Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Thoughts About Natural Birth

I am so appreciative of all the support I've gotten when I mentioned I would be possibly attempting a natural birth. The fact that so many of you have done it and have lived to tell the tale gives me more faith that despite my low pain tolerance threshold, I may too.

What is kinda of funny, is that I actually have NO desire to give birth naturally. Its just that the medication I am on may force me too. If the timing works out where I can have the eppy- I am getting it. But, if the situation works out where I cant have the pain meds, I want to be ready, resolved and prepared. So I am planning on a natural birth, and hoping for the happy coincidence of an epidural.

So I have been doing A LOT of research. When I first started (searching pinterest for articles and blogs) I was actually SUPER disappointed with what I found. So many women were making their decision for a natural birth off of fear, and misguided information. I do not need someone to tell me that doctors, and meds, and hospitals are scary because guess what? They're not.

Maybe I am biased because my husband IS a med student. But I also think this gives me a unfair advantage. I KNOW what doctors learn- how hospitals are SUPPOSE to work, how the meds are made and given and for what, and how doctors are suppose to act. I am not blind, I also know there are lots of bad docs out there. I had one when I miscarried. But I do not put up with that.

I know in some situations you are stuck with a bad doc or a hospital and based on that experience, or a different bad experience, you may choose to go natural. Makes PERFECT sense to me and more power to you. But I read one misguided blog where a woman was saying "Women have given birth for hundreds of years without doctors and meds. Why do we need them now?"

BECAUSE WOMEN AND CHILDREN DIED. There are REASONS for modern medicine. I am not saying every doc or hospital is good. Do your research. Ask for your doctors credentials. I know where my docs went to school, did residency and where they were certified. And if you don't like your doc, SWITCH. I have. Ask the girls I am friends with- I get made fun of  A LOT because I am very picky and very specific about who handles my pregnancy. (That is for another post :) The great thing about being so picky, is that I TRUST my doctor implicitly and I know I am getting the best care for me.

Before I get off my soap box- I do want to say one thing about meds? Make SURE your information on meds, and your doctor for the matter, are not outdated. (I WILL not use a doctor over 50 unless they have been RECENTLY board certified. You can do it every few years.) Some woman in a blog I read was going off about how awful medicine is for you and your baby and attached a video... from the seventies. Medicine changes every year people. Five years ago a doctor wouldn't let you have more than 3 csections. That is not the way anymore. (And if you have a doctor that says it is? Ditch them now.)

I guess what I am saying is, please, no matter WHAT medical intervention you are having, trust your doctor, and be informed. And make sure your information is CURRENT. Because the eppys from the 70's are NOT the eppys of today.

That all said, I think there are LOADS of legitimate reasons to have a natural birth, and I am really grateful for the non crazy women who have talked to me and given me advice. I have lots of friends who choose natural birth for their own reasons, and all of them are smart well informed reasons. Some are even just a matter of preference but these women have never been so close minded to tell me drugs, or hospitals, or MD's are bad. And I would never be so close minded as to say they are nuts for choosing not to use drugs or to use a midwife. Cause they are not. Its your pregnancy, your baby, your body. (I am just asking for people to not treat themselves or their posterity with naivety.)

Thanks to these great women, I have been able to find LOTS of helpful things to help me on my path to a natural child birth. What is funny is that there is no one "birth philosophy" that I love. I feel like each one has something that is a little.... out there. So my natural birth prep is actually a compilation of... well, everything :)

I LOVE the Bradley Methods concentration on physical health. Makes sense- the healthier you are the healthier your pregnancy. He has some set exercises to do and I felt super dumb that I never thought about doing squats, and lunges, and inner thigh stretches to prepare for pregnancy. Hello Sarah! You may squat for hours while giving birth and you KNOW you have to spread for hours. Wouldn't it be great to get those muscles as ready and as strong as they can be? Thusly- I do squats and stretches a lot now :) Mixed in with some good old healthy aerobics as well.

I really love the whole notion of hypnobirthing. Some of the ideas here can get a little granola for my taste but for the most part- it makes sense to me. They want you to use thoughts, images, and affirmations to get you to a point that moves past pain. I am not sure I believe in being able to move PAST the pain of birth, but I DO know the power of a good affirmation. When I get tired working out I always say to myself, "Sarah, if you can do (something) you can run this." And it WORKS.

I also love that I am LDS because it brings so much more power to my affirmations  I was trying to think of something helpful enough to push me through the pain of birth- to help me deal with it and suddenly I came to tears when I realized the answer was in front of my face. "I trust the Lord." If he can help a 100 year old barren woman give natural birth to a son in the dessert, he will help me. (I am talking about Sarah in the Bible.)

What a friend of mine told me that I think is GREAT advice is to do anything that calms me. She said something to the effect that the pain is scary and that there is no way to be perfectly prepared for it, but it is important to stay as relaxed as possible otherwise you will be clenching and working against a contraction when really the idea is to let its body do its thing. I mean, isn't that what an eppy is? The ultra relaxation.  I progressed so much faster after I had my eppy with my son.

So Adam and I have been coming up with a list of things to calm me. One of them was a DVD full of short clips of Logan. When I was going through my miscarriage, sad, scared, and in EXTREME pain, I remember Adam putting his arm around me and going through pictures of Logan on the phone showing me how cute he was. Not only did it help to smile and laugh, but it also reminded me of how lucky I was to have Logan.  So videos of my son will not only make me laugh and relax because he is funny in himself, but they will also help remind me WHY I am giving this birth and how incredibly worth it it is.

I also plan on bringing a pumping play list to energize me, a soothing one to help calm me, any comical movie that I can find, and I fully intend to use the whirl pool tub and the shower as MUCH as I can. Because I LOVE water. I also plan of taking a Lamaze breathing class because EVERYONE says it helps.

That is kind of my plan- get as fit as I can in ways that will help during birth, reinforce myself positively, and learn to relax as much as possible. Any other advice you can give me I would LOVE. As long as you don't bash doctors too much. :) Cuz I like mine. :) But anything to help me deal with pain- would be appreciated.


  1. This is a great post Sarah! You have echoed so many of my thoughts, and I agree that maybe we so have a bit of an edge knowing how doctors are reall trained. I think it's great that you are doing all that you can to prepare. You can do it! My one piece of advice is something you mentioned: relax. My sister had some troubles because she couldn't relax. That being said, I believe in you!

  2. Adrienne shared your post and it was great! :) So nice to hear from well informed open minded people!

  3. Thank you for being informed and so down to earth. I think you're definitely taking the right approach to NCB. Love you lots!

  4. go you! I think I would just cry until I delivered if I knew I'd have to go natural. Two contractions was enough for me last time!

  5. Congrats on your pregnancy! I did a natural birth with both of my boys. The second birth was with a midwife in the hospital.While there are many reasons out there to choose a natural birth (some being misguided information), I think the large majority of women have done the research like you are doing and are very intelligently informed in the choice they feel is best for them and their baby. I definitely recommend laboring in a tub. It really helps to lessen the intensity of contractions. You might want to consider using a doula. She can help you relax and stick to your plan, whatever you choose that to be. You can often find a doula in training who could do it for free or discounted. It really helps to surround yourself with friends and family who have experienced natural birth or are supportive of it, though they don't necessarily have to be in the delivery room :). I wish you all the best in this pregnancy and delivery!