Don't get me wrong. I am NOT saying that taking a series of birthing classes is a bad idea by any stretch of the imagination. Quite the contrary! I think anyone doing this should be commended for their effort to give their baby(s) the best start at life. They are already winning a mom of the year award in my book. In fact, I feel kind of lazy for not taking them myself in a small way. However, we've just decided to use other means to prepare.
I've been reading books on my own and we've taken a couple shorter classes to prepare for childbirth, breastfeeding and baby care. So far I've read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and Happiest Baby on the Block. All great reads! We've also taken an outstanding Breastfeeding class and a Baby Care Basics class. I must say that all of this has awakened in me a renewed enthusiasm for really trying to give birth naturally (meaning no induction, no C section, no epidural, no IV pain meds). I mean, I've always wanted to deliver naturally, but then again I wanted to conceive naturally too and that didn't happen.
I think once you have given yourself over so much to Western medicine, it's easy to settle on the fact that it was actually the thing that got you this far, so maybe it's not so bad after all? However, if there is one thing I know in my heart of hearts, it's that giving this child the most natural entrance into this world is THE BEST thing for baby, mom, breastfeeding...pretty much everything. I really do not see any downside of trying to go natural, outside of the pain. And really, despite the need to use so much Western medicine up until this point, I still believe in my body's strength and ability to do something women have been doing for millions of years. I still believe very strongly in the power of the human body, of the mind, and of prayer.
I feel like giving birth naturally would be very healing on a deep emotional level for us as a couple too (especially for me). Going through infertility stole so much of the natural process of conception from us. How awesome would it be if we could have a natural delivery that allowed my body to actually do what it was designed to do ON IT'S OWN?! Yes indeed, I do like the idea of that! The pain...well that just seems like such a small sacrifice for me to go through if it means our baby won't be exposed to drugs. (I know, I know...insert scoffing and laughter from most every other mom in America)
I realize my view is not one of the majority, but it feels like something I need to at least TRY. So, as it stands now, I'm mentally prepared to "take one for the team" on the natural birthing front. I'm embracing the opportunity to be empowered instead of lending myself to fear of pain. I don't plan to just wing it though. Because we've opted not to pursue more formal classes than we've already taken, we've decided instead to hire a doula to help support the process.
I am super excited about hiring a doula! We attended a doula info. session this past weekend, a little for me but more for hubby to see what they do exactly. As always, he's on board with whatever I want to do, and I think we've already found a doula that will be great for us. If you aren't familiar with what a doula is/does...
|What Doulas Do: (Click to enlarge)|
|Doula Services: (Click to Enlarge)|
The cost of a doula is typically based on the amount of births they've attended in addition to their training. We've chosen someone with 5 years of experience, 100+ births, and who lives geographically near our home....so not a newbie but not a top dollar doula either. Is it just me, or is this a steal of a deal when you consider ALL that they do for you?!
Like most families, money is tight for us right now, and the amount of things we still need for baby is overwhelming. But, I just cannot fathom trying to go naturally without the extra support. I don't have any friends who have given birth naturally, and my mom is no longer with us. The hospital is going to be full of staff offering drugs and providing suggestions that aren't even conducive to natural delivery (like laying flat on your back and not leaving the bed). I am not convinced that just having a birth plan in my file will deter the staff from their usual protocol in the least...not in this country at least. Nor is discussing it ahead of time with my OB going to truly solidify my chances of pulling it off. There aren't even any guarantees that my OB will be the one who delivers. It would really be nice to have one knowledgeable support person outside of my spouse that I can count on 100%.
Having the extra support from a professional (not just hubby) before labor, while at home laboring, and once at hospital to guide us and advocate for us is priceless in my opinion. And if it helps me to labor well enough naturally and avoid all of the things I don't want in my body (or baby's), it's worth it times ten. As I've mentioned, I am approaching all of this with the very realistic mentality of an open mind...because things don't always go according to plan. I know this. I also know that if I don't at least TRY, a natural birth won't just magically happen on it's own either. I've already done a phone interview with our prospective doula, and she comes to our home on Monday for a 1-2 hour meeting, where we'll discuss everything and outline our birth plan. I feel like she's a good match thus far, so hopefully we'll feel the same way once meeting her in person.
In other good news, we opted to do a 3D/4D ultrasound of Preston recently. I realized a little late that the optimal time to do these is actually 27-30 weeks, and I will be 32 weeks this Friday. Doh! We were able to get in quickly with an elective ultrasound boutique which charged less than 1/2 the cost of doing it with our OB though, so we went that route. I highly recommend seeking out this option if you ever have the choice. Just make sure the technician performing the ultrasound has the same training (at least a 2 year sonography degree). They use the same exact equipment and safety measures as the OB's sonographers do, and they give you so much more for your money at the boutiques.
Our little one is not the most cooperative model, and we tried on two separate days to get some good pics. Luckily, I drink a ton of water and my amniotic fluid was excellent for being this far along (sometimes babies get squished the further along you are). However, Preston just wanted to be a little contortionist both days. He wants to keep his hands and both of his feet crossed at the ankles right by his head. Yes, all fours by his face! Who does that?! I was half annoyed and half entertained by how cute his little tootsies were. All in all we're happy we did it, and it was worth it. Now I can tell Preston what a weirdo he was in utero...
|No pics please...I will block you with my feet!|
|Moved the tootsies for a quick second finally! What a sweet face.|
OB appointment tomorrow, hospital maternity tour this weekend, face-to-face meeting with our doula on Monday, and final perinatologist apt. the following week. Edit: Because clearly I cannot count- 8.5 weeks left until our due date!