When I learned I was pregnant with my first child, I was overcome by a rush of mixed emotions; I was overjoyed and excited, but I was also scared and worried. I was anxious to meet my very first child, but I was also worried about all the implications and responsibilities. Would the pregnancy go well? Would my child be healthy? Would I be a good mom? And of course, the unavoidable "oh my god, I'm actually going to have to give birth!" - That in itself is a scary thought.
I've always been petrified of giving birth. Like, nightmare city. Why wouldn't I be? We keep hearing horror stories about it our whole life and most people are convinced that the epidural is the only way to go. You know what though, there's a lot of stories we don't hear, and nature is made a certain way for a reason. That being said, I realize that sometimes, things go wrong, and I'm glad we have modern medicine to help us; I'm not one to refuse help when I need it. Which brings me to the question a lot of you asked. Why did I chose a natural, unmedicated childbirth?
Before I continue, I want to say that I respect the choice of every woman. Childbirth and your body are two very personal things; no one has the right to tell you you're weak if you take the epidural and no one has the right to tell me I'm stupid for choosing to endure so much pain. We all do our research and make our own decision based on what we know and are comfortable with.
To be honest, I'd always been so afraid about childbirth that I always assumed I wanted a medicated birth. Somehow, deep inside, something just didn't feel right every time I thought about an epidural. I think I always knew that for me, a natural childbirth was the only way to go, and that's why I was so afraid. So, why did I choose a natural, unmedicated childbirth?
Living a Full Experience
I don't do things at 50%. I never have. It's always been everything or nothing. So for me, my main reason came naturally; it's either no baby, or the whole experience at 100%. I don't think I could have lived with the fact that I had the chance to have a baby (when many women don't), and I didn't live the whole experience.
I'm a very curious person. I always have a bazillion questions (which tends to drive other people nuts), so a natural birth experience for me, was a way to satisfy my curiosity. What does it feel like? What really happens? Is the pain really that bad?
The Less Medicine the Better
Lastly, I'm undecided about medication. The less I manage to consume, the better I feel about my choices. I realize sometimes it's unavoidable, but I'm not one to take it "just in case" or just because I don't want to "deal with it". All pharmaceuticals have side effects, known or not, and I make a conscious choice to minimize my exposure. The possible side effects of an epidural on the mother are scary: longer labor, need of forceps, higher risk of tearing, increased need for Pitocin and/or a c-section, decreased breastfeeding efficiency, possible paralysis. Even more so for your baby (respiratory depression, decreased fetal heart rate, struggle latching-on to breastfeed). Like I said above, I don't rule out medical interventions completely. I'm not stupid; if I can't bear the pain or my baby's life is at risk (or mine), of course I'm going to take medicine and accept medical procedures! So far though, I'm almost always able to deal with things intervention free.
If you've read my first and second birth stories, you know that I'm very happy with my experiences and that were I to do it again, I would choose the same path. They were intense experiences that involved quite a bit of pain, but it taught me a lot about myself; I'm dedicated to my plans, curious about life, fierce in personality, passionate about the well being of my children, strong willed and, in control of myself yet able to let go. Basically, the experience truly empowered me and reinforced who I am deep within.