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So, I have thought about natural childbirth for a few years now, fleetingly, and never really gave it a serious thought. I really like the idea of doing something that hundreds of thousands of generations of women accomplished. At the same time, I am terrified of the pain. I have another 24 weeks or so to figure this out, but I'm scared I'll pick an epidural and then be mad at myself, or pick natural and have terrible memories of childbirth. Can somebody please give me some insight? Folks that have had it both ways would be interesting to hear about...
Welcome Deidre! I'm in your DDC and I'm so glad to see you here! I haven't had it both ways but I can tell you my experience. Before I found out I was pregnant with my son I always assumed I would get the epidural. Then when I found out I was pregnant my whole mindset changed. I wanted to educate myself. I wanted to protect myself and my baby from unneeded interventions but didn't know how or what methods would be best for me. I ended up choosing Hypnobirthing and that alone gave me the confidence to know I could do it naturally. The book was an amazing read and you're right, women have been doing this for thousands of years. I kept asking myself, if they could do it, why can't I? For one, lots of women get unnecessary interventions making labor and childbirth much more painful and difficult than it has to be. I even ended up having pitocin after we thought my water broke and was still able to deliver him without pain medications. It wasn't easy, but I did it. I knew I could never forgive myself if I caved in. The thing I kept repeating to myself was that this pain would not last forever but my happiness for bringing my child into the world without drugs running through his veins would. I know that sounds kind of harsh but that's what got me through it. This time I'm going to a birthing center and using midwives so I know I won't be having unnecessary interventions and I also know the pain will much more tolerable without pitocin and being able to labor in the position of my choice without having to lie on my back pushing for three hours.
I know that's long, so I'm sorry. I just want you to know that you can totally do this. There are great methods and books out there that can give you all the confidence you need to believe in yourself. Your body knows what to do, you just have to trust it. There is even a little saying going around here to "Trust Birth". It's a great motto I think.
I would highly recommend reading Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. You will definitely be inspired by reading it!
Good luck no matter what you decide. I hope to see you here more!
I've only had a NCB so I can't compare it to what it's like w/ drugs, but the feeling of accomplishment and pride will far outweigh any pain. And I must say, a lot of people talk about the pain w/ NCB and I think labor pains are a different type of pain... they're a means to an end. You know that pain is helping your child come into the world, so you work w/ it. I also highly recommend "Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin, you will be SO inspired! I think the more you research and educate yourself, the easier it will be to make your decision. Good luck on your journey!
I think if you'd like to choose a natural childbirth, you should not make it that easy. What I mean is that most women who go into natural childbirth in a hospital setting have a harder time achieving it. You really have to set your mind to it, because it seems as though there are a lot of obstacles to having a NCB in a hospital. Just getting the information is the best way to start. It's not always about the pain, it's about doctors pushing interventions on you when they aren't neccesary. If you don't have the information to back yourself up, you're less likely to fight something that you know isn't neccesary.
With my first, I tossed around the idea of a NCB, but in the end, decided to keep an open mind about pain relief. I was birthing in a hospital and I didn't have any support but my husband. I let my mom talk me into thinking I was going to have a horribly long labor so when I got admitted, I asked for an epidural. It was several hours before they came in to give it to me, and neither of us realized I was already fully dilated, so they went ahead with it. Before I laid down, I had to push, and afterwords realized how silly it was to have the epidural at that point. It's all downhill from there, had they just checked me, I wouldn't have gotten it and could have had the NCB I wanted.
I went into this pregnancy knowing I wanted a NCB. I was so close last time and I feel like I managed the pain very well, so why not do it again? I knew from the start I wanted to be in a more supportive setting and have a midwife for the birth, instead of an OB. I found a great birth center not far from us and chose to go with them. I am so glad I did, and have since realized how much better of an experience this pregnancy has been versus the other one. Seeing a midwife has made all of the difference and I feel the birth center will be a better environment for this birth. After I made that decision, I realized that I should also do my research. In the past 2 years I've come to realize that there are many more options out there and information we aren't told when it comes to many things in pregnancy and parenting. If I'm going to make a decision that affects the health or safety of my children, I want to make an informed decision. Just listening to a doctor's advice has gotten me nowhere in the past and doing the research before making decisions has be beneficial already. Even though I know the birth center would likely do things the way I intended, I started looking up information and reading books on NCB. It's more empowering to know WHY I'm doing things this way.
One thing I learned in both my last labor and since then, is that pain in childbirth isn't the same as the pain in real life. It has a purpose, and it's easy to work through. Many times, a hospital makes it more difficult to do that, becuase you are being asked to lay in a bed, strapped to monitors and having doctors give you a timeline on how long your labor should be. Usually, the nurses and doctors are just in and out, doing thier job and you only have the support people you brought with you. It's just not a great environment for a natural birth, unless you really push for it. If you go into it with an open mind, you will likely end up like I did with my first, laying in a bed with monitors just trying to deal with the pain, but not having the support to do it. Even if you dont' have a birth center available or choose a home birth, you can still do some research and go into the labor knowing exactly what helps get through the contractions or pain and what isn't going to be beneficial to you. You will be less likely to be talked into interventions that could keep you from having a NCB, which seems to be more and more common these days.
Good luck with whatever decision you make! (Sorry if that is too long )
Andrea, mom to Abigail (8) Annabelle (5) and Alexis (2)
I'm in your DDC to...and when I first started thinking about it I was like you....I would suggest reading "The Thinking Woman's Guide to Birth" by Henci Goer. I really think that was the most valuable book I read and it gave me the knowledge I needed to make decisions on what I want to do and also to feel comfortable with making decisions about things that aren't in my "ideal" I really really liked it!!
I really do think it's important to DECIDE what you want. the majority of women who go into it thinking "I'd like a natural birth and I"ll do my best and see what happens" end up not having a natural birth.
it's something you should commit to and put effort into.
It is hard and it can be painful, but it's all worth it. I know very few (if any) who have regretted having a natural birth and wished they'd had the meds. Do some research. I think once you learn about the benefits and risks of both sides you'll be better prepared to make a decision.
Kellisa, Mama to:
Courtney, Nola, Kya, and Whitney
Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, training to be an IBCLC!
Thanks ladies. I too have rarely heard a woman say she wishes she had gotten the drugs. I will have to read up on your suggestions. I think now is the time to start planning, and also to talk to my doctor and get a feel for whether he is supportive or I will have to work against him. You guys are great!
The books I too recommend you check out are the thinking woman's guide and Ina May's guide to childbirth. I liked those a lot. The thinking guide is very informative and Ina May's is so inspirational.
For many of us, it's more than just about the epidural vs no epidural- as mentioned, it's that one thing usually leads to another. Epi, monitoring, being stuck in bed, then a catheter, etc etc. Soon your every move is being controlled.
The current vibe surrounding birth is this country is all about fear, and we have to try to get out from that. If you can put yourself in a place where you don't feed on the fear, you will find your way!
I would totally reccomend hypnobirthing or hypnobabies because it helps you get over the fear of childbirth. I did not have a natural childbirth with my daughter but I am going to do it this time, my hypnobabies instructor is also my doula so I think that will help a lot too
Katie- mom to Aden (5) Phineas (3) and Phoebe Violet (1)