Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm learning.

Right now, I'm reading four books.  They are: Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern, a fun little read about how to make your fiction writing a bit more interesting, Husband Coached Childbirth by Dr. Bradley, The Birth Partner: Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth, and a mindless whodunnit by Elizabeth George for when the other books just get too heavy.  Oh, and also throw in the latest National Geographic magazine about the mysteries of Stonehenge and the world oil situation too.  Anyhoo, I'm learning a lot.

Even so, it's kinda hard to come up with other topics of conversation when my day is pretty much consumed with obsessing about the ins and outs of my "condition" and what to expect in childbirth because I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a bit terrified...

I'm very interested in natural childbirth.  Mostly because I've always hated taking medicine and doctors in general, and I have found that my body does a pretty good job of taking care of itself.  My grandma always said that her doctor wanted a yacht, so all of a sudden she needed a radical mastectomy.  Well, I'm not exactly on board with that conspiracy theory, but I'm not a poo-pooer.  What I am not is a fan of the culture of fear our society has engendered around everything childbirth like women haven't been doing this since the beginning of women.  The fear of pain, mostly.  The fear that if you don't have monitors and peoples hands in your baby maker that you or the baby will die.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I am not a home birth fundamentalist.  The fluids.  The chance that something might go wrong.  No thank you.  I'd rather have my baby in a hospital where everything's nice and clean and doctors are there in case something happens that isn't supposed to.  But I don't want to be so afraid of the process that I do something that takes this experience out of my control.

It seems to me right now that everything I read or am taught about natural childbirth is the equal opposite to the medicated childbirth component.  Naturalists propagate as much fear as anybody else.  This fear is of putting ANYTHING medicine into your body.  Narcotics that drug your infant, epidurals that can harm the baby, etc, etc.  Be afraid of your doctors and anything they tell you!  I'm not on board with that either.  I mean, come on.  I'm already changing my life more than it will ever be changed again - do you really want to add to that pressure by asking me to side with the left or with the right and not give me the chance to vote outside my party?

I was reading the Bradley method book before bed last night and I had horrible stress dreams about going into labor and my whole situation in the dream was: "what if I am not able to follow through with natural childbirth and I let everyone down?"  To me, that was a HUGE fear, and one that I certainly don't need or appreciate.  Especially when women have healthy babies all the time both with and without medication.  

My qualm is this:  Why does it seem that if I want to have a natural childbirth it is presented as "do it or fail"?  I have no idea what labor and childbirth are going to be like.  I might be able to handle it without medication.  I might not.  I don't want the pressure of having to buy into one religion that might not get me to heaven.  Where's the Come-Informed-and-Make-Decisions-As-You-Go Party's propaganda?  They need to get their platform out there.  Because they've got my vote.


Ann K. said...

Excellent post today, Lizzie! Very true musings. Ever thought about writing your own guide on childbirth?

Swistle said...

"Come Informed and Make Decisions as You Go" was EXACTLY my plan. I even wrote that as my birth plan, when the OB asked me to make one: I wrote that I didn't see how something unplanned COULD be planned, and that we'd have to play it by ear. I think where people get in trouble is when they think they DO get to make a plan--and that if you make a plan, it will go that way. That's when people end up feeling as if they failed.

Carrie said...

Amen to the "come informed and make decisions as you go" idea. I had an idea of what I wanted when I went in to deliver the baby, and an idea of how things would go, but I wasnt attached to them. Which made it a lot easier to deal when everything went completely different than I thought it would.

You'll do great. But if you do have to have medications, there is NO shame in that. Do what you need to do to get the baby out and to be good to yourself as well.

maggie said...

I think the people in that party are too busy being normal to have time to get in a huff and write a book (or a blog). That was pretty much my plan as well and while there were moments when I thought, "gee, being hooked up to everything sucks!" I had plenty of moments where I was planning to name my kid after the nurse, the anesthesiologist, the doctor, the extra nurse... I give my hospital experience an A+.

Jess said...

I am not even pregnant, nor do I plan to be for awhile, but I think about this often. I agree that what makes the decision so difficult is that people are so divided and so many of them use scaremongering as a tactic to get people on their side. This is one of those things where everyone has to make the decision that is best for them, and it would be helpful if we could get objective information to help us do that.