Sunday, August 06, 2006

Natural Childbirth

I recently had a conversation that made me feel bad. I was talking to a woman who also had a new baby. I told her that yes, I had done natural childbirth for both children. I used hypnobirthing techniques of Marie Mongan. She talked about how she tried to do it for the second child, but was not able to. She had a look of wistful disappointment. It so often seems that we measure ourselves against this "perfect mother" and fail.

For my first son, I was induced because my blood pressure was up. So I was rested and the hynobirthing worked really well. I had practiced the techniques for 30 minutes a day for 3 months. I was READY! I have other medical issues and drug allergies. I was petrified to have any medical intervention. I have the Factor Five Leiden problem and I am allergic to iodine too. The body may look okay on the outside but it does not work as well on the inside. The nice thing about being induced is that you get your own doctor. At 6 am they started pitocin. They broke my water at about 9 am and he was born at 12:03 pm. I had about 6 hours of labour. It was able to stay with the technique for the whole time. He was born in the US in a great hospital.

For my second son, I started labour spontaneously about midnight and I was exhausted. The labour went really slowly. I was at 3 cm for about 12 hours, even after they broke my water. My son was born at 3:15 pm the next afternoon. I did not find it as easy, well easy is the wrong word. Labour is more like drowning than you might ever want to experience. My second labour was not as controlled as the first one. I struggled more at the end. I felt less in control. Though, that feeling of panic usually means you are almost done. I have to say that the Canadian hospital had great people, but looked more like a cheap motel compared to the US. I also did not have my own doctor, which is worrying for someone who has a complex medical history. I still felt bad for a long time afterwards because I had not been able to stay with it. I was not as calm with the second birth.

Of course, the whole point of this is to get a healthy baby. I got my healthy baby each time. Why do we have to do it perfectly? Why do we want to? The drugs don't hurt the baby any more. And yet, the look on that other Mother's face, like she had missed something important because she had not been able to go naturally.

Why do we even call it natural childbirth? Natural is a word that has no meaning. The opposite is either supernatural or unnatural? Here I am Volupto, the superhero, using my supernatural powers to push babies out of a vagina. More powerful than a speeding tricycle, able to leap tall breast pumps in a single bound!

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