Welcome to the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering!
This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. The topic for this month is Natural Birth Choices. Visit all of the other mom bloggers' posts through the links located at the bottom of this page to read about their natural birth choices.
The More You Know
During the beginning of my pregnancy I did tons of research because I didn't know what to expect. Believe it or not, I never knew that mothers had the choice to decline an epidural. I thought it was mandatory. In my family, natural birth was unheard of. My mom had 2 c-sections performed due to a doctor who didn't believe in the power of a woman's body during childbirth.
I had to prove to myself that it was possible.
I chose to have an unmedicated birth because honestly, I was afraid of "the big needle." The thought of it made me nervous. Many women believe that an epidural is a godsend but you often don't hear about how it can negatively affects a woman's body or the side effects it has on a newborn baby.
Curiosity led me to look up information about the pros and cons of medications during labor and childbirth. Once I learned about it, I was set on having a natural childbirth.
Reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth encouraged me to stay with my decision to give birth naturally. The birth stories and labor techniques gave me the motivation to prepare myself for the big day. I read the book every night before bed; it was like my bible.
I also read the natural birth forums on websites like Baby Center and The Bump. Seeing how many moms have gone through childbirth with no epidural, knowing how proud they were of themselves definitely helped and encouraged me further.
Here are a few quotes that stuck with me:
"During labor, what helped was knowing that what I was feeling was totally natural and purposeful. Each contraction, while painful, was not a harm to me but a help to bring my child into the world."
"Knowing that a natural childbirth was the best option for my baby was a huge help. My first act as a mother was protecting my baby from harmful interventions. The endorphin rush after delivery is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced."
"You are a birthing goddess".My Birth Plan
Being a first-time mom, I had no idea how to set up a birth plan. Again, I researched and wrote down everything before finally typing up my birth plan and handing it to my OB/GYN. The OB/GYN I had was not against natural childbirth but he wasn't necessarily agreeing with everything I had on my birth plan. At one point he asked me if I found all of the information on the internet which made him skeptical about my choices. As embarrassing as it was I stood my ground.
Initially, not every request on my birth plan went as planned and I was fine with that. You can't predict how everything will go but you can at least express your wishes to your doctor.
One of my requests was not to have labor artificially induced. When my due date had passed, the doctor scheduled a date to have an induction. I wasn't happy about it but didn't say a word. Fortunately, I went into labor naturally two days before the scheduled appointment.
The Big Day
Contractions hit me suddenly on the morning I gave birth. I labored at home for 12 hours, taking walks every few hours and breathing through every contraction. At one point I wanted to give up and just get to the hospital to relieve the pain but I pushed forward.
I got to the hospital and to my surprise, was already 5 cm dilated! The birth went by quickly and three hours later I held a healthy 7 lb baby boy that made it into the world epidural-free.
Choosing to birth naturally made breastfeeding and bonding so simple. There were no drugs involved to hinder that. I didn't get to attend any childbirth classes or have a midwife or a doula alongside me but I am so proud of myself for choosing what was best for my son. It's even more amazing when your friends and family are proud of your accomplishment.
"Modern humans are about 50,000 years old, and only very, very recently in that history was pain relief in childbirth available. Humankind didn't come to an end because childbirth is painful. A female body was built to do this."
Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to be a part of next month's carnival.