02 August 2011

Anticipating Childbirth

Somewhat recently the hubs and I watched this documentary, and we both found it to be eye-opening << although we did watch it with a grain of salt >>.  Anytime you watch or are given anything that is one-sided, it's essential to have your eyes, ears, and mind wide open. I'm just sayin'.

As a result of the experience of the past 9 months of my life, I've come to believe a few very important things:  
Pregnancy is neither a disease nor a disability.
Rarely should labor and delivery require the expertise of a trained surgeon.
A woman's body will *almost never* grow a baby that is too big for her to birth.

Since we're planning to deliver our son at a local women's clinic where we'll be attended by nurses and midwives, I'm excited about all sorts of things that I'll get to do that are not permitted at most hospitals.  For example...

I've got a list of  foods that I can bring for me to eat, including popsicles, soup, and frozen yogurt.  Think about it like this: when I go on a 4 hour bike ride, I eat during the ride... power bars, high-protein snacks, etc.  When you're doing prolonged cardiovascular activity, like taking a day-long hike, it makes sense that you'd have to fuel your body, right?  And how long does a typical first time mom labor?  HOURS.  Like, between eight and twelve I think.  Most hospitals allow laboring women to "eat" ice chips and have an IV pump in some sugar water to avoid dehydration.  Not at the clinic! I can actually eat if I want to.  Of course I may not want to- what do I know?

I've got a playlist on my MP3 player cleverly titled, "Labor and Delivery."  Artists on the list include Jason Mraz, Sarah McLachlan, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, Tori Amos, John Mayer, and Adele.  All of the songs are ones that I can sing along to (which relaxes me and is often entertaining for others), but they're not so fast-paced that I'll get amped up and ready to run a 5K.  Plus, most of this music is what I grew up to, and I'm stoked to have a soundtrack that keeps on growing in meaning and value.  For the record, some hospitals might allow you to bring your own music- again, what do I know?

Skin to skin for the 1st hour!
The staff at the clinic try as much as possible to keep baby with mommy during the first hour of life. There's no whisking away of baby for scrubbing, prodding, weighing, poking, measuring, etc. All of those things will take place; however, in all of our earthiness- rooted in the most beautiful and vulnerable of human miracles- we get to revel in the magical experience that is *new life* without being rushed past it.

Going home quick!
The typical postpartum stay at this clinic is a whopping 6 hours.  Six hours!  Typically at the hospital it's at least 24 hours, right? Longer if you've had a C-section.  Come to find out, hospitals keep moms and babies in the brig as long as they do more for the mom than for the baby to make sure that mom's body is working properly << read: she can pee and poop on her own >> after the medical intervention(s) she's had- epidural, episiotomy, c-section, etc.

Let me address a couple things that some of you may be thinking.

What about the pain?
I can't tell you how many women have looked me straight in the eye << obviously before asking where I'm planning to give birth >> and pleaded, "Take The Epidural!"  I typically will inform them that I do not plan to use any medication for the birth process, at which point I'm given "the look."  It's as if they want to say, "Hello... what's wrong with you? Why would you ever consider suffering through all that pain?"  Typically they bite their tongues and don't actually say it out loud; however, every now and then a brazen acquaintance will have their filter turned off and actually blurt it out.  It doesn't bother me!  We're all entitled to approach every aspect of our lives according to what works for us.  Numbing the pain of labor simply isn't my prerogative. I totally, absolutely, 100% respect every woman's choice when it comes to her L & D. 

Here's a little bit of insight into my stance on pain management: my mom and my husband's mom both pushed out 3 big babies naturally and without medical intervention of any kind (his mom at home and my mom in the hospital).  If you ask either of them to tell you about the most painful experience in their lives, neither of them will mention childbirth.  We come from tough stock, and I've been told I have a tendency of being both strong and stubborn.  I'm physically healthy, and I think I'm good at focusing my mind on the end goal.  Besides, the pain of childbirth is finite- it won't last forever.  I've never been afraid to work hard for something that I'm passionate about.

What if something goes wrong?
The clinic has a transfer hospital that is less than 5 minutes away, and they only work with low-risk preggo's who deliver between 37 and 41 weeks.  They also have warmers and resuscitation equipment if it's needed.


  1. Labor is always an adventure. :) I can say that my midwives in FL allowing me to eat (in a hospital!) during Asa's looooong induction helped a LOT.

    I had a L&D playlist for AR's birth and it helped so so so much. I turned it on & played on the computer through early to mid-labor. It was a GREAT distraction, a WONDERFUL relaxer, and a huge encouragement to me (I too had songs I loved, relaxing songs, and cheerful "I can do this" songs). A definite "must" to me from now on.

    Going past 41 weeks both times now, I have birthed in hospitals--with wonderful care both times; with midwives in FL and an ob I trusted here in OH. My ob and I went over my birth preferences in the 3rd trimester, and skin-to-skin time was very important to me. With both Asa and AR, our babies were delivered to my chest and I got to hold them as loooong as I wanted. No whisking away for weighing and measuring. You will love having your baby boy handed right to you for as long as you want!

    YEA for going home! I'd love to scoot right on home, but at least we got out with only 1 night both times (typical was more like 2 nights even though I didn't have c-sections). There's no place like home. :)

    And lastly, I felt justified having pain relief when I was having to succumb to the evils of pitocin in order to evict my oh-so-comfy babies from the womb. That was a nice plan with AR, but the epidural did not work. I was so intimidated moving forward with the intensity of a pitocin labor and no pain relief, but it was amazing!! You can do it!! :) Praying you have the birth you are hoping for!! It is such an incredible time (pregnancy/labor/delivery/newborns)! :)

  2. i loved reading this and will watch the documentary... i, too, plan on delivering naturally when we have a little love child. i certainly won't give you "the look." i wholeheartedly agree! praying for a safe delivery for mom and baby!

  3. Becca, thanks for your kind words! I like the way you refer to being induced as "Eviction Notices" for the babies. I'm thankful you had a good experience both times and had your wishes respected. We actually started our prenatal care with an OBGYN practice with the intent to deliver in the hospital, but the more we expressed our wishes for a natural childbirth experience, the more we got "the look" and felt dismissed by the doctors. So we switched gears and haven't looked back.

    Amanda, thanks for the encouragement and prayers! Let me know what you think of the documentary. It's available streaming on Netflix.