Because I have given birth so often (six times), I am often asked about my birth “stories.” It surprises me that I haven’t written about them, but truthfully, my births have been fairly unremarkable. Of course, being pregnant with my seventh, I don’t want to jinx it, but I have only had one birth that was traumatic in any way.
And yes, I have given birth to all six of my children naturally - without any intervention of any kind. Was it painful? Oh my yes! I’ve read about women who have “orgasmic” childbirths…I am definitely not one of those women.
Further, I believe that it is possible in almost every situation to have a natural childbirth. Now, I know it’s controversial for me to say this - and I know that everyone has a story. Most people will say, “I wanted to have a natural childbirth, but I was different because…” And that’s fine. I’m not writing to this judge, just to give a perspective and a few resources.
Let me put it this way, I have heard the stories of women who have had epidurals and c-sections. I have heard about their lengthy recoveries and other issues. Do I enjoy the pain of labor - of course not! But let me say this, after going through labor and then finally having the baby, I feel better immediately. Right after the birth, while I’m still getting “cleaned up,” I feel 100 percent better. No more back pain. No more labor pain. No more nothing except a beautiful sweet baby. The endorphins kick in and I’m as happy as a clam…ready to take on the world, well, mostly.
While I appreciate the desire for pain relief, going down that road rarely leads to anything but more interventions. Women who have epidurals have longer pushing stages - which endangers the baby and gives the mother a higher risk of c-section or forcep or vacuum extracted birth.
It just seems like a lot to risk, just to save the pain. Now, I know, I’ll hear from many who will say, “yes, but you weren’t in labor as long as I was…” and that’s valid. But remember, this post is in response to those who ask how I could give birth without drugs six times. That’s how - and why. I simply think it’s odd that some women would choose a c-section, or choose an epidural, before even giving labor a try. I hate to see women set themselves up to “fail” - and that’s how a lot of women describe it to me - before giving themselves a chance.
Further, it surprises me that the same women who say they would throw themselves under a train for their child, will not endure pain to bring them into the world - risking both their own lives and their baby’s. I also find it odd that we, as mothers, will scold any woman who even looks at a glass of wine during her pregnancy, but will totally understand someone willing to put drugs in her (and her child’s) body just because she’s in labor.
Here are a number of the side effects of epidurals, listed at Childbirth.org
I have had a home birth - and a water birth - five pretty standard hospital births - and have been grateful for the assistance of wonderful nurses and midwives each time (except the first time). I am also not knocking doctors. I am glad they are around and willing to help out in a pinch! I am glad for medicines and oxygen masks and all the other accoutrements available to save mine and my baby’s life should need be (especially since I’m pregnant again and I don’t want to jinx anything!). I know that things can go wrong - and I am glad for knowledgeable midwives and doctors when they do. However, I also believe childbirth is a natural process - not a medical one most of the time - and I think natural birth is safe with proper preparation and education.
Trusting in our bodies is difficult, especially, when we, as a society, are taught that so much is wrong with them! But give your body a chance to work, it might surprise you.