Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No stronger than the next!

I got a lot of feedback from my birth-day post, )
 especially about being “brave” and “tough” for having a natural birth and of course I am, but it comes from attempting motherhood, not from going au natural :)
A drug-free labor is something I feel very strongly about attempting. Notice I said “attempt” not “achieve”!  Every woman’s birth experience is completely different and truly can’t be compared. Some are easier/harder/faster/shorter/traumatic/pleasurable (insert descriptor) and often a woman’s idea of delivery is nothing like the real thing for better or for worse.
For me, my biggest qualms about the use of an epidural was that if I used one I would either prolong/slow labor to the point of a failure to progress that would turn into a c-section or that I would not be able to feel to push/control my pushing and require vacuum or forceps assistance with birth. So for me, I choose to have a go without it. As you have read in my birth story, I had the birth I wanted with Aila and it was because my husband really knew what he was doing.
Is that possible??
Can a man be partly responsible for how a woman’s labor goes?
The answer is absolutely! We used the Bradley Method of childbirth (which is a husband-coached relaxation technique) but it doesn’t have to be a man/husband, it is anybody that can support and reassure. In cases of home births where drugs are not an option, labor support takes on an entirely new meaning, but in a hospital setting (where the drugs are a shout away) there are VERY few women who could make it drug-free on sheer will. Most will reach a point where everything feels out of control and subconsciously, the body goes into self-preservation mode- you can’t help it. You ask for help! You ask for it to be over! You want out! If you are in a hospital, this is where the epidural comes in.
OR it is where your support system kicks it up a notch- if you can relax and breathe, the pain goes down (or even away for some very practiced people). When we get scared, we tense up and this makes labor painful.  I could talk about this subject for hours but that is an entirely new post! Aaron was ON with Aila because he knew I wouldn’t accept anything other than a completely natural birth.
Now hold- I am NOT judging any woman who has used medications, I already said before that you can’t compare labors!! He knew I needed to do it because for Nolan’s birth I had in desperation asked for an epidural, had him a mere 45 minutes later and was crushed. I had been so close! And then I had to go back to Logan (chiropractic school- in our 4th year there no less), the mecca of a drug-free existence, where the first thing people wonder is if you had a “natural” birth, not if you had a healthy baby….        
Note: ¾ of said people are men or single childless women
Sooooo I carried this guilt around and worried that my second birth would be the same. Dumb. All had been perfect with his delivery- I could still feel to push and obviously I waited long enough to avoid prolonging the second stage. He was just a booger in utero as he is now!! He had a nucchal hand (where it is up by the head) and didn’t want to descend cause of his wonky position so he took awhile getting lined up. My water also broke several hours before my contractions started and my doc was out of town until about 3 hours before delivery. I had to deal with this spastic doctor over the phone who yelled at me that I had to get to the hospital immediately to “get some chemicals in me”. I hung up on him and burst into tears, and thus started the super “relaxed” labor I had been aiming for. With the assault to my safety net complete, my body decided it was not in the mood- let’s face it, the body knows it is not a good idea to have a child if you are in fight or flight mode!  To try to jumpstart my contractions we tried every pressure point/trick in the book and didn’t quit once labor was established so I ended up with unnatural piggyback-style contractions…. Overall, good times.
So see,  I have been there. I have had the relaxed labor and the crazy, overthink everything little thing labor and the difference is night and day!!! If you can relax and breathe, your body knows just what to do. And Aaron was my perfect coach reminding me that I was laboring like a champ, and helping me get the birth I needed to have as ‘redemption’ I guess…
Anyway, I just thought it should be known that I am not any braver than the next woman!! All births should be celebrated, no matter how baby arrived, but if you WANT to give it a go, you totally can do it- all moms are strong and tough- you just have to get into the right mindset and get out of your own way. And if your husband knows where to push and rub, that is a bonus!

PS- Have you heard of Hypnobirthing?? I have a few friends who have done this and/or are certified teachers of the technique- google it an be amazed! In the throes of labor I said "I wish I had sprung the money for that damn hypnosis class" :)

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