I remember being 22 and being pregnant with my first child and sitting in on a birthing class. When I think back to that class I can't help but think how empowered I was in what I wanted my labor and delivery to look like. I knew I wanted an uneducated labor, I wanted to birth my baby naturally because in one sense it seemed to be so bad ass. On the other hand I was reading and learning about labor and delivery and I believe I really wanted to experience the full experience and have limited intervention.
Little did I know that my labor and delivery wouldn't go as planned. On my due date it was unclear as to weather or not my water had broke, since the test all came back inconclusive they decided since I was at my fue date they would keep me amd start and induction. Pretty standard practices for hospital labor/births to prevent infection in the presence of a broken sac.
What I wasn't informed of I that time was that medication (pitocin) would not only indices labor, but also make it more intense. That when being induced it can lead to longer labors, stalled progress and need for further intervention. Ultimately I labored through a few hours, requested an epidural because the contractions became so intense and within 10 hours of being induced (which is pretty amazing for your first baby) we welcomed our first child into the world through a medicated vaginal birth.
Now that seems like a pretty good, safe, effective success story right? At the time it was. I was elated with becoming a mother & had just welcomed a beautiful health baby girl into our world. Now years later being more empowered, educated and aware I realize how my "birth plan" was never actually a factor in my labor and delivery. Having now birthed four babies and currently pregnant with my fifth child I now realize how medical intervention, not knowing my other options & advocating for myself impacted the deliveries I have.
If I was coached that piticon would increase contractions I might have chosen a different option. If I was given the full 24 hours to see if my body went into labor itself I might have had less pain or need for medical intervention. If I was taught about the stages of labor, especially the "transition" period I may have never asked for an epidural.
Now having gone through this process a few times I know that my dream "birth plan" very much accessible with my current fifth pregnancy. I have learned that not only choosing a good Dr. and medical practice for my care is important, but that I should also choose one who's scope of practice aligns with my needs. My first child I went the traditional OB/hospital birth route. This round I'll have chosen a midwife practice/birthing center that a part of a local hospital.
The choices we have and make can very much get us closer to the labor/delivery of our dreams. Natural, uneducated, informed and empowered births are very obtainable & if that's the route you would love to pursue I know 100% in my heart you can bring that vision into reality.
My top tips for having a natural, un-mexicated & empowered birth would be as follows:
1. Choose a practicition or midwife who aligns with your beliefs & view on labor & delivery. Having a midwife doesn't mean you will be putting yourself pr your unborn child in danger in any way and you can find one who fits all your needs. Midwives are popping up in more conservative hospitals, birthing centers and of course their original origin in homes for home births. You can definitely find the perfect fit for you and your partners comfort levels.
Also having an un-medicated natural birth doesn't mean it can't happen in the traditional hospital setting, but definitely talk to your provider and ask how they could support you in that choice & their success rate for such labor & deliveries.
2. Don't just have the dream and wish for your perfect labor & delivery, but have a written plan & discuss it with your team. When labor starts and you are progressing through you moat likely will be to preoccupied to mention all the details & wishes you have for each stage you progress through. If your partner, birthing team & everyone involved is aware of your wishes they will better be able to support you in the process to achieve the outcome you deserve.
3. Trust yourself. I wish the 22 year old me was not only educated on the type of labor and delivery she wanted, but that she was empowered enough to be her own best advocate. I wish I knew that there were other options out there that might have meet my needs a little better with my first go around. That I was empowered enough & confident that I knew my body better than anyone and what I was capable of. Do your research, educate yourself about labor and delivery & all the types of options available to you. Make decisions that you and your spouse are comfortable with & don't worry about conforming to social norms or the concerns/needs of those around you. You are Mother, you know yourself & your baby best, trust that.
I pray that in reading my story you find that little courage of hope & empowerment inside yourself to chase after the labor and delivery of your dreams. I pray that your pregnancy feels just as empowering as you hope your labor and delivery feels.
Enjoy every step and stage of this journey to becoming a mother, it's one of the most empowering transformations you will undergo.