Natural Childbirth

I’ve discovered a new fascination in my life: natural childbirth.
Having 3 vaginal births under my belt (wow, that was unexpectedly punny, you must admit), I would not characterize any of them as ‘natural’. All of them have been artificially induced for different reasons, the first had me laid up with an epidural for 7 hours, and the second two with an epidural administered only minutes before I felt the “I’ve got to push NOW!” urge – those epidurals didn’t do anything except make me angry at the anesthetist (and if you think I was ticked, you should hear Clay’s side of the story). Add to that pitocin, electronic fetal monitoring (constant with Bailey’s labour)….it all adds up to your typical hospital delivery, really. I thought it was all par for the course. This is, after all, modern medicine. This is modern day birth. With all the medical intervention involved in the birth of my 3 children, I look back and marvel at the gracious miracle that I never had to have a c-section.

I have to give credit to my cousin Lindsay, and friend Angie for making me take a step back and reconsider what I know about having a baby.
Lindsay, after the birth of her daughter, was convinced there had to be a better way than what is considered ‘normal’ in a hospital, so she set out to find what that was. When she read about The Bradley Method of natural childbirth, it made sense. So much sense that she learned all she could about it, and is now a certified instructor! She is passionate about pregnancy and birth, and if you want to know more about natural childbirth, taking a Bradley natural childbirth class would be worth your baby’s weight in gold.
Angie gave birth to her son at home, in a pool, with a midwife. She plans to do the same in a few months with her second baby. Honestly, I thought she was crazy. (I love you, Ang!) Never in a million years would I have considered doing something like that. But I then had to ask myself why? Why would I never do that? Because I didn’t know anything about it. The unknown is a scary thing. I was at Ang’s house to make supper for her when her midwife stopped in for a checkup. The contrast between this checkup and the type I was accustomed to with Healthy & Home visits was startling. Her midwife, immediately brought a sense of calm into the room. This was a woman who obviously had great respect for the process of birth, and for the instincts of a new mom. She made me want to know more. And it was very clear to me that Angie was anything but crazy for having chosen the kind of birth she did.

I got the documentary The Business of Being Born from the library. I know this is about American health care, and I know the Canadian system is different. To a degree. But whether our health care system does what it does for monetary reasons like the US, or just for the sake of being efficient with time, the outcome is the same. Most women give birth in a hospital with medical intervention, for the simple fact that they have not been taught that they are capable without it. There are other ways of doing things. You can view the trailer here:

You would think, wouldn’t you, that when a medicated and natural birth are presented side by side, the medicated birth would look more appealing? Anything but. As I sat watching the film, I was in awe. My jaw dropped and tears rolled down my face as I saw the unexplainable joy that was so evident in the natural births. I knew without a doubt, that if I were blessed to have another child, I would do everything I could to give birth naturally. Maybe even at home in a pool, as crazy as it may sound!

I don’t look back on the births of my 3 miracles, and regret the choices I made. It would do me no good to look back on each experience and think about all the things I could have done differently. I did the best I could do with the information I had, and by God’s grace I have 3 healthy children. Given what I know now though, if there is a next time, I will do a lot of things differently. This is not to say I don’t think modern medical intervention doesn’t have a place – it certainly does. I just think that for the majority of births, intervention isn’t necessary. Obstetrics today seem to try to take normal, uncomplicated birth and turn it into something complicated, all for the sake of being ‘efficient’, rather than being there just for the small percentage of births that really need a doctor’s help. And I am definitely thankful there are qualified and capable doctors for those situations – let me be very clear on that!

I’m currently reading Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, and Husband Coached Childbirth, and can hardly put them down. With every page I just keep thinking, “Why didn’t anyone tell me this before?!” I highly recommend them if your curiosity starts to get the best of you.

5 Responses to “Natural Childbirth”

  1. Casey Says:

    I typed a really awesome long comment, but then I forgot to include my email address and since I didn’t copy it before clicking submit, the whole message was gone when I hit “back” which was the only option. But let me just say that I totally agree!

  2. Becky Fehr Says:

    I too after my first was so unimpressed with the way it all went that I made sure to get more info and have a plan next time round. It really did make me more and more passionate about natural childbirth because I understood the beauty of it all more and more. Good for you Kim! It is brave to look beyond what we know:) It is all so exciting!

  3. Sher Says:

    It is a blessing to be able to look back without regret or negative feelings. I feel the same way about my 4 birth experiences too. But I would say, that either hospital or home birth can be a positive experience. It depends who is in the driver’s seat. You are doing a good thing by becoming more informed. Read all you can. Talk to others about their experiences (not hard. Most women are happy to talk about birth!) A midwife will be your greatest asset in achieving the most natural birth possible for your next babe~regardless of whether it’s hospital or home. They give fabulous care, and ultimately want what is best for mother and baby.

  4. Allie Says:

    Great post! :) You don’t know me, but I found your site via my sis-in-law Allison’s blog.

    I have one child, who is 1 year old, and I consider the birth I had with her “natural” although it was in a hospital and I was hooked up to an IV every 4 hours to receive antibiotics for being GBS positive. It was a bit of a hard decision for us, but we felt it was best for the baby that the antibiotics be there, as GBS can be transferred to baby during a vaginal birth and can make newborns quite sick, although it is rare that they do get sick from it. Anyway, I did have a midwife and she was spectacular. It was so great to have her there constantly – I’ve heard too many stories about people not being allowed to push yet because their doctor wasn’t there yet!! And I agree – birth HAS become overmedicalized. We are considering a home birth if the Lord gives us another child.

    I’m glad you’ve seen the light, haha, just kidding. But best wishes with the next time(s)!

  5. Paul Cleveland Says:

    My wife (Bethel) and I went through the Bradley class with our first (Karisa). It was nothing short of an A+ experience. Everything was natural, as it should be. I even had the privilege of holding her before anyone else (catching); a moment I’ll never forget. I highly recommend the Bradley method and class. It’s simply one of those things in life that can’t be overemphasized. Also saw the movie and recommend it as well. A definite eye opener. Check it out. Also, wonderful blog Kim. It’s a privilege knowing you through 365.

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