Friday, August 7, 2009

Unmedicated Birth

I have chosen an unmediated labor and birth. I did it the first time and will do it again this time (unless there is a real medical emergency).

I wasn't always into this. At one point I was "leave the medical decisions to the Dr.s...I'll just do whatever they tell me to do" type. And then I started to read, and question, and learn. I friend of mine was a few weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy. She was doing the Bradly Method. We were walking buddies and I started to ask her lots of questions. She never judged, got preachy, or lectured. She simply relayed factual information. The more I learned the more I wanted to know.

There are many very good reasons for choosing the unmediated option. For me, I think the most compelling is that I think it's the safest option for the baby. This is not be judgmental and preachy to those who choose to medicate the route. Believe me...I understand pain and I do not like it. (read my 1st labor story in an upcoming post).

This is why I believe in unmediated labor and birth:

Every intervention is statistically more likely to lead to the next intervention. Induction leads to epidurals. Epidurals can make labor longer. Longer labors exhaust the mother. Exhausted mothers cave into pressure for other interventions such as vacuums, c-sections. Please don't comment about yours or some else's individual experience. I am talking about the actual evidence. Individual experience if fine but when making medical decisions one should consider the actual medical studies not your friend's, cousin's experience.

There is a reason why unmediated labors do not end up in c-sections as often as medicated ones. Again, not judging...just stating facts. While c-sections are considered routine nowadays it's still major surgery and entails risks to both mother and baby. I am sometimes amazed that the same pregnant ladies who wont let a drop of caffeine pass their lips just go head and let Dr.'s do things to them that they don't know the risks of. I understand that we are lead to trust our Dr.s and discouraged to ask questions. They are the authority figure. We are the novice. But we'll check the ingredients of baby food, watch for re-call information on our car seats but when it comes to birth we literally lay back and let someone else make the decisions without understanding what is being done and what the risks are.

I am not a granola eating, hairy-legged hippie-chick as we or often judged to be. Although I do eat granola a lot...but that's just because I need a snack and it's better for me the Oreos....and my legs have not been shaved in months...but that's just because I can't see or reach them and I just don't care.

You don't have to be "granola" to choose unmediated birth (Although I do wonder what's so bad about being granola anyhow). I am also aware that I am sounding like I need to defend my decision. As much as those who choose medicated labor feel judged, on the Internets and in person I have found much more judgment and dismissiveness of those of us who choose unmediated labors. So much so that I even hide the fact that this is my choice because I get instant judgment and disapproval 9 times out of 10.

I just think women need to make an educated choice. If you have done your homework, know the risks and feel medicated birth is the best option for you and your baby then more power to you. What I take umbrage with is when women who have never done any research are dismissive and judgmental of those of us who do choose unmediated births. I know you feel judged but I gotta goes both ways.

Now, I love you all. Kiss, kiss. Do your thing and let's not worry about what other people think.


Riley said...

Thanks for sharing - if this actually ends up working for me, sounds like I have a lot of research to do. You are right - I'm one of those who would probably be obsessive about what I fed my baby etc but I have never put much thought into the birth process (even though I did have granola on my yogurt this morning!). Good luck with your unmedicated birth - hope everything goes smoothly for you.

Danaly said...

You can do it! That whole thing about the second time around being easier is NOT a myth! I'm sure there are exceptions but it was true for me and so many others. Will be praying for you! - D.
p.s. miss our walks!

Birdee said...

Can I just copy and paste this on my blog, ::wink::. You speak from my heart. (Always seem too).
I too am having an unmediated birth (my choice to be in a hospital for if things change). But I totally agree with how one intervention leads to another and another. I'm sooo very cautious on what and where I talk about my feelings on this subject because ppl's first initial reactions are to judge me. I don’t throw red paint on some woman wearing a fur coat, and I don’t talk about the risks of interventions to a woman who is all about the drugs. yet it is so easy for people to just automatically treat me like I'm the crazy one for choosing "Natural" and not "Normal". I too hide (but obviously not enough) the fact that I'm going natural.
I say all the time, I don’t judge the choice a woman makes, even if it's an elective c-section, I just hope she realizes she has a choice and is the one making it. Even when things change, there are still choices you can make if you’re informed of what they are.

Peeveme said...

Danaly, You know you are my role model. I know what they say about 2nd births and hope it's true for me.

Best When Used By said...

I'm glad you wrote about this topic. Every pregnant woman should at least THINK about her choices. I think it's a personal choice and no one "camp" should bash or make the other camp feel badly for their decision. Same is true with breastfeeding, for that matter. Of course someone who would schedule a C-section for her own convenience would probably not be the type of person I'd have as a friend anyway, but it's still her and her doctor's choice.

I'd like to hope that I would be brave enough to have an unmedicated birth. I'm just not sure that I am. I also wholeheartedly believe that in the event of the slightest problem, a hospital is the safest place to be. Oxygen, IV lines and lots of knowledgeable hands when needed. I know lots of people are into the home birthing experience, but just as you mentioned that unmedicated birth is best for the infant, so too I think women should choose to give birth WHERE it is safest. My belief is that the birth is not about me or my experience - it's about bringing that baby safely into the world.

