Thursday, August 06, 2009

On Birthing Naturally, or Am I Certifiably Insane?

I've let it slip a few times now that I'm considering a natural childbirth with this third baby. I've hesitated saying much more, because I fear that the second my contractions get serious, I'll be begging for some drugs. I already make myself look like a fool enough as it is, so having it part of public record isn't something I'm super excited about.

That said, it's kind of consuming my every waking moment right now. If I don't get some of it out of my head and onto the internets, I fear I might not be able to think about anything else ever again.

This all started with a book I read called Birth Day, by Mark Sloan. The book details the science, evolution and history of childbirth and I found it utterly fascinating. As a girl with a BS in biology, I never really learned much about birthing in college. Gestation and anatomy, sure, but the actual physical process of bearing young was glossed over a bit. After reading only the first chapter of this book, the seeds were planted.

Then some random weekend evening when SOB was on call I watched The Business of Being Born. While I didn't love everything about the film, there were more than a few points I latched onto. It made me recall the doc in Atlanta who offered me a scheduled c-section the very first time I met him, before we even got to the exam room. Plus, having just read Birth Day, there was some interesting informational overlap that reaffirmed a lot of what I was feeling.

But what finally drove me to the point of committing this to the blog-o-sphere? Two of the doctors in my OB practice, one of which was a dick and the other which was awesome. I'm currently rotating through some of the other practitioners, and when I mentioned natural child-birthing to the dick one, he was outright dismissive and condescending. I believe he said, 'Why would you want to do that? You're smarter than that, right?' Um, fuck you. I now plan to will my body into labor and go 100% natural on your call night just to annoy you. Luckily the next visit I met with a doctor so awesome that it made me wish I had been seeing her all along. She was so supportive of me and my silly natural child birthing plans that she even took two minutes to answer some questions I had in regards to said process.

Since then I've read some books on active birthing and scoured the interwebs for info and personal accounts of giving birth naturally. (I cannot tell a lie. I got completely sucked into Heather's birthing story. Maybe in a way that is weird. There was a moment when I cheered at my computer screen.)

All I can keep coming up with is that I want to give this a try. This might be my last chance, and I'd love to see what my body is capable of doing. I wasn't disappointed in either of my first two births, but they were both very similar in that they were heavily managed. In Atlanta I got reprimanded for coming in an hour earlier than planned because I thought my water had broken, that's how scheduled things were. In both cases, I felt I was being gently-but-not-subtly nudged in certain directions by the hospital staff. I may have ultimately ended up taking the same path myself, but I never really got the chance to find out. There were a lot of comments like, 'Well, if you don't ask now you might miss your chance...' and 'Don't worry. We know what's best for you.' In retrospect it sounds worse than it was, but still.

So that's where I am: planning to have a natural childbirth this third time around. My first labor was about 17 hours long, and my second was only about 9 hours long, so the way I figure it, I should only have to endue about 3 hours and 23 minutes of labor pains to get this baby out, right?


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Killlashandra said...

I found natural childbirth far preferable to a c-section. My first was natural and the recovery time was the next day. My second was a c-section and the heal time is more like months and I found the surgery itself terrifying. The whole being awake and numb from the shoulders down really freaked me out.

susan said...

Do your thing. Chances are good that you will have more experience with the actual process of delivery than 2/3 of the other people in the room, anyways!

Lora said...

I totally support a natural and drug free labor.

Your body is made for it, and your mind can adapt to it and everything and everyone else can go to hell.

Heather Kennedy said...

do you have a doula? I used one for the last two and it was a godsend. You may otherwise be nutso, but not for wanting a natural birth or even just a more mom/baby-centered birth. I can't wait to meet this new little person!

Joy said...

I stumbled across your blog from Her Bad Mother's recent post. Hi!

I am all for natural and non medicated childbirth. A friend recommended Ina May Gaskin's "Birthing From Within" while I was expecting my second child (the first was a difficult delivery). This book is amazing and remarkable. I recommend getting it from the library or where ever, and reading through it.

Congrats on Baby #3, and good luck with your natural birth!

Stacy said...

I for one fully support you on this!

After having a horrible, horrible epidural experience with my first there was no way I was going to do that again. I tried to go natural as far as I could with #2 and just got a shot of nubane as I was going through transition. I don't think it really helped, though. I felt 1000x better after my birthing with Anya than with Kai. Kai's labor was 12 hrs and Anya's was 3 hrs 40 minutes. Just letting my body do what it was suppposed to really made it go much faster. I know that if I wouldn't have gotten an epidural with Kai I probably would have had him within 2 hrs of getting to the hospital, and I wouldn't have had all the other side effects.

Arizaphale said...

Absolutely. What they said!! You know I had a water birth right? I used a TENS machine for the first five hours before I went into the pool. I don't know whether it did anything for pain relief but it gave me something to focus on and let me feel like I was controlling my own process. This last point is crucial I reckon. Also, being active and upright for most of the labour speeds things up. Even in the pool your torso is upright so gravity is helping out.
I would personally like to sock that first doctor of yours! Interesting that the second, kick ass doctor was a WOMAN!!!!!!! Best thing I ever did was give the medico the flick and sign-up to midwifery lead care!!!!!!

Linda said...

Way to go Amy! I think that is awesome! My labor with Sebastian was so hard...did go for the epidural and damaged my tailbone when pushing him out which made for a long...LONG...recovery! I will rethink things the next time around! I can't wait to read your labor story with this one!