Tuesday, November 30, 2010

mondays are good days (learning how to have an orgasmic birth)...

Lately I have been looking forward to Monday all weekend long. Monday is the night where Warren and I have an early supper, pop in to Starbucks for a London Fog or Americano, and hightail it up the mountain to our prenatal classes. We have an amazing instructor. Shannon is a certified Doula, is active in the local Le Leche League, and just generally so knowledgeable about birth and new babies. Somehow luck was on our side and we scored private classes. For three hours, Warren, Shannon and I talk about childbirth. It's riveting, I swear! As it turns out, I love talking about childbirth.

I always thought I would be afraid of giving birth; being in the hospital, being strapped to a bed and connected to fetal monitors, sweating, throwing up, and screaming... I think many women are afraid of childbirth, but we haven't been told the whole 'baby story'. Learning about natural childbirth (minimal or no medical interventions) has given me the confidence to not only know that I can do it, but actually look forward to it. Shannon has taught us a lot about what to expect, and why it happens. Childbirth (barring no serious complications) does not have to be seen as medicalized. It will be difficult at times, we have been advised, but we don't have to see it as just a terrible and traumatic means to an end. Childbirth can be a process that we experience at every moment, every contraction and every dose of those amazing natural chemicals. 

By the time our three hours is over, I am ready to go for three more. When we get in the car, Warren and I immediately start processing our feelings about what we have learned. We stop somewhere for a snack to bring home and spend the next couple of hours talking about how relevant it all is to us. Right now we are juggling with our feelings around where is the best place for our son to be born. We are open to a hospital tour, but are also open to the possibility of birthing him at home. We are also making decisions about what will happen to the baby once he is born (we don't want him taken away, bathed or swaddled until he has had enough time to bond with us and breastfeed), vaccinations, unnecessary procedures or interventions, co-sleeping... We have also learned that modern western medical practices are not always in the best interest of the baby, and that we don't have to do anything we don't want to. We have control over everything, and we want to do what feels right for our little family.

The really significant piece for me is that the information we learn about natural childbirth is not common knowledge among women or mothers. I have had lots and lots of women doubt my ability to have a natural childbirth without pain medication. I have been warned by well-meaning women that I have no idea what my pain threshold will be. Fortunately, we have the information and support from our Midwife and childbirth educator to make the right decisions for us and our son. I just know that Warren is going to be the best birth coach I could ever imagine, and a strong advocate for our baby.

Before I was pregnant I watched the documentary "The Business of Being Born" and I recommend it to anyone and everyone, not just people planning families. It's a documentary that everyone should be interested in about the perspective we have on childbirth in our society. We also watched "The Orgasmic Birth" which was amazing too. Do yourself a favour and watch both of these trailers. If you want more watch this and this (skip to 2:15 for the best part!)and this.

I am quickly learning that the topic of natural childbirth can be controversial for several reasons that I wont go into. It's a bit of a gamble to come out publicly about our decisions, especially because we have never given birth before. I appreciate that there are other perspectives, and think that they are all valid as long as people have been given all the information necessary to make their decisions. For this I am very thankful for our childbirth educator and her support and knowledge as we plan what I hope to be the best, most adventurous day(s) of our lives.

Thanks Shannon!