The Lost Art of Parenting – Birth Matters

My second thought on the Lost Art of Parenting is this:

Let’s greet our children the natural way. Basically, I feel it is important to give babies the gift of a natural, uninhibited birth when possible. This can be a difficult subject to discuss, especially because many mothers experience complications that keep them from having a natural birth. However, there are some ways to remedy many of the complications and I think it’s worth the time and effort to investigate each option.

In most cases, there are several types of birthers – those that choose to go the medical route, those that choose to completely forgo all medical options, and those that find themselves somewhere in the middle (using a midwife at a hospital, giving birth at a birth center with the option of medication, etc).

There is also another, less-discussed group of birthers. They are the women who are aware of the benefits of natural birth but for one reason or another, simply aren’t comfortable being without the option of medication/OB observation/other medical professionals. They opt for a birth in a medical setting but are educated on the effects of medications and choose remedies wisely. 

Personally, I prefer the natural, uninhibited setting. For those of you who have chosen or are choosing otherwise, please understand that this post is not meant to judge. It is merely a topic of discussion; it is a place where we can all hopefully gain a better understanding of the value of welcoming our children into this world in a way that promotes health for both mother and baby.

Before I say anything else, let me just say this: we, as women, are created to bring forth children. When we become pregnant, it is not a “medical problem” to be fixed. It is a natural, healthy process and our bodies are totally equipped to handle it! With a great diet, plenty of exercise, rest, and emotional support, most women do quite well without medical intervention. It’s also helpful if the woman was healthy before becoming pregnant. Some women do end up needing medications, doctor observation, and/or cesarean sections, and of course, there’s a time and a place for those things – high risk pregnancies are real!

The issue here is this: we, as a culture, have turned far from the idea that pregnancy and childbirth are normal, natural occurrences. They aren’t scary! They are beautiful, mysterious, and they give the mother a wonderful opportunity to learn to listen to her body. Welcoming our children into this world as naturally as possible is a wonderful gift. I highly recommend it (by the way, if you’d like to read Jack’s birth story, go here)!

I have never before marveled at the mystery of God’s love and power as much as I did while I was pregnant and, even more so, while giving birth to Jack. There is something so inexplicably amazing about the entire process and result. I was not a natural birther from the start – no, I wanted options. I chose to go with a group of midwives in an OB practice at a large hospital in Houston. At first, I found my appointments to be exactly what I expected – not very personal, lots of talk about not gaining too much weight, and paperwork. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I wasn’t getting the kind of care I wanted. Why was everyone so business-like? Why did they care so much about those two pounds I gained? Am I sure I am okay with possibly being seen by a midwife I’ve never even met when it’s time to have the baby?

Those questions rolled around in my head for a few months, but the real moment of decision came when I was visiting my parents in California. I was 7 & 1/2 months pregnant. I was sitting by the pool when I noticed my heart was racing. My blood pressure shot up and I felt weak. I called the midwife office and connected to the “if you’re in labor or are experiencing an emergency, press 0” line, and no one picked up. This happened twice. I ended up being okay after taking it easy for a while, but I knew as soon as I hung up the phone for the second time that I was done.

As soon as I got back to Texas, I began to research independent midwives. I found one in Pearland who owned and operated a birth center. She agreed to meet with me and I was thrilled. Ryan and I went to see her the next week and we couldn’t believe the difference! She was so kind and so interested in our hopes for Jack’s birth. She listened intently and never set a time limit on our appointment. She actually told us that she schedules at least an hour of personal time with each patient and never wears a watch because she wants her patients to feel free to relax and take their time. We were hooked. She didn’t care about weight gain (or lack thereof) as long as I agreed to keep a food journal, in order to ensure I was getting enough protein, etc. It was wonderful.

Each appointment with her flowed so easily. I felt safe, secure, and ready to give birth. She educated me on breastfeeding, on pain management, and on postpartum care. She held a birthing class in the center where we spent a whole day with a few other couples – she provided lunch and we just sat on a bunch of comfy couches while she calmy and thoroughly explained each process.

I have already posted a link above to Jack’s birth story, so please feel free to read it. I tell you all this to illustrate my point – when pregnancy and childbirth are viewed as natural occurrences as opposed to medical conditions, there is an ease with which they are handled. I believe it’s very important to consider all options – whether we ultimately decided to go with an OB, a certified nurse-midwife, an independent midwife, or unassisted – that’s our choice! That being said – I do believe we owe it to our children to ensure that they enter into this world free of risk. Natural choices such as foregoing medication, homebirthing, and even unassisted birth are a lot less risky than most might think. It’s time for us to take a deeper look into these things!

