Monday, April 5, 2010

Some stuff about pregnancy. And birth plans.

so guess what?...i'm going to write some more about pregnancy. wheeee!
my mother had natural childbirths with three of her four children. {she had an epidural with her final baby, my brother danny, due to the fact that she had to be induced.} because of this she has always painted a positive and empowering picture of natural childbirth and i grew up hearing about her awesome experiences. i have always just sort of planned on giving birth naturally and never even really considered the fact that i might want to get an epidural.
and then i got pregnant.
being pregnant and just thinking about one day being pregnant are two very different things. VERY. because when you are actually pregnant you start thinking thoughts like..."well crap, this baby is going to have to come out somehow." and also..."oh SHIZ, this baby is going to have to COME OUT SOMEHOW!!!"
then you REALLY start weighing that whole natural childbirth thing. i did a LOT of weighing. and a lot of research. and a lot of talking to people who had actually done it. and it didn't take long for me to reaffirm to myself that i really did want to have this baby naturally barring any complications.
so b and i signed up for a hypnobabies class. and we aren't even vegans! i love hypnobabies and have learned a lot not only from the material and the instructor but from all of the awesome couples in the class who have had natural childbirths in the past. these people are intensely awesome and dedicated and SO knowledgeable. i just sit there in silence for three hours trying to soak up everything they have to say.
i have decided that i'm going to try and chronicle this whole natural childbirth journey on this little blog. and i'm going to keep it real. because that's how i roll. and maybe there might be someone out there in my position who could benefit from hearing the experiences of a completely clueless first timer go about the business of preparing for a natural childbirth. and i won't leave out the parts where it starts to hurt and i have to decide if i'm going to stick to my plan since i've already told so many people. hmm.
so that's the plan. i have lots to say. and lots to learn. and lots of questions to throw out in to the big, wide, interweb. and i would love to hear from all of you out there who have gone through birth...epidural free or not. because...i think birth is a huge and incredible and life altering experience no matter how you go about it. this is just the path that i have chosen to try and take. i, in no way, want to discount others incredible experiences of having a baby since every experience is unique and amazing in it's own way.
this week b and i are working on writing a birth plan. for anyone unfamiliar, a birth plan is a written outline of a woman's preferences for her labour and birth. the hypnobabies workbook has a really good outline of a birth plan and we also have some ideas for things that are important to us. but, i wanted to throw this out there and ask if anyone used a birth plan and if so...was it successful? was your doctor/midwife and nurses receptive to it? what did you include on your birth plan? what do you wish you had included? or...if you have never used a birthplan...what did you like or dislike about your last birth{s}? i would love to read any input or any info that anyone has on this subject whether you have given birth or not...with or without an epidural...c section...whatever.
one last thing...since i am preparing to go the natural route i would like to request that no negative birth stories or experiences be shared on this blog. i am, at this point, trying to only fill my head with positive thoughts.


Barb @ getupandplay said...

Oh, girl. I have a lot to say on this subject- I will send you an email. But for now, Way to go on choosing how you want your birth to be. I think that is the joy of being a woman in this time- we have so many choices available to us!

Anonymous said...

Way to go Andrea!!! I wish I had advice for you, but I am on the opposite spectrum. I would get an epidural 3 weeks before I go into labor if possible. Not because of bad experiences, just because I don't like pain and LOVE modern medicine. If I have a headache, I take tylenol. If I get a filling at the dentist, I get novocaine. If I feel tired, I eat sugar!! :) I'm just not very organic.

As far as a birth plan, the only stuff I have heard about it, is from Jotham. Seeing that he did OB/GYN for a year and has delivered over 70 babies, his overall consensus is that written birthing plans don't always stick to plan. Just be prepared and ok with that.

My sister has two kids. Wanted to go natural with both. Ended up going epidural with the first, natural with the second, but hired a dula for both. My sister said she could never do it without a dula. She loved having that help and support. Jotham also says that most women do better to go natural with a dula. I don't think they are overally expensive either.

Can't wait to continue to read about your journey! When are you due again?

Melissa Stringham said...

Good for you. I think the only way to get through labor without an epidural is if you plan on it well in advance. I think you need to be really prepared mentally because it does HURT and feel like nothing I've ever experienced.

