Let me begin with this very VERY important statement... or two....
I'm NOT against doctors or medicine. I believe there are a lot of pros to natural childbirth, but I'm not against ultra sounds, epidurals, c-sections, pain killers, etc. (except my many fears of the needle in my spine thing... but that's just a personal fear.) and I really don't care if you choose to nurse or not. We don't eat all organic, our meals are not typically properly "balanced", we are only "part time" cloth diaper users, and I believe if my child drops her passe on the ground, it's good enough for me to simply stick it in my mouth before I give it back to her (with a few exceptions of course).
That being said, why did/do I choose natural (as little intervention as completely possible) childbirth. Yes, fear of that stupid needle in the spine thing as I said before, and... well, I just don't know. I can't really explain it, but here is where I think it may have started:
My dad (who was born in 1928, and was 54 when I was born. So times were very very different when he was born) is somewhere in the middle of 13 children. I have no clue when I "knew" I could have kids one day. I don't remember the moment that information clicked in my brain, but somewhere around 4th-5th grade my dad told me how my grandma had all 13 kids on the same living room floor, even after they tried to pass some law or something that women had to get to the hospital. She'd take the baby after, but say something like she just couldn't get there on time, when she really just thought it was unnecessary. I remember setting my mind at that moment that I would have 15 kids (had to beat her by 2... not just 1) and I too wouldn't have any medical help for the birth.
That's it. That's when I made up my mind and why. And can I just say, when I make up my mind, IT IS MADE! (after all, that's the ONLY reasoning why I went through natural childbirth the first time... I know several women who have done it, and they had plenty more reasons that got them through then simply making the choice as a kid.)
Since then I've realized 15 kids is a little excessive... and I'm down to 6. Four I'd like to birth myself and then adopt at least 2. Since college I've decided four is a perfect number, although I really really want to birth four myself, and still want to adopt, so I'm not sure how that internal conflict will play out, but we will see how God chooses to build our family in time.
I've also realized I DON'T want to birth my children in my living room! I want the medical help ready and waiting for any "just in case" moment. The midwives we have used work hand in hand with a group of doctors they know and trust, and will simply bring them into the appointment or labor and delivery if needed. The doctors trust the midwives as well, and if you do end up needing a c-section, both practices I've been with will allow the midwives to assist the doctor, which is extremely comforting.
All that being said, back to my thought of the a pioneer... right... about that!
I gave birth to Madison almost 2 years ago after 14 hours of labor. No drugs or meds, no interference other then the midwife breaking my water after FOUR HOURS stuck at 9 centimeters. (45 minutes after she did, we had a baby in our arms!!) We gave birth with the only two and very popular midwives in our area, at a hospital that pretty much specialized in natural birth, so everyone was very VERY helpful and in no way pressured us for anything. It was wonderful! (well, as wonderful as giving birth to an 8 lb. baby can be without drugs.)
Since then we moved to a little unknown town in Texas (well, an hour outside of it actually), which happens to also have two midwives. But from the beginning of my visits, the midwife has said twice she was surprised at how much I knew, (the last one was when I asked her if I was ephased at all since she said I was at one centimeter dilated. She said most her patients don't know that word until she explains it.) And she was just as impressed when I presented our birth plan for her to sign a few weeks ago. Having used "high demand" midwives before (6 other women had babies the same night I had Madison, and ALL of them were patients for my midwife.) they were very use to patients set on natural birth, who took very educational classes on it (including my husband and I) and didn't offer any sort of intervention unless you insisted (for anything, even exams towards the end of the pregnancy).
Half way through this pregnancy she told me she was excited for my labor/delivery since she didn't see women much that wanted as natural as possible. (In fact, the hospital here only has 2 to 3 births a week, to begin with, if that, and even though there are two midwives, each is only on call one week a month, so you may not even get one for your birth.) Her encouragement made me excited, and confident, as I knew I had some extra support backing me. She even noted in my file to call her when I came in, even if she wasn't on call. I have felt completely encouraged and supported by her, as well as very easily relational. She takes time to sit and talk, which is different from the other midwives, and remembers a lot of details from my entire first experience with pregnancy, labor, delivery, healing and nursing. She knows the nursing issues we had before and has said a few times she's completely here for me if we have any problems, just call and we'll work on it together. (NOT what the other midwives did at all.... they were basically "done" after the birth, except for my healing process, although they had places they'd make sure to recommend for other help.)
The last appointment she spent some time talking with me and asked if I was willing to meet with a head nurse that is showing interest in helping with more natural births. Basically to talk about things I liked and didn't like at the other hospital and things I'd like to have available (although they have most of the same basics for labor). Even to the point of allowing me to labor in pajamas I brought if I wanted. (Although I have no problem in the gown either). I'm thinking it's more for the hospital then for me, since I really feel I'm not "wise" enough or the type of women who has "issues" with medicine and such. I'm just doing it because I want to. But I seem to be one of the seldom seen around this area who wants this. (I should say there are a few others I know choosing natural birth, but they have gone to birthing centers instead of these midwives and hospital, and other patients they have seen who have had natural births are more of the mindset "we will see how far we get" or just want some minor pain meds. Or they simply deliver to fast to get any meds. So I'm not alone out here in this, but apparently I'm rare in having such a plan, education and goals already set from the beginning.... and that's mostly credited to taking a Bradley class with my first pregnancy, which was extremely helpful in being mentally prepared, which I need to do something like this.)
She also stated at that last appointment that they are going to move towards publicizing a more "midwifery" practice for here and the surrounding area, and asked if she might possibly call on me to share my stories if I didn't mind. Of course I was as flattered as I was set back that she could see me as someone who could help pave the way in moving the practice closer to the goals she has in mind. It also makes me nerveous!
So... maybe I am a pioneer... maybe. It's flattering, and humbling. I'm encouraged and feel even more ready then with Madison. Our due date is 3 weeks away, and I'm much more excited about the labor and delivery then what most think is normal... yes, I said I'm very excited about the actual labor! (Actually, I've been really really excited about it lately, and not just because it means I'm about to have my baby.... I don't know many who have excitement about that as their due date approaches...)
I already know that the moment I see my midwife walk in, I'm going to already feel much more comforted and confident. She's been THAT good already.
Bring it on!
Tidbits of Us
- I am the wife of an amazing man, seeking hard after God's will for his family, and the mother of 3 beautiful little girls and a 4th baby lost in pregnancy, who all pull at my heartstrings continually. Life has been a whirlwind since our wedding in 2008, including seminary, adventures in camp ministry, missions in Kosovo, and countless moves and God's fingerprints are throughout it all. We are blessed and encouraged that He is equipping us continually for the ministry ahead and pray we are great stewards to all he has entrusted to us, in family, friends, ministry, finances, and of course, the gospel.