Tuesday, March 18, 2014

birth series ::: why natural birth?

Part 1: Why natural birth?

Not sure how many of y’all have read Simon’s birth story, but in his birth story, I explain that I flat out thought my sister was ridiculous, maybe even stupid, for wanting to birth in a birthing center, without an epidural. 

Go to the hospital, get your epidural, and have your baby – that’s how it goes, right? I was SO against what she was doing that I was adamant to do some of my own research to prove that she was so wrong and was doing something incredibly dangerous. She was not only risking her own life, but the life of my nephew.

After doing some of my own research, I quickly swallowed my words. I found that America has the highest maternal and infant mortality rate as a first world country – and we have great medicine! I wish I had time to do for-real research because I think that before the 1900s – the maternal/infant mortality rate was really high, then with medicine in the early to mid 1900’s the mortality rate was significantly lowered, but with all the medical interventions and unnecessary surgeries, the mortality rate has gone up again.

Natural birth has proven to be healthier and safer for mama and baby. Birthing is a mysterious thing that our bodies were created to do; God made it so. There is this magical mixing and sending of hormones and messages from baby to mama during birth. When synthetic drugs are introduced to the body during this message sending, it interferes and often messes up the natural emitting/sending of hormones and messages – which complicates the birth.

A normal, low-risk vaginal birth can quickly turn into a high-risk, c-section birth when people aren’t informed or when medical intervention is unnecessarily applied. A c-section is 2.5x more likely with the admission of pitocin/epidural. So, the main reason I wanted to go natural is because I really didn’t want a c-section and this seemed like best way I could reduce the risk of an unwanted, unnecessary c-section.

There definitely is a place for medical intervention, and I know some babies and mamas who wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for certain medical practices. I was actually induced with Simon because my amniotic fluid was very low. My doctor wanted to induce me, but I had a doula who informed me that my water could be broken instead of starting me on pitocin {pit}, which was a more natural way of being induced. Had I not done my research on the negative effects of pit or had a doula, I most-probably would have had a c-section because my body wasn’t ready to go into labor when it was forced to and there were things I did to help get contractions started naturally {more info in the last post}.

Unfortunately, our culture has turned birth into something that should be feared – almost making women feel like they aren’t fit to birth babies. Movies, tv, and even some doctors have made women believe that they can’t give birth without medication – and y’all this isn’t true.

It makes me really angry when I hear a momma wasn’t given the right to labor longer because her body was “failing to progress” according to the textbook, or when a momma is rushed to a c-section because she was pushing ‘too long’ {been there, done that. Pushed for 3 hours with Simon and am sure that I would have had a c-section had I not advocated for natural birth throughout my pregnancy or had a doula}, and it makes me angriest of all when I hear doctors sending patients straight to have a c-section {without allowing them to attempt a  vaginal birth} because the baby is “too big” – only to find that the baby is not a 15 pounder and is a perfectly normal size – I feel like there are women who have been robbed of their birth-rights.

I couldn’t say what my doula {Bethany Robbins} wrote better without plagiarizing, so I’m just going to add her thoughts: “One thing I think is SO important is the topic of women's health, our rights to health care, and equality in our birth rights”. In this day and age, women get upset about not being paid equally, not being recognized for working in the home and demanding that they have rights over their own bodies-even to the point of abortion. With all the "equal rights" and feminism talk going around, us women need to be speaking up about the horrific numbers of c-sections happening in our country. We need to see childbirth as something WE do and can do well. It’s just strange to me that so many women fight for the right to have an abortion (or for others to be able to have access to them) but few women are fighting for the right to have longer labors and non-textbook labors and longer pushing stages and fewer c-sections and inductions. Honestly, we should be outraged.”

Benefits/Reason to have an unmedicated birth:

- Possibility of having a C-Section is drastically lowered (2.5x less likely)

- The cocktail of Pitocin/epidural - and sometimes more pit/anesthesia - frequently raises a baby’s heart rate and sends them into distress {cue: c-section}

- Epidural alone can lower the mama’s heart rate – causing the baby’s heart rate to drop

- If you get an epidural, you also get a catheter - and who wants a catheter?

- An epidural may decrease the mama’s ability to push effectively since part of her body is numb

-It’s never made sense to me that the medication we are allowed to take when pregnant is really limited, but then when the baby is about to be born drs/nurses often don’t think twice about the possible negative effects of Pitocin or anesthesia for the mom or baby.

-  For some who receive an epidural – it doesn’t or hardly works. Women still sometimes experience either “watered down” contractions or even full-out contractions with an epidural. In that case, why not go natural and be able to move around to help the babe move out.

I know women around my age and women in their 40s/50s who have permanent nerve damage from when they got an epidural. My opinion: I’d rather endure labor/birthing pain for the duration of birth than experience permanent damage that will hurt for the rest of my life.

If you have an epidural, you can’t move around. If you can’t move around, you can’t help your baby move out. If you can’t help your baby move out/down, labor is often prolonged. When your labor is prolonged, women often get a c-section because of “failure to progress.”

- With an epidural, the only position women generally are allowed to push in is on their back. The worst position to push in. The baby has to go over the pubic bone before they’re born {I do speak from experience on this one. With Simon, my contractions were back to back when I was ready to push, Simon’s head was right there! The telemetry monitor slipped when I tried to change positions, which caused my doctor to think his heart rate dropped, and she “didn’t want to take any risks” so I was forced to be on my back which slowed my contractions down to being almost 8 minutes apart – hence the 3 hours of pushing. Had I stayed in the position {side}, I feel sure he would have come out right away}. Being on your back is the best position for your doctor, not the mama or baby.

- An epidural may cause mamas to be more drowsy, disoriented, cause itching or nausea

Why I didn’t/don’t want to have a C-Section:

- for one: it’s major surgery. It happens so frequently that the seriousness of it gets lost. I mean, they’re digging around some major organs. So a possibility of major organ problems if they get cut. And the risk increases with each consecutive c-section.

- Recovery is much longer/usually harder than a vaginal birth. As if taking care of a brand new human being isn’t enough, now the mama is recovering from a major operation.

- Sometimes mamas can’t nurse or hold their babies right away – delayed bonding and sometimes have a difficult time nursing. 

- I’m basically allergic to anesthesia – I’m that sensitive to it. I didn’t want to risk not being able to take care of a baby because I was busy recovering.

- Some babies have respiratory issues post birth because their lungs didn’t go through a cleansing/squeezing in the birth canal {Respiratory Distress Syndrome}.

- This is really rare, but I worked with a teacher whose baby’s cheek got cut while the doctors were trying to cut her our {insert horror face}.

- Some experience major infection at the incision site

- Increased loss of blood 

- Some have had to had their uterus removed due to hemorrhaging {preventing the mama from birthing more babies}

- Higher risk for emotional trauma and negatively viewing their birth experience


1 comment:

  1. Hey Chané! It's not every day that you might get comments on a blog regarding motherhood from a guy, much less a blog about natural birth. But, I wanted to tell you how right on you are about these things you've shared. I was with a friend today who is a nurse practitioner who specializes in natural birth as a midwife. We got to talking about giving birth and c-sections and epidurals and why she was against it. Basically, everything you said here, she stated very vividly and passionately today. Thanks for your words of wisdom. I hope others read this blog carefully and heed the advice. I couldn't help myself but give a hearty "AMEN!" after reading this! And I love your kids!


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