First of all, thanks for all the comments to my post about my little pregnancy issues. I feel much better about everything now, in part thanks to your comments and support. I think a lot of it was that I was just frustrated and exhausted the day I wrote that. I’m still limping and in pain but I’m kind of used to it now, and I’ve come to realize how utterly inconsequential it is compared to the honor of being able to participate in the creation of a new life.
And now for something that’s on my mind that is also inconsequential in the grand scheme of things but won’t seem that way for about ten hours in late July: birth.
I’m not looking forward to the actual giving birth process, and it bums me out since I’d like to have nothing but joy in my heart when I think of the day I’ll meet my daughter for the first time. I wouldn’t say I’m dreading it, but my blood pressure does go up a bit when I think about it, and I wanted to see if any of you clever people have any thoughts that might help me. Here’s the situation:
Unless any unforeseen complications arise, I’m delivering my daughter at the same birthing center where I had my son. They have no pain medication there. It’s basically the same thing as doing a home birth, just at someone else’s place.
I’m pretty committed to natural childbirth in theory, but I can’t say that my labor with my son is one of my favorite memories. In fact, it sucked. I didn’t click with the midwife on call and my son was compound presentation, meaning he had his fist balled up on the side of his head. They say that you won’t experience more pain than you can handle, but I disagree with that. I could not handle the pain. I was literally going out of my mind, speaking in tongues and crazy stuff like that. The day before I went into labor I had seen a documentary about that hiker who had to cut off his own arm with a dull knife, breaking his own bone and all. When I was in labor I actually let out a little grunt/laugh at what an easy walk in the park that would be compared to what I was feeling.
“So why don’t you just go to a hospital and get an epidural this time?”
A few reasons. A big one being that, as small business owners, we don’t have insurance that covers maternity. The total cost for all my prenatal visits, the birth, and six weeks of post-partum care at the birthing center is around $3, 500. Doing all that throught the doctor/hospital route would add up to at least $12, 000, maybe more.
But, honestly, I doubt I’d go to a hospital even if we had insurance that would cover it. The doctors around here recently banned midwives from having hospital privileges, so there’s no in-between: you go the traditional hospital birth-as-a-medical-emergency route or you give birth outside of a hospital. That’s it. And since I don’t believe that uncomplicated birth requires much intervention and I don’t want to be bossed around and have my baby treated like she’s the hospital’s property unless there’s an emergency, I don’t think that going to a hospital is really a fit for my personality anyway. I’d like the epidural but don’t want all the B.S. that goes along with it.
(I should note that my research has led me to conclude that giving birth at the birthing center is as safe as giving birth at a hospital. Obviously issues with hospital procedures or money would be no object if the safety of my child were at stake.)
“What about a doula?”
I’m going to look into getting a doula (a woman who attends the birth to give the mother emotional support). But, frankly, I’m skeptical that it would help that much. Also, most of the doulas around here are the spiritually liberal, earth-goddess, pagan types, which isn’t what I’m looking for.
I do need to call the mother of five and Catholic doula who I met that amazing day I stumbled into Mass on a Tuesday. Why I have not done so yet is a mystery that can only be explained by my laziness and utter awkwardness on the phone.
So where does this leave me?
In theory I am committed to natural childbirth outside of a hospital setting for this pregnancy since it’s a normal pregnancy and I’m healthy. But I struggle with the pain issue. I hate to think of going through that kind of pain again, but do I hate it enough to deal with a hospital and pay $12, 000? It’s a close call, but I don’t think so.
Things that might help
I do have some ideas about things that might make the birth go better this time. First of all, I was still an atheist when my son was born. It never even occurred to me to pray or ask for God’s assistance with the birth. Of course I will not make that mistake again.
Also, I had a real exhaustion issue last time. My labor started at midnight and, as a nightowl, I had not gone to bed for the night. By the time my son was born around 7pm the next evening I had been awake for about 36 hours straight. And considering that the hardest work of labor is pushing, which is at the very end, and pushing was particularly difficult with him being compound presentation, it’s really a wonder that I had the energy to do it at all. Surely this time I’ll be better rested for the birth.
Another thing is that I didn’t click with the midwife who was on call. She was a tense person and seemed really stressed from the moment I walked into the room. It made me feel tense and stressed as well. She’s no longer at the birthing center and I like all but one of the midwives who are there now, so hopefully that won’t be an issue again. Also, since it’s my second birth I won’t feel as dependent on the midwife for encouragement.
And, please God, hopefully this baby won’t be compound presentation.
What do you think?
So, do any of you have any advice or thoughts from me? I’m interested in all opinions, even if you haven’t given birth yourself.
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