I had an epidural with both of my labors. The first was amazing, it only numbed my abdominal muscles so I could still feel my legs and could still feel pressure, just no pain.

The second was a complete spinal block so I was numb from the waist down. This was not as nice of an experience because it slowed my labor and I didn't like being able to not feel anything.

Anyway, that is my experience with epidurals. I don't know if I will ever go epidural-free because I really enjoyed the pain relief, but I really admire people who can do it - and I know you can! Can't wait to hear about it.

Paula said...

I actually felt a little pretentious with my birth plan. I took it but was too embarrassed to hand it over, and even felt a little funny when we started playing ocean waves at sunset or distant thunder or whatever we had. My husband was my biggest advocate and when we wanted something to be done a little differently he would step in and ask for it. However, i put my faith in the staff for the most part trusting that we all wanted the same outcome. Happy mother, healthy baby. The best advice I ever received was just to listen to your body. If you can do it without relief, then go for it but I was also told not to try and be a hero because unlike pushing yourself the extra mile at the gym you don't get to rest at the finish line. In fact, the finish line is just the beginning and then next bit is not something you want to start flat out exhausted. However baby arrives it is the most incredible experience and whether you are drugged up, numb and peeing the bed or pushing and pooping as you go - you simply do not care. Sheer delirium. xxxxx

Marcus and Amy said...

I think it is awesome that you are going the natural route! I like you, talked to a lot of people when I got pregnant and tried to decide if I could do it without an epidural. I got a lot of different opinions.

My aunt gave me the best advice out of everyone, your first child birth comes with a lot of "unknowns" - so get an epidural for your first and then try it natural for your other babies, that way you know what to expect and you will have a better idea of how your body handles going into labor and you also know what to expect at the hospital.

I thought, I will give it my best shot and see how long I can handle it w/out the epidural and if I can do it, great, if I can't well I gave it my best shot! If it got to the point when I wanted one but it was too late, well, just like you said the baby has to come out and at that point, how worse can the pain get!?

When my doctor asked what I wanted to do, Marc was quick to answer..."She will get an epidural!" (I guess he knows me and knows I don't handle pain very well)

We also took a 6 week birthing class, and I loved it. It was very helpful and informative. I too planned on doing a birth plan, what changed that idea for me was the one piece of advice that the nurse/teacher gave and I really took it to heart - "Go with the flow". She wasn't saying don't have a birthing plan. She was saying, as a labor and delivery nurse sometimes things don't always go as planned and just don't be so stressed if plans change or don't go your way. I thought that was good advice, and for my unique situation - it really helped me to keep that in mind the TWO times I was induced and then wheeled into the operation room for a ER c-section and surgery - all for one baby!

But yes I got an epidural - twice! The 1st time I was induced I made it only to a 2, and the reason I got an epidural was because they kept checking my cervix (which was still high and posterior) and that was SOOOOO painful! If the nurses were going to stick there hands up there one more time!! I didn't want to feel it!

The same with the 2nd time I went in, I didn't want to feel them checking my cervix over and over. And as it turns out, I would have gotten one anyway cause I ended up with a C-section.

Anyway, now I won't ever get to try labor again! All my deliveries have to be C-section from now on (for various reasons) - one of which is my pelvic bone is too small.

I say do it! Try it natural, have a birthing plan mapped out and if things change, don't stress, just go with the flow! I never imagined when I got pregnant that I would have to be induced 2 times then labor for 4 hours only to end up having a c-section, I just went with it and was happy and blessed that I live in a time with such great medical advancements and help and that I delivered a healthy baby!

I am excited to read about what you plan on doing and your birthing plan! The whole process, pregnany to birth is so amazing and such an adventure! Good luck and I hope I helped!

Dustin and Whit said...

I think that is great- my mom had me naturally and it was her best experience, she said it was the fastest healing process out of all 5 kids! I think for me, if I would have had a birth plan, it would have had to go out the window because things just didn't go as planned (not that i was planning on going natural anyway), but I had a great experience with my epidural, and was still able to feel everything, but without the pain. I also really enjoyed sleeping through the whole 12 hours of labor, it was the best sleep i had in months! I say way to go and power to you for taking the road less traveled and I am eager to hear all about everything you learn and how it goes - who knows, maybe i will brave it next time around :)

Meg said...

