I’m still hoping science figures out teleportation before I have to decide

This is sort of rambling and vague so I apologize in advance.

Baby Evan’s birth was just the way I wanted it. It was fast and uneventful and pain-free. I went to the hospital without a formal birth plan (although I joked I was going to print out a dozen pieces of paper that just said “GET THE BABY OUT” in giant letters) since my requests were already written in my chart. I liked and trusted the OB practice I was seeing and with my totally normal, low risk pregnancy I was confident I could avoid the only two things I was horribly afraid of: a c-section and an episiotomy. And I did, thanks to a doctor who let me go home to labor, a very well placed epidural, some of the strongest pelvic muscles in the Western hemisphere and a lot of luck. I have absolutely zero regrets regarding my choices, especially since I ended up with the healthy baby every mom wants after 40 weeks of pregnancy.

But sometimes I feel that because I didn’t give birth squatting in a meadow surrounded by bluebirds and fawns and harp music and 100 of my closest friends chanting ancient birth rituals I have somehow failed. Because I don’t have regrets about trusting modern medicine and taking advantage of pain medication I am betraying womankind. Because I didn’t even try to do it naturally I am less worthy to call myself a mother.

Which is all ridiculous.

I think I just spend too much time on the internet, where the only two stories seem to be horrible traumatic c-sections no one wanted and all-natural wheat field births where Jesus himself was the midwife. If I had never heard a birth story other than my own I wouldn’t feel this way at all. Which is probably an indication I need to get away from the computer more often. But with every joyful, triumphant, glowing story about a natural childbirth I wonder…could I do that? Do I even care if I do that or is it a weird form of social peer-pressure and misplaced guilt?

This pregnancy is clearly to blame for all my thoughts about my last birth, since I hope to experience another one in the not too distant future. But do I want the same one?

(Sidenote: E thinks I’m a crazy person for even considering doing things differently. What kind of person decides their birth was too easy and too painless? A crazy one, that’s who. Which means any of the husband-coached pain management techniques are probably out – my coach is too skeptical to be truly helpful.)

p.s. As silly as this sounds, one of the reasons I feel I have to give this birth so much more thought is my day after Christmas due date. I have horrible fantasies of a doctor who doesn’t want to miss his kids opening presents and insists I get a c-section so he can be home in time for dinner. Not that I think that would ACTUALLY happen. Probably not. Right?

p.p.s. And THEN I start thinking of the mothers who didn’t end up with a healthy baby in the end and think I’m being totally selfish for spending so much time thinking about trivial details. I imagine those mothers would sign up for unmedicated c-sections if it meant they could have their babies back.

Regarding comments: Please feel free to share your experiences and birth stories. I love reading them, especially the good kind – and by good kind I mean any that you were happy with. But if you use the phrase “women have been giving birth for thousands of years” or “your body was designed for birth so of COURSE you can do it naturally” you’re going to get some epic eye rolling on my part. I’m not looking for a bunch of “you go gurl!!!” support. If I DO decide to do things differently this time I will let you know I am open to all the womanly power affirmations you can think of.

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22 Responses to “I’m still hoping science figures out teleportation before I have to decide”

  1. Mindy says:

    I can SO relate to this post. I have been induced twice – The first because of gestational diabetes and the second because the doc encouraged it and I wanted that baby out. I’ve also had an epidural twice. I don’t regret the epidural, but I’ve been told contractions are must less intense without induction and it’s been heavily implied that I could have made it naturally without induction and that I am putting myself at risk for c-sections. Anyway, I watched The Business of Being Born and cried at those amazing home and water births. I felt empowered. I thought “damn the man.” I saw pics of my husband’s cousin’s easy, quick water home and thought it looked amazing. But I think my MIL is the only person who’d be really into any of that stuff. My husband would support me, but he’d be seriously uncomfortable. If I live in a different area with midwives for my next birth, I hope to go to a midwife and maybe see if there is a hospital with water birth options. At a minimum, I don’t want to be induced. But I might still take that epidural if the whole water birth thing doesn’t work out. ;0)

  2. erniebufflo says:

    My bff is pregnant. We’re trying to get pregnant. She wants an “all natural” birth. I know myself well enough to know I am not that kinda girl. She said, “I just don’t want to be out of it for the birth experience.” I said, “Really? Because that sorta sounds like an ideal situation to me. We go to the hospital, I fall asleep, and when I wake up, there’s a baby! If having a baby were like the time I got my wisdom teeth out, it would be really perfect, actually!”

