Monday, October 1, 2012

Birth Plans

One of the biggest questions any pregnant woman faces involves her birth plan.  When it came time to choose mine I realized my mind was already made up, and probably had always been.  A natural birth is the only option for me.  This decision was likely due in part to influence from my mom, as well as our own natural lifestyle.  My mom had 4 babies, and 3 of us were born outside the hospital and naturally.  She also breastfed and cloth-diapered all of her babies, both of which I also intend to do. 

So as soon as we found out we were pregnant, Alex and I began to seek out the right doctor and hospital for us.  We quickly decided a doctor might not be the right fit, and began to see midwives.  Originally we decided Lake Norman Hospital would be our birthplace.  It is just 5 minutes away.  We could labor at home as long as possible before arriving to minimize our chances of interventions.  We were happy with our visits and our decision for delivery. 

Not too long into our pregnancy, my friend Elizabeth turned us on to a brand new birth option in a nearby town, Statesville.  Natural Beginnings Birth Center had just finished their brand new facility and I was anxious to check it out.  I was born in a birth center and felt really confident that it might be an even better fit for us.  Alex needed a little convincing, but by the time we visited during their open house he was also on board.
At the open house we had the opportunity to meet with both midwives and the doctor who also sees patients at the birth center.  We took a tour of the facility, checking out both birth rooms and exam rooms, and of course, got to eat some yummy cake!
The birth rooms are just like bedrooms, with a large comfortable bed in each. 
Also in each room is a birth tub.  Water births happen frequently at this center.
Adjoining each room is a large bathroom with a giant shower.  I am not sure where I will choose to labor and deliver: bed, tub or shower, or all 3, but I love the variety of options and the comfortable set up.
We changed midwives and began to see Marsha and Nicole at the birth center.  We quickly felt comfortable with all the staff and excited about the natural birth that is all-but-guaranteed by choosing the birth center. 

During this time we also began to seek out natural birthing classes and found Meg Lyman who teaches Bradley Method and also incorporates many other natural birthing techniques.  Our birth class was small, with just one other couple.  We were excited to find out they are also delivering at the birth center and are due just two weeks before us.  

Last weekend we wrapped up our birth classes and I couldn't be happier with our experience and how well prepared I feel.  Going into birth I know it will be difficult.  It will likely be painful and hard.  But I know that we can do it without drugs or interventions.  

Beyond our appointments and birthing classes I have spent so much time during the last 3 or 4 months reading about and researching natural births.  My favorite resources remain Ina May's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Susan McCutcheon's Natural Birth the Bradley Way.  I highly recommend both of these books to anyone and everyone...even if your intent is to accept drugs and interventions in childbirth.  It can only help!

I get so many questions about our birth choices and many looks of complete shock when we tell people we will not be birthing in a hospital.  The truth is, a birth center, and even a home birth is just as safe, if not safer than a hospital birth.  We know that we are in good hands and in the case of an emergency will be transferred and be well taken care of.  While yes, a healthy baby is our number one priority, I believe that a natural birth will lead us to the healthiest baby possible and that is why it has taken such precedence in our lives. 

As we inch closer and closer to our due date I am so curious about what labor will actually feel like.  I am nervous and scared, but also excited and anxious.  I am thankful for having so many different options for our birth, and having the opportunity to choose our care providers.  I know I have said it already, but I couldn't be happier and more confident with our choices.

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