On to the end of my pregnancy, or at least close, and at 37.5 weeks my doctor suggested an induction (artificial means of pumping the body full of pitocin to bring on contractions and labor) due to my baby being "on the large side." I was a first time mom and I was very impressionable. Plus, I was and have always been impatient, I wanted to meet my new little one that would change my life forever.
I did put up a good fight I think, I tried for a very long time to hang on and not take medications but as the unnaturally strong contractions came closer and closer together I first gave in to the nurses' suggestion of something to "take the edge off" and later, when all that drug did was make me hallucinate and sleep, I accepted what I thought was the inevitable and I wound up getting an epidural.
Now, move forward to the birth of my 5th child and I had a home birth, attended by a lovely midwife who had the best bedside manner, and a doula who has been a friend for years. It was calm and peaceful, I was comfortable in my own home and there were zero drugs involved. My new baby was alert, calm, and perfect. I would say that it was the best birth experience out of all of them but I am here to say that I had to learn a lot to get to that point.
It all started when I began talking with women who did not view childbirth as the worst thing ever. They viewed it as a beautiful process and they viewed the mother as being the one who should be in control, not the doctors and nurses who told you when to push, how to position, and often hooked you up to so many monitors and IV's that you had no ability to find how your body was comfortable. I began to question how we do things and why when I came across a documentary that was kind of a game changer for me. It is called The Business of Being Born. You can watch it on netflix or buy it on Amazon (see link below) and if you are of child bearing age or know someone who is you may find some of the statistics unimaginable. The documentary follows several women, one who has a cesearan section, one who has a hospital birth and a few home birthers. It is rather fascinating.
If nothing else, I learned that there were choices I never knew I had. I did not know that I could refuse certain things at the hospital and that there were side effects to some of the proceedures we think of as routine. Home birthing is not for everyone, it is not even the safest option for some who are high risk, but the knowledge that every woman has more choices then she realizes is what is most important. I remember that first birth and being told that my baby needed to go to the nursery for some tests so I couldn't hold her close and nurse her immediately, I now know I could have requested that all the "tests" be done in my room so I could be with her.
Here are links to a previous post I did on my own home birth experience (part 1, part 2, and part 3) and that documentary is a must see!