Monday, April 16, 2012

Birth: Worth All the Hype??

A few weeks ago I was thinking about birth. I'm around 6 months pregnant, and the thought is starting to enter my mind. What kind of birth do I want? Another hospital birth? Do I want to try a homebirth this time? Induced? Do I want something different?

Ha, as if any of us have a choice at the end of the day (to some degree). So I asked my husband.

Me: "Do you think I should do all-natural this time?"
Justin: "Why would you want that. You said Elijah's birth was perfect."
Me: "I know, it was. I wouldn't change anything. But I don't know, more pain might build my character."
Justin: (shakes head and laughs) "That's why you want to go natural? The fact that you are even asking that question for that reason, shows you are not one of those people that needs to put yourself through that. Besides. Life has enough pain. Especially the way you choose to do things"


Okay so fine. I am one of those few people who loved their birth story. But is how you birth a baby really important? I mean, is it really all that important to love your birth story? Does it really matter how you birth a baby? That is my question.

I don't think it does so much, Big scheme. My argument is birth is the only decision that *doesn't* affect the baby, it just affects you. Not that our happiness isn't important, --(or our character!)--but really, there are a MILLION other choices you will make as a mother that actually affect the baby---how to discipline, establishing self-esteem, creating a love for God and others. I think maybe ONE person has ever asked me in two years *how* I gave birth. one cares! It doesn't matter. What matters is what did you do with your baby...cloth diapers, organic baby food, crying out method, attachment parenting, discipline choices (or lack thereof)..that's the stuff moms want to know because that's the stuff that more affects your child. (not that any of those are black&white either or deal breakers!) If you are going to spend hours of pre-bedtime reading on something, I dunno, birth just doesn't seem worth it to me.

Because any way you slice it...the baby will be born. And I will argue forever that chemicals you put into your body for a few hours (after baby has been living in your body for ten MONTHS receiving what you eat)...aren't really what we should be worrying about. I know babies whose mother's went on pitocin and guess what their babies are at Harvard now. Same with epidiurals. C-section babies. Homebirth babies. Premie babies. And I know homebirth moms who deeply regretted their decision. Same with C-section. Same with epidurals.

Also, I need to say, for some, the way they birth is really a spiritual experience for the mom. I know moms who feel like the way they birth a baby is an obedience issue, God has asked them to birth a certain which cases I think obedience trumps all. But, for me, I did not feel God telling me a way to give birth. Here's my story in a nutshell.

Four days past due date (isn't it super fun when all your friends and family text you/call you daily to ask what's happening??--I'll let you know people, believe you me, no one wants to birth this baby more than me--end of side note). Finally at 4am I'm positive I'm in labor. Drive to hospital, I'm 6 cm. We hang out. The pain gets worse and worse. I have made it a *point* to be super-nice to the nurse (always pays off...nurses run the show, folks). I tell her my entire extended family (including great-grandparents) are on their way to witness the birth and I would like an epidural, please. Nurse says, at 8cm it's not really protocol, but she likes us okay we'll try.

Okay just have to inteject--my biggest fear in birth was not the pain with labor, it was the pain in tearing. Baby was 21 1/4inches people, and 4oz under 9lbs...I was skeered. And I know, I know, epidural doesn't neccessarily help with the tearing pain, you can tell me that a million times, but in my crazy little mind, I was 9cm and wanted that epidural for that one reason and there was no talking me out. I don't care if the hard part was over. I. Don't. Care.

Cue huge procession, trumpets sounding, ladies dancing, elephants, the whole deal we are excited.  Lady with the big needle enters. Doesn't hurt a bit. 30 minutes later, nothing changes, except I've slowed down a bit. Apparently the meds went in upside down and my arms were going numb. Awesome.

Well, 30 minutes after that, baby was born, got to see family, everyone came it, it was perfect. Because at the end of the day...I had my baby.

I do have friends that hate their birth story. And, I could really be discontent with my next one. But, at the end of the day, those trials shape us into better women, better moms if we use them to strengthen our relationships with God. Heard in bsf last week, "Trials are tests to reveal our understanding". And as we all know, they make us stronger people.

So, what for number 2? I am not making any real plans. I chose a doctor I trust completely, and am hoping for the same story. A C-section only scares me in that it is unknown territory. I don't think it matters to me outside of that. But again, I trust my doctor completely and trust God more than that. Any way you cut it, I will be okay with the end product if it produces a healthy baby. And then the real sanctification begins!


  1. What a great post! I had an epidural with one; natural with number two and pitocin with number three (that one was the least pleasant of all).

    I unofficially assisted with two births and was, for a short time, an "official" midwife assistant.

    You have the right attitude: the goal is to have a healthy baby. And remain a healthy mom!

    Your trust in your physician and God is the most important element!

  2. I think it's definitely worth the hype. Witnessing and participating in our child's birth is one of the most obvious miracles we will ever experience in life. No choice is superior to the other, and like you said, often the choice can be taken out of our hands due to certain situations, circumstances, doctor's advice, etc. The bottom line is no matter how the baby is born, to recognize God's GRACE and power through the experience, and not to become prideful. God is in control in all things.
    Praying for you as you work out the details on number 2's entrance. It's coming!
    Love-Amy Littlepage

  3. Thanks Amy! Yes I definitely agree--having a baby is a big deal! And I think it is the way you approach birth that makes the difference, and it is definitely an opportunity to get closer to him! In that way, I think birth has it's most value. I went 'natural' without meaning to, and it had was a significant spiritual lesson, just as some of my friends have had surgeries that made the same impact and were just as perfect for them. I am super duper excited for number 2! Birth was the best part of the child-bearing experience for me (pregnancy was rough) but paled in comparison to raising Elijah and I'm sure will pale in comparison to the joy of raising Ethan! Thanks guys for your comments, sorry I am just now responding!