Childbirth is one of those things that we spend months planning for, but nobody really knows what kind of experience you will have. From the moment you find out that you are pregnant, you start thinking about labor. So many decisions and mixed feelings, but we try to make sense of it all by planning and believing things will go smooth.
For most of us, child labor is a scary thing because we are scared of the unknown and having little control over what can and may happen. I personally had two very complicated pregnancies that had me feeling like I was on a roller coaster ride all throughout. Fortunately for us, we ended up delivering 2 healthy baby boys at 37 weeks and my first birth was a natural birth. Not I am no super woman, I have to admit that I was more afraid of a needle in my back, than anything in the world and the worst part about my labor was the iv stick.
Aside from the unpredictability of child labor, the setting and healthcare providers play a major part in your labor. It is very hard to decide on natural labor in a hospital setting because they are just not designed for that. Childbirth is not treated very natural in a hospital setting and it feels more like a sickness than anything. Starting with the security check in, followed by biometrics and insurance check. Once you are put in a room, you start getting that feeling in your gut that this is not going to be a joy ride. The white walls with blue accents, the distinct strong hospital smell, the bright lights, the freezing temperatures, the unflattering open back gown, and the beeping sound of machines. All of these things are just some of the initial obstacles that you will encounter at your arrival, that will have even the most committed natural laborers wanting to turn back.
The labor room environment is a bit more comfortable, but the pain and unnecessary interventions are a constant torture added to your labor pains. I am ashamed to admit that I once told friends that natural child labor was not as bad as it sounds. To my defense, both of my child labors were less than 4 hours from first contraction to delivery and I did give in to the circumstances and fear of my second baby being too big to deliver naturally. My whole perspective towards natural child labor changed after I got to relive childbirth with my sister and started studying to become a child birth educator. I saw and almost felt all the anguish; 4 long hours of excruciating pain with strong contractions, lasting more than 30 seconds every 2 minutes and only at 4cm dilated. I couldn’t help, but just told her to do what was going to make her feel comfortable to bring into the world her precious baby girl.
Needless to say, she gave in to the pain and opted for an epidural. I am so glad that she did because her labor took an additional 4 hours of constant regular contractions and a long 40 minutes of pushing. The truth is that she was not prepared, nor did she have the support in a hospital setting to carry out her plan. I felt bad that I couldn’t support her fully in her natural birth plan, but at the same time I am grateful for the learning experience. I confirmed what I am learning in my course; that somewhere along the years, we were taken away our confidence and to an extent, the choice to give birth naturally.
Today, I am more committed than ever to helping other moms with support to voice their choices upfront and be allowed to birth naturally. Birth can be as natural and safe as possible, but we are not allowed to call all the shots. It is almost hard to believe that in this day and age; we are subject to hospital and our medical professional’s policies, when it comes to such a major event in our lives.
In the end, it is best to go with an open mind and the big picture at heart. “To bring your most precious gift into the world,” being as comfortable and happy to enjoy every second of it because it is all forgotten after you hear their first cry and hold them in your arms.
Here is a funny clip from an old movie that I came across in my child birth educator training and is a great parody on this subject: The Meaning of Life clip