Thoughts About Birth

As I’ve prepared for this birth by reading, writing, and thinking, I’ve come to realize that I have a long list of things that I don’t want to happen during labour. I don’t want any electronic fetal monitoring or vaginal examinations. I don’t want an epidural (or any other pain relief) or an episiotomy. I don’t want to receive IV treatment for GBS. I don’t want to deliver laying flat on my back. I don’t want a shot of oxytocin after the baby comes and I don’t want the placenta to be pulled out of my body. I don’t want the cord cut immediately and I don’t want the baby to receive eye drops or to be taken away from me for very long.

More than that, I don’t want to be confined to a tiny, strange room; to be examined, poked and prodded by strange people; to be told that such things must happen within such time limits. I don’t want more people than necessary at the birth, and when I think of a doula, on top of the doctor and nurse who’ll already be there, I think “no.” That’s another stranger, another person peering at me, another person within my space.

Birth is a private, intimate experience. In the latter stages of my first labour, I pulled into myself, into a dark place in my head where I could ignore the strangers around me, the ignominy of being naked and exposed, and simply focus on my body and my baby.

I gave birth to Sunshine flat on my back, despite the fact that in the months and days leading up to that birth, I thought that squatting would be the best position. When the time came, however, the midwife said “lay down” and I did. As I think about that, I realize that I dislike questioning authority. I’m used to doing as I’m told. So that even when I toured this hospital, with the intention of grilling staff to see if they would agree to all the things that I didn’t want to happen in this birth, I found myself unable to ask those questions.

I did finally meet Dr. O and she seems very nice—young, black, female. She shuddered when I mentioned episiotomies, reluctantly agreed to let me birth in any position I wanted (she said if I lay flat on my back, it’s easiest for her; I don’t really care what’s easiest for her—I’m the one pushing this baby out and laying flat on my back is NOT easiest for me), but was a bit more hesitant about avoiding the oxytocin shot (why are doctors so reluctant to let things happen naturally and to intervene only if necessary?).

When I think of the hospital, I think of all the things that I must fight for in order to have the birth experience that I want—the birth that I feel is best for both myself and my baby. And I know two things: number one, fighting is not going to help labour go well, and number two, I won’t fight. “Don’t rock the boat” is too ingrained in me and labour is not the time to be trying to explain to the doctor or nurses that in my research I found that… and thus I want…

So what do I want? I want to give birth in a quiet, comfortable place, where I can be relaxed and at peace instead of fearful or pressured; I want to trust my body and its ability to do what God created it to do to bring this baby into the world; I want to be free to labour wherever and in whatever position feels right at the time, and to deliver in whatever position feels right; and I want to catch my baby, to be the first to touch and hold him or her.

That’s what I want from this birth.

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  1. Nat May 4, 2010
  2. Koala Bear Writer May 4, 2010
  3. Carol J. Alexander May 3, 2010
  4. Krista Phillips May 3, 2010
  5. Koala Bear Writer May 3, 2010
  6. Emily May 3, 2010

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