As many of my friends and family know, I’m a huge proponent of natural birth. I’ve declared several times that I feel this is the best option for me. Part of having a natural childbirth involves finding ways to deal with or even embrace the pain. I never opted for a natural childbirth because I thought I’d be viewed as a stronger or more capable woman. Instead, it was a personal decision based somewhat on research and somewhat on desire.
Research does show links between epidurals and c-sections as well as links to poor pushing abilities, longer labors, inabilities to move in ways that help labor along, poor breastfeeding/latching with your baby… the list goes on. The validity of these arguments aren’t as important, to me, as the mere fact that these arguments exist. That’s because the decision to go natural was also based on desire.
Yes, I said it. I desired pain. But not entirely. What I really desired was the participation. I didn’t want someone gently tapping me on the shoulder to tell me I was 10cm and ready to push. I wanted to be involved and I wanted to take away the pride in knowing that my body was capable and my mind strong. For myself.
I also lucked out with my first labor in that it was only 8 hours and that at 6cm, when I was secretly hoping my nurse would offer me an epidural, she did not. I had asked her during my admission not to offer me one. An epidural was all that was on my mind at 6cm, but then I was 7 cm, and then I was 9cm and time really just whizzed painfully by.
I question how much about birth and labor I really ought to share on this blog because there are many decisions to be made in the process and they are all personal. In any event, this blog serves as documentation of my journey and these are just stepping stones along the way. For those that chose an epidural or are considering an epidural, this is a good article in support of epidurals. The closing statement is what I really like. It reads:
Woman shouldn’t cave to pressure from either side. They should make informed decisions based on their goals and priorities. I aspired to have a comfortable birth even if it meant being surrounded by nurses and doctors and tubes and incessant beeps; other woman may trade pain for a more intimate birthing experience. Each choice comes with its own benefits and unpleasantries. My unnatural childbirth left me with a memory that does not involve intolerable pain, and that’s exactly what I wanted.
I agree, woman shouldn’t cave to pressure from either side. You can research things until you are blue in the face. If you believe in natural childbirth, you can find loads of information supporting your belief. This article goes to show that if you believe in medical interventions, then there is someone in your corner as well. Unlike the author of this article, my memory of Hooper’s birth is not tainted in the least bit by the pain I endured. In fact, the high I experienced immediately after giving birth is a rush I still crave. That overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance and perseverance. There’s nothing like being fully present and alert in that moment, if you ask me.
When it comes down to it, what I truly believe is not in natural childbirth over a medically enhanced childbirth, but in informed decision based on the goals and priorities of the mother.