Last night, after recommendations from a few friends, I watched the film "The Business of Being Born." It's produced by Ricki Lake, and it discusses the benefits of at-home child birth. It highlights many of the things that are wrong with the medical profession now a days, particularly in regards to women and labor, and it was quite thought provoking. It got me thinking about a few things.
I get it. The medical profession is a bit corrupt. I'm not saying doctors are corrupt (although I'm sure some are). I'm saying the whole system is a bit corrupt and dysfunctional. When it comes to labor, many doctors have never witnessed a home birth, and I actually think that's something that's lacking in their education. I want all doctors to have a well-rounded education that focuses a bit on natural care AND medical care, but maybe that's asking too much. That said, I don't think that a hospital birth, or a birth with medication is the end of the world. Nor do I think my bond with my child will be any less should I choose to use medication.
Do you want to know what my birth plan is? I have a three main rules:
1) I don't want to be induced...at all. I won't be induced for size issues or to speed up delivery. That said, my mom had to be induced when her water broke but she didn't start labor for 12 hours. I am open to change in the plan, but I want it to be truly necessary...not just elective.
2) Ease the pain as much as possible. I have nothing to prove. I've run 3 marathons (2 while preggers), and I'm training for another half marathon that I'll run while 7 months along. If I had anything to prove, that would prove it. Period. I don't have any desire to feel the "joy" of child birth. Heck, hit me on the head with a mallet if it helps.
3) Get the kid out safely. Things happen. I don't want a C-section, but if it happens, so be it. The more relaxed and flexible I am about things, the easier pregnancy and labor will be.
That's it. Some of you may love it, others may hate it, but that's my approach. My issue with movies (and people) like "The Business of Being Born" is that they try to make me feel guilty for that choice. I know that's not their intention, but how else should I take it when I'm told "The love you feel right after your child is born is so intense. An amazing amount of oxytocin is released into the system, and you're just not going to get that if drugs are inhibiting you."? Somehow, my choice to have a labor the way I think is best is no longer right. It's bad for me and for my baby.
You know what I say to that? Bullshit! Just as I cannot have any idea what you're experiencing without drugs, you cannot have any idea what I'm experiencing with drugs. You know the only difference I've seen between women who have labored without drugs and women who have labored with drugs? One seems a whole heck of a lot more tired than the other! Childbirth is a beautiful thing, no matter whether you're induced, have a c-section, have an epidural, do a water birth, or squat in a field. To say or even imply otherwise is simply cruel.
I was having a similar discussion with my neighbor who's had two children and received an epidural for each, and she said something that I think is great. When she went to the hospital she was feeling a bit guilty about her decision to use meds (Why should she feel guilty during such a great moment?), and one of the doctors said something brilliant. She said, "Honey, there is nothing NOT natural about what you're doing. If you went to the dentist for a root canal, would you do it without meds? No! Relieving yourself from the pain so you can simply experience the joy is perfectly natural." I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that sentiment. That's why you'll never hear me ask if you're having a "natural" child birth. I'll ask if you plan on using meds or what your birth plan is, but whatever your birth plan is, it's natural.
Well, I think I've written enough of a book here, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Just keep in mind that, no matter how you birth, whether it's c-section, induction, epidural, at home, or even surrogate, there is no need to feel guilty for your choice. Do you want to know why? Because in the end, you will have a beautiful baby whom you will love. When you look back on your experience, what's more important, the labor or the baby?