Friday, November 12, 2010

26 weeks 4 days - au naturel

Before becoming pregnant, I did not want to hear anything about birthing, labor, waters breaking, c-sections, etc etc etc. It grossed me out. It creeped me out. And it was something I never thought I would ever have to worry about.

Cut to us deciding to have a baby, and obviously the birthing process is part of that. But for some reason it went from giving me major skeeves to being completely obvious how I wanted it all to play out.

I preface this post by saying that I am not a judgy person. I totally understand why other people make different choices about their births, and believe that everyone needs to make their birth experience exactly what they need it to be. Before becoming pregnant I probably would have said "Give me the Twilight Sleep birth - knock me out and I'll worry about the kid when it's out and I wake up." But it's like a switch flipped in me.

I'm sure I'm jinxing myself by saying this, but this pregnancy has been very, very easy. Aside from fatigue and some muscles cramps and achiness, I barely feel pregnant at all. It really has helped me wrap my head around the fact that my body was built to do this. It is working like it's supposed to, and building The Insider all on its own with barely any conscious effort on my part except for being sure not to poison her. So why can't labor be the same? If my body is being so efficient at putting this baby together, why can't I trust it to get it out of there just as efficiently?

So we decided to do a natural birth. What does that mean? Ultimately, my ideal situation would be laboring at home as long as we can, then heading to the hospital to fight with them about not interfering. I don't want Pitocin, I don't want laughing gas, I don't want an epidural. I don't want an episiotomy. I definitely definitely definitely do not want a CSection. There are a lot of factors that made me decide this, but basically I want my body to be in full control of the situation, and I trust it to work the way it should. I also care more about bouncing back after the labor than getting labor over as quickly as I can. And from the reading and researching and googling I've done, I feel like a natural birth is going to give me the best outcome with regards to those goals.

I feel it's important to also say that, yes, I realize this is my first birth experience and that I really have no idea what it is REALLY like. And I realize that in the moment I may change the way I feel about the wonders of the human body and gladly welcome some interventions. But I'm hopeful that I can power through it, because chances are I won't be up for doing this again. And I would hate to have any regrets at all about this experience, especially since so far it has been very positive.

If you feel like sharing, tell me about your birth. Tell me what you loved/hated. Tell me how you felt about nurses/doctors in the moment, and tell me things you wish your partner had done and things you're glad they did do.


Knit and Purl Mama said...

I will tell you that you can plan all you want, but life takes it's on course during labor.

With my first born I wanted "au naturel".

I labored for 32 and a half hours before he was born. I wanted no drugs. My water broke, and I was NOT contracting and my cervix was hard as a rock. I needed cervadil to dilate and then pitocin to get my contractions going. I had no choice. Water breaking = the longer the baby is inside, the more infection it's prone to.

Usually they like to get baby out in 24 hours after your water break, or as close to 24 hours as possible.

I lasted 16 hours (half) without epidural. I gave in at the half way mark because even though my son was head down, he was facing the wrong way. So instead of arching in my stomach to come out, he was arching into my back/bum. This is BEYOND painful! My labor pains were not only in my stomach, but in my back and down my legs. Shooting severe pain. I couldn't last through the contractions.

I needed to be stitched up because I tore because they had to use forceps to get Sean out, as he was stuck. I do not think I would have torn otherwise, because he was only 5 lbs 5 oz.

My labor did not go how I wanted/dreamed/planned, but I was alive, my baby boy was alive and healthy, and honestly, that is all that mattered.

For my 2nd son, my water broke again. No dilation, only small contractions here & there. I was given cervadil again to ripen my cervix and pitocin again to induce my contractions. 32 and a bit hours later, I was rushed at 5 cm dilated into the OR to cut my 2nd son out of me, because on every contraction, his heart rate dropped in half and he was in distress. Turns out his umbilical cord was wrapped around his torso & foot (thank goodness not neck). He's alive & healthy, and that's all that matters.

Having been through both a vaginal & cesarean birth, honestly, I am SUPER glad that my doc cleared me of Placenta Praevia (even though my placenta is still low lying), for baby 3. I am a good candidate for Vbac (Vaginal birth after Cesarean) and I am glad that I get the chance to try for "natural". Though, I will be asking for the drugs this time, I'm just not a pain person.

That being said - I never wanted a Csection either. However, it was the best decision at the time for my son, or he might have died. You can't predict these things, you know? I would have done a 2nd Csection next month if my Placenta Praevia didn't go away. (As my placenta was blocking my birth canal for the longest time this pregnancy).

I hope your birth for your daughter works out to your expectations. Good luck!

Allie said...

I desired a natural birth. at first I figured the standard but the longer I was pregnant and the more I read, the more I realized I wanted natural to the point that I switched from an OB who was C-section happy to a midwife practice associated with a nearby hospital.

I took Hypnobirthing classes with my husband which were fantastic once in labor - we really learned to work together with it, and I learned great techniques on how to breathe and work through pain and meditate during the process. When I was in labor, it wasn't a fabulous orgasmic experience, but the Hypnobirthing and my husband as a partner, it was an amazing experience that I can still remember clear as day for being so intense, spiritual, intimate.

Emerson was overdue and I had high BP which cuased me to be on bedrest. They had me do an NST a day or so after her due date and the dumbass sonographer said I had a low amniotic fluid count. The Dr. on duty said to protect the heath of my baby I needed to be induced STAT.

My body was not ready, the baby was not ready. Doing research after the fact, I realize what they SHOULD have done is have me go for a walk, eat something and check again b/c the umbilical cord could have been in the way making the level look low. But instead I worried, and I was admitted to a hospital.

I was in labor for 4 days, not until the last day did my water break, and they had to do it manually. It gushed - plenty of fluid. Since I was induced I started with cervadil, then cyotec, then pitocin. I labored just fine for three days and then they boosted the pit because I wasn't progressing and only THEN did I ask for the epidural. After that, they broke my water and things progressed.

Because I was numb, I was flat on my back and E was stuck behind my pelvic bone. They said I would need a C-section. By this time I was so exhausted, I was willing to do anything. When on meds you can't eat, and with being on pit etc. for so many days I was physically exhausted. Luckily my mom was there who said she had the same trouble with me and they used forceps. The docs joked about forceps being so 1975, but they found a pair and E was born with them. No episiotomy, no C-section, healthy baby.

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin - very crunchy but very liberating & inspiring (she also has Spiritual Midwifery which I didn't love as much but has good stuff re: anatomy)
Pushed by Jennifer Block - Scary but I wish I read beforehand - so very interesting
The Birth Book by Dr. Sears

You can't force what will happen, but with the right outlook things CAN go your way. If I wasn't informed and didn't believe in my body, I probably would have had a C-section a week earlier.

Everyone will say nothing matters unless the baby is healthy, but I disagree. You are still a human, a woman, an important individual. Doctors are too quick to cut, to schedule births when they are convenient for THEM. Do your homework, know your rights, have a birth plan and discuss it with your Dr. and hospital. And email me if you have any questions. You CAN take charge and still have an impact on your outcome. Good for you mama!

Jules said...

Thanks for sharing ladies! I love hearing other peoples' experiences so I know a little better what to expect from the hospital staff when we do get to that point.

Allie I love your recommended reading list. Ina May is definitely on my list (hoping to get a Kindle for xmas so waiting for that....) I have heard of Dr. Sears, but have never heard of Pushed. I read a whole bunch of fluffy books already, and feel they all feed you the same crap. I'm ready for the more "crunchy" nuts and bolts stuff!!!!