this week marks the 15th week of my pregnancy. this will be my 4th pregnancy experience, and (Lord-willing) hopefully the 3rd pregnancy that i will carry to full-term.
thinking back to the very 1st time i got pregnant, i had no idea that i would end up choosing the natural birth route...for both babies. i hadn't even heard of a midwife until i became pregnant. i was pretty much unaware, uneducated and ignorant to much of the information and options out there about pregnancy and childbirth. the only thing i knew about childbirth was from what i saw on TV, like TLC's a baby story or from fictional movies involving unrealistic depictions of a mother giving birth. the majority of what i saw were women in s.e.r.i.o.u.s. PAIN. screaming and grunting their heads off in a hospital bed, looking stressed out of their minds. yeah...that really made me look forward to labor.
deciding to choose a midwife for my first pregnancy was purely accidental (well, i suppose it wasn't, since i now see it was part of God's plan all along). i got pregnant w/ emma when we just moved to the cleveland area. i had no clue who to see, and upon the reccomendation of my mother-in-law i was told to check out dr. marjorie greenfield. as it turned out, she no longer did deliveries so i had to find another option. fortunately, the receptionist referred me to ellen margles, a nurse-midwife that practiced in the same hospital/office as dr. greenfield. she was available when i was available, and the journey towards natural childbirth began from there.
[on a side note which might be TMI for some of you, i have never seen a dr. for any of my gynecological check-ups prior to being pregnant. i've always seen a nurse, so deciding to choose a nurse-midwife for my prenatal and childbirth needs didn't seem too far of a stretch for me.]
since midwives were quite foreign to me, i decided to do my research. there was certainly a wealth of information about midwives online, which then led me to do more research on pregnancy and the childbirth process. one of the most helpful books i came across (thanks to a kind friend) was pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn. they were very thorough (as thorough as a "guide" book can be) on all aspects of childbirth from covering pain managment (natural and medicated options) during labor to cesarean sections. understanding the scientific process behind childbirth and the purpose for all those labor pains gave me a new perspective on giving birth.
additionally, i spoke with mamas about their own personal chidlbirth experiences, and read lots and lots of birth stories from here and here. i think that really led me down the road to natural childbirth, and prepared me for what to truly expect when the big day arrived. of course, it also helped that i had a very supportive care provider who had years of experience in her profession and was herself an amazing resource for childbirth education.
i didn't wake up one day and decided: "i'm going to deliver naturally." it was certainly a combination of different factors. there was the research...those photos of women getting epidurals FREAKED me out (seriously, go look them up). a needle going up your spine? no. thanks. i wasn't willing to take the risk (even if it is just 1%) and have some of the side-effects that could be associated with them.
then there was the spiritual aspect. how would i cope with the pain, especially if it's severe, without any medications? i think the Lord really led me down this path of natural childbirth so that i can draw closer to him. it may sound silly, but meditating on his word and leaning on him for strength was what i needed to get through labor and deliver my babies. it was so surreal. indescribable. i am so thankful for where all that research has taken me.
i didn't choose natural childbirth to prove myself something. i didn't choose natural childbirth as some sort of rite of passage. i didn't choose natural childbirth so that i could have bragging rights or make others feel bad that they didn't have the same opportunity. although i am a strong advocate for allowing women to have the option of natural childbirth made easily available to them particularly in the hospital setting (i have my views on this somewhat touchy subject...but i'll save that for another post), i am not here to judge on other women's birhting choices. after delivering 2 babies naturally, i have come to realize that my choice in natural childbirth is a way for me to give God all the glory. he deserves all the credit for seeing me through to the end. and i know that he will be with me (through the pain, through the sweat, through the trials of labor) when the time comes for me to meet this wee one.