Monday, December 26, 2011

Bringing Baby Earthside: Things to consider

In my ideal world, every woman values her birth experience as an open door to see a glimpse of her god-given strength as a woman.  She researches birth options, chooses a provider who supports her decision to birth naturally and she gives birth surrounded by people who love and support her as she brings her baby earthside.  Breastfeeding is  immediately initiated and the motherbaby is not disturbed during the important early bonding hours.

A girl can dream.

Be it fear of the pain, lack of support or not even considering the possibility of giving birth without drugs -- the latter being my experience for Henry's birth -- I fully realize not every woman desires the natural childbirth experience.  And, that is fine.  An unmedicated birth is not the end all be all for having a good birth experience for mama and baby.  Obviously.

However, certain elements of birth that go hand-in-hand with natural childbirth can be attained no matter where or how you choose to birth:

1. Allow labor to start naturally.
Every day in the womb is important.  Your baby is constantly developing and preparing for life on the outside, whether she is 12 weeks, 39 weeks or 40 weeks.  It is also important to consider that estimated due dates are based on a woman's last monthly period.  This is not an exact due date as women's cycles vary greatly from woman and to woman and from month to month.  So, your 39 week induction might actually be a 38 week induction depending on when you ovulated and when the egg was fertilized.

Pitocin is the most commonly used drug to induce labor, starting labor or kickstarting a "slow" labor.  Induction of labor is oftentimes the beginning of the "cascade of interventions" meaning that one intervention (Pitocin) leads to many more interventions (constant fetal monitoring, IV fluids, pain medication, etc.) with the worst case scenario being that a c-section is needed because the baby is in distress with heart decelerations from the unnatural pace of Pitocin induced contractions.

According to Lamaze, there are 5 caveats to allowing your baby to choose her own birthday:
  • your water has broken and labor has not begun.
  • your pregnancy is postterm (more than 42 weeks).
  • you have high blood pressure caused by your pregnancy.
  • you have health problems, such as diabetes, that could affect your baby.
  • you have an infection in the uterus.
  • your baby is growing too slowly.
Please notice what did not make the list -- fear of a big baby, doctor going on vacation, upcoming holiday, mama tired of being pregnant, etc.

2. Respect the 4th stage of labor.
The 4th stage of labor is immediately after your baby is born.  Breastfeeding is initiated and the placenta is delivered due to contractions caused by the oxytocin surges from breastfeeding.  This is the physiological end of your baby's labor and delivery.  But, it is also the first time you see your baby and your baby finally gets to be in her mama's arms and rest after all the hard work of being born.

So, why is this what happens after your baby is born in most hospital?

Honestly, I can't even watch this whole video.  The crying baby.  The nurses rubbing off the important vernix.  The mama laying in the bed with a dazed look in her eyes.  The bright lights.  The security arm band.  The antibiotics in his eyes due to the remote chance his mama has a venereal disease.

Your 4th stage of labor doesn't have to begin like Baby Ian's mama's.  Talk to your provider about delayed cord clamping and immediate skin-to-skin.  Your baby deserves only the best after she is finally born:  her mama's arms, her mama's milk and every bit of blood from her placenta.  Within the exception of a true emergency, nothing else is needed immediately after birth.

Natural birth isn't for everyone but every motherbaby deserves a thoughtful and loving entrance earthside.

1. Allow labor to start naturally.
2. Respect the 4th stage of labor.

And, for mamas facing cesarean sections, you have options too!


Plus Size Mommy Memoirs said...

Such important information shared! Fabulous post!

Anonymous said...

Just a thought.. as a new mama, I wish instead of condescending, "my way is the right way" conversations, that there were more supportive and encouraging conversations between mothers.

I totally respect your opinions and I LOVE reading your blog because it is so very interesting to me. I love your birth story and think it's amazing, even though its nothing I would consider. We are different and I think we should RESPECT that about one another (not that you know me.. but speaking in general). I guess I am what many would consider the "bad" mother because I... (1-delivered in a hospital (2-had a pitocin induced labor at 37.5 weeks (3- had fetal monitoring during labor (4- had an epidural (5-did not attempt to breastfeed but instead opted for formula feedings right from the start and (6-had and will continue to have my child vaccinated... among other things. (And for what it's worth.. my labor was great without a single complication and my child is perfectly healthy).

I love having conversations/discussions with people who are very different from me; I am very much a people person. But I think we, as mothers, should not cast judgement, but instead, meet a mother where she is and encourage her from that point on. Maybe I am the only one who thinks so, but I feel all mothers gain the "guilty gene" as soon as our child enters into the world. Let's support each other.. differences and all.

Laura @ Our Messy Messy Life said...

PSMM- thanks, I certainly think so too! Your blog is great and what an amazing facebook community you have built! I am your newest liker :)

Anon, thank you for the comment. I am a whore for blog comments and seriously check my email 50 times a day on the remote chance I have a new comment to read....but, I do have a few commenst for your comment. I absolutely do not think you are a bad mom for any of your choices. They aren't my choices but it is your life and you seem very confident that you made the right decisions for you and your family and that is all that matters at the end of the day. I'm not sure if you were speaking generally of the "mommy wars" I've read other bloggers write about or specifically to this post and other's about childbirth but I like to think I've always maintained that my ways are not the right ways, they are just my ways and of course, I like my ways of doing things. And, honestly, it's a bit funny to me that you said it's nice when mothers are encouraged wherever they are in parenting because I purposely wrote this blog post for women who do not choose a natural birth. Know what I mean?

And, I had to giggle about your "guilty gene" comment because I wrote a post on that when Liza was a little baby......I work hard to push guilt away because I have plenty to feel guilty about if I let myself...... more thing.....I think you would be surprised at just how alike we are as mamas. I'm not this opinionated in real life :)

dd said...

I so agree with number two so strongly!!  I missed that with my first and had it with my second and it was such a special time!!  I think with me they might have even forgot about me.  I had to ask about the weighing and stuff and must have been almost 3 hours later I asked about weighing and length.  I loved it!!! It makes me sad to think I missed that special time with my first. dd 

anonymous2 said...

Thank you so much for this post! I'm having my first child not too many months from now, and while for my first delivery I'm not ready to go 100% natural (I want to be in the hospital), I do feel strongly about implementing elements of natural birth/delivery in my birth plan. My husband and I loved this post and the research it led us to do. Thank you!

LauraOMML said...

Yes!!  I imagine the difference between your c-section and your vbac births are night and day thinking about immediately after the birth.  I'm glad you got that time with Kjell.  It is so special and it only happens once.

LauraOMML said...

Yay!  I'm glad it helped you!  Good luck with your pregnancy and your baby's arrival!

dd said...

I am very lucky to be living here I think because they are very pro natural birth and midwives.  Also of course of vbac!  Even my time after C-section sounds better then some in the US ...I was up quicker.  Less after pain medicine and stuff.