Next time around, I plan to homebirth. I’d like to go unassisted but Ryan isn’t sure if he’s comfortable with that idea. We may opt for an independent midwife, but ultimately, I hope to get to the point where we trust the Lord and our (sought after) knowledge enough to birth in an intimate, uninhibited environment (with a hospital nearby in case of an emergency, of course). After all, we created that baby – I’d like us to be the ones to greet it first, too! 🙂 

So what do you think? What is your experience with pregnancy and childbirth? Is there something you wish you’d done differently? Please share!

The Lost Art of Parenting – Let’s Talk

The Lost Art of Parenting – Wife, Then Mother

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7 Comments

Filed under on being a mama

7 responses to “The Lost Art of Parenting – Birth Matters

  1. I read your birth story! How beautiful. I love how you said “I don’t know HOW this is going to work.” That’s exactly what I was thinking, and I was still thinking it several days later when I looked at the size of my baby girl’s head 🙂 I had a hospital birth which luckily turned out okay (meaning Suzi was fine and I didn’t have a C-section) but I had an episiotomy. The doctor tried to do a vacuum extraction and that didn’t work because her head was too hairy. Next time I want a home birth. I think if I’d been able to get up off my back, the pushing process wouldn’t have taken so long and been so difficult!

  2. Katie Riddle

    First of all, for anyone pregnant or who eventually wants to be pregnant, I highly recommend watching, “The Business of Being Born.” It’s a documentary on childbirth, and they cover all sorts of births. VERY eye-opening.

    We’ve had all 4 babies at hospitals simply because it was more affordable with our insurance. We took Bradley classes (a 12-week course, 2 hours each) with our first and a refresher course with our second (by numbers 3 and 4, we felt pretty confident we’d remember what we learned). 🙂 All were thankfully unmedicated with no complications, though they did give me pitocin with Faith because they pumped me too full of IV fluid to give me the strep B antibiotics which stopped and reversed labor. All I gotta say is, the contractions were so intense from the pitocin that at 11:40am I prayed she’d be born by noon, because I wasn’t sure I could handle much more of those crazy-painful contractions (she was born at 11:59am).

    If we are blessed with more babes, since we’re now self-employed, we’ll probably have a home birth, though I don’t personally feel comfortable having one unassisted. I’m not a midwife, and until I am, I’d like to have someone who’s specialized in birthing to assist in any way necessary. But I know a family who had an unassisted birth (it was their 10th) and it went just fine!

    Anyway, really. Watch “The Business of Being Born.” It’s so worth it. 🙂

  3. faemom

    I wanted a water birth with my first child, but because my mom had complications with me (her first child), she made me promise to go to an OB-GYN. I love him; he;s one of the best, and if a friend of ours wasn’t working for him, I probably would never been able to get in because he’s so busy. But after my first birth, I realized I can’t handle pain very well, and returned to the hospital birth for my second pregnancy.

    I appluad every mother who can do it without pain medication. But that’s not me.

  4. I have been meaning to jump in on this post, but have been busy doing…not sure what…

    I am expecting my fourth in about a month and am looking forward to every aspect– even labor. With my first I went to a femal OB-GYN who I loved. I wrote up my birth plan which included moving freely and no meds, etc., but as soon as I got the hospital, they hooked me to the fetal monitor and had my lying on my back. I couldn’t handle the pain in that position and ended up with an epidural. 😦

    Fast forward to second pregnancy. Since I really did love my OB-GYN, I went back but the labor was the same thing again– interventions that led to more interventions that led to an epidural. Not exactly what I was hoping for.

    So with Baby #3, I decided to go for change. I found the closest midwife who is an hour away and started driving there for prenatals. I wrote my birth plan again and this time the midwife agreed and said the birth center would be all for it, too. When I went into labor, I stayed relaxed and confident for my natural labor. And this time I accomplished it with NO problems. What a high I was on after the baby was born. I honestly felt better and more chipper than after my pain-free births.

    This time I plan for more of the same and I’m not worried about the pain because I know it is managable with the right and natural conditions.

    Our bodies are meant to birth babies and if we have confidence that pregnancy is a normal, natural part of life, a natural labor is not out of our reach.

    I personally would love a home birth and I would even go with unassisted, but my husband is not so sure so I choose to honor him…

  5. geriatricmama

    Ahhh…. what a refreshing blog to read!

    I get very frustrated reading about new moms asking “when they can get their drugs” and BTDT moms telling them how horrible childbirth is.

    I can attest to having four pain-free natural childbirths, BECAUSE I WANTED THEM. The mind is an amazing tool, using modified hypnobirthing I had wonderful labors and could do it again and again.

    Yes, we need to acknowledge, as a nation, that childbirth is NOT a medical emergency 93% of the time. The Western Culture seems to think this – when most of the rest of the world knows better.

    Thank you for your beautiful blog.

  6. Pingback: The Lost Art of Parenting – Eat Right! « Mama Rissa’s Corner

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