Sunday, February 8, 2009

Natural Birth

Thanks, all, for your lovely comments.

As I mentioned in a comment to Fia, I had another prenatal appointment with Deb on Friday. I heard the h/b again, but the results of the quad screen weren't yet in. I'm a little nervous about it, though have to remind myself that it's just a screening. Even a negative test (1/250) only increases your odds that not all is okay. Sometimes, though, it's challenging to keep some perspective.

We also chatted about our plans for the birth. I'll have to write more about this, but we're planning for a natural birth with little to no interventions. I trust Deb's judgment without doubt, and know that she would only suggest an intervention if it were absolutely necessary. I'm lucky to have her as a doctor. Since we're attempting a natural, pain relief-free birth we've been considering different birthing techniques. I had no idea there were so many programs out there! From the Bradley Method to hypnobirthing, from Birthing From Within to Hypnobabies...

If anyone has any experience with these and other programs, I'd love to hear about it. I've heard excellent things about hypnobabies... even just the home study course.

The other thing we're considering is a water birth. Both local hospitals have birthing tubs... so it's for sure an option. On that note we need to call Mercy and Maine Med and set up some tours of their new, swanky birthing centers. We are leaning heavily towards Mercy. I attended the birth of my good friend Kate's first child, and the staff were amazing.

So much to think about...


  1. Wow, superwoman! Personally for me, I'm not a natural birth type of gal - which is why, when my epidural failed (looooong story) I was in excruciating pain delivering C without meds. I think, though, that some of the pain was because I wasn't prepared for a natural birth, I didn't know how to breathe properly, and because I didn't want it, I think I made it worse. I think you'll handle it like a rockstar, though. :)


  2. I delivered I without any meds not by my choosing but cause I waited to long to go to the hopspital...although it was excruitating i would have to say it was the best birth by far...i was just scared was all. Now I have had three and Iwould out a doubt say that if I had to do it again I would go natural....the worst part is the labor..the pushing is nothing...and you feel most of the labor before the epidural anyway...just my thoughts though...water birth seems like the best method..for the baby anyway...less stress on the bean...going from one sack of water to another. natural water birth would be my vote if I were to do it again.

    Love, Tara

  3. Hi Brie! I think it's such a personal decision and I don't think there's a right way to do this that fits everyone. But, boy, poor you. I can't even imagine.. and to be unprepared for NOT have an epidural must make it all the more harder. Rich and I have decided that we will have code. I am bound to ask for pain meds at some point, but I need to say it three times in a row for him to ask for it on my behalf. Deb said that she wouldn't offer me any meds during the birth since at that point it won't be informed consent.. I'd likely agree to standing on my head if I was told it would help :)

    Thanks for this, Tara. Was the natural birth with your youngest? From what I've read preparation is just key... precisely because, as your own experience testifies, the fear of what was happening made it so much worse.

    I really love the idea of a water birth for the reasons you laid out. Of course things could really change!!!!!

    love, A

  4. hey Alex,
    yes, the natural birth was with my youngest, and it was with out a doubt the best birth I got, recovery time was less, the docs said that was because I didnt need to recover from the epidural.. Preparation is the key and it sounds like you are doing tons of it, I would go to lamas classes and talk with deb on what she thinks the best method would be for you ( as I am sure you have already,.)...I also hear water birth is not only less stressful on the baby but as well for you too...due to the water pressure on your lower back.

    I wish I had made all the preparation s you did as I would have been less scared...the fear factor ( fear of the unknown) I think is worse then the pain. cause of course the pain ends and you have this beautiful little creation...part of you and rich and that is by far worth any amount of pain you might have to deal with.

    I also want to add that comeing from one atheletic person to another it helps greatly to have been physically active before and even durning your pregnancy...the stress on your body is less if you have some endurance...oh and bring a tennis ball...why you ask, well cause if you have back labor rolling a tennis ball on your lower back really helps reduce the pain...I wish someone would have told me that with my second cause back labor isnt fun, but once again water birth can really help with that as well!

    I am so excited for you...I look foward to hearing every step you and the little bean take together...can you actually believe you have created life? I mean can life get much better then that...I think not!

    Love, Tara

  5. Megan spent a year as a hospitalist in the NICU and she had to go to all the high-risk deliveries. Somewhat related to that, she is:

    a. all about the epidural. no shame there yo.
    b. the only wrong choice is a home birth.

  6. You know, Tom, I spoke to another doctor friend of mine who's also married to a doctor. They have four kids... They are alternative kind of docs, very into holistic healing and I might have expected that they'd choose a home birth. The husband said that having done an OB rotation he had seem too many things go wrong to have a home delivery... even though stats show that for a low risk birth a home birth is often safer (less chance of unnecessary interventions, less risk of infection, etc).

    With that said I am fine with being in a hospital :)

    I hope you and Megan will soon be announcing your own pregnancy news! A vacation baby, perhaps....

    thanks for your sweet words, Tara. Honestly, sometimes I remember I'm pregnant and I can barely believe it!!!!

    Love, A

  7. Hi Alex!

    More detail from me in person (I think I told you some of this before, can't remember), but a few thoughts now:

    1. I LOVED everything about Mercy. It was wonderful, the staff was fabulous, the rooming in for 2 nights gave us a really crucial time for sleep. This was in the old facility so I can only guess the new one will be better. Truly, I'd recommend Mercy to anyone!

