I think most birth stories start at least as early as the pregnancy. And I think it’s a good place to start this one. When I was eight weeks pregnant, my husband left for a seven month deployment. One day before my twenty-seventh birthday and four days before my first prenatal appointment. My due date and his date of return were pretty much one in the same.
The only thing I knew about pregnancy and childbirth was what I had been told by my mom and grandmother. This mostly consisted of foggy birth stories. In a lot of ways, I was a blank slate. So the first thing I asked myself was Do I want an epidural? I went to Google, found a pregnancy website, and read how they do the procedure. I didn’t even get to the side effects and risks. A giant needle in my spine?! Nope. I knew there had to be a better way than that. Thus began my adventures into learning about natural childbirth. I checked out The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. I began to learn about “the machine that goes ping” and all the unnecessary interventions that I might be offered. I learned about doulas (a lesson I should have taken more to heart, but we’ll get to that later).
Other than the obligatory What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Oh, how I wish someone had given me The Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears.), I think that might have been all that I read until I started Hypnobirthing classes about halfway through my pregnancy. Natural childbirth just seemed like the obvious choice to me. And it also seemed fairly simple. It’s the way God made it, right?
This is how I started on my path to natural childbirth. In my next blog, I’ll tell you about my experience with the Naval Hospital Jacksonville during my pregnancy.
At this point, I think I need to put out a disclaimer. I have nothing against doctors or medicine. I think we are so blessed to have good doctors who use their tools appropriately and when needed. But I think maternity care in the United States is sorely lacking. And it’s going to take the good doctors, midwives, and women to stand up and demand that the situation be put right.
And now for your viewing pleasure…