Question from a natural birth newbie

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carisathedreamer's picture
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Question from a natural birth newbie

Hi everyone! I'm Carisa, and my baby girl is due in August. I've been lurking here for a bit and trying to get informed. After reading Ina May Gaskin's books (love her!) and reading about a gazillion birth stories I'm ready to take the leap and confirm to myself and everyone else that I want to go the natural route.
So here's my question. My biggest fear is getting "pressured" into medical interventions - some of the stories I've read about doctors breaking a woman's waters without permission or bullying nurses pushing for pitocin scare the bejesus out of me. I tend to be pretty skilled at advocating for myself, but I have no idea how overwhelmed I may feel in the moment. I am single, so I won't have a husband or significant other in the room who can step in and make my wishes clear. I have good friends who will be there, but the whole "natural birth" idea is really foreign to them. I also can't afford a doula, they are super expensive around here. So, any thoughts? Have any of you had experience with being pressured into medical intervention while in labor? How did you handle it?
This post turned out kind of long, sorry about that!

krazykat's picture
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Welcome, and congratulations!!

I think your best bet is a doula. Often, they will work out a payment plan for you if you can't pay all at once. Also some sort of education program like Bradley or Hypnobabies. The pressure is strong in a hospital if you are going up against the grain. If I could do it over again, those are the things I would do. Don't give up on a doula just because of the cost. There are also doulas in training that will often lower their price or do it for free just to get the experience.

Check this site out, and maybe someone can point you in the right direction: http://www.alldoulas.com

cactuswren's picture
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Yes, congrats and welcome!!

I do agree that looking for a student doula who will do it for the experience, or one who can do a sliding scale payment is at least worth the research. Otherwise, do you have one friend in particular who, although they may not be knowledgeable about NCB or even agree, you could at least trust to learn your preferences (even just being at your birth with a list in hand that they have gone over with you) and help you make them known?

It's also always a good idea to ask when you get to the hospital that you be assigned nurses who are NCB-friendly--there are usually some on staff who like or at least don't mind attending those kinds of births, and they'd be less likely to give you a hard time.I don't know how much choice you have as far as your OB and hospital, but if you do have more than one in your area/insurance, looking into which of your options is most likely to be supportive is also worth a little research time up front.

Good luck!!

jooniper's picture
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First, congrats! I have a sister due in August as well.
I'd say, on top of being informed (good for you)- make sure you can trust your healthcare provider. And if you don't- it's not too late to switch. It can make all the difference in the world.

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I had that issue with my first baby and caved and got the EPI just to shut the nurses up mainly, I also had serious hip pain from not being able to switch positions.

As for my second birth it was completely different. My advice is, as Jenn said, get a health care provider that is on your side and you trust completely. My doctor was awesome and very supportive of my choices. You NEED to TRUST your doctor. I would also suggest staying home as long as you can. I had a 6 hour labor and did 4 of the hours at home. The other 2 hours were in the hospital and the first hour was the observation before they admit you and the second was transition labor and pushing. They barely had time to even call the doctor after admitting me let alone intervene with my choices. lol. They got the hep-lock put in after i was completely dilated and right before my water broke which was when i started pushing.

So yeah. Maybe even get one of your friends involved in your natural birth preparations just like you would if you had your SO. Take them to your classes or what ever. Have a doctor/midwife you trust and supports your decision, and labor at home as long as possible.

faeriecurls's picture
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Yay for another August mama over here!!

I agree with the suggestions that have been made so far - try to find a student doula to help support you in labor - especially if your friend won't be able to advocate for you. If your OB isn't supportive of NCB then start looking for another one if you can.

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Personally I found it nearly impossible to advocate for myself in labor, even with a lot of knowledge (I used to be a doula). I was shocked at how suggestible and easily frightened/swayed I was when I was actually in labor, and I was in a hospital setting and working with a DR who had paid a lot of lip service to respecting my natural birth wishes, but when push came to shove was not concerned with honoring me or my desires.

I would STRONGLY recommend a doula or a friend or labor support person who has a lot of knowledge and is finely attuned to your wishes for birth.

Good luck to you!

rsu
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I don't know where you live, but if you have options in hospitals, do your research and pick BOTH a hospital and midwife, if possible, who are supportive of natural birthing. My regular OB/GYN was very supportive of natural birth, but after doing my research I learned that the hospital where she delivered was not - and a lot goes on before the doctor ever gets to the hospital. I decided to switch to a midwife practice that delivers at a hospital with two "alternative" birthing centers including birth tubs - my original ob/gyn admitted that her hospital would never permit her to deliver in a tub, but she definitely thought it could contribute to a calmer, more positve birth experience.

Even if you can't afford a doula, still talk to some of the experienced ones who have observed births throughout your community, and see if they can recommend the best hospital and midwife or doctor to support your choices.

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Welcome! You have gotten some great advice already, and I won't repeat it, but I do want to say that it is posssilbe to advocate for yourself during labor, but it's not always easy. I was able to do it with my DS's birth, BUT I had been obsessively studying natural childbirth for about 2 years before that...and I was almost compliant, but then a voice in my head kicked in and said "HEY! You don't want that, remember? Speak up!" (well, I wasn't literally hearing voices, but you know what I mean). I think all of the studying I did for all that time created that "inner doula" of mine. Also, I think part of what helped me be able to be calm enough to advocate for myself was doing Hypnobabies. I highly recommend it.

carisathedreamer's picture
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Thank you so much for your input everyone! Its really nice to be congratulated instead of looked at like I have three heads when I announce my decision to have a natural birth. I think I may look a little more into finding a doula - I didn't even think to look for students. That would be great, as I mostly just want a "spotter" of sorts!

Thanks again, and I look forward to getting to know all of you!

krazykat's picture
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"carisathedreamer" wrote:

Thank you so much for your input everyone! Its really nice to be congratulated instead of looked at like I have three heads when I announce my decision to have a natural birth. I think I may look a little more into finding a doula - I didn't even think to look for students. That would be great, as I mostly just want a "spotter" of sorts!

Thanks again, and I look forward to getting to know all of you!

I agree about a "spotter". A lot can be avoided if you just simply have someone there who can say, "Will you give us a minute in private to think about this?"