Tuesday, October 1, 2013

This Time Around

Welcome to the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering! 

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month's topic is Natural Birth Choices. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.

This time around things will be different.  This time around I will get my badge of honor.  This time around will heal some of the wounds that were left on my soul after Destructo's birth and subsequent first six weeks.  This time around has so much potential.  I repeat this to myself like a mantra.  Things will be different this time.

For those of you who are new to these here parts, Destructo's birth was far from ideal.  If you are interested you can read my entire birth story here.  To sum it up in a nut shell, 74 hours total, 70 of those completely unmedicated, awake for 92 straight hours.  This utter exhaustion affected everything about the next six weeks of Kai's life.  Breastfeeding nearly didn't happen for us.  You can read that story here.  I didn't even feel bonded at all with my baby which you can read about here.  It was a long and depressing first month or two, but then it got oh so much better. 

My favorite picture that really sums up the exhaustion I felt after 74 hours
I tried everything to go naturally/unmedicated with Kai and unfortunately it just wasn't in the cards.  He was malpositioned with his little chin catching.  I can't say I regret the choices I had to make since the pit is what got him here safely.  I do regret waiting so long in his particular case.  I tried and tried everything to make it work and then in the end was denied my "badge of honor" and it stung horribly.  It still hurts to this day.  And yes I realize that there really is no badge of honor and that all that matters in the end is that my baby is happy, healthy, and here.  But the best way I can explain how I feel on it is like if you were a marathon runner and you ran a marathon but a mile from the finish had to stop because of reasons beyond your control.  It burned because you know you could have done it.  You were able to handle the pain, the breathing,  the stresses placed on your body.  You had trained for this marathon for nine months.  But alas it just wasn't meant to be.  (A side note, the hospital that I delivered at was absolutely amazing even when my labor got so extended.  They never once tried to force any unnatural options on me even when his heart rate started dropping.  I can't wait to deliver there again.  Plus now they have more birthing tubs and laughing gas in case I have a long labor again.)  I get a bit jealous when I hear of others natural births because I didn't get mine and I tried so hard.

But this time will be different.  It will be.  It has to be.  Why you might wonder is a natural birth so important to me?  Well I truly feel it is God's way.  God designed our bodies to be able to carry a baby nine months, give birth to the baby, and then nourish the baby with our own bodies with milk designed specifically for that baby.  I also feel it is better for the baby because there are no drugs involved.  (But obviously I don't think epis/pit will cause lasting impacts on the child because Destructo is just fine.  A honey badger mind you, but fine otherwise.)  Women all throughout history have been giving birth without intervention so why can't I?

With my mantra said, I do plan on making some hard choices as my due date approaches.  This more than likely is my last baby, my last labor and delivery, my last newborn.  I WANT MY BADGE OF HONOR NATURAL BIRTH.  But as badly as I want that, I want to have that moment in the delivery room where I see my child for the first time and am overcome with love.  (Or even if not immediate before six weeks this time.)  I want to want to hug, snuggle, and cuddle my baby right after birth.  Not just want something to eat and a long sleep.  I don't want to ever feel the way I did right after Kai was born again.  

I think I am going to set a time limit for my natural birth.  Something like 24 hours or 36 hours or some big number.  If I am still failing to progress at that point, I will do pit (and an epi if need be) or laughing gas or some intervention to speed things up a bit.  Of course this is after trying all the more natural things such as walking, different positions, stairs, etc.   I truly hope it won't come to that this time since my body should have a better clue what it is doing.  I also plan to labor at home as long as possible since I do feel that my labor stalled by going to the hospital the day before he was born and then going home and then going back. But I was a first time mom who wasn't feeling the baby move as much and I got scared and went in.

Hopefully 5 1/2 months from now I will get my perfect birth scenario and welcome a happy healthy baby into this world.  We shall see.  This time will be different. 

What are my recommendations for women who are considering going natural?

1)  Hire a doula if you can afford to.  We couldn't, but I would love to have one.  Luckily for me my mom had three babies fully unmedicated/ natural and was a great source of support.  I knew if she could do it so could I (even if that ultimately failed.)

2)  Research, research, research.  Three books I highly recommend are:Natural Childbirth the Bradley WayIna May's Guide to ChildbirthThe Birth Partner - Revised 4th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions.  That last book is for the fathers to read and was very helpful to Mr. Destructo in suggesting positions for me to labor in to help relieve the back pain and encourage progress.

3)  Take a Bradley class, hypnobabies class, whatever you are interested in.  I wish I had, but do feel I got enough out of reading the books.  I was able to handle the pain very well.  I just had a stuck little baby chin.

4)  Find a support network of other like minded moms that share your view on natural labor.  I was met with quite a bit of why would you want to do that, don't you know modern medicine has made things so you don't have to do that, and straight you are crazies.  I own my craziness.  I also own the fact that every "crazy" thing I have said I would do I have done and rocked such as cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding, baby led weaning.  And this time I am going to rock my natural birth.

5)  Have a firm labor plan.  This is especially helpful in hospital births.  My hospital was so amazing and never once even mentioned drugs until the very end where Destructo was showing signs of distress at hour 70.  They were great at suggesting positions to try and other natural methods such as nipple stimulation that  might speed things up.

6)  With the above said, research your choice of hospital (if that is the route you are going) thoroughly and find one that is very natural birth friendly.  I think the fact that my hospital has a full staff of midwives really helped.

7)  Consider seeing a midwife instead of an OB.  I love the midwives at my doctor's practice.  They are so open minded and helpful.

8)  Labor at home as long as you can.  I truly feel my labor was stalled numerous times by the trips to and from the hospital.  I don't plan on going in this time until I am nearing transition if at all possible.  It is a 30-1.5 hour drive to my hospital but if something happens and labor suddenly gets crazy, I also have a nearly as good hospital 5 minutes away so I think I am safe in doing that.

9)  Find objects that are soothing to you whether they are blankets, pillows, music, pictures and bring them with you.  I had a certain blanket that the texture of was very soothing and holding onto that helped me through a lot of contractions.

10)  Get a birthing ball.  This helped ease a lot of my hip and back pain in the early stages of labor.  It can also help labor progress.

Finally if you are considering a natural birth know you CAN do this.  Your body is made to do this.  You will rock your labor.  And even if things beyond your control happen, know that you can still choose natural aspects of labor even if you have to have medical interventions.  I delayed cord clamping, breastfed, cloth diapered, and roomed in with my son even after my failed natural birth.  Women bodies are amazing things created for this miracle.  It truly astounds me when I really sit and think about it!  Good luck with your natural birth.

This little face makes it all worth it!

This post contains affiliate links which compensate Adventures with Captain Destructo with a % of the sale. Using these links doesn't cost you anything extra, but it helps support this blog and my family. Thanks! 

Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to be a part of next month's carnival.

Linked up at:
Modest Monday