It might seem like this post is only for women but men should keep reading if they are planning on having a family one day or if they want to be in charge of their health and longevity on this amazing planet. To some of you who think I've always cared about my health - I didn't. Of course, I always knew I wanted to be healthy but until I got pregnant and experienced an evening with a group of strangers I hadn't realized how much I had to learn and that I was in control of the destiny of my child's birth as well as my pregnancy.
When I told my husband, the tough paramedic, that I was pregnant with our first child guess what he said? "Oh, you're gonna need drugs - lots of drugs!" I looked at him, smiled and replied, "The only problem with that is that I am certain I do not want drugs." You see, I was more afraid of having a needle inserted in my spine and of losing control during the birth. I knew in my core that I didn't want drugs. I definitely didn't want our baby to have any drugs, or antibiotics in a petroleum-based cream squirted in its eyes or to be taken away from me as soon as it came out... I figured those last 2 out later. I digress...
What my husband of 2 years knew about me was that I have a VERY low tolerance for pain. If I get a papercut I complain about how much it hurts for about 3 days until it heals. LOL I told my husband I was going to figure this out. Once I set my mind to something I do it; however, I could tell my husband had his doubts. Now back to that evening that ended up changing my life experience...
My Husband was on duty at the firehouse, I was 5 months pregnant and looking for something to do with hopefully some food. Haha! When you're pregnant you can always eat and you know the location of every bathroom in town no matter how undesirable they are. I looked on Meetup.com and found a movie event. It said something about birth, a free movie and food! so off I went by myself hoping to maybe make a friend. :)
We had delicious tea & we watched a documentary by Ricki Lake (the talk show host) called "The Business of Being Born." What I learned shocked me. How doctors schedule your child's birth around their golf tee times, holiday dinners and sporting events like the Super Bowl and how expecting parents blindly do whatever their doctor says without questioning why, and if there is something different that can be done.
Basically, I learned that I CAN be in control of my body, my birth and that I have a voice in the decisions that are made. I realized that I had a say in my experience and how I wanted to be treated. I mean, it's my body - why wouldn't I get to say what happens to it? Unfortunately, many women (myself included, up until this moment) do not know they have a choice. I mean I have always been very vocal about what I want. Why should that be any different now that I am growing a human in my body?
I wanted to learn more and luckily, I had met the right people. They helped me research my doctor by talking to nurses who worked with him in Labor & Delivery. What I heard about his behavior with women in the middle of their birth seemed too far-fetched to believe. However, it stuck with me. I started paying attention when I went to his office for my appointments. I mean listening to his other patients, office staff, spouses. It became apparent as I observed in his reception area that several of his pregnant patients would come out from their appointment with him and high five the nurse and say things like, "Yes! I can watch my team play in the SuperBowl because I am getting my c-section.", or "Thank you so much for getting this baby out of me a couple weeks early, I can't stand being pregnant anymore, see you Friday!", or "See Doc?, you can go on vacation and I can enjoy (insert holiday)." I was in disbelief and appalled because there was no way I wanted a c-section unless it was a true emergency. When I interviewed this doctor about natural childbirth with no drugs or interventions he said he was onboard. However, his actions and actions of his patients did not align with a natural childbirth.
At 6 months pregnant I enrolled in HypnoBirthing classes and told the doctor I was switching to a mid-wife that was at another office across town and walked out from my appointment with a big smile on my face. Why? That was when I took my control back and wow, did that feel good and right. I knew i made the perfect choice for me. I acknowledge that this may not be the choice for everyone. How do you know? One way to know is if you find yourself thinking or saying, "I am going to try HypnoBirthing," then it is probably not the solution for you. When you say "try" with anything you are giving yourself an out, a pass if you fail, an excuse because you only tried. You need to be 100% committed to HypnoBirthing and know that you will trust your body and the process. They teach you what to do if things don't go as written in your painstakingly crafted birth plan so don't worry. They key is asking questions, making informed choices with your partner, doctor and/or mid-wife and doula and being involved in your baby's birth.
I am here to tell you that it is possible. I had 2 natural childbirths without any drugs or interventions. Both of our children were born in the hospital and with the last one I labored in a special birthing bathtub. Later I found out that a doctor I had met once for 1 minute came by my hospital room right before shift change to tell my husband to talk me into a c-section to move things along. Apparently, they had a pretty heated discussion outside my room. I had no idea he was even there because I have the best husband ever. I am pretty sure he wanted to be home for dinner and make more money for doing a surgery. Needless to say my husband told him to go away and to leave me to my beautiful, natural birth.
In conclusion, I am not saying that there isn't a place for c-sections but I believe they are conducted without considering all options of which there are several. Ask lots of questions and make the best decision you can for your particular case. The mind is a powerful tool. Use it to your advantage.
Remember, your body cannot make adrenaline (fight or flight hormone) and endorphins (feel-good hormones) at the same time. Sit in fear producing adrenaline and you will experience pain. Stay calm and you will enjoy the power of endorphins.
I am happy to answer any questions you have. Just post in the comments.