Monday, September 15, 2014

why I want birth #3 to be different

I wanted to write out my feelings on this before things start to get real pretty soon. (Only 7 weeks left- yikes!)

With my previous two deliveries, I was induced at the hospital. I made the conscious choice to be induced- even preferred it the second time. I won't go into all the reasons for this, but my husband and I felt that it was the right decision for us each time. I LOVED most parts of getting induced- mainly having a plan and knowing what day I was going to have a baby. I am an anxious, detail-oriented person who doesn't like surprises, so this was the best option for me.

Both times, I was excited and relaxed as I checked into labor and delivery in the morning. Both times, Jonathan and I were all smiles and ready to get the show on the road. Both times, I had 5-6 hour long labors and held beautiful, fresh-out-the-womb babies on my chest after a few fairly painless pushes. Both times were magical and wonderful and amazing, despite having IV's in my wrist and pitocin running through my veins.

I had no idea until after these experiences that getting induced was so looked down on. That it was assumed "lazy" or "impatient" or "untimely and not healthiest for baby". Every time I heard someone warn an expectant mother to do everything in her power to not get induced, I looked down and frowned. Was it really so bad?

No, it was not- not for me. But those were my experiences. I realize that being induced doesn't work so smoothly for everyone... but for others, it is a huge blessing. And I will never agree that it is the "easy way out" option- not at all. It is simply another means to an end.

Often when I'm asked about my labor experiences, I get eye-rolls or chuckles when I say that they were each about 5-6 hours long. As if that length of time did not qualify me for a hard day's work. Um, let me just say...even while being drugged, and numbed, and made "comfortable" with ice chips and flat, starchy pillows- those 5-6 hours were the LONGEST and hardest hours of my life. Getting induced is not all roses and daisies... I have nothing else to compare it to, but what I experienced was definitely NOT FUN. Yes, they were a bit faster than most deliveries- and I'm going to thank my lucky stars for that.

Everyone knows that all women feel things differently. We have different passions and opinions and lifestyles...why then would only ONE way of giving birth be the right way? I can't stand the stereotypes that go into these very personal, individual decisions. We do what we feel is best- and forget the rest.

I don't think that the way in which a woman delivers her child makes her any more superior to other women. I don't think that the way a woman delivers her child makes her any less superior, either... having a baby is HARD WORK- regardless of how you go about it. I've always revered mothers who've undergone C-sections. I cannot imagine how I would deal with that kind of experience and recovery.

Since my second delivery, I've come to realize a lot of things. I read a book called Birthing From Within (recommended by friends and midwife) that helped me to see there were definitely parts about getting induced with pain medications that were NOT comfortable for me and that I'd not been able to let go of. This book is not meant to sway one's birthing decisions one way or another but rather help one see where they are emotionally and mentally in terms of labor and delivery.

As I read it and opened my mind to how I really felt, I realized that there were things I didn't want to re-live (if I didn't have to): having my water broken by a nurse... getting multiple, unsuccessful IV pricks...getting epidurals that only numbed half of my body and having to get more and more drugged up so as to feel it evenly...not knowing where my body was in its natural process...relying on the hospital staff to tell me what to do next...feeling somewhat helpless, unable to move from the bed even to use the bathroom...not having control over my situation, or my body...

These few factors stood out clearly in my mind as unsettling and even haunting- because of how they felt to me. To someone else, it may not have been a big deal. I hadn't fully understood the impact these memories had on me until I identified them as the main source of anxiety with this third pregnancy. It was then that I knew I wanted to try something different- if it was possible to do so.

I still fully support the choice to be induced or to get an epidural (or in many cases- schedule a C-section), and I know that in many cases it is necessary and appropriate. These things affect every individual in an individual way- just because one mom had an unpleasant experience with such and such doesn't mean it didn't turn hell into heaven for another. I know this. I respect it. I don't have any regrets with my first two deliveries because they taught me so many things about myself, and in the end- our babies were healthy and safe.

So for the entirety of this pregnancy, I've had the goal to labor naturally and deliver pain-med free. There are SO many reasons for this decision...
For one, I'm curious. I want to know what it feels like to go into labor on my own, have non-drug induced contractions, and push out a baby without being totally (or mostly) numb.

Two, I want to know for myself that I can do hard things- more specifically, things I never thought that I personally could do. Like I already mentioned- giving birth is hard ANY way you do it- drugs or no. But since having a natural delivery is something that personally seems like a challenge- I know that it's what I need to do. From my therapy sessions earlier this year, it became clear that I needed to believe in myself more than I was.

Three, from what I've read and learned about natural birth- I'm even more encouraged to make it happen. I want to live this experience so badly. I don't make enough personal feels good to have this one so firmly planted in my heart.

I used to tell myself constantly that "I can't...I'm not good enough..I can't commit to anything...I'm not that strong." I'm trying to change my thinking to "I can. I'm more than good. I'm strong and awesome and a WOMAN!" Women are incredible and capable of so much more than they even realize. However, one thing that I loved in the book was the part about knowing your limitations. I know myself well enough to know that I have quite a, I'm still too chicken to have a home birth. I need the security of the hospital, even if I don't really NEED it. I also know that I'm anxious about a number of things and that in order to have a relaxed delivery, I need to "conquer my tigers". There is so much I've been writing down and discussing with Jonathan and expressing through birth art to understand this process and where I stand on it... I'm eager to let go of my fears, practice inner patience, believe in what my body is capable of, and most importantly- TRUST. Trust my instincts, trust my decisions, and trust the Lord. Whether that trust leads me down the path of a natural delivery or not, it is the most important aspect of this process.

This is the next book on my list, but we'll see if I get to finishing it or not... things have been crazy busy around here!

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