One of the things I’ve given a lot of thought to during this pregnancy is labor and delivery (L&D). If you asked me during my first pregnancy what my birth plan was, without hesitation I would have said, ‘I want all the drugs. Duh.’. In fact, I probably would have even considered a scheduled c-section. But after everything we have gone through to get to this point in our journey, I’m definitely singing a much different tune.
I initially thought I would for sure get an epidural and anything else that would lessen the pain. However, after experiencing labor contractions during 2 of my miscarriages I gave it some more thought. My first miscarriage was EXTREMELY painful. We were home on a Saturday evening and I was experiencing some cramping. Within an hour, the cramps became excruciating to the point where I couldn’t walk and I thought I was going to black out. Christopher had to practically carry me to the car to rush to the ER. I had no idea what was going on but it turned out they were in fact labor contractions (I also experienced other L&D sensations like the need to use the restroom and push, if you know what I mean). I ended up with an emergency D&C.
I also experienced contractions during my 3rd miscarriage while my body was trying to expel everything out of my uterus. I opted out of having another D&C (my 2nd pregnancy also ended with a D&C) and instead miscarried at home. I chose to miscarry naturally this time because I had already gone through 2 surgeries in less than a year and I didn’t want to put my body through a 3rd one. Yes it was painful again but it was a lot more tolerable and manageable because I knew what to expect and I knew how to ride the waves of the pain.
Which is why I’ve decided to have this baby naturally. That’s right, no epidural.
Now, I know you’re wondering why the hell I would want to do that especially having experienced the pain. You would think I’d be the first one demanding an epidural the minute we arrive at the hospital. The reason is simple: I know what to expect and the fear of the unknown is no longer present. I can anticipate the pain, I know how contractions feel when they come and go in waves, and I know where I need to go mentally in order to manage the pain.
Another reason I would like to eschew the epidural is to minimize the chemicals and drugs my body and baby are exposed to during L&D. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-medicine at all and I believe not all chemicals are bad for you. But after a year of taking all kinds of pills and being injected constantly (and we weren’t doing IVF or IUI – this was all due to my miscarriages), my body and my baby need a little break and since this is something I can somewhat control, I’m going to give both a break.
The more and more I thought about it and the more research I did, it just felt RIGHT FOR ME. Yes, I did watch The Business of Being Born as well as the follow up to it (you can watch both on Netflix). Christopher also watched them with me and we debated and discussed long and hard about our birth plan and in the end we both felt good about a natural birth.
Ok, so I’m not planning on doing this totally unprepared. I have talked to several mothers who have gone the natural route and they’ve given me some sound advice on things to do during pregnancy as well as during labor. I will also be reading this book and this one.
With all this being said, I do realize that when it comes to giving birth anything can happen. Which is also why I’m completely open to anything. I may need to be induced with Pitocin. I may end up getting an epidural. I may end up having an emergency c-section for a number of reasons. Who knows. Am I going to be disappointed if things don’t go as planned? Nope. My #1 goal is to make sure our Baby Boy safely enters this world and in the end I don’t care how that happens.
Also part of my (tentative) plan is to only have Christopher in the room with me. No other family or friends. I’m also going to ask that the delivery room be a quiet place and I will be requesting dim lights in the room (Kaiser offers this option). I’ll be diffusing essential oils and will bring a birth ball, too. We may also have a birth photographer with us but this is still something we’re thinking about. As much as I would love to document that day (or days), I might prefer just to keep it as intimate as possible between my husband and I (like our elopement). I just want our baby to enter this world in a peaceful and loving environment and I hope the chaos will be kept at a minimum.
We’re still unsure if we’re going to hire a doula. I’ve heard mixed feelings about it and this is something I’m still researching and figuring if it’s necessary. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you did work with one.
So this is my plan. For now. I’m entering my 3rd trimester this week and just hoping it goes as smoothly as the last 2 did. However, if there’s anything I learned on our journey to parenthood is that nothing is in our control and preparation can go out the window in a heartbeat. But like I said, in the end I don’t really care as long as we’re holding a healthy and happy baby in 13 weeks (+ or -).
P.S. Are there any mamas who experienced a natural birth? I would love to hear your stories and advice on what helped and what didn’t.