When I wrote my birth story I felt I needed to share my thoughts on natural birth since I had finally experienced it and it was so not what I expected and opened my eyes to the reason why drugs were invented.
I had read about how intense birth was and since I had been on Pitocin with my first son and had gotten all the way to 6 cm I felt like I knew what they were talking about. And even though I had to get an epidural with the first I wasn’t to the point where I actually wanted to get one. It was the choice between an epidural or a c-section so it was an easy choice and I am so thankful for medicine making a vaginal birth possible, but I didn’t truly get it.
So now I have had a natural birth. Labor started on its own, contractions were random and then grew with intensity and frequency. And for the most part labor went as expected. I was able to breath through, push through and somehow stay calm and then it got to the point where I wanted to quit and quitting wasn’t an option. There wasn’t even an option to take five. The intensity just grew and grew and then it was time to push and the work just got harder instead of easier. And then after all that he was finally here and they laid him on my chest. And all I could say was “I love you, I’m so happy that you are here.” I listened to my body and I was pushed farther than I thought was possible, but somehow I made it through it all with a healthy baby boy.
So looking back, would I describe the experience as magical or anything like what I expected? No, not really. It is like when people talk about how breastfeeding is magical. Some parts of it are, but there are a lot of parts of it that are not. I feel the same way about natural birth. Some parts are magical, an alert baby, a connection where you talk to your baby as he moves through your body, being able to feel him come out, those parts are my highlights. Other parts like the intensity and effort required from your body are just something you live through and then try and put out of your mind. My doula recorded me right after my son was born and my husband watched the video and talked about how amazing it was and how it showed how hard I worked. I watched it and it brought back a flood of intensity that I had been working hard on forgetting. In a way it proved to myself that the intensity I was trying to forget wasn’t imagined or trumped up. It probably was even more intense than I remembered it and truly was so hard and so much work. And as I thought about the intensity of that moment all I could think was that I was glad it was in the past and hopefully would never have to experience it again.
The only thing I could think shortly after giving birth was why you would willingly go through a natural birth again after experiencing the experience of the first time. And even though that would be my choice, I still can’t really fathom doing it again.
Everyone said I did great, which I guess means that my experience isn’t really so different than others who have given birth un-medicated. It still boggles my mind how moms do it. How we bring life into the world and how beautiful and intense it is all at the same time.