To fully understand the importance of Parker’s birth story for me, we have to go back to Thomas’ birth.
Natural childbirth is not something I ever dreamed I would pursue. I always assumed I would be first in line for the epidural, please and thank you. However, when I became pregnant with Thomas, breastfeeding him was my number one priority. I saturated myself in research about nursing and getting the best start possible. I read over and over again in almost every resource that natural childbirth provided the best start to a great breastfeeding relationship. So I added natural childbirth to my plan.
How hard could it be? Women have been doing this for centuries.
I discussed my plans with my OB. I wrote and reviewed a birth plan with her. Michael and I attended child birth classes and practiced comfort measures and relaxation techniques. We prepared a labor bag full of tools to help me cope with the pain. We felt well prepared to get through this labor without medication.
We were not prepared for the push from my doctor to induce.
At 41 weeks, my doctor ordered a sonogram to check on the baby. The sonogram revealed “low fluid levels” (something a specialist had already ruled out at 25 weeks), and my blood pressure fluctuated significantly due to laying on my back so long for the sonogram. Those “symptoms” combine with the fact that I was completely “high and tight” despite being a week “overdue” caused my doctor to recommend an induction.
I was young. This was my first baby. I was far away from home and family. I didn’t know I could refuse, so I agreed.
Later that week, I was induced and my unmedicated delivery went out the window. Pitocin is the devil, and while I coped the best I could, I requested the epidural around 2:30 and received it about 4:30. I finally delivered Thomas after 2.5 hours of pushing and the threat of a c-section at 9:35 that evening.
Thankfully, he latched immediately and nursed for over an hour immediately after his birth. The lactation consultant said he was the best nurser on the floor that weekend (and lots of babies were born that weekend–immediately following one of the largest snow/ice storms Fort Worth had seen recently). Breastfeeding was off to a great start.
But my mind had been opened to natural childbirth.
After his birth, I began to research low fluid levels. I realized that the sonogram readings are subjective and my “number” (9) really wasn’t even considered low (<5 is). My induction was unnecessary. At this point, I committed myself to studying natural childbirth. I read research articles and birth stories. I talked with women who delivered naturally–both at home and in the hospital. The more I researched, the more I realized that I wanted a natural childbirth for more reasons than just an excellent start to breastfeeding–this was best for me and my baby.
For the next two years, I continued to research–determined that next time would be different.
How do you feel about your birth experiences? Have you considered or experienced natural childbirth?
If you have any questions about natural childbirth or breastfeeding feel free to leave them in the comments or email me at newlifesteward @ gmail . com (remove spaces). I plan to address these topics in more detail after I finish Parker’s birth story and would love to address your questions as best I can!
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