Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Differnt Kind of Birth? Maybe.

A couple of weeks ago I went over to my sister-in-laws house because I wanted to talk to her about her birth experience. She had a natural birth and (I'm kind of scared to be putting this out there) it's something I'm considering for this time. I still have a lot of research to do, a lot of people to talk to, and a lot more thinking to do on the subject, but it is something that I'm considering. I'm kind of scared to put it out there because I feel like there will be an expectation, but I wanted to go ahead and post where I am (mentally), so I could look back later and see where the path ended up going. I have friends on both sides of the issue, some of whom feel very passionately about their choice, so I want to try to be very sensitive to everyone in this and every post I do on the subject.

This is how I feel as of right now- I think (in most situation) a natural birth is the best option for both the mother and the child. I feel like I need to explain that statement further; not just because I don't want to step on toes or because I've been hurt myself by this kind of discussion before, but also because I want to convey a realistic portrayal of my views. Sooo....

I don't think this is a right and wrong issue, but I do think it's a situation where one option may be "good", while another is "best". It seems like the choice is pretty clear cut then, doesn't it?

Well, not really. Not to me, at least. Because actually, there are many things that are not "best" that Peyton and I do as parents. I don't feel too much guilt about that either, as long as they aren't substantially risky or harmful. For example:
- I think that (in most situations) it is best for a young child to be at home with a parent. That said, I don't think some of the alternatives can't still be "good" choices for a family to make.
- Peyton has found lots of research that supports the idea that *any* television viewing can be harmful for brain development in children under two years of age and leads to an increase risk of attention deficit disorders. For those who think this is trivial compared to how one gives birth, I offer the case of a sweet woman I am very close to. Ask her which was more of an issue in her and her children's day to day life, having four children with ADD/ADHD or having those children born via cesarean section?
- I drank at least one Coke a day when I was pregnant and nursing Ann Peyton. Is caffeine best for a baby? No. Is it very harmful? I don't really think so.
- There is current research that suggests children should ride rear facing in their car seats until they are up to FOUR years old. Even our petite little princess will probably not make it to four and that's okay, because I don't think it's a very big risk.
- We saw a really scary movie about a little boy who died because he ate beef. The movie caused us to seriously think about our choices as far as paying a little extra to buy organic. But fear mongering doesn't always work, and we still don't buy all organic meat.

I know to some people the childbirth issue doesn't compare to these things. They view it more the way I would view leaving a child home alone instead of at a daycare, parking a toddler in front of the TV all day long, drinking alcohol as opposed to Coke while pregnant/nursing, not using a car seat at all, or feeding your child raw or undercooked meat. I don't really understand that, but I try to respect it. I just wanted to show you what the situation is comparable to in my mind, right now. Whew.

I do feel like there are plenty of benefits. For example, one friend of mine was able to avoid a c-section and she otherwise wouldn't have been able to because she was able to change positions and this was necessary as the baby's cord was tangled. Also, as I've said before, after being married to a pharmacist for two years, I think we live in a culture that depends way too much on drugs in general.

If I do end up going this route, there are a couple things I alreay know are important to me and they are both mental/psychological things. One thing I want to make sure of is that I do this at least partially because I think it's best for our family. As I said, I don't always choose "best over good", but there are certain times I have felt *personally* like it was an important choice. Breastfeeding, for example, was something I felt strongly about giving Ann Peyton. Of course, I wouldn't sit in judgment of a mother who made a different "good" choice. What I DON'T want to do is go into this because I'm trying to prove something to myself or others. I'm all for challenges, but I don't think I'll be successful if that is my sole motivation. Also, I just don't think it's beneficial. I ended up kind of having that attitude about breastfeeding and it just became unhealthy.

Another thing that is important to me is that I don't go into it with the attitude of "I'm going to try this and see how it goes". That is NOT to say I won't have a back-up plan or that if things go south I'll be too stubborn to do what is right for the baby, but I don't want to view it as an experiment. I want to go into it with the conviction that I'm going to go through with it. As I said, if it ends up I need an epidural, I will try not to let my pride get in the way (see the above paragraph), but I don't want to start the experience with the attitude of I "might or might not". That's a personal choice and I'm not saying anything is wrong with saying that; I just know myself and "might or might not" have a baby naturally will become "might not" in about five seconds.

Soooo....that is where I find myself right now. Still on the fence. Still with a lot of thinking and a lot of research to do. Thanks in advance for listening to me share my thoughts and respectively sharing yours.


Sarah Broadus said...

