Paging Rosie: Medicine-Free Labor – I Don’t Know
So the news is out and now you all know I’m expecting again! It has been so hard not to tell you all over the last weeks as I have wanted to share my every thought with you all and am so excited that I can now finally talk about it.
I wanted to talk about something deeply personal, something I am, well, tossing and turning around in my mind: Whether or not to try labor without medication. Non-medicated births are certainly on the rise, if not dramatically in practice certainly at the forefront of many of the pregnant women’s minds that I meet every day. The question of should I or shouldn’t I and of course why should I choose one way or the other, does seem to come up in many people’s pregnancy. I am a firm believer in choice for the mother and of course most importantly whatever in that individual’s situation is the best and by best I mean healthiest for the child and for the mother.
Everybody’s situation and treatment options are very different and I certainly do not believe in judging people for the choice they make as long as they have the best interests of the child as a priority. Now you know where I stand let me say that I had medication for the births of both my sons but I have to say I have become increasingly curious about the option of no medication, I am just not exactly sure why, considering both of my births were very successful and by successful I mean I delivered two beautiful healthy boys.
For my first delivery I had the notion of I’ll just try without medication and see how it goes (after all I did Pilates I thought to myself!). I hear this frequently from my clients and honestly this is likely doomed to failure. If you truly want to try without medication you have to prepare for the greatest chance of success. The first time around I did not and ended up getting the epidural after 10 hours of excruciating pain. There is nothing wrong in this type of scenario other than the disappointment I felt. I felt as though I was letting someone down, I wasn’t’ sure who but I felt somehow like a failure having the epidural.
In retrospect I understand how ridiculous this sounds, all that mattered is I had a healthy baby. But what I learned from this delivery is that the most important thing is to prepare for the type of delivery that you want, remain infinitely flexible in the actual delivery as you never know what will happen, and decide very early on what type of delivery you want and why knowing (and being okay with the fact) that this might change. My first delivery ended up being 26 hrs and I delivered with the help of forceps. My second pregnancy was very complicated and I was on bed rest for many of the months. I ultimately was induced a few days after my due date and ended up having a 10 hour labor with a combination of Pitocin and an epidural.
Both times I had intervention with an epidural and both times I felt as though I was in the best medical care possible and delivered two healthy children. So this time around, why am I considering potentially a birth without medication? Is it purely curiosity? Do I want to see if I have the ability to do it? Do I really think it would be better for my baby or for me? Would my two previous deliveries have gone better, how would they have gone better? Or were my previous two experiences the best for me and my babies and why change?
With all these questions swimming around I decided to talk with our renowned MomPrep doula & Childbirth educator Catherine Stewart-Lindley, I have asked Catherine to teach a class about different birthing options “Understanding Natural Childbirth: Is it Right For You?” and how to figure out the best one for you at our MomPrep studio here in New York City. There are so many things that make Catherine a wonderful Doula and one of the things I love the most is that she realizes everyone is different and not every option is right for every Mom.
I think it’s so important to have a childbirth strategy. The reason I say strategy and not plan, is there is no way to “plan” childbirth, as every birth is different and every woman is different. I recommend that instead you put together your strategy; a strategy tends to be more flexible and accounts for “what if” scenarios. If you are even considering choosing a different way to have your baby other than what your local hospital normally follows, you must take Catherine’s class or speak with a Doula in your area to learn more about all the options available to you and what you need to do to be prepared. She also offers another class“Childbirth Prep for Mom & Partner” that will help you and your partner prepare for labor and give you tips and tools to help it go smoothly, so whether you are going to labor for a few hours or the entire time without meds, this is a great class to give you some tools and strategies to help you cope.
After I met with Catherine I still am not sure what I want to do. What I do know is that in my case I have access to some of the best and most dynamic thinking doctors hear in New York and that I trust them. This is not true for everyone but no matter what type of birth you choose this is the most important thing, you must have medical care that you trust. I would love to hear your birth stories and what types of births you had and why you chose them or why you didn’t choose them and what you did to prepare.
As I continue to think about this I am sure that as we must go into motherhood feeling proud of our labor and to do that flexibility, preparation and education is key, whatever your choices are.