Thursday, August 26, 2010

Don't be scared, be smart!

Most women nowadays are wimps.

No, wait, that came out wrong. What I meant to say is that most women nowadays are scared.


Wait, this one will work:

Most women nowadays are mostly uneducated and are just doing what society and their friends tell them to do.

There. How's that? Are ya mad at me yet?

A vast majority of today's pregnant population are choosing to have c-sections, to have labor induced by their doctor, or to have a pain-free birth with the aid of any number of pharmaceutical interventions.

Newsflash: giving birth is a completely natural process and should be treated as such. Birth has only become a "medical event" in the past 75 years. I believe we've spent too long listening to a doctor or hospital tell us how we should deliver our most precious gifts instead of listening to our own body tell us how we should give birth. Our bodies are designed to give birth and, if we are paying attention, they give us many, many cues to tell us when it's time for the baby to be born.

Some of you are likely thinking, "Well, it's my RIGHT to choose to have a c-section or be induced! It's my body and my birth story and I'll do it however I want!" To that I say, "Yes, you're absolutely correct. It is your right. But it's also your right to be educated about what you're doing to your body and to know the potential side-effects it can have both on you and your newborn baby." Some of you may say that you trust your doctor and medical team implicitly and will do whatever they say because they know what's best. After all, they've done this hundreds of times and they have extensive medical training on how to birth a baby.

If I only knew then what I know now...

If I knew in 2001 and in 2004 what I know now, then Slick would not have been born via c-section. Looking back, I'm certain that I was not in true labor when I went to the hospital. I mis-read some signs of labor and went to the hospital where I was put on a monitor, was poked and prodded, was "stripped" (some of you will know what that means), all followed by a promise of labor-inducing drugs the next morning (more than 12 hours later.) The pitocin was promised at 6 AM the following morning. Sometime around 2 PM (a mere eight hours later, mind you) the drip was started. What followed was the most excruciating pain I've ever experienced. Now, before you say, "Labor is supposed to hurt, dummy! That's why it's called labor!" I have to tell you that my other two births were natural, vaginal deliveries with absolutely no drug intervention whatsoever. The contractions I had during natural childbirth were nothing compared to the ones that were brought on by the pitocin. The pitocin contractions were horrible. Not too long after the pitocin was proving to be ineffective, a different drug was given to stop them. Relief. Or so I thought. Next thing I know, the doctor is hovering over me telling me that Slick's heart rate is in the 70s and we were headed for an emergency c-section NOW.

It. Was. Awful.

I truly believe that if I'd been more knowledgeable and educated about the process, then I wouldn't have had to suffer through that failed induction and then the c-section. If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have had him naturally just like I'd had his big sister.

No one ever hears the good birthing stories. For years and years, we've been inundated with the worst of the worst birth stories. "I was in labor for 30 hours!" "It hurt!" "I'll never do that again!" "Gimme the drugs!" "You're crazy to do it without drugs or an epidural!" We hear that sort of thing all. the. time. We seldom hear of a good, positive birthing experience. I'm here to tell you that it IS possible to have a positive birthing experience, and to have a positive one that's *gasp* dare I say it, drug-free. It is possible to push the baby out without medical intervention, contrary to what society and our doctors would have us believe.

Honestly, it's not that's bad. You can do it. Go do some reading and educate yourself. Here are a few places to get you started:


  1. I had an epidural with Josie, followed by some pitocin, after my contractions stopped. Probably because of the pitocin. I didn't know nearly enough about childbirth. With Henry I consented to have my water broken at 10 days past my estimated due date and 5 centimeters. I had a wonderful, fast, drug free birth. I refused pitocin when my OB was trying to push it, I told the nurses to not even ask about pain control. I had a great birth (even though I swore a few times and put my husband in a headlock) and I know that every woman is capable of the same thing.

    Great post, oh glitterific one.

  2. My SIL is due next month, and she was all set to go all natural in spite of the stories her friends had all told her (take the drugs, man!), but her childbirth preparation class scared her and now she's planning on an epidural. That made me sad. Now, I did have an epidural, though I had totally not planned to, because of the nature of my particular laboring, so I'm not totally against them. But, I made my decision after I'd already been in labor for HOURS and had tried many other techniques (I was even in the tub planning on a water birth). I'm mad at her childbirth educators.

  3. I had great child birth classes at Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, FL 24 years ago and they really pushed natural childbirth. In the two other hospitals with our 2nd and 3rd babies they pushed epidurals. But I knew what I wanted. All three of mine were born natural, but with the first two I did get pitocin. They were both 2 weeks overdue and after labor started (and went for a while) they just wouldn't move along on their own. The pitocin jump started things and kept me out of a c-section, especially with the first one.
    Great blog Jennifer - and the best upside could be that you've now pissed off Bart and he's out of here!