    There’s no gold medal for childbirth. Do what’s right for YOU.

  3. Amy says:

    I don’t think you are selfish for wanting a different experience. Why have something exactly the same when you can experience something new, you know?
    I’ll try to keep this short as these kind of things can get very detailed…

    I went into labor unexpectedly 3 weeks and 2 days before my due date. My whole labor lasted 9 hours. When we got to the hospital I was 9cm dilated. I pushed 2 times. The first time my water broke all over the doc. The second time my little girl crowned with her butt! Then I had an emeregency c-section. I hadn’t had any pain meds up until that point. Luckily the spinal took well and they didn’t have to put me under. My daughter was born 1 hour after we arrived at the hospital.

    This wasn’t exactly what I had planned for the birth of my daughter. I went in not really having a plan…thinking I would make the decisions as the time came, but this was kind of surprising as we had no idea she was breech and at my appointment 4 days before I was a fingertip dilated and the doc thought she was head down (by feel).

    Don’t be so frightened of a c-section. I thought the recovery wasn’t too bad after the first few days. Yes, there are risks, but I’m glad we had the option as my baby and I may have died if I had been giving birth 100 years ago.

    I’m thinking about trying for a VBAC for #2…though #2 isn’t even conceived yet and I haven’t found out if my doc even does them, so we’ll see.

    So, my suggestion is to go in with an open mind. If the pain gets to bad, the epidural is always an option.
    Every birth is different (so I have heard) so chances are you will get a different experience with #2 anyway. :)

  4. The internet is good and bad…it is normal because we live in a society that we control everything but this is one thing no one has control over and it is hard..you are not crazy..

  5. Carrie says:

    Isn’t the beauty of a birth plan that things don’t always go the way that you have planned? My OB told me to write one and then rip it up because it would be useless. And he was 100% right.

    Anyway, my birth story – I think what makes it entertaining (to me at least) is that it didn’t go as I thought it would. I think it’s a good story, even though I’m sure my daughter won’t care to hear all the gory details when she gets older.

    In a nutshell – I wanted to feel no pain. I let everyone and their brother know that I was going to get an epidural. So, what happens but… the epidural failed. And no one believed me until it was over so they kept telling me to stop yelling and that I wasn’t really in pain. After the labor they went to take it out and were all, “Ohhhh, it really WASN’T in right.” So I had a *natural* birth without planning for that.

    It’s kind of all a blur now and I don’t see it as a negative experience at all. I guess I’m proud of being able to have a more drug-free birth but next time, I’m going to make sure the epidural is working.

    Every birth story that I’ve heard is different and there really isn’t a way of knowing what’s going to happen with your next one. Obviously the end result is the most important thing – a healthy mom and baby.

  6. lalaland13 says:

    I’ve read some of the same natural birth stuff you have (like Dooce’s natural birth) and well, I don’t think it’s all a load of crap, but I do think this “If you get an epidural your child will never learn to read” is BS. The Internet was designed to make you feel guilty. And also for porn. Do what feels right to you. If you don’t feel up to having Jesus as your midwife, I’m sure one of the apostles can fill in. Do what you need to do to get a healthy baby and a healthy mama. Because there’s a Precious Little Child involved, people get way more judgey about medical intervention for labor than they would for a root canal. Not that I think taking tooth pulp (which hurts like a mofo) out is the same as taking a kid out, because my tooth pulp isn’t nearly as cute in a giraffe print onesie.

    I’ve never given birth, but coincidentally, my mom has. With my brother, she tried to go natural. She ended up getting so tired they had to give her drugs to get her some rest, because she did not feel like she could go on. With me, she was like “Epidural now, please.” She was laughing when I came out, she claims. I hope it was because of the epidural, hmm. Which is to say, do what you want, but don’t guilt yourself for not doing it the way the Internet does.

