Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Birthing from within

My family thinks I’m crazy and kidding myself. My friends think I’m brave. My doula and midwives think that I have the strength I need to get the job done. I think I’m going to push every limit of my mind and body in order to become a stronger woman and to experience something ancient and miraculous.

I’m planning to have a drug-free, natural childbirth.

I think it’s amazing how that one statement can elicit such wildly different reactions.

On one end of the spectrum are my mother and sister. They both openly mock my choice to try and go drug-free. Mum says she’s done it naturally and by c section and felt no affection or desire to repeat the former. My sister reminds me of how painful my last birth was and questions my ability and sanity in coping without readily available pain relief.

On the flip side sit my doula and my midwives. All give me quiet, unwavering confidence that if this is my choice, they have utmost confidence that I can achieve my goal. They have the skills and knowledge to guide me through the journey that centuries of women before me have travelled.

In the depths of my mind, I hear and validate both sides.

With Hayden, I coped quite well with contractions until the Pitocin was started and I was forced to lay flat on my back so that Hayden’s heart could be continually monitored. After the drugs took hold, I was consumed with the pain and ferocity of the contractions. So yes, I know how much labour can hurt. I laboured with those drug-fortified labour pains for six hours unmedicated. Then I begged for an epidural to release me from labour’s grip.

The liberal, granola part of my brain reminds me that this time will be different. This time I will have the unwavering support of my doula (a very good friend), two midwives, my mother and my husband. The experts among my support team know different positions and techniques to cope with the increasing pain. They know how to naturally encourage my body to work with the contractions to help the baby to descend. And they know how to guide those I love to provide comfort and encouragement when I need it.

I’ve been reading book after book on natural childbirth to prepare myself for what is to come. I am now confident that with my team and my newfound knowledge, I can do this. I’m still unsure of why I’ve chosen this path. It’s hard to describe, but it just feels like the right thing to do. What I was meant to do. That it will in some way heal me and make me stronger.

Testing myself and pushing my personal limits is something I’ve always done – from staying a straight A student in school to learning how to fly a glider to sleeping outside in an igloo in the dead of winter. But it’s been a long time since I’ve purposefully pushed my limits. I think perhaps this little bird is yearning to stretch her wings again. To look suffering and pain in the face and say I’m better than you! Wish me luck.

1 comment:

kate said...

Good luck. I'm all for natural birth, but I also believe in being kind to yourself. Which means setting yourself up for success (which you're obviously doing) but not putting undo pressure on yourself if things change. I had a doula, and she did amazing things with massage. Good luck! (Oh -- are you going for a home birth? I imagine a natural birth would be easier at home...)