In the first section of the book "Natural Hospital Birth - the best of both world" by Cynthia Gabriel it focuses about preparing for the birth of the baby. I will be focusing this post on the first half of this section entitled "You can do it" and "Feeling Safe".
My favorite part of the first section was where Cynthia talks about why some people choose a natural birth (including myself). The following quote sums up my feelings perfectly. I choose a natural birth because it is "letting your body follow its natural course in labor the same way that it had followed its natural course during pregnancy." (pg3) and just because I am having my birth in a hospital does not mean I should have to "sacrifice the body's natural process". (pg4) It wasn't till I read that sentence that I truly realized why I wanted a "natural birth", it was just something I felt.
So what is a "natural birth"? I felt quite drawn to Cynthia's idea that a natural birth is a "birth with the fewest interventions possible to support the health of the mother and baby". (pg7) Cynthia goes on to say that in this book "natural birth" means "the most instinctive, self-directed, intervention-free birth possible." (pg7) This is what I was looking for, this is why I picked up this book. Cynthia acknowledges that when interventions are necessary it does not mean that your commitment to having a natural birth should be given up on. It just means that this one part of the plan changes. This is referred to as preventing the cascading effect of interventions, once you have one they figure you are up for it all.
Cynthia then moves on to talking about creating a safe environment so you feel you can labour. She does a wonderful job in describing the hormones that help labour (oxytocin) and hinder (adrenaline). Cynthia is very thorough in helping the reader understand the part fear plays in the progression of labour by giving three examples she has seen first hand as a doula (the nurse in me comes out because I really enjoy case studies). To me this makes perfect sense, no animal including humans would want to labour in a sense of panic. If you fear for your life would you want to put yourself in a vulnerable position? Now we has humans don't have to really worry that a predator is going to attack as we are giving birth. However, we still have an engrained sense to protect our young and our-self. Cynthia lists several ways to deal with the fight-or-flight mechanism that can be created labouring in a "strange place". She suggests things from trying to keep the area free of people who may trigger this reaction, to having a dimly lighted room.
Now how do I relate this to my birthing experience? Yes I am having a hospital birth, not really by choice but by circumstances. I live in a rural community where the opportunity to even having a child close to home has been removed. They call this "centralization of care"...I see this as making the patients come to the care instead of the care going to the patient. Also it has played a part in de-populating the rural communities...but I digress. So I have come to terms with the fact that I have to drive at least an hour to give birth to my baby. However I chose to drive an extra 40 minutes so that I can receive the care that I feel will benefit my baby and myself. I chose the extra driving time so that I could have a midwife attend my birth and to help facilitate my desire for a "natural birth". I hope that because I have a midwife and can labour at "home" (I will either be at a friends place or my sister-in-laws...still has to be worked out with those particular individuals) I will be able to create a safe environment to allow me to progress naturally through the first stage of labour. That way by the time that I reach the hospital my labour would have been well established and can progress from there. There is also a tendency that medical staff can get "antsy" in the first part of labour (which is not true of all medical staff, just my experience). Labour at the start is usually slower and medical staff like to see progress because you are tying up a bed. So for me I think it a very important part of my labour to not be in the hospital at this time, you can't offer me augmentation to help speed me through the slow part if I am not there. When I am in the hospital I will be reliying on my husband and my midwife to help me through not only the more difficult contractions and pushing. But to also ensure that I feel safe where I am there.
What did you get from the first two chapters? Did this section help you realize why you wanted a natural birth? Or did it just confirm what you already knew?
I will be adding a Mister-Linky later today so that all the posts (whether you did several posts or just one) can be in one location.