  7. brigidkeely says:

    Pretty much all of my requests were ignored entirely, and I requested things like intermittent monitoring (constant monitoring does not have any better of an outcome, and my pregnancy was 100% normal so no reason to monitor constantly) and blood pressure checks (again, my blood pressure was and always has been on the low end of normal, so no reason to slap a (ridiculously too large thus giving wrong readings) cuff on me and leave it there). I was not able to get up or move around. My monitor wound up twisted around under my rib cage, giving false readings. My kid did not descend.

    If I’d been able to stroll around a wheat field while blonde blue-eyed virgins chanted healing mantras of positivity, he still might not have descended. So I don’t regret the C-Section at all. I wound up with a healthy, alive kid which was my ultimate goal (plus being alive myself). And since my back muscles felt like they were literally being shredded (have you ever taken two forks and shredded cooked chicken or beef? Like for tamales or a barbecue sandwich? it felt like that) I was incredibly glad for the epidural even though prior to birth the idea of sticking a needle full of something INTO MY SPINE freaked me the hell out.

    I would prefer a vaginal delivery to the major abdominal surgery that is a C-Section, but if things aren’t happening (and I had 3 days of labor to get that kid moving, and he didn’t) I want a live kid more than anything. I don’t want to go back to the days of being doped up and strapped to a bed while a doctor takes over, but I also don’t see the point in being in screaming agony when I don’t have to be. I don’t think enduring pain that can be avoided makes me a better person, woman, or mom. In fact, I know for a fact that it makes me a much shittier person, woman, and mom. Why subject myself, and everyone around me, to that?

  8. StraderSpiel says:

    I’ve had this same reaction because I am by nature very curious. I’ve done 3 kids with epidurals but then I also think “maybe I CAN handle the pain”. Of course, when push comes to shove (literally!) I am right back to “give me meds and damn curiosity!” It probably would be very empowering. My MIL had 2 kids without meds and one with. She advised me to take the meds because the outcome is exactly the same (you get a baby!) without the uncomfortable, achy pain. But, just because some of us are fine not knowing doesn’t mean you are and if that’s something you want to accomplish, go for it!

  9. MKP says:

    I agree with the above “Hey, whatever gets you a healthy baby” sentiments, and I also think it’s totally natural and normal to want to review your options again. The first time you really can’t plan for something you’ve never experienced, but the second time, you have at least one clear potential expectation (says the non-mother). While I have no doubt that a wheatfield jesus-aided birth is a phenomenal experience, I have hay fever something fierce. Put me in the hospital, give me the benefits of modern medicine, keep me informed of my choices, and I’ll make the decision based on all that information. That’s all I can ask for, really.

  10. Kimberly says:

    I hope I have the kind of delivery you had with E!
    With JD, I was induced a week early after a sonogram showed my fluids were low. The anesthesiologist quickly gave me an epidural before he ran off for an emergency surgery. It didn’t work. He didn’t show up again until the nurses said I was ready to push, and I told my husband I was going home because I didn’t want to have a baby anymore. Anesthesiologist gave me a bolis, which was heaven, and I enjoyed the delivery feeling absolutely nothing- including the episiotomy I didn’t want to have. (Side note- it also didn’t heal correctly, which left me in A LOT of pain & required some corrective work by the dr.)
    I think about having a natural birth this time, because I practically did it last time, but it’s the pushing part that scares me. I’ve had people tell me that it’s not as bad as the contractions & that I was silly for getting the bolis after going through everything else with nothing, but I’ve seen A Baby Story & heard how those women scream when the baby is coming out. I liked my smiling, happy, in no pain delivery moment.
    I know now not to plan out too much, but I am hoping for a perfect baby, no c-section & no episiotomy!

