You DO Have Options (Two Very Different Birth Stories)

Childbirth

It never occurred to me that I had options when it came to birthing my first born. I have always been one of those go-with-the-flow, easy going gals who didn't venture out to discover that I actually had a choice. I'm usually the one who just follows the lead to please everyone else around me.

My best friend (who just happens to be The Mushy Mommy) showed me that I didn't have to be "average" or "normal" when it came to giving birth. After seeing how my mushy friend handled natural childbirth like a champ and was all smiles as she cuddled her newborn baby (just seconds after delivery), I quickly changed the way I looked at childbirth altogether. She gave me the courage to believe in myself, and to make my own birth plans, and for that I owe her BIG.

So let me give you my perspective based on my two, very different, childbirth experiences. My first child was born 8 weeks early. I was in such denial that I didn't even realize I was in labor until I got to the hospital. I quickly learned that my water broke and I was already 5 cm dilated. I had no intention of giving birth naturally. Quite honestly, I didn't think I could do it without help from an epidural, nor had I even given it much thought at all. I just figured it was routine. I got the epidural and I remember the numbness I felt after and not being able to move my legs. That was an experience that I did not feel comfortable with.

This is how woman give birth all the time... so this must be how I should do it, right?

I pushed maybe 4-5 times and my precious, 4lb. 14oz little man was born. Upon his arrival at 32 weeks, he was immediately swept away to NICU to make sure he was okay. I did not get to experience immediate skin to skin and I didn't get to request delayed cord clamping. Even if he had been born at term, I didn't know that I had those options. So either way, I would have missed those opportunities. Now looking back on his birth, I realized that I SO COULD HAVE DONE IT NATURAL.

A couple months later, my best mommy friend, gave birth to her beautiful daughter, completely natural and drug free. It was then that I realized that IT COULD BE DONE. I was in awe of how blissful and calm she looked after a natural birth. Looking at her, you would have never known the pain she endured. She really made it look so beautiful. Her birth story inspired me so much. I, soon, had a totally different outlook on childbirth and realized that I didn't have to be "average." 

Fast forward almost two years later and I became pregnant with my second child; I knew this time what I wanted. I prayed for God to give me the faith and strength I needed. I knew that He created a woman's body for bearing and delivering babies...that is what kept me going. My best gal loaned me the most amazing book, Ina Mae Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth and I began researching, reading and most of all praying. I learned so much about childbirth, the benefits of requesting delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin. Soon it came to pass that I would deliver natural and drug free with my husband, mother and best mushy friend by my side.

The pain was extremely intense, but so incredibly amazing all at once. It was an outer body experience that I long for again...yes I long for the pain again. It's almost unexplainable. I couldn't believe my strength.

I felt so empowered.

I was in awe of my body and I have never been so proud of myself. I set a goal and with God's help, and an amazing support system, I achieved that goal. My purpose for this post, is not to take away from any birth that isn't a natural birth....every birth is beautiful. I could never say that I favor either of my children's births over the over. Although they were two very different experiences, both times I delivered the most beautiful blessings of my life, whether it was a natural birth or not. Hearing them cry and holding them close for the first time is unlike anything else in the world.

I do however, wish I had known all of my options and had done research the first time around. Knowing what I know now, I am very passionate about letting woman know that they do have a choice because so many woman don't realize it.

You DO have options.

If natural birth is something that you dream of, believe you can do it, because YOU CAN.

What was your birth experiences like?

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Courtney Duhe

Courtney, a stay at home Momma, from South Louisiana, has a love for the simple things in life.
She proudly wears the title of "boy-mom", as she raises her two tots the best way she knows how. She's also wifey of six years to a really great guy, whom she's so thankful for.
She credits her sanity to Jesus and coffee....because let's face it, running after two littles all day long can be quite a challenge! You can find a little one scooting around the house with the cutest fluffy bum, whose stash comes from the Mushy Mommy herself! Her home is regularly filled with the aroma of essential oils diffusing, or a natural, DIY recipe for household cleaners.
She enjoys making baby food for the caboose (caboose for now...Momma's not done yet...but we have to convince Daddy).

She's a baby wearing, snotty nose wiping, you can find her in sweatpants most days, kind-of-mom, and she wouldn't have it any other way!

Doula Support for Your Medicated Birth

We will be the person standing next to you the moment you successfully birth your child, cheering you on.
— Lauren Bourgeois
Doula Support

When I tell people I am a doula, they often immediately respond with “Oh, I would never hire you, I want my epidural!”

