I may be crazy, but I am leaning heavily toward a completely natural, drug-free childbirth.
I’ve been doing some research on the topic in the past week or so, and I am terrified that I really do think this is the best choice for me. There are a ton of benefits (shorter recovery time for mom, less likelihood of complications, being more in control during labor, labor that is often shorter than one assisted by an epidural, ability to bond immediately with baby … and the list goes on), and it seems like there’s one drawback: It hurts a LOT.
From pretty much all of the firsthand natural birth stories I’ve read from mothers, it really does seem like the only downside to this is that it is painful and uncomfortable during labor. This method encourages laboring at home for as long as possible (which I intend to do anyway), which means I would be able to labor in the comfort of my home and even continue some daily activities until we are really ready to go to the hospital. Once I am at the hospital, as long as my doctor approves it, I would be able to move around and labor in the position that’s most comfortable for me rather than laying flat on my back; I also may be able to eat during labor (if approved), which would be really nice in the case of a long labor and would help keep my energy up.
The other thing I like about the idea of natural birth is the involvement of the husband as birth coach. I borrowed a book on the Bradley Method of labor from my friend Natalie, and it offers a lot of great insight into how this thing can actually work. Bobby’s job through all this would basically be to encourage and help me however he can, through his words, massaging my back to help relieve pressure and tension, helping me move around, etc. I definitely like the idea of him being active in the labor process, too, rather than being a passive observer.
Do I think I have it in me to do this? Honestly, yes. I won’t lie; I’m pretty scared by the thought of it. But I also am being honest with myself as I do my research, and it does seem like a better way for me.
Of course, there’s no way to know what will happen later in pregnancy. My doctor may say natural birth is not a good option for me. There may be unforeseen complications that cause me to get an epidural — or I may start feeling the pains of labor and ask for one.
Regardless, I intend to be well-informed in my decision, and I intend to put together a plan for whatever happens so Dr. B and the nurses attending the birth know my wishes. I don’t want a C-section unless it’s absolutely medically necessary, and I feel good about the fact that Dr. B is on board with that. I also don’t want other interventions in trying to deliver the baby unless they are, without a doubt, really necessary. I understand that some women just want to have the baby out as soon as possible, and some really do need the little bit of extra help, but I do not want to deal with the complications that can arise from those things just because someone in the L&D room thought it seemed like a good idea at the time. There are some others (and will surely be more before the big day arrives), but I need to get my thoughts together on a full list.
Anyway, it’s a lot to think about, and I’m trying to at least remain open-minded until I have the opportunity to talk to my doctor about this. I’m sure there will be more posts on this down the road!