  11. Londonmum says:

    such an interesting one and reading the comments just makes me think that despite we might ultimately want most of the time our babies have other ideas! Before I was pregnant I was sure I’d want all the drugs they could give me but as my pregnancy progressed I moved more and more to the idea of having as natural and relaxed birth as possible. I opted for a hospital with a midwife led unit especially because it had natural birthing rooms with pools and music and so on. I also listened to a hypnobirthing Cd before I went into labour.
    However, in the end I went 12 days overdue, had to be induced, wasn’t allowed a water birth as you have to be constantly monitored when you are induced, was hooked up to an IV and a machine, was in labour for 32 hour, had a very late epidural and in the end had to have a c-section. All of which was just the way it had to be. What mattered in the end is that I had a healthy baby and that I was ok too.
    I can relate to your comments about not feeling like you have done it the most natural way and with my next one I would like to go drug and tech/medical free. More to see I can actually do it than any other reason. But if a doctor or a midwife advises me differently for the sake of my baby then I am 100% there.
    How you give birth doesn’t matter…that you give birth does.

  12. Jennifer says:

    I planned and wanted an all-natural burth. I switched to midwife care, and a planned homebirth at 29 weeks, because the OB I had been seeing turned out to be not natural friendly at all.

    Why did I want a natural birth, and why at home? Because I personally do not trust doctors and hospitals. I feel uncomfortable around them. I didn’t want the birth of my child to be in a place where I felt uncomfortable.

    My water broke on 12/26/2009. My due date was 1/15/2010. I was completely in shock. But I labored at home. My midwife checked on me. Everything was fine.

    I spent 36 hours with a broken water, laboring 100% naturally in my home. Most of that time there was no one around but my husband. And it was beautiful and amazing and I loved every moment of those 36 hours.

    But. No matter how hard I pushed, no matter what position I was in, no matter that my midwife forcibly SPUN my son while I was pushing (worse pain of my LIFE), I couldn’t push him out. His arm was over his face and my pelvis was not opening. When his heartrate dropped and then became erratic, we all transferred to the hospital.

    I had a c-section. My son was born at 3:59 am on December 28th, 2009. I’d been in labor for like 40 hours at that point. I did all of it. except being cut open naturally.

    And I don’t regret any of it. I will try for a HBAC (homebirth after Cesarean) if we have a second child.

    But you know what? It isn’t for everyone. I don’t think that all women should attempt what I did. I did what I felt was best for myself and my family. That’s what matters.

    My son is perfect and I don’t love him any less because of how he was born. I am happy that medical science was there when we needed it. But I am also very happy I had a midwife. No OB would have let me labor as I did. I’d have been cut at least 24 hours before I was… leaving me to wonder if it had been necessary.

  13. mae says:

    My situation is complicated. I always knew I was having a scheduled CS.

    (Pauses for gasps from strangers and assumptions that I considered myself “too posh to push)

    Anyway so when I read statements like “But sometimes I feel that because I didn’t give birth squatting in a meadow surrounded by bluebirds and fawns and harp music and 100 of my closest friends chanting ancient birth rituals I have somehow failed.” my kneejerk reaction is to go all “Get over yourself omg it’s not that big a deal I’m just as much a mother as you and I love my baby just as much as you love yours”.

    (Which is hilarious because at what point your post became about ME in my head I have no idea) But wait! WHY is that my kneejerk? Because you’re right, and people DO judge, and we get defensive because we assume that everyone and especially every other mother is judging everything we do.

    For the record I think this is less true than we believe it is, most of the time.

    It IS a big deal. I don’t know if I’m using the right words so I’ll c&p from my birth story “…there’s going to be a baby coming out of that place and that’s only ever going to happen one time. I may someday have other children sure, but THIS baby, THIS baby is only ever going to be born this ONE TIME. This brand new person is about to BECOME”

    And that is the definition of epic. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think exploring different options if you’d like to shoot for a different kind of birth is great! Every baby is different, every pregnancy is different, every birth is different and every birth will only ever happen once. You were thrilled to the moon and back with your first birth which is awesome, so was I.

    But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to explore other options and approach your birth experience this time with more or even just a different intention.

    Just don’t think I’m judging you for whatever you choose. Unless you do the meadow thing, and really that’s just because I don’t really like dirt or bugs, especially not all up around my whatnot. But whatever you want!

  14. Miranda says:

    I feel like I can’t, or shouldn’t comment, because I’m one of those women who ended up with a c-section that I felt was unnecessary. My c-section and subsequent recovery is also one of the main contributors to my PPD.


