The perceived hubris of the unmedicated birth stands the same, always: I'm a tougher, more natural, more loving mother because I embraced terrible suffering to bring you into this world, little one. Hey, not only is that inaccurate but also unfair. As with so many ideals, sometimes things don't work out. I needed pitocin with SweetPea to jump start things. Many a friend has done natural births a few times and then switched to medicated, ne'er looking back with regret. Some people's births don't go the natural way; some people don't want their births to go the natural way. These are not moral decisions. Parenting styles, not parenting values.
I just read this great article written by a local midwife titled Why Are We Afraid? Thanks for passing it along, Emily! It gave me a lot of food for thought, especially as right now I'm thinking:
Why do we do this?
I always ask AA around this point in pregnancy. The point where no position is comfortable and my child is kicking and punching me all the time. Why do we opt for unmedicated birth? Are we gluttons for punishment? Are we trying to prove something? Can I do this again?
His calming answer is we do it because it's what's best for you and baby.
He's right, of course. That's how this whole natural birth & parenting thing began. Reading, listening, researching, asking questions about what is healthiest and best for mama and bebe in the course of meeting each other. Obviously, medicine and interventions are crucial for many lives to be saved or eased, and it goes without saying I am not hating on my girlfriends who love the epidural. But why don't I? Why do I try to do something differently?
Right now I feel like I'd like to just magically hold him in my arms and not go through all that pain and suffering, not embrace my full humanity, not feel every sense heightened and on fire, not consciously make the decision to birth in love instead of endurance, not have to be completely vulnerable to myself and my husband, not face my severe dislike of pain, not feel every push keenly, and not let my body do what it can do and, God willing, will do in just a few weeks.
But in saying it, I now know why I'm doing this unmedicated.
SuperBoy's birth was relatively easy, 8 hours top to bottom, 1 hour pushing, big big 8 pound, 10 ounce boy and very little damage to me. Easy latch & breastfeeding, up & making guacamole two days later for a girlfriend's bridal shower I couldn't attend.
SweetPea stalled out, but after a bump of pit, she too was only 5 1/2 hours start to finish in the water, 15 minutes of extremely painful pushing, and not a stitch in sight needed for me. She was smaller, at 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and the water helped tremendously. I was up & at 'em a few days later, feeling tired but really quite fine.
Who knows how this birth will go for BabyLoves! Maybe he'll have serious health problems. Maybe I'll need an emergency c-section. Maybe something way worse will happen. Most likely, we'll have a short, happy, painful pushing water birth with the awesome midwives, nurses, and my doula team at St. Joe's. As we can't predict when he'll come, or how he'll come, or what choices we'll be faced with, it gives me comfort that I'm going into this ready to give him the safest, least intervention approach possible. Being in a hospital with their ready staff and emergency call buttons assures me that if something does go awry for either of us, help is very close and very swift. And being close to Cossetta's--for their pepperoni pizza, our traditional meal post-labor!
It's also Holy Week, the most solemn and joyful week of the year for Catholics when we remember Christ's suffering and redemption. So it's good to suffer along with Him!
Really feeling loved at my Mama Blessing my BFF hosted for me last weekend. And really feeling buoyed by the spiritual birth retreat I went to with Peg Conway a few weeks back. This birth will be beautiful, right??