When I signed up to be seen by the midwives’ clinic in town, it came with one stipulation. I had to be intending to have a medication-free ‘natural’ birth.
I checked off this box without even giving it a second thought. For me, any birth is a natural birth – the baby’s coming out, isn’t it? But I understood the midwives’ concern; they couldn’t take care of me if they were going to hand my care over to an OB and an anesthesiologist the second I walked (waddled?) through the hospital doors.
I had also read one-too-many horror stories about epidurals; the length and placement of the needle skeeved me out, and I was terrified of the possible side effects (cluster headaches, paralysis, etc etc.). So agreeing, at ten weeks pregnant, not to have one seemed like a simple decision.
Now that we’re getting closer (only 3.5 months left – yikes!), I’ve been thinking a lot more about the decision that I made. There are all of the typical arguments to consider, both for and against unmedicated births. And the more I think about it, the more I would like to at least TRY labour without medication. Without sounding cliche, women have been giving birth for thousands of years, and the epidural is a relatively new invention. I plan to do the research that I can to learn some coping strategies for pain, and the childbirth class we will be attending is taught jointly by a midwife, a doula and a lactation consultant, so I am expecting to gain some valuable insight.
I feel a little like I’m straddling both worlds; I’m seeing a midwife, and planning to go med-free. But I’m also giving birth in a hospital, and I am not anti-intervention. My philosophy has always been that I will do whatever it takes to get the baby out safely. If something happens, and I need a c-section, or if an induction is the safest choice, those things are options. I will not consider myself a failure if I don’t succeed in having the type of birth that I am envisioning.
I love the idea of being medication-free. I strongly believe that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, and I don’t see why childbirth should be any different. But if things don’t pan out this way, I will be okay.
I know this is a controversial topic, and I know several people who will argue strongly for and against medication. But ultimately, this birth is for me, my baby, and my husband. As long as baby gets out all right, and is healthy, I’ll be over the moon. After two years of trying for her, who am I to dictate exactly how she needs to come into this world? I’ll do my best, and that’s what matters.