Lately (literally within the last few days), I’ve been thinking a lot more about the actual event of getting Spawn from my belly into my arms.
Not really sure why, I just know that it’s something that has taken a much stronger forefront in my mind than ever before. As I’ve been reading about births since before I got pregnant, i can’t blame it on new information. I can’t even blame the dream, as that was more about keeping Spawn in then getting Spawn out. Maybe now that I’m (hopefully) over half way done being pregnant, I realize I’m getting closer and closer to birth every day?
Regardless, birth is on the brain.
I remember being younger, thinking if I ever had a baby, I would have a fully medicated birth. My preference was c-section, but not for any reason I can fully recall. I have vague flashes that had to do with being small and wanting to stay small…
My mother had an epidural with me. My brother messed up the docs timing and it was too late for her to have one with him. (And him at 9 1/2 lbs, no less.) She has much fonder memories of my birth then his.
Suffice it to say that I never had any issues at all with medical intervention and pain meds in birth. I grew up with menstrual cramps that I had to be medicated for. I felt like if the mere act of shedding my uterine lining was going to give me that much pain, managing to get a child out of me was going to be far too much for me to handle.
Then I started my crazy-lady research into all things pregnancy. I listened to other mothers’ stories. I watched documentaries, read medical studies/journals, took notice of professionals sitting on opposing sides of the fence and their varying opinions. I went back to mothers I knew and started asking questions about their births, their friends’ births, etc.
I started to realize that I would like to have a midwife rather than an ob/gyn attend me. I also realized that my gall bladder surgery made me really, really not want a c-section. All of a sudden, I wanted a natural birth, free from instruments and medication and what have you.
Now, I’m not going to refuse these things if I actually need them. I’m not anti-western medicine. I’m anti a doctor’s ease/comfort over my health. I have even read of situations where an episiotomy was very much required. If one of those situations was to occur, well, then I’m all for it.
The c-section is the one I’m having the biggest issue with. I know that I will take a serious situation for my midwife(s) to send me into surgery. There will be no other choice. Logically I get that. It is just something I want in my heart to avoid. Hopefully I’ll be one of the 94% that does. (If I wasn’t with a midwife, my chances of not getting a c-section would drop to 72%.)
Because I’m nothing if not a reader, I’ve been spending my non-fiction reading time with books on childbirth. I’m finding it’s best to take the good, disregard the nonsense, and do my due diligence with the rest.
Hypnobirthing, for example.
I might have been able to buy into the idea that the pain of childbirth was all in ones head, if not for two prime examples. The first being my beforementioned period pain. No one told me it would hurt, and I started a heck of a lot earlier than anyone I knew who would have been kind enough to inform me. So I had no fear of pain, just pain. The second is Mongan’s assertion that dogs or horses don’t feel pain in labor, so why should we? Maybe this makes sense for a lot of women, because they live life away from animals. I have watched horses gnaw their sides trying to get their contractions to stop. I’ve seen a horse with a hairline fracture in its leg act calmer than a mare during her first birth. If it hurts for them, and in theory they aren’t comparing birth horror stories in the paddock, then where’s the logic?
Now, do I believe that you can use mind over matter to control pain? Yup. Sitting on top of the pain of my infected gall bladder meant that when the doctors finally saw my scans, they were shocked by the severity. “She’s been here for six hours,” one of the ER doctors muttered. The specialist immediately replied, “Get her on morphine now.” It wasn’t like I hadn’t told them I was in a lot of pain, I just didn’t want to be a crybaby in ER triage in front of all these other people with colds. I guess at some point they just assume if you’re not screaming, then you’re probably okay. :p
I also believe that fear does bad things for pain. After hearing that above conversation, I can tell you that my symptoms drastically increased. Of course, at that point I was in a bed behind a curtain, so the privacy ment I could permit myself to show/vocalize the pain more as well.
I wonder if that means I’d birth better in front of an audience? (Doesn’t matter, still wouldn’t do it.)
I’m enjoying Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth more than the Hypnobirthing book. There are things about it that still bug me. And I do occasionally just roll my eyes at it all. I do agree with the idea that a “civilized” woman should maybe get over herself and go a bit more “native.” Most ob/gyns will even admit that giving birth on your back is the worst position for getting the baby out, while adding that it is the easiest to monitor/deliver for the doctor. Personally, I’m not overly fond of PAPs/Gynecological exams. I’ll be perfectly happy to squat if that means that I won’t associate my birth with that event.
But despite all that, and my basic personal need to be on top of/control everything, I don’t really have a plan. I don’t know if you can fully understand how weird this is for me. It’s possibly the single event in my life in which I didn’t flare up in hives at the thought of how much I can’t control.
Maybe it is a bit of a lie to say I have no plan, though. My plan basically equals ending the event still alive with a baby. I feel like I’m allowed that plan without being called on my OCD.
More than that, I have a few things I would like, and a few I’d really like to avoid. Most will be managed by my midwife(s). I hired them because I wanted them to have control over my pregnancy. I don’t have any grand plans to suddenly take back the reins for the birth. And who knows, the day Spawn decides to start the process of making an appearance every single thought may go out the window. I can’t get hung up in all that.
All I can do is what I always do…
Read, listen, learn. Go forth armed with information and free from fear.