Why I’m planning a natural childbirth
I realize nearly all my posts (especially on Instagram) have been about pregnancy. But baby brain is a real thing and when I try to write about anything else it feels forced and awkward, so bear with me a little longer on the baby posts. (Just a few weeks left!)
What I thought birth was like
When I found out I was pregnant, I started doing some research. I quickly realized how very little I knew about childbirth. The one-hour run down we got at my Midwestern middle school health class was completely inadequate and made it seem something like this:
- You get preggo ... which shouldn’t ever happen until you’re married because abstinence-only, right?
- You go to the hospital when your water breaks
- ... where your partner is shielded behind a magic sheet because God forbid he or she sees what’s happening on the other side.
- You get a magic shot,
- scream a few times
- and out comes a baby — a perfectly clean, Gerber baby.
That’s not how it works. There’s so much that happens before, after and in between. And there are so many options outside of the hospital.
Knowing the options (yes, there are options!)
If you’re thinking about having a child, know that you have options! And do some research.
There’s a stigma around midwives and at-home births that's really unfair. I admit that I bought into the stigma. I thought at-home births were unsafe and just for super duper hippies until I learned everything that goes into it. I believed an at-home birth meant you had an inadequately trained person delivering a baby in your bath tub. (That's not at all what happens.) Though I didn’t choose to have an at-home birth, I have a completely different view on them now.
A little bit about birth plans
When it comes to birth plans, moms get to choose how they deliver their child. Legally, their partners don’t have a say. Did you know that? Makes sense, seeing as it is the mom’s body, not the dad’s. I’ve discussed everything with my husband and respect what he has to say, but he knows that ultimately I have the final say in the birth plan.
My understanding of birth plans is that they’re meant to be flexible. They can completely change, sometimes due to circumstances outside of your control. I haven’t talked to a single mom whose delivery went exactly according to their birth plan. That being said, I am planning a natural childbirth at a freestanding birth center.
I didn’t even realize this was available before, so I’m sharing my personal reasoning that brought me to this decision.
Why I am planning a natural childbirth at a freestanding birth center
1. Hospitals give me anxiety
I get really uncomfortable in hospital and clinical settings. Like, major anxiety. I want the experience of bringing this child into the world to be sacred, and I don’t know that I could get in the right mindset at a hospital. That’s not to say it can’t be done — I know it can and many people do it — but for me personally, I felt much more comfortable in the birth center.
At my birth center (I’m not sure if this is exactly how all birth centers work), all of my prenatal appointments are with their team of midwives.
They ensure that I have appointments with all of the midwives and that I meet all of the nurses on staff because they have a hard rule that there are to be no strangers at your delivery. I like that. I mean, these people are going to see all of me in my most vulnerable state. I want to be comfortable with them.
2. I want the freedom to walk, eat and drink
I also love the calming environment at the birth center. I won't be hooked up to any beeping machines. I'll be able to walk around, get in the tub, eat a snack, drink water, etc. In a hospital with an epidural, you have to stay in the bed, connected to machines, and are only allowed to eat ice chips. I like the freedom the birth center offers.
3. I want an empowered birth
I don’t want to be a mere participant in this labor. Because I’ll be able to feel everything happening in my body, and because I’ll be at a birth center that supports natural childbirth and allows moms to call the shots, I feel like this will be an empowering experience … and the exact experience it is meant to be for myself and my baby.
I like that the midwives are on my team, and aren’t trying to coax me into a procedure or medication I’m not into (unless of course there’s a risk to me or baby’s health).
*This doesn't mean only natural childbirth is empowering. I mean, any way you bring life into the world has to be the most empowering experience ever. I just personally feel that the birth center will provide me with the most empowering experience ... for me. I'm not every momma. :)
4. Epidurals scare me
I don’t like not being able to feel or know what’s happening in my body. And I’m not comfortable with a needle going near my spine. Though the risk is minimal, epidurals can cause permanent damage to you and your baby. A friend of mine has chronic back pain from her epidural. No thank you.
There are also health benefits to mom and baby from having a natural childbirth.
That being said, I've never experienced a contraction. I cannot fathom what that pain feels like and I could come back in a couple months praising epidurals. We'll see.
5. I want this to be a sacred experience
Like mentioned earlier, I want this to be a sacred experience. I want it to happen as it’s supposed to.
I want to trust my body and listen to its signals — knowing when it’s time to push, when it’s time to be in the water, when it’s time to walk or bounce or breathe or chant.
I will be delivering a precious soul into this world, and I don’t want it to feel like a procedure. That's perhaps the biggest motivation in creating my birth plan.
This post isn’t meant to condemn hospitals. Or women who choose to deliver at hospitals. Not at all. I hope I've made that clear.
I know moms who have had wonderful experiences delivering at hospitals. And I’m open to the fact that I might have to deliver at one, and that if that’s the case I trust that all will be exactly as it’s supposed to.
I just want you to know that you have options. As a mom with a "normal" pregnancy, you can make empowered choices — whether that’s choosing a C-section at a hospital or a no-intervention, natural at-home birth. It’s 100% your choice and there’s not one “right” way.
Photo credit: Captured by Lani Michelle