Today’s post is the first in the three-part series: HDYDI, Choose the Right Birth Plan; click here to read about hospital births and home births. My sweet southern guest today is Dianna Kennedy of The Kennedy Adventures. The two of us met via the Interwebs, over at Catholic Mothers Online. Someday she’ll be my “real life” friend, until then we’ll just lean on Skype. She’s an ER nurse, mom of five (including twins) and I love her approach to life. She’s all in. I call on her for advice for so many things, from motherhood to marriage to faith. Enjoy her southern hospitality, by way of Kentucky, for today’s post on a natural, drug-free childbirth experience. Take it, D!
As soon as a woman discovers she is pregnant, her mind begins to swirl with a million ideas. These range from what to name the baby, to plans to help older children adjust to the newest member of your family.
Whether you’re the Duchess of Cambridge or a momma from Kentucky, you’ll need to make some decisions about your ideal birth plan. Keep an open mind, as I share my reasons why I chose a natural, drug free childbirth.
1.Conventional Medicine Isn’t Your Only Option
Even though I’m a nurse, I’m not always a fan of conventional medicine. Some obstetricians treat pregnancy, labor and delivery as an illness or disease to be managed.
I hate that mindset.
While I’m well aware that things can and do go wrong during pregnancy and childbirth, I don’t like being treated like a ticking time bomb.
With Maeve, I couldn’t have been happier with my nurses and doctor. They took a hands-off approach, offering help only when I needed to deliver a healthy baby in my own style.
2. I don’t like being told what to do
I tend to do what works best for me despite the status quo. I want answers for why treatments are performed, not, ‘well, that’s our policy.’
If I don’t think a test is necessary, I politely refuse. I’m not a petulant brat, but an informed consumer. As a patient, you have the right to refuse any medical test or treatment.
3. I Don’t Like Needles or Scalpels
I’m a big fat baby and I hate getting stuck with needles.
When my urologist told me I needed surgery for the Boulder Sized Kidney Stone, I broke down and sobbed in his office.
I’m scared to death of a C-section. It’s not a ‘simple procedure’, but a major abdominal surgery. I’d gladly trade a day of labor to avoid the complications from anesthesia and recovery.
4. I am Built to Do This
Women have been having children without medications or interventions since the beginning of time. As part of God’s design, a woman’s body is made for childbirth.
After delivering my twins, I heard one of my grandmother’s birth stories.
She gave birth to my father at home — he was her first baby, and weighed over 10 pounds! My husband laughs and says that ‘extreme labor’ is in my genes.
5. I Have a Supportive Husband
Mr Kennedy plays a key role in my labor decisions. He knows my routine – stay at home as long possible, keep moving during labor, and when my water breaks, it’s GO TIME!
He’s as calm as a cucumber when I’m panicking, and always encourages me when I feel like I’m at the end of my rope.
He’s smart enough to ignore me when I say, “I can’t do this!” or “Just take me home!”
He’s my very best friend, and the only doula I’ll ever need.
6. Bragging Rights
I’ve always admired women who can shoot a gun, drive a stick shift, or run a marathon.
I don’t foresee myself doing any of those things during my lifetime.
Instead, I’ve opted for natural childbirth four times, including my twins, even with a breech extraction.
Having babies naturally is my own way of being a bad ass.
7. Quicker Recovery for Mom
With my first daughter (18 years ago), I had the works.
My membranes were artificially ruptured, and I had internal monitoring of the baby. I also received Pitocin and an epidural.
I sobbed through the multiple sticks for the epidural, and distinctly remember the nurses pushing on my abdomen to guide Abigail out.
After delivery, I had a catheter and IV, and wasn’t allowed out of bed for about 6 hours, due to the risk of falling. (The epidural can cause a loss of sensation in your legs.) YUCK!
Fast forward 11 years later to Rachel’s birth, with no medication. By the time my best friend Angie visited, she had this to say:
I will never forget how beautiful you looked, how energetic you seemed, and how flexible you were! You were sitting Indian-style in the bed – I had a hard time walking for a week after both boys!
Aside from some sore nether regions, I felt fantastic, albeit a little tired.
Bottom line? I feel much better without meds on board.
8. Alert Babies
Medications given to moms during labor can effect newborn babies, including those contained in an epidural.
My children came out alert, awake and were breastfeeding within minutes of delivery.
9. Pain Doesn’t Last Forever
I won’t lie.
Natural childbirth is uncomfortable and downright hurts.
I had a particularly hard time with Maeve. I was exhausted from insomnia, and she was posterior.
Right before my water broke, I was ready to call in the anesthesia team. I’d reached my limit.
I’m reminded of this passage:
When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.
I’m astounded by its truth.
As soon as I get a glimpse of our sweet baby’s face, all of the discomfort is so very, very worth it.
I’m ready to do it all over again.