Ethan's Age

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What? There AREN'T Unicorns with Sparkly Rainbow lollipops during natural childbirth??

*Disclaimer*  I am speaking only for ME, not what is right or good for other people.  I know many friends who had children at home, a VBAC, or a medicated hospital birth (or unmedicated hospital birth), and it was exactly what they wanted.  This post is not to judge them, but rather to explore why **I** made my choice the way I did, and the resulting comments.  Please keep comments to this post in that vein. I will not be adding any other disclaimers as the post goes on, but rest assured, my thoughts are only in reference to my feelings/thoughts about childbirth FOR ME.  This post will be a bit more angsty than typically posted by me (I tend to lean snarky, but my emotions are in this one a bit too much.)

I never was a fan of pain.  I mean, who is, I suppose.. except those wonderfully fascinating masochists who insist on hanging themselves from the ceiling with fish hooks attached to their backs.  As I look back over my young adult life, I was always under the impression that birthing only happens in a hospital. 

Jon and I tried to have a baby for several years... a miscarriage, surgery, and numerous outpatient procedures later, we finally were successful.  I started my journey of looking into planning my hospital tours to see what hospital we'd be at.  Around the same time, a friend of mine was cooking her own baby, and introduced me to another idea... a birthing center. 

"HOW GRANOLA!" I thought (though never saying it aloud.)  However, my interest on why the hell anyone would put themselves through that trauma of painful birth was piqued.  I did some research and was shocked to find out the stats of medicated birthing in hospitals and the escalating issues they can cause.  Too many internal exams, too many tests.  Inductions leading to pitocin leading to epidurals leading to more pitocin leading to C-Sections.  The sky high C-Section rates at my local hospitals (Ranging from 30-35%!!)  It was shocking to me.

I suppose my last straw was my initial 10 week visit to an OB/GYN at the local hospital.  They had to do a head-to-toe exam to make sure I'm all healthy and such, which I initially didn't have a problem with.  I did introduce the fact that I had a sexual assault history and expected to be informed about any touching/procedures before they occurred.  Apparently, this information went to the wayside as I found myself with my OB checking out my girly parts (internally, mind you) without letting me know first.  And, end scene with you, darling OB.  (And yes, I filed a complaint.)

I introduced the idea of a birthing center to Jon, with the understanding that he and I had always been on the same "birth happens in a hospital" page.  It was hard work, talking about what a Birth Center birth would look like. What would we do in case of an emergency?  What do you mean, no drugs?  But.... NO DOCTORS ZOMG??  I allowed the idea to sink in for a few weeks, all the while doing my own research still, and sending him links to various research, and eventually he agreed to go and meet a midwife at the birth center to see what it was like.

He had the obvious concerns that any loving husband would have, and brought them up with the midwife we were assigned to meet and greet with.  She patiently (and humorously) answered them in a thorough and non-condescending manner, putting us both at ease.  We then got a tour and were sent off with some information.  The place was inviting, wonderful, and the staff were caring and knowledgeable.  I left knowing that is where I wanted to give birth.

Jon and I met that afternoon and I asked him what he thought.  I was trying to keep my violent "I'm not going back to an OB EVER" feelings to myself and keep an open mind, but was also prepared for battle.  "I liked it."  He said, non-chalantly, while eating his Baja Burrito.  I almost did a spit take.  He... liked it?  Who was this man?

From that point on, we both did further research, and introduced the idea (gently) to my mother and his parents.  This was a hard thing to do, especially since both Jon and I were products of completely necessary C-Sections, where medical intervention was needed to keep us, and our parents safe.  There were many questions, but eventually, several hours later the points were made that: 
1. this is what we are doing
2. yes we have thought it through
3.  yes, there are back up plans for if things go wrong

However, over the past few months, I've become increasingly frustrated as my choice to birth naturally has been mocked, questioned and dismissed by those around us.  "You are... doing natural childbirth?  You mean.. no drugs?"  With several people, it was constantly "well, you'll change your mind" or "it's unsafe" or "what if things go wrong*"  And sometimes with a knowing smile and laugh to other people who "know better." 
(Most of the time not in those exact words, but with that sentiment.)
*this issue has been addressed multiple times, and there is a firm and safe plan in place.  The ambulance bay that is closest is less than a mile away from the center, and the best hospital in the area is less than 5 minutes away.

-No, I'm not a parent, so you are right.. but does that negate my ability to make the right choice for me?
-Do you not feel that I am going to ultimately make the best decision for my child, who we worked so hard to bring into the world?
-Yes, I get that it's painful.  I'm not expecting lollipops and unicorn sparkly rainbows to appear in the middle. It will be hard work.
-I believe in my body, my partner, and my midwives to keep me sane, safe and get me the care I need.

When our choice..  And let's make it clear, it is OUR choice, is questioned... I feel less empowered and defensive around the very people who I should be able to feel comfortable around.  Birth is already such an unknown for me.  I don't know what my experience will be like.  But to be questioned or doubted at every turn, when we have made steps to empower our birthing experience what we know is best for me, and the baby gives me twinges of fear.

It's easy to say that I can ignore what the people are saying, but it's not quite that easy.  I already have doubts, I don't need the people around me to doubt me too. 

I can generally put up with a lot silently...but I've had enough.  I want to go into my birthing experience feeling supported and loved... not judged, questioned or with looks of *well, she'll change her mind.*

At this point, if you don't like how we are choosing to bring our child into the world, keep it to yourself.  I've kept quiet enough about this issue and to the people who are questioning or doubting me. 

Fair warning.  Mama Bear has awakened.

No comments:

Post a Comment