I am so excited to learn from you and your experience. I love the advice that you just need to go with the flow. I think it is so easy to freak out and be disappointed if everything doesn't go exactly as planned...which is usually how life goes. But I know you can do this, and I know it will be amazing. I had never really heard of a birth plan before we talked about it, but I love the idea of one. I think it could be a lot of help to just keep you focused. I can't wait for the rest of this awesome journey! And no matter how it goes it will all be worth it because we get a sweet little bebee at the end. Love you Sarser!

Meg said...

Also - I agree with Barb! We are so lucky to have so many options available to us, and how wonderful it is to get to choose our own path. Hooray.

Melanie said...

You are one brave woman. I had an epidural and I loved every second of it. My reason? For one I don't have a high pain tolerance whatsoever. And two, I really wanted to be able to enjoy the whole experience. I was completely coherent and could still feel what was going on. I just couldn't feel that much pain with the medication.

I'll be honest, I don't understand why anyone would not want an epidural. Maybe because I've never really heard any good experiences and my mom had them with all of her kids. HOWEVER...I don't want to discourage you from your decision. It sounds like you've talked to lots of women including your own mom and have made the choice that works for you.

I didn't have a birth plan. I'm not exactly sure what that is? Grace was born a month early and we were not prepared AT ALL. I had just barely had my first birthing class a few nights before she was born. I guess what I'm trying to say is you never know what is going to happen. Just try not to worry about it or you will drive yourself crazy. The doctors and nurses deal with everything all day every day. I put my complete trust in them.

aimee said...

Excited to hear your thoughts. I am going to be birthing naturally too at a birthing center so it will be fun to have you lead the way for me :)

Kate said...

First off CONGRATS on having a girl! And you look so cute with your baby bump... has it really been that long since I've seen you? Last time I don't think I even knew you were preggers. Well good luck with the birth plan, I laughed out loud when you said you signed up for a hypnobabies class and weren't even vegan. ha ha hopefully I'll be seeing you sometime soon :)

Jen said...

I loooved the whole birthing class thing (even though it wasn't for the natural route) just makes you get all giddy and excited for that bebe to come! :) I am an epidural woman myself...I like watching movies and napping and reading magazines during is like a break! :) My MIL had 9 of her 10 natural and 3 at home, though, and it worked for her. I would say...write a birthing plan expecting that the exact opposite will happen :) - in general that is how everything with kids works. hehe! That's why we love them.

naezandkidz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
naezandkidz said...

I think it is so cool that you are planning on going natural...My vote is go into labor on your own if you can. I got induced with Addy and yeah well I wont say how that went.. LOL...but Cooper my water broke and it went so easy and I actually got to enjoy it. I got an epidural cause I am a wimp with pain LOL...I think you will do great!! But dont feel bad if you change your mind...thats why its there so if you need it. :)

naezandkidz said...

P.S. I did the birth class and loved it!! I think it helps with the fears of everything and helps you know what to know what is going to happen. :)

Ali said...

I applaud your decision! I agree with Melissa; I imagine that total mental preparation ahead of time is needed when wanting to go natural!

Like you, I researched my brains out during each pregnancy. Andrew and I attended a standard six week course. The decision to have an epidural came easy for me. I think it was decided when I was ten (j/k). My sisters and sister in laws were my greatest influence (not all had epidurals) when considering my options.

I had two beautiful and incredibly positive birth experiences. Physically, the epidural provided me the chance to rest before I had to push those babies out and I don't know if I would have had the strength (with Eliza) to do it without that time to re-energize. I'm not the athletic type but have to say that I felt like SUCH A CHAMPION after giving birth. GO ME!! I kept thinking!! I still felt each sensation, knew when to push, etc. I had the epidural, but I still felt brave.

Other women have mentioned to be flexible with a birth plan because there are always a few hidden surprises. Before having Eliza, I took the idea of "a birth plan" seriously. For example, I was certain that it would ONLY be me and Andrew in the room.

The time came and I was asked if an EMT in training could witness my birth. I felt no pressure whatsoever to agree. Surprise my spouse, I felt TOTALLY OKAY with that. So, some random man person was there witnessing one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I wasn't paying attention to him. I was told after delivery that he'd been denied by 11 other laboring Mom's (he'd been there all day) which I totally get and respect. I felt pleased I'd said yes. Also, my Mom and Mother in law were both there, which again, I had assumed I would not want them in there at all. But when the time came, I was in such a pleasant state that I totally wanted them there.

