Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Epidurals at the Door

With an over 95% epidural rate in the area I'm currently living in, most people seem shocked at the idea of taking natural childbirth classes. Obviously, childbirth is about pain, and you want to do everything you can to get rid of that pain!

But here's the cold, hard truth, ladies. An epidural is not a guaranteed thing! Sometimes you have a quick labor. Sometimes something holds you up from getting to the hospital early enough on in labor. Sometimes the anesthesiologist is being utlized for someone else's emergency situation. Just because you sign up for an epidural birth does not mean that you will get one!

So, what happens to a woman who is in labor and finds out that the one basket she has put all her eggs in has crashed to the floor? Every labor has to start sometime, somewhere, and I'm pretty sure most will not be in a hospital room with a catheter already in the back. You will have to cope with contractions at some point.

A woman who knows how the body works and how to work with it is a woman who will experience a lot less anxiety, a lot less panic, and a lot less fear about getting to the hospital in time.

Attending childbirth classes that go over plenty of useful pain coping techniques is essential to every pregnant woman. I've had women who have taken my natural childbirth classes who have ended up on pitocin, had an epidural, gone through a cesarean birth, and every single one has come back to tell me that relaxation techniques were vital to their labor, no matter how it turned out.

Learning how to relax, how to calm down the mind, how to create a setting of safety, how to deal with pain - these are all techniques that are useful in various birthing situations as well as situations outside of the labor room! These are life skills!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Working Hard For Normal

Why is it that we must fight so hard for what is normal in birth?

Normal is not what you would find if you took a glimpse into an L&D ward at any hospital around the U.S. Normal is what you'd find if you took a look at birth through history and various cultures around the world.

What is Normal?

Normal is women up and moving in labor.

Normal is women wearing what is comfortable for them in labor.

Normal is women eating when they are hungry and drinking when they are thirsty.

Normal is women being free from wires, lines, pokes, prods, straps, and needles.

Normal is a laboring woman being at the center of the childbearing drama while a group of supporting women surrounds her.

Normal is a woman having instincts and trusting them.

Normal is a familiar room full of peace and love.

Normal is knowing those who are with you in labor.

Normal is a woman knowing that she was made to give birth.

Normal is women rushing with a power that their own bodies provide.

Normal is trusting that birth has a ton of fail-safes set in place.

Normal is understanding that there is a reason for what happens.

Normal is a woman surrendering in labor -- not to others, but to her self.

Normal is knowing that most variances of labor can be handled in a calm and competent manner.

Normal is trusting that mothers are responsible for making decisions for themselves and their babies.

Normal is being touched by loving and caring hands.

Why is this not normal for our country? Because we are all wearing glasses tinted with a film of medical superiority. Instead of normal, we have handed birth over to an atmosphere steeped in danger, fear and pain, where women are martyrs and doctors are saviors.

We need to put on a different set of glasses. We need a shift in paradigm. When viewed in a light that our bodies were made to give birth. That this is something women have done for all time and the human race still exists. That our bodies are capable of growing and delivering a baby into the world. That it is a normal human function. It seems a little ridiculous to create such chaos around every single birth when it is obviously unnecessary.