  4. I do wish more women would take a course on childbirth (although I'm shocked that E's SIL was scared INTO an epidural, usually women are scared OUT of epidurals after gaining some knowledge on the risks); but better yet, it should be a part of sex ed in school! And that's just the thing -you're right Jennifer, most women nowdays are just plain uneducated when it comes to the birthing process. We're a culture that has placed way too much [blind] trust in our OB/GYNs. But what we fail to remember is that obstetricians are SURGEONS, trained/schooled for SURGERIES. Most of them have never even attended a completely natural drug free birth (watch The Business of Being Born movie for interviews with some of these OB/GYNs) and have no idea how to handle a normal birth. Which is a whole other story in and of itself. Birth is different for every woman, every baby. Each child's birth story is as unique as fingerprints and snowflakes. But that fact tends to get lost in the hospital setting where doctors seem to want to be in control. Birth is not something to be controlled and when we start trying to control it, that's when things start going toward emergency c-section, Pitocin induction, and a myriad of other interventions.
    So yes, do your research. This is the most important day of your and your baby's lives. Why would you put more thought into buying a car (or carseat even) than you would into your birth?

  5. I am so glad to hear that some of you had wonderful childbirths. I'm sure all of you also had magical pregnancies with no morning sickness, headaches, cramping, or bloating as well. I know this sounds cynical, because it is, but some of us weren't as lucky and it had nothing to do with the "natural" progression of childbirth. My pregnancies were awesome, I was never sick, nor did I even have to practice much to get pregnant. Everything did seem very natural. The problem came when they wanted out of the womb. My oldest had the cord wrapped around her neck so as I pushed (naturally), she moved down, and when I relaxed (naturally) she moved back up. I still didn't have a c-section, but instead the doctor brought out the old fashioned forceps and pulled her out far enough he could cut her loose. If you can only imagine the pain I was in and the stress she was under being a yo-yo through the birth canal. If you would still call me a wimp for using the pain meds, then fine, I guess I am a wimp. I have never seen a newborn with the bruises she had and skin that color of blue, not to mention the bruises that went from my privates to my knees. No one gave me the option of the c-section even after being in active labor for 28 hours and wondering why things weren't moving. Now I am rambling and my blood pressure is through the roof. Sorry Jen, I love you a lot, but this is a very hot topic for me and is very personal and obviously a nerve has been hit because I'm not even making sense anymore.

  6. I do realize there are times when medical intervention is very necessary; in times when either mom or baby's health/livelihood/life may be in danger. I truly wrote this to the women (think Britney Spears and her elective c-sections) who jump right in without doing any sort of research or just believe whatever they're told. Sorry if I hit a nerve, as that wasn't the full intent of my post.

  7. Jenkins2, it's clear that what you and your baby went through was very traumatic and obviously something that is still very upsetting to you. To be honest, it sounds awful and it stinks that you and your little love had to go through that. I had a similarly awful birth experience with my first baby, as well as a scheduled c-section with my second. I am not upset by what Jennifer has said here though, I completely agree with her. I don't think she's knocking medical intervention as a whole, there are times when it is necessary, needed, life saving... the list goes on. There are however times when it is not, and I think sometimes women need to know their options and how to stand up for and have faith in themselves and their bodies.
    My first baby got stuck coming out. I pushed her for 3 1/2 hours. My birth was what they call a dry birth, it felt like someone was holding a lighter to my vagina. My baby was born, like yours, completely bruised, and quite frankly so was I. I ended up in physical therapy for more than a month after her birth as a means to recover from her birth. There was NOTHING positive about my birth experience except for the beautiful little girl I get to call mine. I should have gotten medical intervention! Someone should have helped me! I should have stood up for myself and said, STOP and HELP me.
    My second daughter was sideways. She was born by scheduled c-section, over all it was a great experience.
    Sorry to get so long, but my point here simply is that sometimes medical intervention is necessary and best. Overall though, birth is a natural process, unfortunately not enough women (who should be able to) let it be that.

  8. If I knew then what I know now, I would have trusted my body more. Trusted that it could do what it was supposed to and understood that my perception of pain was unique to me. As it was, I had awesome births with all three girls they were all epidural/pitocin cocktail babies, but I originally wanted to be drug-free. It just got to be too much for me. I think that my doubt came partly from the fact that I was the first of my "gang" to have a child. If I had some of our friends to watch and learn from (those hypno-birthing bishes) I would have attempted to go that route.

    We doubt ourselves too much.

  9. What!? Pushing? No. You are doing it wrong if you are pushing. You stand up while you are in labor and they just kinda fall out.

  10. One thing to add to the Brittany Spears thing is that she probably had a tummy tuck to go along with her c-section to try to keep her career alive. (Although she should have just let it go, in my opinion.) I do have to thank God and His graces for (even though the labors were extremely painful and miserable) my beautiful and amazing kids, ages 17 and 13. We made it through the worst (labor) and everything has been great ever since. My daughter (17) still treats me like she respects and loves me. Since I work with teenagers on a daily basis, the fact that she treats me like a human being with feelings, is the best "thank you" I could ever get for going through the agony of her entrance into the world.