Birth

Yes, I hear you.  Why is she blogging on Valentine’s Day?  Where is Mike? Ha ha.  Well, thanks to life getting in the way of his plans, I get two Valentine’s dates!  We had a nice Valentine’s lunch this afternoon, and we are doing our “real” date tomorrow night.  So, worry not, I am not being ignored or neglected on Valentine’s Day.  Besides, don’t you know how I feel about this holiday?  🙂

Thanks to this post over at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly, birth has been on my mind lately.

I so hope that I get a chance to experience it.  I know women who wanted, their whole lives, to experience pregnancy and birth, and will never have the opportunity.  They have had to adjust their expectations, found other wonderful ways to make a family, and have done so with grace.  But despite the grace we see, I’m sure it was a difficult thing, maybe the most difficult thing they have experienced.  If that situation presents itself in my life, I hope I handle it with the grace that they have.

If God does bless me with the opportunity to give birth to children, I can’t wait!  I used to be scared of it, even though I wanted to do it.  The media portrays birth as a woman being wheeled screaming into a hospital, crying and screaming on a bed for hours, and finally being cut open while awake to deliver the baby.  Even reality shows like A Baby Story have the element of medical drama in a birth.  Women hope for a nice, easy, boring birth, and it seems to never turn out that way!  Birth is a necessary but unpleasant and painful and dangerous part of making a family.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon a reality documentary special on Discovery Health about alternative birth options.  (I believe I have blogged about that show before.)  I watched it a few times, as it was repeated every so often for a couple of weeks.  It struck a chord with me, because I really didn’t know that birth could be non-medical, much less a wonderful experience.  I didn’t know that in most cases, it’s not dangerous at all.  And I didn’t know that there are real options for a safe, healthy birth outside of a hospital.  If I remember correctly, the show focused mostly on birth centers with midwive

Thanks to Sara’s post that I linked to above, I’ve clicked on a few of her links, and learned a little more about the option of homebirth.  I’m struck once again by the beauty, love, and intimacy of it all.  I wonder about what I’ve learned about the effect of pitocin and other medical interventions on the natural hormones that help a mother fall in love with her baby.

I watched the theatrical trailer of one of the movies Sara linked to, Birth As We Know It, and I’m stuck on the image of a husband, wife, and little girl, in a birthing pool together, catching the baby, together.  It’s beautiful.

Yeah, you think I’m crazy now.  That’s fine.  🙂

I’m saddened that there aren’t really safe options for homebirth in Nebraska.  It is illegal for certified nurse midwives to attend homebirths, so that leaves unassisted childbirth.  Great, I suppose, if you’ve already had several babies and you know exactly how it’s supposed to feel.  Or if you happen to be a midwife.  Or be married to one…I guess men could be midwives, right?  But I guess it would still be illegal for them to attend the birth, then?  If the woman is a midwife, is it illegal for her to attend her own labor and delivery?  🙂  Anyway, I would be more comfortable if women who wanted homebirths were able to have an educated, experienced person to monitor mother and baby, and make sure everything is okay.  Because it’s clear to me that if there are risks or complications, a hospital is a good place to be!  And a good midwife would be able to see those complications arising and move the woman to a hospital in a timely manner.

I’m also interested in the pain-fear-complications connection.  A woman’s body is made to bear children.  It knows what to do, even when the woman doesn’t.  But when you are afraid, the body’s resources (blood, for example) rush to arms and legs, so that you can fight or flee an attacker.  When her body is trying to give birth, a woman needs her resources in other places.  Therefore, everything will work best if she is in a situation where she feels safe.  For some women, that is the hospital.  For me, it would definitely be at home as long as I was having a normal, healthy, complication-free pregnancy. If you’ll remember, I hold that opinion about everything doctor-related.  I don’t need to go to the doctor for a cold, or the flu, or whatever.  I only need to go to the doctor when my body is not doing what it’s supposed to do to take care of me.  I don’t like the idea of putting chemicals and synthetic hormones into my body, so if I were in a hospital, I would feel like I had to be on my toes to keep the pitocin and pain medication and epidurals away from me.  I don’t think you want to have to “be on your toes” during labor!  🙂  The safest I would feel is if I was in my own house, with a supportive husband and knowledgeable midwife to watch over me, and I could just let go and let my body do what it knows how to do.  If there were complications, I would agree to a hospital birth to keep me and my baby safe and healthy, but I would make sure that someone was with me to “be on their toes” and ask questions, and make sure that nothing unnecessary was being done.  (I think there is something called a doula for that purpose.)  The bottom line is, the only way I would feel safe is if there is someone in my corner, so to speak.  Someone who can make sure the right balance is being reached between necessary medical interventions and letting my body do it’s thing.

Yes, I am afraid of needles.  I do not say any of these “crazy” ideas because of selfishness, I promise.  If I am afraid, the baby is not getting the benefits of my blood supply, thanks to the fight or flight response.  So yes, my fear of needles is a factor here, but only for the sake of the baby.  If it is better for the baby, of course I’ll suck it up and take an IV, but only if I believe that the benefits of the IV outweigh the downfalls of my body going into “fear of needles” mode.  (Have you felt “fear of needles” mode in your body?  I promise, my own organs don’t get the things they need, much less a growing baby!)  And I’m terrified of having a cesarean while I’m wide awake.  Terrified.  I literally think I would die of fear.  I will need a great big sedative, if not general anesthesia, if a c-section is required.  And I do not want any babies growing in my body to be exposed to drugs like that so early in life, so I’m going to do everything I can to avoid the need for a c-section, when the time comes.

If God decides to bless me with the experience!

For now, I will just keep these things in mind for future reference.  But I always enjoy hearing stories of birth, wherever and however the miracle occurs!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. livelightly
    Feb 14, 2009 @ 22:41:26

    Hey there 🙂 So, certified nurse midwives are illegal…but unassisted isn’t your only option. You could use an underground direct entry midwife, which is what we did with Bella. You just can’t tell anyone or put their name on your birth certificate… 🙂 Let me know if you want some names someday…you can’t find them online obviously, just word of mouth. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Mom
    Feb 15, 2009 @ 15:41:24

    We had nurses who we hired to come to the hospital with us when both Mark and Megan were born. It was something I had read about after your c-section and the complications when Sarah was born. Both times it worked great. Both ladies helped greatly to help us stay calm and gave us suggestions during labor. We were also in a hospital and had a very supportive doctor.

    Reply

  3. Doris Jacobs
    Feb 16, 2009 @ 11:34:59

    I haven’t witnessed a lot of births but I do not think there is any way to have a boring birth. It is too dramatic to ever call it boring. I am glad you are in the generation you are in because the best of both worlds is available to you. The Doula idea is a great way to mimic what your mom did with her last 2 babies and that is growing in popularity all over the US

    Reply

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