    I think that women should be able to deliver in the way that they are most comfortable, be it with Jesus in a wheat field, or knocked out with ether. (But I do admit to side-eyeing women who want to sign up for a c-section at 37 weeks because they are tired of being pregnant or ready to meet their baby.)

    So, with that being said, if you want a med-free delivery this time around, go for it, I say. But, if you decide you want the drugs, go for that! No one can fault you for your choices. They’re yours to make.

  15. Audrey says:

    Maybe you can request the Jewish doctor on staff that night. *snicker*

    “all-natural wheat field births where Jesus himself was the midwife” Hysterical and so friggin true. I have the same trouble, I try to talk to other moms who have had c-sections and all I get are these tears and horror stories about how it was so traumatic and the worst thing in their life and they can’t even talk about it without crying or I mention I had one to a midwife and she goes into badger mode about how I had no choice because my OB directed me to it like I’m an idiot and couldn’t decide that my breech postioned son with no room to flip would be in more danger if I tried to push him out feet first than if I took on the brunt of the danger myself with surgery.

    For what it’s worth..my c/s was not traumatic. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was what was right for our situation and I will never regret that decision not to risk his life by pushing him out feet first. But I also feel your pain and have my own increased fears now that because I had 1 c/s I will be forced into another. My OB says that she sees no reason for me not to do it vaginal and that everyone in her practice does VBACs all the time..and the hospital I’m going to has the highest rate of VBACs in the county so..I’m mostly convinced I’ll be getting my grunt on as I hobble down a hallway bow-legged. I hope to do it med-free, but not because I feel like I’m not a woman if I don’t. I want to do it because I’m an anthropologist and I want to soak up experiences and be able to understand what other woman have endured around the world. But if I end up begging for meds, well…then that’s just fine too.

  16. ryan says:

    hi, suzanne! i had my daughter, jude ali, on april 28th. i can’t effin believe she’ll be one month old tomorrow! i had a drug free birth with midwives at a birthing center and delivered in the soaking tub. i’m in the process of writing the entire birth story and i’ll be sure to share when it’s finished. highlights include castor oil induced labor, posterior baby turned by the midwife and 4 hours of pushing while taking stairs two at a time. it was heaven and hell simultaneously.

  17. Gramma Gayle says:

    Grand daughter Suzanne, I had three sons, one of which was your father and I never made it to the Labor room. Here’s a vote for natural childbirth.

  18. Calder was born while was I was watching Meet the Robinsons. I had been in the hospital for some 18 hours after being induced at that point and one side of the epidural had stopped working while my other leg felt like a frozen ham.

    Being induced is BORING. I would recommend against it unless you end up in a situation like mine, where your partner has an impending business trip out of town that cannot be changed. The self employed don’t get paternity leave sadly.

    So after 18 hours of being tied up to tubes, trapped in bed and one really scary heartbeat issue, my Doctor told me to push. She then told the nurses to turn the TV off which caused me to snap, “But I haven’t seen this before!”. She left it on. I pushed while laughing about a T-Rex with a huge head and tiny arms and totally forgot about the shooting pain on one side of my body.

    Then someone said meconium and, like, 40 people jumped into the room to clean Calder up on the other side of the room and someone shoved a turkey sandwich in my face. That was the best sandwich of my life. The kid’s pretty great too.

  19. Brandy says:

    As long as YOU’RE happy with the birth, that’s ALL that matters!