    2. We took a hypnobirthing class but it wasn't very good. I'm sure there are better ones. But when I began really to go into deep labor, everything, everything was forgotten but my yoga breathing. Breathing into the pain, counting for every breath--that is what got me through an almost natural childbirth (in my second night of no sleep I requested nubain, which helped a but but slowed down my contractions, so I had to have pitocin. Ouch).

    3. I agree--everyone needs to do what's right for their situation. Was A Wise Birth among the books I lent you? It's a great book by my friend Penny Armstrong and it's about her experiences as a midwife among the Amish, among other things. It makes a very persuasive case for the superior health effects all around of home birth (or perhaps rather of unmedicalized birth). But of course, in your case, you'll have Deb to make sure your experience is not medicalized (unless it needs to be! Which is when being in the hospital is a relief!) ;-)

    4. Giving birth was the single most empowering thing I've ever done or will do. Never mind the pain and whatever else--in fact, perhaps because of it!

    Let's meet at the fruit-related establishment of your choice (in the past I'd have said, let's go for coffee!) and talk about it!


  8. p.s. I think one of the reasons Sage's birth was so empowering for me was because I had a midwife who let me do things in my own time and my own way. So again, yay Deb!

  9. Totally Alex.

    Megan became convinced precisely because of seeing low-risk home births (more than one) come into the hospital and babies don't make it. The world's most experienced midwife can't help you if something goes wrong. The thing that infuriated her was these were all things that could've been easily handled in a hospital environment.

    I'm guessing 'boy', by the way.

  10. Hi Alex:

    While we're on the topic: a good book for Richard is "The Birth Partner." Perhaps Jen lent it to you already. At some point, I made the connection between birthing and marathon running, and I realized I knew how to be a good coach.

    I was so glad I could be there through the whole event.

    And added benefit was that Jen's mom visited us for a week, during and after the birth: she stayed home and took care of the cats, then took care of us. It allowed us to have the birth we wanted.

  11. A boy, Tom!!!!!! You better start coming up with some names, then, as we're really stuck on boy names!

    Hi David, I don't think you loaned us that book, though I have it written down to get. Your marathon analogy makes a lot of sense to me, and I will say - naively, perhaps - that I am REALLY, REALLY looking forward to the birthing process. I feel as though, like Jen, it will be very empowering...

    Unfortunately we won't have anyone here to care for the boys, though I am sure we can get a local friend to take care of them... but it;s times like these when I feel a little homesick. Both you and Jen have been such truly amazing friends, I don't know what we'd be doing without your constant, ongoing support.

    Jen, THANK YOU, for all of this. You did loan us the Wise Birth book.. I had no idea she was a friend of yours. I'm really looking forward to reading it. My mum was a bit aghast when I happened to mention, tonight, that I was planning a water birth!

    I've been doing lots of reading on hypnobirthing, and while I like the sound of it I have heard much better things about hypnobabies. It's a homestudy course, but from what I've read (especially on motheringdotcommune) this is much more complete and, ultimately, helpful. Of course there are benefits to having an actual class, but I feel as though this could be really helpful. It helps with the partners role, too, providing some 'scripts' which you're meant to practice.

    I have heard such wonderful things about Mercy. I spoke to Deb, who of course works for Maine Med, and I think she prefers Mercy. She delivered a baby last week and she said the nurse was just amazing, acting like more of a doula to the mother. She was very impressed. We're actually touring both places next Wednesday, though our minds are pretty much made up. I took a quick look at some of the Mercy brochures.. and, wow, it's like a spa!

    I'd love to meet up for some fruit :) I'll drop by your office between classes, if you have time? You will see how much my belly has grown in just a few days!!!!!!!!!! I am a little worried about how big this tummy will be!!!

    Love, A

  12. I wanna see the tummy! ;-)

    As they say, take a good, long look at your waist because you won't be seeing it again for a while.

    And we're so glad to be here to help and to share this wonderful experience with you two, Alex. xo!

  13. Hey sweety,

    As you know I was at willa's birth and looking after zo from before K got pregnant again. She thought about something like hypnobirthing but heard too many horror stories in which her women friends thought they were all prepared and then when they went into labour they weren't at all prepared for the pain.

    Zo was born at home and got rushed to NICU, nearly didn't make it after swallowing the crap (morconium or whatever it is called). It didn't put them off though.

    They had a birthing pool in the kitchen and private midwives. There were two midwives and they spent lots of time with her before the birth and she knew who she would get (def. someone she knew). After seeing the water birth and the way in with R could become so much more involved, holding and massaging her (he was in the pool too), I would def. consider it. She had gas and air available if she needed it but didn't end up needing it. The midwife let her put the doppler thing to her tummy through the birth and really didn't interfere, just offered very reassuring and calming words, hand holding, suggestions on moving into different positions. When K was on the final pushes the midwife coached K on how to deliver willa herself. And when it came to it K reached between her legs and hauled willa out and onto her chest. It was beautiful...

    I know you both will make the right choice for you and having the control in that sense I am sure can only help.

    Love you!