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.