I’m in a quandary over what to wear for labor. I adamantly refuse to wear a hospital gown. I often see pictures of women in birth tubs in little tube tops or bikini tops, which makes sense. However, there will be no birth tub for me. I know some women become completely uninhibited while laboring and don’t mind being topless but um, I don’t think that will be me, especially not in a hospital setting. So what? A tank top? A t-shirt? I have no idea.
I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about a birth plan. I feel like everything that I want done, my midwife does as a matter of routine and some things that I wouldn’t want done if I had a choice, for instance continuous EFM, is hospital policy. I’ll have the ability to move around during labor, within the restraints of that dreaded machine and again, taking frequent bathroom breaks. I can eat and drink as I wish. I can deliver in whatever position feels comfortable for me. The people going to the hospital with me will be the ones I want there – my husband and doula. My midwife and her assistant will be with me the whole time. *If* the hospital nurses come in the room at all, it will not be to poke at me. So, I’m thinking of keeping it simple. I’m going to make index cards that say, “Please do not offer pain relief. I will ask if I feel I need it” and “I do not consent to any procedure that is not medically NECESSARY.” That’s pretty much my philosophy in a nutshell. Perhaps I’ll put them on neon pink index cards and hand them out like door prizes? 😉 I read somewhere that the more concise a birth plan is, the more likely it is to be respected. I don’t want to waste my breath putting things on paper that I know are a matter of routine for my midwife or putting things on paper that I know I can’t avoid.
You can walk down the pregnancy aisle in any bookstore and become instantly overwhelmed. There are SO many choices and it is so difficult to know the “right” books to read, especially if this is your first pregnancy! Then, if you have a specific opinion or mindset about how birth should go, you have to weed through the lemons to get to the books that are going to prepare you for the place you need to be when you’re ready to give birth to your child. Pregnancy can already be a very overwhelming time for a woman with all the changes happening to you physically and mentally. If you’re like me, you probably don’t have the patience to sort through books to determine what you want or need to read. Here are some fabulous suggestions from Bellies and Babies. She touches on books for EVERY type of mother – from those who want to be knocked out and let the OB handle everything to those who want to give birth unassisted in a field. The main point of the post is also to tell you what to stay away from (those fear-mongering What to Expect books top her list.) The most important thing is to educate yourself on your choices before you make them. Don’t make choices blindly and don’t let someone else make them for you! Do you reading and do your research and become a strong, empowered pregnant woman taking charge of your own pregnancy and birth.
My personal favorites off the list:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
– I love Ina May. She has this soothing quality about her writing that reminds you that you are MADE for this. I could read her over and over again and I probably will keep reading this book until I give birth. She eases my fears and puts me in the right mental place.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth
– Henci Goer goes in-depth explaining interventions and why you would or would not want them. This book is a great read if you want to know why you should skip that epidural or if you want to be aware of all the benefits and risks when you decide you want to get it.
Your Best Birth
– Ricki Lake talks to the average woman. This book, along with her documentary, The Business of Being Born, explain in simple terms what your options are without swaying your opinion. She’s just putting it out there that THIS IS WHAT IT IS. The surprise ending to a documentary lending itself largely toward homebirth is a cesarean section.
Almost one in 20 moms may have traumatic delivery
I read this article today and it really struck home. Only too often do I hear this: “The attitude is that you survived and your baby survived: Be grateful.”
The panic attacks and nightmares that I have are dismissed. I shouldn’t care about those feelings because I have a “healthy baby”. I shouldn’t worry about the feelings of extreme helplessness that I’m STILL dealing with surrounding birth. All I should care about is that my baby is “healthy”. What if it is true that the way we come into this world shapes who we are?
I read stories like the ones that happened to these women, like having a vaginal exam without permission or having membranes ruptured without knowledge or permission and I get ANGRY. Why is this acceptable behavior from medical professionals? Why is it ok for a doctor to stick his hands in a woman’s vagina, despite her protest when if it were outside the hospital it would be considered sexual assault?
I am again so completely grateful that I am able to have the care of a midwife during this pregnancy.
Bonus links for you:
5 Reasons Dads Should Demand a Doula
5 More Breastfeeding Myths Busted
In a surprising turn of events I find myself being judged by people I thought would be most supportive.I’m completely taken aback and very hurt. I’m trying not to dwell on it but it is consuming me. Why would these people feel the need to judge the choices I have made for my pregnancy, my uterus and my baby?
Surprisingly, my mother and my MIL are turning out to be my cheering committee. I was terrified to tell my mother my plans. She had two csections herself and I was sure she wouldn’t understand. Instead, she’s very excited for me! My MIL is just a worrier by nature so I expected some questions and concerns but instead she’s sending me emails about successful VBAC stories! She delivered her second as a a breech baby herself but then years later had a section for her third who was also breech.
I’ve done so much research on VBA2C. I’ve talked to medical professionals. I have a supportive provider. I have done so much to educate myself as fully as possible on the risks of both VBA2C and a third cesarean. I know that is the right decision for me and my baby.
Why am I having to defend myself to people I thought I could trust?
“In fact, many women who choose to labor without medication do so because they fear the consequences of unnecessary intervention, including the trauma and postbirth pain of cesarean section.” Ina May Gaskin
I love this quote. People often ask me if I’m scared of the pain of childbirth or the iconic inquiry about whether I think I’ll get a medal for giving birth without drugs. The truth is I have more fear of getting a needle in my back or the well-known hallucinatory effects of narcotics during labor than the actual pain that my body was designed to handle. Aside, no one in our culture thinks about the effects of pain medication on baby, or should I say that providers don’t educate women on the risks to their babies from pain medication during labor and in a culture where pain relief is the expected norm many women don’t even realize that this is something they should be researching themselves.