    With our oldest (6yr old now), I was in the hospital before I was even having any real contractions. Seriously, I didn’t feel any. But my water was broke, so they admitted me. I slept for a bit … endured an enema (OH MY WORD … I think that was punishment for having to help administer so many myself when I was a nurse aide in a nursing home!!) … got some petocin (because my nurse said flat-out “let’s see if we can have this baby by noon, huh?”) and asked for something in my IV to help with the pain when they eventually got the better of me. Then I napped again. Until I had STABBING!HURTING!PAIN!! Then I asked for an epidural … … and found out I was already 8cm! Spent 20 minutes or so twisting and turning so bad my husband thought I was partially possessed LOL. After the epidural? Bliss. My doctor was almost LATE for the delivery because he was watching a dang football game (I kid you not!). After pushing for a little while (not long), the doctor decided baby wasn’t descending fast enough and broke out the vacuum, which really felt like a dang plunger being shoved up there. Especially when it lost it’s suction. Every time the suction was lost, I thought her head was out and they’d keep yelling “no keeeep pushing!”
    Ended up with an episiotomy with her. And she was born at 12:35pm (13 1/2hrs after water broke) — not too long after nurse wanted her born. Sure, if I had gone into there with a plan … or even a little bit of knowledge outside of “when it hurts, get a epidural, you’ll be good then” (Ha! I could feel it when he was stitching me up!)from friends … I might have done things a bit differently. BUT, she was healthy and overall I can’t complain.

    Our youngest (19mo old now) went much differently. I read a LOT this time around. I had a game plan and all my doctors (went to a practice w/like 5 doctors and you had to see each one at least once) were aware that I wanted to try my hardest to go all-natural. I went into labor around 6pm … stayed home as long as I possibly could. In fact, I almost gave birth in Jason’s mother’s tub. I had bruises where she was dragging by butt out so we could get to the hospital. No joke. Literally 10 minutes after we got to the hospital, our youngest was born. Less than 9hrs after labor first started.

    Next baby, I hope to go all-natural again. BUT, if I change my mind at the last minute, then so be it. So long as they’re healthy THAT’S what matters!

    { sorry for the novel. I ramble LOL }

  20. I absolutely loved Mae’s comment!

    I totally understand all the thinking about doing it differently (epidural-less-ly) next time. Not only because Dooce made it sound so good but also because with the first we all had no idea what we were getting so birth with drugs was adventure enough. (oh, by the way, I wanted to mention to Erniebuffalo that an epidural does not make you out of it. It’s like you are paralized from the waste down but you can still feel the pressure and the pushing just not the pain. But it doesn’t put you to sleep or anything like that that would make you feel medicated.)

    Anyway, I just wanted to mention this for my two cents on the subject. I was induced and had an epidural. In retrospect I would say that Iductions and epidurals should really go hand in hand, because since your body is not really ready to go into labor it is probably going to be really drawn out. The epidural made it possible for me to get alot of rest during labor and then be ready to push like two days later :) (really, induction kinda sucks). But here was the important thing for me. My baby ended up the the NICU right after he was born. He was ok but he had a pin-sized hole in his lung. Normally after you give birth, you get to stay in the room, in your bed with your baby right beside you in that little plastic bassinet. That’s because mother’s want their brand new babies to be right beside them at all times. With a baby in the NICU you will still want that. So you will spend EVERY SECOND that you can in a little rocking chair beside a different plastic bassinet under a warming light in the NICU. This means that you will not sleep. You will not want to leave your baby to go all the way back to your room. And even if you do go back for a nap, it will not be for longer than an hour because as soon as you get back your nurse will come and check you since she’s been waiting to do that the whole time you’ve been gone and then almost as soon as you fall asleep it will be time to go back and try to nurse or pump. All the rest that I got while I was in labor (because of the epidural) was what made it possible to get through the next three days.

    So anyway, what I think I wanted to say is that I think natural will be great but as soon as anything differs from COMPLETELY normal I would go for the epidural because it seems like once you start down that induction road, then things can go off on a tangent really fast and you might need all your strength for later on.

  21. OMG! I just read about the turkey sandwich. That was hilarious!!!

  22. Erin says:

    Having had 2 children one with meds one w/o I can say there is a definate difference because you feel everything. With S I didn’t want to have meds but he got stuck and the docs siad it was meds or a c-section, I opted for the meds and it was great once he got free of my narrow hips. After the first I deceided not to tr and go “all worrior” and planned on having meds but by the time thedocwent to administer them it was too late. C ended up being a better delivery, I think cause he was my second it was a lot easier, didn’t need the O2 and everything. They say the first ones the worst so tyring w/o meds shouldn’t be that hard, right??
    All I can say is that meds or no meds giving birth is a weird miracle and do what YOU feel is right for YOU.

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