My concern is for women who are dead set against medical intervention, and when or if it becomes necessary, they feel guilty or feel as though they failed, when in reality the most important thing is safely bringing your baby into the world. No mother should feel like a failure and let those unjust feelings interfere with that most amazing of moments.

As I prepare for round #3, my greatest concern (at the moment) is what I'm going to do with my older two children when the time comes to deliver! Who is going to come to my house in the middle of the night when I go into labor!?! Ahhhhhhhh!

Anonymous said...

my sister-in-law did the hypnobirth thing and LOVED it. I, however, have extremely long labors (36 hrs with my first!) I wanted to go as long as I could but after 24 hours I gave in and had an epidural. I think that the mental prep that the classes give you is AWESOME, BUT don't feel bad if you end up using an epidural...I'm kind of with Ruth...Heavenly Father created modern medicine for a reason and an epidural doesn't take ANYTHING away from the experience :)

Erin said...

I think your positive thinking is going to make your experience that much better- no matter how it actually goes.
Me, on the other hand... I had mine c-section and it was an absolute breeze!!! I am totally afraid of pain and was planning on an epidural from the start, but I've heard of people doing the hypnobirthing and loved it. (I think they also were able to stop smoking as well. hee hee) Enjoy it, whatever happens!!!

Anonymous said...

I totally get it. I would have loved to try it too (if I hadn't had the c-section)... And my mom had an epidural for baby #1 and HATED it. So she went natural for babies 2,3,4 & 5. So yeah, there are people out there who hate epidurals.

And by the way, you will totally rock the natural child birth. You will be so much more calm and in control than you give yourself credit for. Your mind is a powerful thing :).

jen hulet said...

If I were doing it again, I would go natural. I think you feel better sooner without it, and I've heard amazing things about hypnobabies. I'm excited to read what you learn from the experience:)!! If you do decide on a Dula I know a great one!

kl said...

Okay girly, like-a you-a need-a anymore-a advice -a (listen, making fun of my crappy blogging misspellings and jabber, so not cool)! jk...but anyway I went with the epidurals. Which kind of freaked me out - - the big needle they jab jab jab into your back, you know...after that though, it was a great time. And I had control, to a point, how much of the meds I wanted to give myself. I recovered well, and I could still feel the baby coming, just not as painful as natural.
Now, I have two sisters who go 'a natural', got it? My older sister has had 3 babies using a midwife to help her along. Her last one she actually had at home, in her bathtub, and delivered herself cause her baby basically shot out of her quicker than expected!! No complications, ever. She HATED the hospital. The nurses, they are trained one way, and it's not for the naturals. They just ticked her off too much, so she's done with that scene.
Now, my younger sister, has had one, natural at the hospital. She's a nurse, so she was cordial with the nurses, and they kind of let her do her thing. However, she thought to herself while going through the ring of fire, what the hell am I doing?! So, she doesn't know if she's doing it again, but who knows. ANd, mind you, she had a ten pound baby!!
Recovery and postpartum was pretty much the same for all of us. So I don't really believe all the "hoopla" about going natural is the only way to recover quicker, and bond best with the baby, and so on and so forth...based on our experiences!
Just have a good doc, midwife, or whatever and you'll be good to go.

Amanda the Couch said...

so here's my two cents:

1) my FOUR epidurlas didn't work = epidurals aren't magic and sometimes they don't work and can make the experience miserable. (i eventually had to have a c-section with a spinal block that DID end up working)

2)one of my very best friends has two kids. her first baby she had an epidural after hours of hard back labor. her second baby no drugs at all her exact quote was "it hurt like hell, BUT i felt AMAZING after" she also said she will go natural with all of other kids.

3)my mother in law had 8 babies (she would have had ten if her dr. wouldn't have told her she was done :) ) SIX of her eight babies were natural and she loved going natural. Her thought was that it's hard but really that's WHAT your body is made to do.

4)GO FOR IT! We as women are amazing creatures and this IS what our bodies are intended to do. You can totally handle it and you will be that much stronger after.

good luck!