Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Having the Bean at Home: Part Deux

The more and more we read (Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, and Your Best Birth), the more excited we became about the homebirth option and it being the best fit for us and for our little family. While I have enjoyed all the reading and researching and preparing that has gone into this "baby creation project," what it really, truly boils down to for me is that I need to relinquish control and let my body do it's thing. I have NO IDEA what this is going to be like, but I trust that my body will do what it needs to do in order to safely bring this sweet child into the world. I trust that my body has been growing this child from conception without my interference (or a specific request, for that matter!). And I want to allow my body to deliver this child without interference (unless there's an emergency, obviously--I'm not anti-getting help!). And knowing all of this, I think the best place for my body to feel as comfortable and safe and open and relaxed is in our home. Where I can make the choices that feel right to me at that moment. If you weren't aware, I'm quite finicky and ornery and like things just-so. I'm a real peach.

But to back up just a step, from the beginning I knew that I wanted to have as few (unnecessary) interventions as possible. To me, this isn't about being "tough" or proving that I can do it (although the empowerment that is bound to occur is sure to be rewarding in and of itself), this was about what we thought would be the healthiest way to bring our child into the world. I want to be alert and for the bean to be alert. I want to remember the moment he or she is placed onto my chest for the first time. I hope to bond and breastfeed as soon as possible. I want to embrace the experience--all the pain and all the glory. I want to allow my body to do what it is designed to do. I want the freedom to move and change positions. I want my body to lead me (and our midwife, whom I completely trust has my best interests in mind), not doctor's or nurses.

The other big thing we'd like to avoid is the pitocin spiral. See, at the hospital they have rules and regulations and time limits. If you aren't progressing on a time-table that they deem acceptable, the hospital will most likely need to get the labor progressing, which oftentimes, if not always, means pitocin or some other drug that will speed up labor. The main issue with this is that it also means it speeds up and intensifies your contractions leaving you with less of a break between contractions to rest and also makes them much stronger in intensity and therefore possibly harder to manage. And this is where the epidural comes in. Which slows down labor. And, uh, you can probably see where this is going. The pitocin spiral.

While I know that many women do have successful natural births in the hospital, I am also aware that being in a hospital setting has been known to slow down labors for some women. As I mentioned before, the cervix needs to be comfortable in order to open up and therefore the woman needs to be comfortable in order to let it open up. Knowing myself, I'm just not so sure how easy this would be for me in a hospital with beeping machines and stranger dangers. I also do not believe that pregnancy is an illness that needs to be treated. It's a special miracle that needs to be cared for, but it's healthy! Granted, there are most definitely circumstances that require emergency c-sections and other assisted delivery methods, and if that is what our baby needs, clearly we will do what we need to do (we live approximately 2 blocks from a fully capable hospital). However, I think that if I were to be in the hospital it would be much easier to get to a point and just say, give me the drugs! But at home, I know full-well going into it that that isn't an option and I've been preparing myself for that reality (i.e perineum massage (TMI?), breathing, yoga, kegels, hypnobirthing, exercise, massage, etc.). Oh, and I plan to be in the water as much as possible. I love love love the water and the bean does too. S/HE told me!

I am so truly excited about this whole experience, if you can believe it. Maybe I'm naive or crazy. IDK. I'm just thrilled to go through the whole entire thing! (Maybe let's not talk about the transitioning part...) But when I think about the fact that this baby--our baby, created by myself and my husband who I adore--has been growing inside of me for 38 weeks and developing into this unique, special individual who is going to somehow know when to start the journey through the birth canal and out into the world, I just, I just am so incredibly amazed. (And, now I'm crying. FINE.) But seriously. If that doesn't blow your fucking mind, I don't even know if you have a mind. I mean! It's incredible. It's a miracle. We want to have the most natural, safe, and loving birth experience as possible. And for us, that's at home.

I must also say that I do not believe that this makes me better than any other mother who makes different choices than me. This is such a personal decision and it's so important to do whatever it is that makes you feel the most comfortable. Because in the end, I think that is what is safest for mom and baby.

And in conclusion: this was the most disjointed-spacey-poorly-organized post ever. DEAL WITH IT.

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