I’ve always held this belief that I was somehow born in the wrong generation. I’ve long thought that had I been a baby-boomer, I would have advocated for peace and love, I would have danced freely at Woodstock, and I would have had my babies naturally- the way God and nature intended. In a past life, I’m fairly certain I was a hippie.
So it made sense that when my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first son, I would pursue a drug and intervention-free birth. I read all of the natural birthing books and watched documentaries on the state of the U.S.’ maternal health system. It seemed like fate that Ohio’s only accredited natural birth center located within the Miami Valley Hospital, was just a short drive away.
As the weeks went by, I felt confident in my decision. I didn’t like the idea of my baby being brought into the world pumped full of drugs; or the idea that not letting my body go into labor naturally could end in me receiving an unnecessary surgical procedure. Had I dropped the hippie charade and been honest with myself, however, I would have admitted that neither of those things were the true reason I was pursuing a natural birth. As lovely and ethereal as a natural birth sounded, my intentions were not that pure. Quite simply, I was just freaked out about not having control over my body.
As lovely and ethereal as a natural birth sounded, my intentions were not that pure. Quite simply, I was just freaked out about not having control over my body.
The idea of being trapped in a bed, unable to use my legs from an epidural, freaked me out. The idea of being strapped down to a surgical table while my internal organs were shuffled around was even more frightening. I was not someone who had this holier-than-thou vision of being Mother Earth while I gently breathed and meditated my baby Earthside. What I was, was a scaredy-cat, control freak.
At 2:00am on Christmas morning, my water broke and 24 hours later, our charming Charlie was born. After 12 hours of active labor, I delivered Charlie on my hands and knees in the bathroom of my birthing suite and felt like a complete rock star. It was the most physically and mentally difficult thing I had ever done, but I had done it. I allowed my body to do what it naturally knew how to do, and had grappled with the intense pain of 12 hours of back labor. But I had come out of it with a beautiful, healthy baby boy to call my own and an awesome birth story to share. I know no birth is perfect, and mine didn’t come without challenges of its own, but it was pretty darn close.
Since Charlie’s birth, I’ve talked to a lot of other Mamas about their labor and delivery experiences and I always feel this small need to justify my decision. Or the need to dispel the notion that I think women who opt for the epidural or c-section are weaker, or not as concerned about the welfare of their newborns. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything, having experienced a natural birth has solidified my feelings of, “You do you, girl.” Labor is hard, period. Whether you get the drugs, or not.
So, speaking as one of those crazy natural birthers you hear about, I’m not super human. I’m not judging you for opting for the Pitocin, and I would love to share labor horror stories with you. Because the truth is, I didn’t choose natural birth because I’m a tree-hugging, granola-eating hippie. I chose a natural birth because it was the best fit for me. At the end of the day, as the cliche goes, it’s all worth it when our babies are here- happy and healthy- regardless of how we brought them into the world.
Did you have a natural birth? What were your reasons for choosing to go natural?