Let the process unfold as it will: I don't have to go in with a rigid plan. I believe that having a solid well thought out birthing plan makes lots of sense. It allows families to think through the process and their preferences around it. It should not, however, be so set in stone that it doesn't allow for flexibility within the process.
In my childbirth class, we saw a film where a women expressed that she wanted an epidural as soon as she got to the hospital. She knew that she had no tolerance for pain and didn't want to feel any more of it than she had to. It turned out that her labor progressed much more quickly than she or her doctor thought it would, and she did not need (or have time for) the epidural she insisted she would need. She got through labor and got her healthy little baby with no medications through a process completely different than she had planned.
I wanted to have as natural experience as possible for both my daughter and me. The birth did not go well and I had to be very flexible including accepting narcotic pain relief, an epidural and forceps. I am not advocating one philosophy over another; however, I am pointing out that flexibility is critically important.
Pain management is available if I want/need it. There are all sorts of options for pain management during labor and delivery. Almost everyone has heard of an epidural, but there are other options as well. It is important for you to understand the benefits and the risks. You will learn about all of them in your childbirth class but should also discuss them with your doctor. She most likely has wisdom/advice to share if you ask her for it.
Women have been birthing children for thousands of years. It seems in recent years, we have become accustomed to the easy fix and the "no pain" solution. This applies in many situations including childbirth. The truth is that there are few "no pain" solutions. Your Mom probably didn't have the option of an epidural and she was able to get through the process of labor. Same with your Grandmother and Great Grandmother. Please don't misunderstand. As noted above, I eventually needed an epidural despite my desire to go natural. My point is that we need to keep in mind that labor and delivery are natural processes that our bodies were built for and miraculously able to accommodate.
There are many more points to consider about giving birth. The ones above helped me have a healthier and less fear based birth experience. At the end, I got my beautiful healthy little daughter without a bruise or mark on her. As the doctor was finishing my stitches, I barely noticed because I couldn't stop looking at the little miracle in front of me.
Take some time to think about and write down your personal birth philosophy. Talk to your husband, friends or other family members. The philosophy is the strategy that will get you through the twists and turns of childbirth.
Deborah Lynn is a former fortune 200 executive who left the corporate world to focus on having her first child at the age of 44. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Kansas; a Master's degree in Kinesiology from the University of Northern Iowa and conducted doctoral work at Indiana University in Physiology. She is now the mother of her happy and healthy infant daughter, Alexandra. Over35newmoms contains detailed information about getting pregnant over age 35 including infertility testing, sperm donor selection, artificial insemination, labor, delivery, special considerations for moms over 35; and even designing your baby's nursery.
Copyright © Deborah Lynn. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.