*This is random, chaotic post. I apologize for my rambling thoughts...but just go with it...
It is the summer of 2001. I had just graduated from high school and had been accepted into a summer program at the University of Texas in Austin. (Basically it was a program that allowed you to start school the summer before everyone else would...kind of a probationary/can you really it hack it here kind of thing...how I even got accepted I will NEVER know but whatever, that is another story for another day.)
It was the second summer session and I had heard about this anthropology class from a girl that lived on the same floor as me. She said the teacher was really awesome, she learned a lot, and they talked and learned about midwives. Midwives?! What the hell is a midwife?! I was intrigued and signed up for a class taught by Robbie Davis-Floyd, I will say that the class was pretty much life changing. I dont remember my grade, I remember a few specifics here and there, but I do know that I left that class knowing at 18 years old that when I was ready to have a baby, I would be doing it with the assistance of a midwife. It was a no brainer.
I pretty much kept this decision under wraps for a number of years because a) I was 18 b) I wasnt in the market for babies and c) I dont know that that would have been the best conversation starter when looking for a boyfriend....
Him: "Hi, I'm (insert name here), it's nice to meet you."
Me: "How are you? I'm Megan. So what are your opinions on natural childbirth?"
It would just make things awkward.
Flash forward to summer 2003. The summer that Hubby and I met....awww...you all know what happened after that of course. I couldnt tell you exactly when I had the conversation with him about natural childbirth but he knew that was my intention when that time came about. We never really talked details or anything but he was definitely aware of my wishes and was very supportive.
When the baby talk finally got serious last year, I began to do some research...gotta love the internet. I learned more about natural child birth and the overall benefits. I read a LOT of first-hand experiences of all kinds, both natural and medicated. I learned about Bradley classes and I learned more about what exactly a birth center is and started researching the ones in our area. I was quickly disappointed to find that the selection is somewhat limited. By limited, I mean like 2...maybe 3. Sure there are TONS of midwives but the compromise for Hubby and I was that I got my natural birth expereince but it needed to be in a facility that was able to take care of things and near a hospital (in other words...not at home) and I was honestly okay with that. What if something happened? Would I really want to do that to our sheets and mattress? And wouldnt it be nice if someone else cleaned up afterwards?
While researching birth centers, I soon also learned that there are different types of midwives. Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) and Certified Professional Midwives (CPM). The difference....CNM are midwives with experience in both nursing and midwifery. That sounded pretty good to me! Thanks to google...I quickly found out that my birthing location options dwindled even further upon the decision to use a CNM...there was only one. The Birth and Women's Center. It was in Dallas, not exactly close to our house, but it was the only option. I crossed my fingers.
Hubby was brave and patient enough to take a tour of the center before we were even pregnant. Out of 7 couples...we were the only ones not "with child". I felt stupid immediately BUT ultimately didnt care because at least I was planning ahead and wouldnt be looking for a different birth option at 30 weeks pregnant.
October of 2009 rolled around and...well...you know what happened then! 9 pregnancy tests later...we were in the market for a birth center and after our tour the months before, had already made the decision that the Birth and Women's Center was the place for us. It is basically an old house that has been "converted" into a birthing center. It is super cozy. 100% not medical and was just the place I wanted to be when in the throws of labor.
Okay...okay....so that fills you in a little bit but after all that...I still havent really answered the question as to WHY in the world I would want to give birth naturally. Why in the age of medicine and technology, would I choose to feel the "pain" of labor when I could just lay there and push and end up with a baby? Why would I want to feel everything when I could just be drugged?! Am I CRAZY?! Honestly I dont know that I can give a better answer other than I can not imagine doing it any other way. I want to be alert and apart of my birth experience. I want to have a birth experience, I dont just want to give birth. Also, I HATE needles and the thought of that epidural needle makes me want to throw up AND frankly I dont understand why I have been told throughout my entire pregnancy that an advil should be avoided at all costs BUT at the very end of our journey....probably the most important part...it is okay to put a substance into my spine that numbs me from the waste down. Surely the medicine doesnt go to the baby too...right? Right....
Is this decision for everyone? Probably not. Do I judge people who have medicated births? HELL NO! Why would I judge someone for making that decision and expect them not to judge me for doing it without drugs?? Could I be 100% crazy and regret my decision...sure...but I hope that I dont. I feel like deciding how you want to birth needs to be more of a priority for women. You dont just have to do what the doctor says and you dont have to go into your birth experience completely uneducated about what exactly happens and what will take place. One thing I have learned throughout this experience is that education is the key to not being "afraid". Am I afraid of the pain....ummmm YES!!! BUT knowing what to expect, knowing what exactly is going to happen to my body, knowing that the baby and I have to work together to get him the hell out of there...helps and is comforting. Hospital, birth center, home, or corn field....educate yourself. Dont go into your birth or pregnancy without doing a little bit of research. Its amazing what you will find. And while you are at it...try to find any accounts of a bad, natural birth...just saying...
Happy Baby Week!