So, let me begin by giving a little bit of a disclaimer here. For some reason, people get kinda touchy about discussing natural child birth versus a "medical" birth. I am in no way shape or form "dissing" on giving birth in hospitals or with medication. I am going to blog however, on my hopes to have a medicine-free birth in a birthing center. There ya go.
Okay, so I have long hoped that I would be able to go the medicine free route and also have my future babies in a birthing center. I don't know exactly when I decided that was the thing I wanted to do. I consider myself to be a "non-medicine" gal in general. It may have been because I hadn't had insurance in 5 years until I married my husband. So, at one time...I was given pain medicine for my periods, but when the insurance ran out...I was made to deal with it on my own. And I did. Granted, the month before last...I was MISERABLE. I thought I was going to die. I knew I wasn't going to and that I would be able to make it through, but it was terrible. I hadn't had a cycle like that in a REALLY long time. I was bleeding through like every 20 or 30 minutes, throwing up constantly (couldn't even keep sips of water down), and was on my hands and knees on the floor. I made it though. See, with me throwing up...I can never take any type of over the counter pain killer. I take it, and 5-10 minutes later it's out of my system. It sucks, so I just have to deal with the pain until it subsides. I wonder if that sounds familiar to any of you?
Anyway, I know that childbirth will be a pain like I have never experienced. Maybe I'll cave and cry out for an epidural if I'm in a hospital (I don't think birthing centers can administer them)...but the plan for me is to try to go about my birthing experience as light and medicine free as possible.
I've talked to people on both sides of the issue. Everyone I've personally talked to that has had a hospital/epidural birth has given medicine two thumbs up and thinks it's the best way to go. I will definitely say that I'm sure it provides for a much more comfortable birthing experience, where you can enjoy yourself and ATTEMPT to relax a bit. For me, I don't think birth is supposed to be the most comfortable experience of your life. It's one of the most challenging (if not MOST challenging) things you can allow your body to do. It's what we were created for, designed for. We are so capable of letting our bodies take over and working with them to do the work.
I'll never forget a conversation I had a couple years ago at my friends' son's 1st birthday party. It was with the proud father of a newborn, very new. He and his wife had two other children prior to the new baby and had stark differences in their birthing experiences. The two previous children were born under hospital care and the newborn was born at a birthing center. I believe she had epidurals with the first two and not with the new baby. He couldn't say enough about how wonderful the experience at the birthing center was. I remember him saying the difference was quite amazing in just how alert and healthy the new baby was compared to their older children. Not that the other children weren't healthy, but new baby was just amazingly different. This dad, sat on the floor with his newborn and just chatted with me for a good 30 minutes or so on how they would do it again that way in a heartbeat. Awesome.
I know for me, water is one of the very very very few things that helps to alleviate my menstrual pain. If I climb into a hot tub of water and breathe it out...it takes the edge off. That makes me think about a water birth. They call it "nature's epidural" and I can totally understand why because of my experience with cramps. It's not something I'm totally sold on yet because I don't know how I feel about my husband being in the water with me. I had always pictured it with him by my side coaching me through pushing, not in a tub of water sitting behind me where I can't see his face and reaction. I guess a mirror could be set-up near the tub or something. Anyway, I think it's another great option I will consider.
If you haven't seen the documentary by Ricki Lake called "The Business of Being Born," please check it out! I know it's available to rent through NetFlix online and you can also go to the documentary website and rent it online for $6.99. IT IS SO WORTH SEEING. It wasn't an in your face medicine is evil documentary, but it did point out that medicine is a business. Doctors get paid more for C-Sections, they are quicker, and allow them to move on and deliver more babies. That's pretty much a fact. The USA has one of the highest infant death rates of all the nations in the entire world, yet we are so much more medically invasive than other countries. Strange right? Obviously, there are plenty of times when intervention by C-Section is medically necessary to deliver a safe baby. I'm not saying they are "bad." But, I'm sure there are plenty of women who have had "bad" experiences with their C's.
Here's some videos I thought were pretty interesting:
Natural Birth from Baby Center.com
Orgasmic Birth Movie
The Business of Being Born Trailer
Interview with Austin Midwife
Another Interview with an Austin Couple