Monday, February 22, 2010

Childbirth classes

Chuck and I attended the childbirth classes this past Friday night and all day Saturday. I was expecting them to be good... but I was overwhelmed at how awesome they were. Somehow when looking at their website I missed the fact that they are Christians and how that influences their birth philosophy. Needless to say, that made the classes better :)

So this might be long, but I feel that it's a huge part of my "pregnancy experience" and that some of you may be interested.

From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to non-medicated birth. I made this decision for 2 reasons. 1. I feel that God made my body to do this and I want to actually experience it and not be all doped up and 2. The thought of someone putting a needle in my spine (epidural) scares the crap out of me.

I got many comments like "just wait until the contractions hit... then the epi won't scare you any more," but I just shrugged them off. I went with a normal OB practice because I felt that was what was best and I had no idea how rare unmedicated births are in "traditional" practices. I thought people that hired doulas, midwifes, etc were fruity people that thought all medicine was bad and wanted home births.

The more research I did, the more I realized that non-medicated births are extremely rare in a hospital setting. Many times, hospitals put you on a bit of a time line... if you aren't progressing "fast enough", they give you a medication called pitocin to speed things up. From what I've heard, this medication puts your contractions basically on top of each other (whereas naturally you get a break) and makes them more painful. Pitocin essentially ensures that you're going to wind up with an epidural, because very few people can handle that pain. My worst nightmare all along has been needing pitocin because I know that it has the possibility to change everything and make my birth experience a miserable one instead of a happy one.

After realizing how rare a non-medicated birth would be in a hospital setting, I realized that the classes we're taking from the hospital probably wouldn't address our needs, so I signed us up for this class that focuses on the non-medicated birth because I felt it would better prepare us for what's ahead. It was taught by 2 doulas and I was worried that it would be a bit "fru fru" (as I said in my last post), but it was exactly what was needed.

Their whole philosophy is that God designed our bodies to do this. That we need to listen to our bodies in order to have a positive birth experience and that we can't listen to our bodies with medication running through them. They (like myself) are not opposed to medication when it's needed. When mom or baby are in distress, induction via pitocin is a GOOD thing because it can lower your chances of needing a c-section. There are several situations that require a c-section and in those situations they are GOOD things because without them, you or your baby (or both) can die. They do not oppose medication, they oppose unneeded medication. Many women do not educate themselves and think that everyone gets an epidural, so they walk in the door and ask for one. Epidurals can often slow things down, so they then get pitocin, but they can't feel it, so who cares? Medication has become the norm to the point that many that don't want it are viewed as tree-hugger hippy freaks.

Well, before this class, and particularly after it, I am officially a tree-hugger hippy freak :)

I have a LOT of questions to ask my OB at my next appointment, and if the answers don't line up with my beliefs, Chuck and I are in agreement that we might need to change doctors, even though I'm 7 months along. Even without changing doctors, we are about 95% sure that we are going to hire a doula... because they are great at advocating for your rights in a hospital setting.

I feel like I could go on and on and on, but I don't know if anyone else finds this to be interesting!!

I recognize that many of my friends that are reading this have not had kids yet and I am not by any means saying "you should all do things they way that I am going to!!" However, I am telling you to educate yourself. Weigh the pros and cons both ways and really pray about the situation. Labor does not have to be a horrible experience that you want to forget for the rest of your life. It can be wonderful. Both of these doulas have had natural births (one had also had a c-section and an induction), so they're talking from experience. They had a video of a natural birth and it wasn't NEARLY as scary as some of the videos I've seen of medicated births- less screaming, etc. A mom came in that had just had her baby 2 weeks before talking about how amazing the experience was.

Anyways, Chuck and I both learned a lot and I left the class excited and happy. I know that labor won't be easy, but it CAN be good, and that's what I'm going for.

1 comment:

Hope said...

Wow! That did make me think a lot! Thanks for all the good info. I'm sure once I get up the courage to seriously think about having kids, I'll have a million questions to ask you. :) And that, my friend, is why you're going to be a GREAT mom! Some days, esp with Doug gone, I dream of having little kiddies running around. But then days like today when I have a two hour delay and I just lay in bed for those two hours...I think maybe not! LOL Who knows, I've also been thinking about going Reserve lately. My job kinda blows and I keep thinking how sweet it would be to be a stay at home mom, and ensure my kids get great education before elementary school, vice day care where they just make sure they don't die.

Give me a shout when you think you'll be back in VA (after GA is it?). Miss you! ~Hope