Sorry I went off a bit, but it's such a good conversation topic!

Best of luck to you! I hope the easier second birth thing is true for you.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. Do your thang, girlfriend! Good luck!!

To A T said...

We are choosing unmedicated as well and it's AMAZING how many negative comments I've gotten. Like it's really up to ANYONE else how I birth this baby! Gah!

Thanks for sharing this! ;-)

LaceFace said...

Ah yes, the debate rages on. At the end of the day it's about what's best for you and your baby. I wish women would just stop judging one another's decisions and just accept that what one woman does is not what all women should do. Unfortunately, it extends to childhood also when mommies are judged for working or not working, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, the list goes on and on...

Anonymous said...

My sister had an unmedicated labor and she loved it.

I would really like to be able to do the same - and that was always my plan.

I have been reading about twin pregnancies and the fact that they always want you to have an epidural due to the possibility of an ER c-section. So I am a bit crushed about that. I am assuming that these two will make it by writing the above - huge step for me!

The bottom line is that I too want to do what is best for my baby(ies) and I have a TON of research to do on twin deliveries.

I fully support you and cannot wait for the birth story!

edie & ella said...

As a nurse (not OB but still) I appreciate patients like you. F'em if they want to judge's your body and your baby and you MUST do what is best for you. I agree that people tend to hold Dr's way way up there forgetting that they are human. And often think they are godlike know it alls.........
Your point is awesome...DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! sam

Anonymous said...

You go girl! I think the path of least intervention is always best. And of course, if there is a NEED for intervention, I'm all for that too. Thank God we live in an age where we have a CHOICE about our medical care. Good for you researching the options. Hopefully I'll be able to be in your shoes soon!

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

(that was me^^ need to clarify myself!)

I think that sometimes those who announce their choice to have an unmedicated birth feel judged because of people like me, who feel like when I say the word "c-section", there's suddenly this desire to "educate" me, and thus, when I hear someone say, "I choose to have an unmedicated birth," I brace my self for the onslaught of "education", which usually comes in the form of stats to convince me that I am making a bad choice for my (future) baby by saying that I would openly consider a "c-section".

Announcing one's birth plan is almost never just a sharing of information-- it's taking a stance on one side of this debate or the other, and it's generally an invitation to start a conversation of some sort wherein one side or the other can attempt get the upper hand. And I don't like that aspect of it at all.

Additionally, the constant implication is that if you choose a c-section, it's because you're totally passive in your medical care. (As a matter of fact, after reading your post, that's the strongest impression I got, which is that it must be somehow true that the vast majority of women who have c-sections have not been active in their medical care, that they are letting their doctor's call all the shots because they chose not to inform themselves-- that might be the wrong impression, but that's the impression I got) In my instance, maybe I don't want to have a conversation with my natural birthing friend about the inner workings of my anus and how much devastation pushing a baby out of my vagina could cause in that region, and how I know what it feels like to have a non-healing tear in that area, how for years and years now my life has been ruled by this injury. So it is with the utmost education that I (if I ever manage to get pregnant) would gladly choose a c-section. It's just offensive to me, because I am *very* granola, and it would be lovely to have an "earth mother" birth experience, but that is not realistic for my body, and for someone to further imply that I did so because I think being granola is bad, or that I just passively let my doctor make the decision for me is just untrue, and a little hurtful.

I don't mean to make this personal as it pertains to my specific choice, but I just mean to point out that there is a fair amount of judging going on on both sides of the aisle. And if we want people to respect our individual choices, we ALL have to get a little less defensive. And we have to quit making judgements of people's level of education on the topic of child-rearing choices. I know it's hard because we like to assume that people would only disagree with us if they didn't have all the facts, that if they just *knew* they would make the right choice. And we have to take a step back from that line of thinking because it's an arrogant one. It is possible to be very educated on the topic and *still* come to different conclusions. If we want our choice to be accepted, we have to be willing to fully accept other's choices without conditions. In my circle of friends, I am the odd one out, so maybe I just feel the need to point out this perspective because I guess it is so rare to actually *choose* a c-section.

I wish you all the best as your pregnancy comes to it's end. I think you are incredibly brave and strong to make this choice (and to start this conversation here on your blog) about your plan to go natural.

KS said...

I hope (hope, hope) I have your strength should I ever get to experience labour! You made some really good points, and I have witnessed the spiral of intervention myself... It starts small, and ends in the OR... All the best to you!

nancy said...

i did it three times. you can do it again (although I know you already know this!)

Of course, had a fucking epidural WORKED on me (lower back injury's scar tissue made it impossible) I'd of totally opted for it. :)

you. go. girl.

onwardandsideways said...

Your post makes me chuckle because I was talking about wanting to have the option of an epidural IF I need it (I'm not into pain, at all, for any reason) on another forum and boy, did I get slammed by women, including them sending me pdfs of why I should choose natural birth, etc.

So... it happens on both sides.

It's a personal choice and needs to be treated as such. Nobody but me knows what's right for my body, or my baby, thank you very much.