Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Having a Baby Abroad Part 7 : The Birth Plan

Do you know how many friends I have hidden on Facebook because they posted intimate details of their birthing plans and birth stories? I've lost count. I've even hidden their husbands, particularly those who boasted evangelically about natural childbirth. In what world does a man get to tell you you can't have pain meds?

Well, here's where I eat my words.

Those of you who love birth stories will probably be disappointed. Those of you who hate them can probably tolerate this blog. I'll leave out details of body parts I'd rather you not think about, and I won't judge you for whatever birth you have.


I don't think there was even a question that I would have an epidural. I hate pain. I am dramatic. I was terrified of childbirth.

Somewhere around six months pregnant, I decided, pretty much overnight, that I wanted an absolutely natural, drug-free birth. I also decided I was probably out of my mind and wondered if I would be able to do it.

Then I thought of several things:
  1. I am a redhead, and it is statistically proven (no joke) that redheads have at least a 20% higher pain tolerance than other breeds. 
  2. I know a lot of women who've gone natural, and I'm sure I'm at least as strong as they are  
  3. Pain meds never really work on me anyway (I always require more at the dentist and 3 ibuprofen is a joke to me.) 
  4. I hate taking them. 
  5. Active labour isn't actually very long. I've dealt with migraines that lasted three days and made me want to beat my head against a wall. Average first-time labours are twelve hours. I can handle twelve hours of pain. Don't think it's even close to compare a migraine to active labour? Well, then your migraines aren't very bad. (Fightin' words, I know...)
So I made a birthing plan, which was pretty straightforward and common, albeit not very common in America. It was basically: labour at home as long as possible, then go to the Birthing Centre, get in the big tub of water, and have a water birth. What's a water birth, you ask? It's where the baby is born in a big tub of warm water -- yes, underwater. (Did y'all know that water births are actually illegal in most parts of the US? They are in Louisville.***)

Check back later this week to see how it went, if you like that sort of thing.

*** Comment from reader: "As a doula, I have to chime in - you can give birth legally wherever and however you want. It's not illegal to have a water birth in Louisville. But it is illegal for certain healthcare providers to attend those births, which is one of the great reasons we need more evidence-based maternity care! Can't wait to read the follow up."
Comment from Brigid -- You are totally right, and this makes is what makes it so bad, in my opinion -- that you can't legally have a certified midwife (or even an OB) attend a water birth. So you can have a water birth at home (i know a few who have had an illegal midwife), but that yields all kinds of other ethical questions. I should have been more specific in the blog:)

1 comment:

  1. My daughter had a water birth by a certified midwife in a hospital in Roswell Georgia. Early on she sat in the shower and then entered the tub around 5-6cm until she delivered. She only saw a certified midwife her entire pregnancy and never had an internal exam until she was in labor also. I think there are some areas in the US where you can have a good experience. There are actually two places in the Atlanta area where you can have a water birth by a certified midwife. Her midwife was under the supervision of an OB but my daughter never saw her during the entire pregnancy.