Birth. To say that giving birth is a life-changing moment, is a complete understatement. Having a baby is something that completely rocks your world, transforms your life, how you view yourself, and how your brain works forever. After I gave birth to my first child, I didn’t recognize myself any longer. It was as if my brain began working in a completely different way.
After giving birth to my first child, I analyzed situations differently, my ability to have a fantastic memory was gone, and I’m pretty sure I am missing several brain cells. Birth in and of itself is a wonderful, blessed experience, but to me it was also traumatic (my first birth, anyway – more to come in my next post on my incredible second birth that happened at home).
My first child was born with a congenital heart defect. Since his birth, he has had two open-heart surgeries, and another one is planned for the near future. As someone who is passionate about natural childbirth and getting those first bonding moments with a baby, I was traumatized by the mere fact that my baby was taken from my grasp minutes after he was born (despite assurances from both the cardiologist and the other medical staff that this would not be necessary).
I had just been through 26 hours of intense labor without the use of any type of medication. I won’t sugar-coat it – that stuff is rough. Would I change it and ask for medication to help with the pain or cause the labor to move along more quickly? Never in a million years. 3 reasons:
- Any kind of medication that you take while pregnant goes directly into the placenta that is transferred to your baby. So while you are getting an adult dose of medication, so is your tiny little infant.
- The side effects of these medications are just plain scary. If you read through all those warnings on that information sheet (you know…the one you have signed a document agreeing that you read it and understand the risks but are okay with risking your life and your baby’s) , you’ll realize that you both could suffer very seriously from something like paralysis for the rest of your life or you could die. Yeah, that’s not just something they say for the sake of covering themselves – women and babies do actually die from epidurals or pitocin on a regular basis. I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to put up with some pain so that I don’t risk the death of my child or myself.
- Most women that take pitocin to induce labor usually end up in more pain, the baby is put at risk from the unnatural intensity of the contractions, and a C-section is required because the baby goes into distress. Pitocin-induced contractions are not natural. They are more severe, and usually both the mother’s body and the baby’s body are not able to handle it. If you want a nearly sure-fire way to get a C-section, then plan an inducement.
The birth experience is a very personal thing. It’s not for me to say what you should do, but I can tell you what I chose to do. I chose to opt for the safety of my baby and myself. Giving birth is already a dangerous venture. People can die even in natural childbirth. So why would I want to add even more risk to a precarious and potentially deadly situation?
Looking at the statistics on childbirth, mortality rates have risen astronomically since the medical industry has taken over. Better education and some medical help has helped in certain countries, but the U.S. mortality rate is worse than 40 other industrialized countries. Interesting.
Knowledge is power. And I am so thankful that I gained valuable knowledge in the Bradley Childbirth class that my husband and I took before the birth of my first child. If I had not educated myself, then I probably would have gone along with the doctor when she tried to get me to speed up labor unnaturally. Who knows how this would have affected my son and his heart condition.
So this post is not meant to point fingers or tell you that you are an awful person for opting for that epidural. It is merely meant to show you the choices I have made, and possibly give you some good food for thought. Once you have knowledge, you have that power within your hands and are no longer subject to the whims of medical personnel that are influenced by bonuses received from drug companies, are in a hurry to finish labors before the shifts end, and will make more money off of your birth if you have a C-section vs. a natural child birth.
Don’t get me wrong. Doctors and nurses do have their place. They save lives every single day, and I am so thankful that we have such wonderful men and women helping people every day. My son would probably not be alive today if it wasn’t for his amazing Cardiologists. But, I do believe that there is far too much medical interference in childbirth these days.
These are my reasons for choosing natural childbirth. What are your reasons?
Photo courtesy of mark ovaska. This post is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Please consult a medical professional if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.