting) doesn’t exactly promote natural childbirth, it clearly states, “You don’t have to be a martyr to be a mother…” in the birthing chapter.  But that makes me pause, is giving birth really on the level of martyrdom?  That’s exactly like saying giving birth is like death!

These days I’m singing a different tune.  Yes, I want a natural birth.  If the me now had been able to tell the me of a few months ago this, I would have told myself to shut the fuck up.

So what changed my thinking?  It kinda started when I watched the documentary The Business of Being Born.  It’s a very well put together movie that really shines a harsh light on the hospital system and how women have been convinced over the past few decades that they are simply incapable of giving birth on their own.  We’ve brainwashed ourselves with scary birth scenarios from movies and TV shows in which a birth is always an emergency situation, heightened dramatically for the purposes of entertainment.  When you approach any situation with fear and dread, of course there’s going to be a negative outcome.

Fear does physiological things to your body as well.  Your body goes into fight or flight mode and your blood is redirected towards your arms and legs and away from other ‘unnecessary’ organs, uterus included.  Your contractions are less productive and more painful and also your brain is unable to produce endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller.  When your uterus and surrounding muscles aren’t getting enough blood flow, your labor inevitably slows down and that’s when drugs or surgical intervention comes onto the table.

I think what changed my way of thinking the most was finding out more about the negative side-effects of the drugs, Pitocin and epidurals, and specifically how the counter-act each other.  Pitocin is given to induce or speed up labor, and it makes the contractions very powerful and very painful.  Epidural is almost mandatory at that point because your body is no longer controlling the contractions, the pitocin is.  The epidural tends to slow down labor, so when that happens they up your pitocin drip, the contractions become more painful again, thus more epi is given.  It’s a vicious cycle, and all the while your poor baby who doesn’t have the luxury of being numbed-out like you do is feeling the intense overload of drugs and being squeezed by the too-powerful contractions.  The baby more often than not goes into distress and that’s when a C-section becomes the only option.  Close to 50% of all births in the United States are by C-section.

The other scary thing is they have not bothered to do much research on the effects and safety of these drugs on either baby or mother.  It seems ironic to me to avoid every drug in the book during your pregnancy, only to figuratively have the book thrown AT you and your baby in the end.

The way I hope to approach it is to be as calm and relaxed as I can possibly be.  I’ve even been reading up on Hypnobirthing techniques (yes, the same technique that I scoffed at a few months ago) which is really a meditation technique rather than hypnosis.

I don’t want to jinx myself and declare that I WILL have a natural childbirth, it is simply the goal.  I give myself permission to do whatever I feel I need to do when it comes right down to it.  We will just have to see what happens!


9 Responses to “Natural Childbirth…Who ME?!”

  1. Laura Says:

    I think it is a real shame that books considered to be essential to pregnant women perpetuate the myths of the atrocity of childbirth by using phrases like “don’t be a martyr”. I just wrote a post about my first delivery 15 months ago and my optimism about my second birth experience (due in october).
    I have been reading a blog by a woman in the US called Stand and Deliver. She is a leading expert on childbirth (in the US)and delivered her own 2 children. She has lots of interesting informative links. I really wish I had found her before I had my first. Thought I would pass it along:
    I wish you everything that you want from your birth experience, for you, your partner and your child.
    I think, for me at least, it is simply that the pain and discomfort is not my focus. So many people focus on the idea of how childbirth will hurt in the moment and that is what they perceive to be the be all and end all of the experience. I wanted to be the one to bring my child into the world. I wanted to do it, and not have someone else do it for me. I think wanting to be the active part of your child’s birth is natural and normal. Pain comes and goes whether its in childbirth or otherwise, but the chance to birth a child is fleeting and what could be more awesome than bringing a child into the world? really!? Nothing can top it.
    I won’t wish you luck, because its not really about luck. Your body knows what to do, and I wish you faith. faith in yourself, your body and your outcomes.

  2. Kiki Says:

    BRAVO!!! Good….no GREAT for you…You can so do it!!! PLAN and prepare for a natural childbirth, don’t just hope for one if that’s what you want.

    I agree with the above poster…it’s not about luck…it’s about faith that Mother Nature designed you and your babe to know what to do when it comes to birth. Your baby knows how to be born and believe it or not, you know how to give birth 😀

  3. thegirlfromtheghetto Says:

    My friend is a tough gal and gave birth to all three of her 10 pound babies without drugs. Forgive me if I’ve already said this to you, as I remember saying something about this to a blogger recently. She can handle pain, and said “OWE” a couple of times, I’ve never seen anything like it. I say good for you and you can do it. If it helps, I’m in miserable f-in pain 24/7 and take no drugs. I just tell myself, oh no, it doesn’t hurt or oh no, get over it, it can be worse. Had that hysterectomy last summer and I was even turning down the morphine the second night after the surgery, went cold turkey from all pain pills within a few days of it, and trust me, it hurts to have your fat girl belly sliced open.

  4. tvsnark Says:

    I don’t have anything to say about childbirth except “ouch” but I haven’t been here in a long time and i wanted to say I LOVE your new header picture.

    Hope all is well. We have a lot of catching up to do and I have much to read here tonight. Have a great week.

  5. Mother Ship Says:

    Dude, if you WANT a natural childbirth you can have one! I did and it was what I wanted from go. I wanted to be present ad focus on the delivery of my baby. (I took the drugs afterward! haha). It is the singlemost empowering and insanely brilliant thing – baby and I working together to make her little entrance into the world. It’s not a walk in the park but by the time you are ready to push nothing hurts anymore. It’s such a neat feeling. The body will take care of you.

    I used my yoga breath, focus and humour to get through. I even told my hubs “I WILL ask for drugs -remind me I don’t want them!” As soon as you think you are too tired and you want drugs or to stop that’s when you are ready to push.

    I was even put on a pitocen drip for 8 hours when I stalled out at 8 cms. That was no fun ….but to to feel her body come out was amazing. I didn’t even know I had torn – you don’t feel it – I swear! The rushes are the hard part the pushing and the exit are easy and painless.

    I also watched the Business of Being Born it was excellent. Also anything by Ina May Agaskin is worth reading.

    We are coming up on Fin’s 1st birthday and the memory of her birth still makes me feel HIGH!

    You can do it! We are BUILT to birth.


  6. Mother Ship Says:

    Fudge..I missed a type – O

    Author & Awesome Midwife Ina May Gaskin

  7. Mother Ship Says:

    Oh, yeah, hi … it’s me Mother Ship lurking your page to see if you have GIVEN BIRTH YET???? Can’t wait to meet your wee lass. Thinking of you!

  8. Prenatal Yoga Instructs Respiratory & Relaxation Exercises For Expectant Mothers | Meditation Mind Body Spirit Says:

    […] Natural Childbirth…Who ME?! « Snark Pool […]

  9. The Girl from the Ghetto Says:

    When is that baby coming?

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