Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wait, what did you just say

When I say I’m having a homebirth I have been pleasantly surprised by people’s support and awe. They stare in wonderment at me and say how impressed they are. But at some point in the conversation it will come around to pain. Everyone asks what medicine I will use for the pain. When I tell them not only will I not be using any drugs for pain, but I will not even have the option, that’s when the look of terror sets in. Man, woman, young, or old, it is all the same. I have lost them at this point. I can see written across their forehead, is this woman insane.

It has now become very clear to me that all people think about when they think about labor is the pain. No one can see past it.

Women go to great lengths to protect their unborn child from harm throughout their pregnancy (many won’t put anything more than a Tylenol into their bodies over the nine months), but when it comes time to bring their child into the world to take its first breath the mother yells, pump us up with narcotics to the max!

I definitely thought that would be me, but it’s a funny thing when you become pregnant. Suddenly everything changes and instincts kick in. Through my research, I discovered that labor doesn’t have to be surrounded by fear or pain. And yes, labor will most likely have some pain but it will also have great joy.

There is so much more to labor than pain. Pain is one aspect and there are many tools I can use to manage pain. These tools have been around for centuries, before medical science stepped in and took away a woman’s role in childbirth.

If you are curious, here are some of the tools we have been taught and will be using; counter pressure, breathing, visualization, movement, massage, a birth ball, birthing exercises, gravity, a rebozo, a birthing pool, and hypnosis. Hypnosis is the tool we will be relying on the most. Women who use hypnosis have a significantly shorter labor and are much calmer (I’ll go into more detail about hypnosis and birth in a latter post).

All those tools aren’t just for pain management. They are tools that when utilized make your labor faster and easier because you are using your body as it should be used in labor, to work together, with the baby, as one unit in an organic way. If the baby is not in the optimal position to be birthed, this can be painful. In a hospital you have no choice (a lot of times) but to accept that the baby is positioned in a way that makes you both uncomfortable and sometimes will even mean distress for the baby, which can lead to a C-section or a painful labor.  Yet, if you use a rebozo, or get up and move, or let gravity assist, the baby will work with you and shift to a more comfortable, safe position.

Women have been giving birth for thousands of years and in many countries around the world (yes, I’m talking first world countries, too) do not use pain killers and/or only use something like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to take the edge off (Australia, for example), which is not even offered here.

I know that my body knows how to birth a baby, just like a cow trusts her body to birth her calf (okay, that is the only time I’ll be comparing myself to a cow!). And, yes, thank God we do have the medical professionals to be there when or if a mother or baby does really need it.

I have met and seen a multitude of women who have given birth naturally, without pain killers, and the question that is always asked is, “would you do it again?” And the answer is always a resounding “YES!” 

That tells me everything I need to know.

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