Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Marathon

Alot of people have asked me why I've decided to have natural childbirth with a midwife at a birthing center, as opposed to a hospital birth. There are so many reasons. This was not a decision I made willy-nilly, and it's one that James has to be completely on board with, which he is. I've always been interested in natural childbirth. My mother had me without drugs, and I love to hear her tell the story of my birth, and how great she felt afterward. But ultimately, each reason is my own personal reason.

Reason #1: Because I CAN.
My body was created, specifically designed, for childbirth. Women have been having babies, without pain meds, since the beginning of time. Now, I'm not saying that modern medicine has no place; it absolutely does. Modern medicine saved my mother's life, twice. Here's the thing, though: our bodies were not created to withstand cancer, brain tumors, heart attacks, without modern medicine. We should die from those things, but because of medical technology, we don't. And I am so thankful for that! But my body was made to withstand childbirth without modern medicine, specifically pain medicine. I have enzymes and hormones that will kick into gear and make natural childbirth possible. I'm not saying it's not going to be painful; that's just dumb. I'm squeezing a human from my loins. This will hurt. Immensely. But I can withstand it, and then it will be over. It's what my body was made to do.

Reason #2: Medical research blah blah blah.
There is a lot of information I could write about here, but I won't. I'm no doctor, I sell advertising, people! But, here's what I know and have done extensive research on. Thirty percent of women in the United States get C-sections. That is the highest percentage of any industrialized country. Many times (not all), when in a hospital setting, a woman is not allowed to let labor progress naturally, however long that may take. A hospital is in the business of making money, at the end of the day. They need to turn beds over quickly. Therefore, drugs are used to speed up the process, and if birth doesn't happen within the doctors time line, a C-section is done.

There's also the issue of the epidural and other drugs routinely used in hospitals. First of all, I have never had any form of anesthesia, so I have no idea how I would react to it. This makes me uncomfortable. Secondly, many of the drugs used during labor actually work against each other and the labor process, making it even more difficult. Again, I'm speaking in generalities here, because I don't intend to write a book on this subject. But as mentioned above, there are certain hormones that a woman needs during childbirth, and the use of various meds during labor restrict the release of these.

Lastly, I worry that with pain meds and such during labor, I wouldn't be fully connected to the process. How would I know if I was pushing, and pushing GOOD, with an epidural? Just my own personal feeling.

Reason #3: Because it's a challenge.
My husband has run a marathon before. I think that's nuts. Why would anyone want to run 26.2 miles? It doesn't sound like fun, it sounds painful. Well, natural childbirth is my marathon. Why do something painful when you can do it (relatively) pain free? Because I want to. Because it's a challenge. It's my marathon. I want to push myself so close to the edge, and then cross that finish line. Marathons and climbing mountains, those are physical challenges, but more than anything, they are mental challenges. So is natural childbirth. It is most definitely a physical challenge that requires extensive training. We are required to take the Bradley Birthing Method class, and that class is hard core. We must prepare and practice for weeks leading up to the birth. I have to be diligent about my diet and weight gain, so that I can be in the best shape when it's time. And James has to learn how to get me to totally relax, and stay relaxed, for hours upon end. But mentally, that's the real challenge for me. You can't quit labor. At least in a marathon, you can actually stop running, if necessary. But childbirth, that baby is coming no matter what. It's a fierce mental challenge and one that I am so excited about. Now I understand why people get excited about running marathons. I get it.

So, these are some of the reasons I want to experience natural childbirth. Please know that these are my personal thoughts about MY experience. Everyone is different, and I do not think that women who had C-sections or medicated births are lesser humans or something. No way. I think any woman who has had a baby, however she had it, is a miracle. I just have my own desires for my birthing experience, and I intend to do my part to make it happen. I am fully aware it may not turn out that way, and if it doesn't, I might be disappointed. Ultimately, the baby's health is most important, so whatever transpires, I'll manage. But, I'm training for my own personal marathon, and James is training to be my coach. And I really can't wait to hold that baby.

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