When I planned for a natural non-medicated birth, that became almost an impossibility with all the interventions being done to me and the lack of ability to get up and move around…not to mention all I had ever heard was how horrible the pain was and that of course I would want to ask for an epidural before it was “too late.”
I did end up with an epidural as most women who have been induced can tell you, it is not a natural pain and it is pretty awful. But, I had my beautiful baby girl. I just did not have an optimum birth story to go with her entrance into this world.
Baby #2 went much the same, since I had some difficulties with baby #1 (she was born head and elbow at the same time…4th degree if you know what that means) my doctor again suggested an induction because of course we did not want a repeat of the first birth experience. I again gave in, and though again I tried to go without an epidural…it was kinda hopeless. This time I had some undesirable effects from the epidural, I had nausea and vomiting as well as a persistent lower back pinch pain that lasted well into 3-4 months post partum. But here was another beautiful baby.
Baby #3 and by this point I had kinda given up on the idea of natural birth. I was checked in for another induction (after all it was 5 days before Christmas!) and I just decided to give in to the inevitable and have my epidural…only this time…it didn’t work. My left foot was numb- but that was it. It didn’t seem that anyone believed me at first and I was not prepared mentally for a natural birth so I kind of went in to panic mode. But, this baby was not waiting, and was ready to be born. The anesthesiologist only had time to remove the tubing from my spine but not even run another line of medication because this baby was almost there! So, amid a bit of a freak out moment on my part, this little one was born…and I felt it ALL! AAAAAHHHHH. But, I learned something that day. I wasn’t going to die from the pain. The pain was over immediately after his birth, and I was able to get up and walk around immediately after. I liked that last part. My body didn’t have some of the same effects of medications as previously…hmmm….
Another interesting thing is that all of my babies had been born jaundiced to the point of having to have bililights and much stressful daily heel pricks to test for jaundice levels in the blood. They were all also induced at what the calendar read as 37-38 weeks along. NOTE: babies born prematurely are at a much higher risk for jaundice. (I don’t mean as in preemie babies, mine were all size wise over 7lbs but may not have been full term as dates are not perfect)
When we became pregnant with baby #4 a friend of mine was just deciding that she wanted to become a doula. I wasn’t completely hip on what that meant but since she needed hours attending births to help with her certification she said she would love to attend my birth and be a support. Okay, sounded good. This time I was determined, no meds, no induction…I was going to have this baby au natural. Did I mention my doula had her last baby at home? Now that idea was just crazy! Right? My doula was amazing. She gave me this book to read (and cautioned me that it was a bit wild, and not written from a Christian standpoint) but I dove in, it was one of Ina May Gaskin’s works…about midwifery. Hmmmm…. The thought of a homebirth was a seed planted. I mentioned it to hubby this new idea...but he suggested I had lost my mind.
I worked throughout this 4th pregnancy, and it was a very stressful time, so when we got close to the end I was very impressionable and was almost at the point of giving in to my doctor’s suggestions of inducing again. But, I had a very supportive doula who cautioned against that modality because; it is pretty unnatural and very painful for a mama who is trying to do this on her own. Then the time came, and this birth was VERY fast. When I say fast, I mean we checked into the hospital and he was born within 20 minutes, Very FAST. But, it was drug free and AWESOME!!! My doula was a HUGE help, and I felt so high on adrenaline afterwards and so empowered. My body was amazing and could do amazing things, as was every female body. My baby was also not jaundiced and not born until 39 weeks. He was healthy, he was perfect and he was a big boy! 8lbs 11oz!
So, when I revisited how that birth went…how much more I trusted my body to do what it was designed to do, and how much better I felt afterwards, it seemed a natural progression to at least explore what home birthing was all about. I had read about it, I now had at least 3 friends who had amazing experiences with home birthing, and I knew of a local midwife…(to be continued)