Well I've been watching the home birth videos on YouTube all morning, and I have to say, I'm less traumatized than I thought. I'm also shocked by the sheer volume of videos on there, and the selfless women who put themselves out there, so I have something to do in the early parts of a Saturday morning. It would never have occurred to me to look on YouTube for birthing videos, but who was I kidding? You can find anything on there, and I mean ANYTHING. Want to knit a suit for your cat? There's a video of someone doing that. Need to learn to play Baby Got Back on the acoustic guitar? There's a video for that too. Like the App store for your life and not your iPhone, if you need it the YouTube's got it. And sometimes it's disturbing, what people will do or post (I don't want to watch some girl demonstrate putting her clit ring in, I just don't...but I bet her mama's proud). I don't spend a lot of time on YouTube, but this is one instance where, it's helped me. So I'll put a check in the pro-YouTube column for this one.
Back to my point (why am I ALWAYS getting back to my point? Oh ya, because I write like I talk, too freaking much). I hesitated doing this for the last few weeks. I was afraid that watching other women go through labour and delivery would somehow scare me off the path towards natural child birth. I was afraid that I would see something graphic and frightening, that caused my cervix to fuse itself shut and demand I rethink this whole baby thing. I was worried that it would shake out the little bit of courage I've managed to muster thus far, and send me back to a puddle of self-doubt. I was worried that it would cause me to regress to the tender age of anytime before now, when I thought the best possible scenario was to be highly medicated, so you didn't even know what happened.
Because before I was ever the pregnant one, I didn't understand why you'd ever even START to consider a natural child birth. WHY would you do that to yourself when there are perfectly good drugs out there to be had? I'm a fan of getting a buzz (or let's just be honest, getting full on drunk) and I'm a fan of partaking in the BC bud that is in rampant supply around here, so why would I not hop on the drug train? I've sedated myself to get over one particularly bad break-up, I've sedated myself to handle the stress of a bad job, and I've sedated myself when things just got too hard to face. When the going get's tough, I tend to get all Ramones on life, and "I wanna be sedated". So why would labour be any different?
And let's get really honest here. I don't have ANY idea where this notion of natural birth came from in me. It's as unexpected to me as it is to those around me. ME, LABOUR? UNMEDICATED? You cannot be serious. Most people are still getting over the shock of me having a baby, let alone being able to handle the thought I want to do it all granola. But something has been telling me it's the right way to go. It's the approach I am meant to take. It's the way this baby wants to come into the world.
My hubs will tell you he doesn't believe in some sort of cosmic connection between a mother and her unborn baby, and I don't totally disagree. I mean, we both realize I'm bonding with this baby every moment she lives inside my body, and that her presence has had a profound effect on my life. But she's has an effect on his as well, and he's the one sitting on the outside. What he's getting at is the thought that her and I can actually communicate with each other in the way that us post-birth humans can. And he's right. My daughter did not send me a message, tell me she wants to go it au naturale and sway my thoughts. But something about being pregnant has lead me down that path, so I'm going to giver her some credit for it.
So how did YouTube help me start to believe this really is the path for me? Well, it showed me regular, everyday women, labouring and delivering with no medical intervention, and surviving through it. Not just cosmically connected hippy couples, channeling the power of the moon goddess while making plans to eat the placenta with a side of couscous. Just regular, everyday women, who wanted to try something against the norm in today's society.
There was the one woman who sang through all her contractions, and you could barely tell she was in pain (don't worry world, this is not a technique I will employ. We all know that me and singing are an ugly and lethal combination. Although, my daughter would probably opt for a quick entry into the world, if it meant stopping me). There was the other woman who, although in clear pain you could read on her face and in her body language, managed to smile between contractions. And not the fake "my crazy husband is taping me so I better put on a show" way, but in a way that indicated she was coping like a champ. There was the couple who joked and laughed the entire time, and went from 3-9 cm's without anyone noticing. And there were countless other women, who were just normal people, coping in various ways and making it through without any major catastrophes.
Of course there is pain, and you can see it. There is discomfort, and there are moments when they claim they cannot do it anymore. There a husbands with compassion and helplessness on their faces, and midwives and doula's standing strong, encouraging both partners equally throughout the process. But what there isn't is the sheer terror and fear you learn to expect from watching shows on TLC. There isn't a lot of screaming and profanities (not that it's silent in any way, it's just more productive noise). There aren't any doctors, with their hands up your vag, telling you you aren't progressing fast enough and making you feel like a failure. There were no beeping noises, fluorescent lights and gaudy hospital gowns to suck you so far out of your element you don't know who you are. There is none of that.
There are just strong, powerful women with the support of other strong powerful women, and empowered husbands with an understood purpose, bringing a life into the world. And they all did it, without any trouble.
Now a few things. I realize I hand selected the happy, non-complicated home births to watch, and there are a lot of things that can go awry and derail a plan. But I'm trying to empower myself, not scare myself, and that was a conscious choice. I also know that we will go to the hospital to deliver, even if we're labouring at home. At least at the Women's Hospital they have a hands off approach to women delivering with midwives, and only if we NEED assistance from a nurse or OBGYN, will we get it. So none of these sweet home births will be the same as ours. But the hospital videos are all medical ones, with epidural and pitocin drips, and that's not what we're going for either (this is a plea for more Canadian home labour/hospital delivery moms to post videos! Even if I'm too modest to do it). So I'm sticking with the home births. And they don't look that bad. They don't look easy, but I'm less frightened than I thought.
And that's how YouTube gave me just a little more confidence in my decision to go for a natural childbirth.
It's like this, and like that....
I started this blog in an effort to track my experiences with pregnancy and beyond. Writing is therapeutic. Kind of like talking to myself without the people in WalMart thinking I'm crazy. If you find some entertainment in this along the way, then even better!
This is one woman's journey through unfathomable hunger, vivid sex dreams and a bulging belly...from conception to birth in 9 months or less...