Friday, April 12, 2013

Natural Childbirth: Why I Won't Be Drugged

It's time to come out - about childbirth.

For those who are close to me, you already know I believe natural unmedicated childbirth is best. It is how I intend to give birth to my growing baby. My mother did it in 1982 and I will do it 2013. Millions of women have done it in between, and millions more will do it after me.

The *only* reason I would change my mind is if there was a *medical need* to do anything else. When I say medical need, I don't mean they *think* the baby is big or that my pelvis is small (well, I mean, seriously that would be stupid. Have you seen my hips?). I mean situations such as the baby's heart rate is wonky or I'm bleeding and to ignore these things would result in the death of one or both of us. That is time for medical intervention. And I am absolutely for medical intervention when it is necessary. But when it's not?

I am not a wimp.

I am the kind of girl who was so impatient to get my ears pierced a third time at the age of 16 that I jammed earrings through my lobes without numbing - slowly.

I'm the kind of girl who decided 2 weeks before I needed to be there, that I would study abroad in Hungary without knowing the language or anything about the place.

I'm the kind of girl who at the age of 4 jumped off the top step to catch a floating envelop and broke her collar bone at the bottom because, I reasoned, I was light and small. I could totally catch it (I didn't, but it was a nice idea).

I am the kind of girl who put up with chronic TMJ pain and difficulty chewing until - with the help of my parents and world class surgeons - it was corrected through months of preparation, hours of major surgery, and 6 months of recovery.

I'm the kind of girl who would marry my best friend and then jump in a truck and move to a city I'd never seen just so he could get the best training he could to do the thing he loved (and I'd put up with that city for 2 yrs until I thought I'd go bonkers).

I am the kind of girl who told friends exactly what they needed to hear even if it meant I cost myself a friendship because no one else would say the thing that needed to be said.

I am not a wimp.

I am strong. I am powerful, and above all, I am a woman.

I know childbirth is intense. I know it is unexpected and things change mid-progress. I know it will be painful at times.

But it is also beautiful, wonderous, amazing, and brings me closer to the Creator than anything else in the world. And when I use this amazing power, at the end, I am given a precious gift - something unique and beautiful and wonderful - my baby.

I don't want anything to get between me and that time - certainly not a drug induced stupor. Christian asked me once what he should do if I asked for drugs, and I looked at him like he had 5 heads.

"No drugs."
"But what if you ask?"
"NO DRUGS! I want to feel everything."

He kind of smiled and nodded, though I could see it made him nervous. It is hard to watch someone you love go through something so physically intense. I can only imagine what will go through his mind during the process. Still, I know he'll respect my wishes. I know my midwives will respect my wishes. I know, short of real medical danger, I will stay in the beautiful birth center room, and see my baby for the first time, completely alert (if tired and hungry).

And when I picture how it will happen, I see that. I see myself holding my baby in the birth tub, letting him/her nurse the first time or falling asleep in my arms. Just picturing it is enough for me to feel my cheeks get sore from grinning. And I know this imagined picture will pale to the feelings of the real thing - like Dorothy stepping into Oz, everything will be in sharp color. I wouldn't be able to see that with an epidural. Medical interventions would keep things blurred and foggy. No thank you, I'll take the sharp focused picture every time.

So when someone asks me about my birth plan and questions the wisdom in going natural or my (ha! my!) fortitude, I will say this:

I know myself. I have no doubt in my ability. I'm powerful. I'm a woman. I was made to do this. You can't stop me.

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