Thoughts about birth

Lately I've been thinking a lot about giving birth and being a mom and what advice I might share with others.  In order for this to not be an insanely long post, I think I'll tackle one thing at a time.  Tonight, it will be my thoughts on giving birth.

I would read less about the birth process and more about how to cope with the birth process.
What?  Here's the deal: a lot of the books, websites, etc. explain what it means to give birth.  They outline the stages of labor (early, active, transition) and assign times and feelings to each stage.  They assign labels and definitions.  They talk about what your body will (or should) be doing and what your baby will (or should) be doing.  And it's all very interesting.  But in reality, it's not helpful.  Especially in my case.  5 hours into laboring through contractions 1-2 minutes apart, I assumed I was well into transition and would be 8-10 cm dilated.  WRONG!  Of course, I had a pitocin induced labor (more on that later).

Instead, I should have read, and PRACTICED more coping mechanisms.  How to breath, how to move, how to distract myself. Sometimes having too much technical knowledge is a bad thing.  The reality is that you just need to know how to get yourself through one contraction, and prepare for the next, without being concerned what stage you're in.  The hazards of being a reader is that I read too much and then I know too much and then I'm upset when my experience isn't lining up with what I read or what I know.  (more on that in my post about baby books).

I would avoid an induction.
Why the hell would anyone choose to have an induction?  Probably because those women also plan to have medicated births.  So let me amend that question: why would anyone planning to have a natural birth choose an induction?  It sucks.  And why don't books and classes explain this more. Pitocin does NOT equal oxytocin.  You hear these anecdotes that pitocin labors tend to be longer and harder. Here are some reasons why:
I read another article that talked more in depth about this, but I can't seem to find it.  Basically, oxytocin creates good feelings that counteract the bad.  Pitocin doesn't.  So all you get is pain.  And it's not as effective at dilating the cervix.  So you get long, slow, pain.  

In retrospect, I would have asked for a second opinion when the doctor told me my fluid was low (the doctor who delivered Graham said it wasn't low after breaking my water and that the ultrasounds can be really inaccurate in determining such information).  I would have fought to let nature take it's course so I could avoid pitocin.

I would have taken the long class.
I asked my OB if the 5 week class really covered more information than the day long Saturday class.  She said no.  Upon getting to said Saturday class, the teacher said she covers way more in the 5 week class.  Of course by this point, it was too late to sign up for the 5 week class.

I would fight to not be so plugged in.
Of course, some of it couldn't be avoided.  I was Strep B positive, so I had to have antibiotics.  I somehow forgot to mention in the birth story that I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics: itchy and red head, arms, hands, neck and chest.  But beyond that, being constantly attached to the monitors got frustrating.  And then when I had the monitor that was up in my uterus, I became even less mobile.  Not cool.  Being able to move more would have helped.

I know, this sounds like a lot of regrets.  Maybe because I'm still working through the fact that my birth story wasn't what I had envisioned.  I could also put in there that I wouldn't have an epidural, but the reality is that I'm not strong enough to have made it through Graham's birth without an epidural. Believe it or not, there were a few things that I was proud of.

Exercising during pregnancy is a must.
I walked almost every day of my pregnancy.  I also did quite a bit of yoga.  Exercise helped me get through a challenging delivery.  And I'm convinced it helped me heal quickly.  And get back to my pre-pregnancy weight quickly.  I wish that I could say that I walk every day now.  Scheduling becomes complicated with a baby (more on that later).

Vaginal delivery, even though it's hard, is worth it.
I birthed my son.  It was crazy hard, and it hurt like hell, but it was totally amazing.  Despite the fact that even the following day when the nurse came to check my nether regions and said that I looked pretty banged up, I healed really quickly.  And then you forget the pain.  Seriously you do.  You go through hell for x number of hours but then you have this amazing little being that YOU made and YOU birthed and no one can take that experience away from you.  I fought for that and I am so proud of myself for sticking to at least one part of my original birth plan.

These are the thoughts that are most salient in my brain related the birth process.  Even though I'm nowhere near wanting another baby, I can't help but think about how I would do it again and do hope in a lot of ways that I have another opportunity to go through this whole crazy experience.


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