There is a common misconception out there that doula support is only for women who plan to have an unmedicated birth. This could not be further from the truth.

Doulas should love epidurals! Why? Because the main job for a doula is support. We think it is great when we have a client who tells us from the very beginning she wants an epidural. This woman knows what she wants and she is voicing her needs. We are glad we live in a time where those needs can be easily met!

Whether you birth your baby via cesarean section, with an epidural or other pain medication, or completely unmedicated, bringing a child into the world is a raw and emotional event. So, what does doula support for a woman with an epidural look like? It looks exactly the same.

We continue to work to meet the physical and emotional needs of the birthing woman and her partner. We spend a lot of time prenatally with our clients discussing more than just their birth plan. We want to know more about you than whether or not you want delayed cord clamping.

We go over everything. What are your top priorities for your birth outside of pain relief? How do you want the room to feel? Peaceful and quiet or full of energy and friends? We will also help your partner know exactly what to do. From how to rub your back to reminding them to breathe too!

We will be the person standing next to you the moment you successfully birth your child, cheering you on. And, when your baby takes that first beautiful cry we hope we have done our part to make this the most memorable day of your life.

Having a Voice for Your Baby's Birth

Having a voice is important.

Having a voice during your labor and for your child is even more important. 

I recently had a friend tell me that for her first birth she didn't realize she had a say or all of these options. She just assumed you followed the doctor's orders and things that many think of as "routine" were just that, routine. This stunned me because it made me wonder just how many other women think childbirth is just a routine where we listen to the doctor without understanding the risks, the options and the reasons.

Childbirth is different for each and every person in terms of the way it starts, the way we labor and the way we deliver. Even the minutes following the birth of a child can be vastly different among us all. Things like inductions and c sections are becoming increasingly more common and are starting to seem like the "norm" for so many. I actually find it odd when after having a baby, many people will ask,

"Did you have a section?"

Like, why is that such a popular question? Shouldn't we just assume that all women have vaginal births because that's what is common and natural? But we don't. We know as Americans that sections are increasingly popular so we actually feel compelled to ask a new mother how she birthed. And yes, I've been asked this question quite a few times from people that don't know me.

Below are just a few important ways that YOU DO have a VOICE. 

1. Your baby chooses their own birthday.

Inductions are becoming so normal that it's actually scary. Just because your last ultrasound showed a larger baby does not really mean anything. Just because you're approaching 40 weeks means nothing.

Due dates are just an estimation

and you can carry up until 42 weeks with no risk.

Be a voice for your baby and let them choose their birthday unless absolutely medically necessary.

2. You choose how you labor and deliver.

Epidurals aren't standard, they are by choice. Women once gave birth without drugs and still can. Don't let the common choice for an epi scare you out of trying to birth naturally. Then again, you have the choice to not feel pain and get an epi. You have a choice to birth at home or in a hospital. You have the choice to labor in the tub the whole time or even just before you get an epi. You have the choice to walk around. You have the voice to deliver standing up.

You are in charge!

Isn't that nice to know?

3. Be knowledgeable.

Read up on c sections and common reasons for them and make sure you're prepared to fight your doctor if you don't feel their request for a section is valid enough. Yet, be prepared for any emergency that is indeed a true emergency where you ignore your dream birth plan and realize things happen. Just make sure that "thing" is evidence based and a true thing.

4. Know the options.

Did you know that your baby can be placed straight onto your skin immediately after being pulled out of the birth canal? Did you know how important

skin to skin

contact is? You can request skin to skin, immediate breastfeeding and delayed cord clamping among many other things. You have the voice to say no to visitors, no to an immediate bath and no to pretty much anything. Don't want that gunk on their eyes after birth? Guess what, you can deny that too.

It's your baby...your voice.

There's numerous reasons to do all of the things mentioned here and even if it's not for you, it's worth researching some to understand more about it.

While childbirth is a natural event that has been taking place for centuries, it's good to read up on all of your options and it is good to be prepared. After all, it's your body and your baby that this affects and we all just want to have the best experience we can.

Have a voice for your body and baby and know that you ARE in charge. 

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Sasha Savoy

Sasha is the owner and founder of The Mushy Mommy, a natural mother and baby boutique and The Mushy Mommy Village. She is a SAHM who works hard at living as minimal and unprocessed as possible, but never claims perfection. Her mission is to inspire, encourage, enlighten and empower mothers all over to feel good about their choices, to make healthy choices and to enjoy motherhood and all of its beauty and chaos.