Spoiler alert: healthy baby, healthy mama
I’m going to spoil this post right from the start. The only thing that matters for birth is a healthy baby, healthy mama.
It doesn’t matter if you give birth medication-free or with an epidural, it doesn’t matter if your baby was born vaginally or by cesarean, it doesn’t matter if it was a 48 hour labor or a 2 hour labor. At the end of the day the only thing that really matters is that you have a healthy baby in your healthy mama arms.
Who’s a planner? 100% me. And as a planner, the phrase healthy baby, healthy mama, was really helpful and grounding for me. There’s so much to think about when it comes to the birth of your child. Where do you want to give birth? Do you want to use medication? What kind of medication? Do you want to be induced? What if your baby is breech?
There’s a lot you can plan, but very little you can control.
And if you’re super set on one way of birth, you could leave disappointed instead of empowered and proud.
Approaching birth with our first
When we were pregnant with our first child, Hayes, I started to think about the type of birth I wanted pretty early in the pregnancy (planner!) and I was really interested in a medication-free birth. There were many reasons I was interested in medication-free birth — in general, I’m not one to jump to medication first if it’s not necessary (I had a life changing experience because of a medication so I’m pretty cautious), I don’t love the idea of being numb (epidural), and I also heard great things about recovery and bonding if you’re able to give birth medication-free — but the biggest why for me is that I find it absolutely incredible that our bodies are built to give birth. I knew it would be tough as hell, but I wanted to experience that.
In preparation for a medication free birth I started digging into resources — The Birth Hour Podcast, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Natural Hospital Birth, etc. — and I also found a local organization, Birth Kalamazoo, that puts on natural birth classes for expectant moms and their partners. It was an easy way to get Jeff involved in my goals for birth and help educate us both on what to expect during a medication-free labor and birth. It’s also this class where I learned the phrase healthy baby, healthy mama.
I know it’s super simple and it’s really easy to think “duh, Syd”, but it’s also really easy to get caught up in planning and preparing for the birth of your dreams only to feel let down and discouraged when it doesn’t happen. Traumatic births happen. Disappointing births happen. Crazy fast and furious births happen. And since we aren’t in control it can feel like a whirlwind and we can forget what’s truly important at the end of the birth — healthy baby, healthy mama.
We are not in control
Obviously, that phrase really stuck with me and I’m sure that was intentional. Because even though every person in that class was planning on giving birth medication-free, not all of us did, because we are not in control. For the birth of our second child, which is rapidly approach I am reminding myself that no matter how much I prepare and no matter how much I plan, I am not in control. I don’t think that means that you shouldn’t prepare, look into your options, and advocate for the birth that you want. But I do think it means that it’s important to simultaneously prepare for the unknown and a birth completely opposite of what you’ve planned.
To be honest, this post is just as much for me as it is for you
I bothered writing about this at all because it’s been on my mind and my heart as we approach this second birth. My birth with Hayes went really smooth and I couldn’t of asked for a better feeling then that moment when I caught our baby girl and brought her up to my chest (read the full story if you want!). But that birth has no impact on this birth. It could be completely different. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it was completely different since everything this pregnancy has felt different. I have prepared waaaay less for the actual birth this time around. And I know what birth feels like (hard as hell, but incredibly amazing), whereas before I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. It’s all different this time around. And accepting that I am not in control is the key to fully experiencing this labor, birth, and baby.
Approaching birth with our second
It’s a pretty freeing feeling to release control if you can get yourself there. For this birth, much like my first, I am hoping to labor at home as long as possible and have my doula join at our house to help manage the pain and to help us time when to leave for the hospital. When I arrive at the hospital I want to be deep into labor, so much so that I can’t help but be focused on it. If there is time, I’d like to get into the bath when I get to the hospital and labor there until I’m feeling pushy and ultimately, give birth medication-free on the hospital bed.
That is my plan, but I am open and ready to embrace whatever happens so that we have a healthy baby, healthy mama. That. Is all that really matters.