I tried to have as much of a natural processes as I could with Madyson due to all the drugs I was put on when I was on bedrest. I too think we depend on drugs way to much now in our culture. It went on for 6 hours with great progression but at the end there were alot of complications and I had to have a C-section. And since I had one with her, I went ahead and had one with Aubrie. It is painful but its not unbearable. Whatever decision you make, youll make a great one

Anonymous said...

Thanks for trying to be respectful of others while writing this. I just want to encourage you to read a bit more about extended rear-facing carseats. It is much, much safer, even if your child's legs have to be bent. The AAP recommends rear facing until your child reaches the limits listed on your seat, many of which now go to 35 lbs!

Allison said...

I know we've talked (extensively?) about this already, you and I, but I had a conversation recently that I thought it was only fair that I share with you, considering how strongly I felt (and do still feel) about this topic.

So I'm a nanny, and one of the moms is super cool and very committed to making healthy decisions for her child (Ingrid is about 17 months old, now, and I don't even think she's had medicine more than twice, eats only organic foods, etc).

With that said, she recently shared with me Ingrid's "birth story". Sarah (the mom) originally set out to have an all-natural birth. She was two weeks overdue, and didn't want to be induced with pitocin, so she actually used an all-natural seaweed suppository that induced labor overnight. But because of some other situations, she ended up having to have the pitocin anyway. So she's in labor, in the hospital, and she gets a pretty high fever. Because of her fever, the baby's heart rate began to drop. They were worried about the health of the baby, so Sarah ended up getting an epidural so she could have the baby safely.

Hearing her story made me realize even more that, yes, I want to be committed to my birth plan and not sway just because of a little inconvenience or pain. But I can't be so set in my plan that I sacrifice my baby's health, which is the MOST important thing. Which is pretty much exactly what you said in this post.

I'm really excited that you're contemplating a natural birth, and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds. I know that whatever you decide, you'll have your baby's best interests at heart.

Nathalie said...

Hi Sarah Denley,

I had a natural birth -- you can read about it here:

My attitude going into it was very much "let's see how it goes..", but in the back of my mind a natural birth was really what I hoped for. Like you, I felt that it was best for mommy and baby.

I think the main reason why I was able to do it was that my labour was FAST. I was in labour (prior to pushing) for a total of 5 hours and only about 2 of them were the really painful contractions. The fact that things kept progressing smoothly made me feel like I could keep going ("it'll all be over soon!").

I wouldn't have been crushed at all though if I had gone with the epidural or had to have a c-section.. I was prepared for anything.

Anyways, I applaud you in your thoughts/determination to have a natural birth. Just remember (one thing I kept telling myself) your body was made to do it!

p.s. I definitely plan to have a natural birth the second time around!
p.p.s. Just to be clear, I'm Canadian, so I'm not misspelling labour! haha :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

You don't know me but my name is Kylie, I found your blog through Ashley Lancaster's blog (we "kind of know each other" in real life, but not really. Long story! We've never met but have mutual friends and live in the same town as well. okay this is getting long so I'm just going to get to the point already! haha.) ANYWAY, I really enjoy reading your blog and wanted to recommend the movie "The Business of Being Born" to you. It is a really amazing film, it has great information and shows several natural births that are very beautiful. And trust me, I was always one to really get grossed out by seeing or even HEARING about childbirth, but I have watched this movie twice and I just totally love it!!

I don't have any children yet, and won't be in that place for a long time, but natural ways of doing almost anything is a real passion and fascination of mine and I just love to soak up info.

Before I watched this movie I had no real opinion on the matter of natural childbirth. But the movie completely convinced me and made me a strong believer. The movie is on netflix Instaplay, I guarantee that if it doesn't convince you, it will at the very least open your eyes..and you will definitely cry, haha! I know I did!

Also, I wanted to link you to this awesome chick named Kristal's blog:

(Yikes, I hope she doesn't mind me linking her on here...) She had a natural childbirth and is very into the natural mom thing, her story is really inspiring and cool. Your blogs actually remind me a lot of each other and i think you would enjoy reading her stuff!

Anyway sorry if this is bizzare, I didn't want to be a weirdo lurker anymore so, this is my official HI! It's nice to meet you.


Tara G. said...

I'm not even going to give my opinion. You just remember that you're the best mother these children will ever have, and God will guide you as you make choices and decisions in their interest. We can all be passionate about what we believe and yet more often than not, we have not walked in another's shoes- you know your kids and yourself and whatever situation is at hand better than another, so plan as you see fit and don't feel an ounce of guilt.