This was originally posted at another blog of mine (www.motheringtc.com) that I have deleted. I have combined all my blogs into this one for the sake of simplicity in my already busy life. Jen – 6/13/09.
***SOAPBOX ALERT!!!*** ***SOAPBOX ALERT!!!***
The instant people discover you’re pregnant, you get inundated with birthing horror stories. I was in labor for weeks; the epidural didn’t work; I was induced; the doctor said he was too big to deliver–almost 10 lbs!–so they did a C-section. He came out 5-1/2 lbs. With stories like these, it’s no wonder woman only have a few children these days. Who wants to go through that ordeal over & over again?
But what if you didn’t have to? You don’t, you know. I didn’t. A dear friend of mine loaned me two books: Husband-Coached Childbirth and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I am the first to admit that I didn’t have a clue what I had gotten myself into other than life as we knew it was over. We first called the OB/GYN I had been using for my annuals so I wouldn’t be running around trying to find someone when i was pregnant. They didn’t even want to see me for a month and a half. What? Shouldn’t I be taking vitamins and getting nutritional advice?
So I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do–I read. I read every book I could get at the library, bought some I couldn’t get there, and read the books my friend had brought, in that order. I had just been reading the Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy or some such garbage and she didn’t have anything good to say about birth. Then I read the two books my friend had brought for me to read. Suddenly, birth became a joy, a higher calling, a job that only I could do. My husband, as wonderful as he is, cannot grow & birth a child. And birth can be calm, joyful, painless, and yes, even orgasmic! Such a stark difference from what I had read until that point. I was drawn to natural childbirth even more now than before–I only take painkillers for dental pain & didn’t relish the idea of an epidural even before I’d read these books. Now, it was no longer an option to do it any other way.
I asked my husband to read the book, hoping he’d be open to the idea. He was SO excited to be a father & to finally have purpose in life, it was really a non-issue. He was all for it. Getting it done, however, was a little more difficult. The nearest class (by time, not distance), was in Grand Rapids. It was a 12-week class that started at 6:30pm and ended at 9:30pm in the middle of the week. And it’s about 2-1/2 hrs to get there. One way. Our teacher, God bless her, found out that we’d be driving from TC and decided to hold the class even though I suspect she normally wouldn’t have; There were just us and another couple. For 12 weeks we left town at 4pm & got back at midnight to learn how perfectly God designed women to give birth. That is NOT, by the way, how it is taught, it just happens to be my view on the process.
We learned about relaxation, nursing, the labor cycle, and how most women typically act during labor. How humans are wired and the instincts that we have, and most importantly, how all the “normal” medical interventions lead to a spiral of doom. I’m not referring to people with legitimate medical issues–I’m referring only to women who SHOULD be able to have a normal birth. We took the class in the 2nd trimester so we didn’t have to drive in winter. We had enough time to go through all the materials on our own again before the birth, which you normally don’t get. This made it very interesting; between my friend Erica & I (who was also pregnant), we could name 14 babies that would be born in a 6 month window. The ones that came first, it was eerie how accurately we could predict how their birth would happen based on just a few pieces of information they shared. We were that well trained.
My birth went as well as I expected. My midwife said it was a perfect Bradley Birth. I went into labor in the middle of the night and did the things I was taught to see if it was real labor or false labor. We determined it was real & I went back to sleep until 8 or so, ate brunch, puttered & finished packing. At around lunch it started getting pretty intense and we left for the hospital at 2:30pm. By 4, I was starting to feel a slight urge to push and at 7pm, after an hour of pushing in earnest, I gave birth to the most beautiful little girl, who happens to be napping on my lap right now. It wasn’t perfect, I had some hemorrhaging & tears, but the birth itself was wonderful. I can honestly say I felt no pain…a lot of pressure, but no pain.
So why am I going on and on about this? I’ve heard the horror stories of so many friends & acquaintances who’ve had a terrible time of it because they just don’t know that there is a better way. It pains me to hear these stories and be able to predict their path. My husband & I are open to a large family and it saddens us to hear of people having a medicated, intervention-laden birth and being COMPLETELY appalled at the idea of having more children. I feel so strongly about it, that my husband has agreed to use his vacation time to make me down to Chicago next month for 4 days of INTENSE training (8am to 10pm, daily) to become a Bradley teacher myself. In the next few months, I will be a Provisional Bradley Teacher and I look forward to helping women have easy births.
If you’ve made it through the whole post, thank you for reading. I hope I’ve inspired someone to try it again, or to find a better way.