As a first time expectant mother, and as someone who has a tendency to need to know everything before it happens, I’ve loved reading this book so far. It’s actually kind of enlightening, in my generation and as a recent graduate of Nursing.. and I’d like to explain why.
As my pregnancy progresses, it’s a serious thought to consider how I want my labor and delivery experience to go. And even after deciding what I want, I need to prepare myself for the possibility that it’s not going to go as planned. When I found out I was pregnant, I was overwhelmed with the idea of having to go to an OB-GYN rather than a “regular” doctor. When do I go? How often? How much does it cost? What are they going to do? I found an office that was highly recommended, and it had many doctors to choose from.. and they were associated with a particular hospital. When I called to set up an appointment, the first thing they asked me is which hospital do I plan on delivering?
What? I don’t know! I just found out I was pregnant, and now I have to figure out where I’m going to deliver the baby? Well… obviously I’d deliver at a hospital, right? What else is there? Why would I choose to NOT deliver at a hospital? After all, I’ve spent over a year in a hospital working as a student.. so it’s a natural thought for me.
I didn’t even realize that there were more options.. and even if I had, the amount of information I was getting was starting to really become overwhelming! Now that I’ve had some weeks to sort things out, my head is cleared and free of clutter (mostly.. for now). And as I delve deeper into the world of L&D, I realize that there is a particular subject that my nursing studies have not prepared me for – natural birth.
What the heck is that? Stone ages? I know what epidurals are, I’ve seen them performed. I’ve stood in a hospital room and watched a mother give birth with IV’s, pitocin, epidural, the whole nine yards.. and I considered that natural at the time. It’s coming out of her vagina, right? How much more natural can it be? I’ve also watched a woman have an elective cesarean (and almost passed out watching it – I’d watch any other type of surgery). I knew that I at least did not what to experience that, so problem solved, right?
Not really. If you’ve talked to your mother or grandma about babies, they’ll probably tell you their experience with giving birth. My mom loves to talk about it, and I never particularly listened well until now. My mother had six children without medical intervention, which my first thought was HOW? A quote my mom loves to tell me, something my grandma said to her when she was delivering my eldest brother.. after listening to the screaming sounds of other women in labor that day: “Oh some women just think they’re gonna die.”
Yeah, like me! I have such a low pain tolerance I have no idea how I’ll get through the first stage of labor, much less all three (I’m not counting the fourth – I won’t survive to make it there). Okay okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. Let me get a bit back on subject. This book is fantastic at breaking down something I feel that the medical field has turned a blind eye to, and that’s natural birth. Without induction, without spinal blocks, without unnecesareans. Why would anyone choose this, if the alternative is pain free labor?
Well, “pain free” labor sounds a bit funny. Every woman is different, and her experience with labor and delivery is just as different. There are probably some general truths, but overall, I don’t think we can ascertain that one kind of delivery is preferable to another. It depends on what matters to you as an individual. For me, despite knowing my pain threshold, reading this book does something for me that’s very beneficial. It makes me feel empowered. It makes me feel like I do have a choice, and make an educated decision based on what I’ve learned. The book can definitely sometimes seem.. a bit old-fashioned for me. Spiritual, even. But not in a bad way. It’s interesting, and informative. It gives me another perspective.. one that I know I did not get while studying the medical field.
Natural birth is a choice. It should be a choice. Medical intervention can sometimes be beneficial or necessary, but it shouldn’t be the expectation. It’s like throwing pills at someone as a treatment, rather than exploring options. Why not have options?
I’m not finished reading this book, but once I do I’ll likely post an update with information I’ve learned from this book.