So I know that trying to plan your birth can be a difficult task. A birth plan insinuates that you have control over how your labor unfolds, which is just not possible. However, while we can't control how our body will behave during birth, we can control how we, as birthing mothers, are treated; and we have every right to have preferences for our care. This can be a difficult thing to take ownership of. I know I'm afraid that stating my intentions might be jinxing it or setting myself up for disappointment. There is also the worry over the perception that if your birth plan isn't purely "whatever it takes to have a healthy baby" that your baby's health isn't your priority. This article puts it very eloquently.
Now before I share my own birth intentions, I would like to say that I think that any and all birth choices are valid and totally personal. My birth preferences are mostly informed by my own prior experience, which was quite wonderful, but ultimately not totally ideal. What I am getting at is that while Jude's birth was in no way a "chain of negative interventions", I was left with a list of things I'd like to do differently next time. Namely, I was left with a horrible headache from the epidural, and I also ended up with an episiotomy that became an epic tear - both made recovery more difficult than I'd expected.
I am at once nervous and excited, here are my hopes for a Drug-free (natural is WAY too loaded a term for me) Hospital Birth:
- I would like to labor as long as possible at home.
- I would like to avoid pain medication and not have it offered to me.
- I would prefer to skip (if not medically necessary): IV fluids, pitocin, episiotomy, vacuum extraction, and it goes without saying, a c-section.
That's pretty much it. I want to trust more than just my doctor and nurses, I also want to trust my body. My hope is that I look back on this birth as an empowering experience. And I can promise you one thing, when I feel like pushing, that is what I'll be doing even it means Jason has to play catcher!
So with the drug-free goal in mind, I have been doing a lot of research. My friend Lacy of Living on Love wrote a wonderful post that I found very helpful, and I have turned to the following three books for guidance.
What I loved: I love how positive this book is, and I think it gives a lot of great techniques for coping with pain. I also thought the section for the birth partners/fathers was excellent and very helpful. Reading this book made me feel confident and excited about attempting a drug-free birth.
What I skipped: The really crunchy art exploration wasn't for me; although, I think if I had suffered a traumatic first birth, it could have been very helpful. You've got to have an open mind, especially when it comes to the visuals in this one.
What I loved: I love the focus on letting go of fear and working with your body. I find the cd very relaxing, think guided meditation with a birthing focus. I also like that you are encouraged to think positively about your upcoming birth and avoid horror stories that don't help that positive frame of mind. The focus on trying to remain relaxed is appealing to me.
What I skipped: I didn't like the implication that if birth hurts, you are doing it wrong. I also refuse to believe that this is the only method you need for coping with that "imaginary" pain. Lastly, there seem to be some pretty silly and overly broad claims that run counter to the whole "relaxation" message, so I simply chose to ignore those and work on adding guided meditation/self-hypnosis as a tool in my pain coping tool box.
What I loved: The relaxed positive non-preachy vibe of this book is wonderful. The birth stories made me feel excited and confident about my own birth. Also, this book specifically focuses on achieving the birth you want in a hospital setting.
What I skipped: I won't be hiring a doula, even though this book makes a great case for having one. Not only can we not really afford one, I already know that I am a "less people the better" kind of gal.
Is there a book I absolutely must read? Please share, I've still got three weeks and a little extra help never hurt!
* These are affiliate links, if you make a purchase after clicking this link, I make a tiny commission, thanks! Also, I was given a copy of Unbound Birth, but as always all opinions are my own.