As Bella’s second birthday approachs (Tuesday! ::sob::), I’ve started thinking about the days leading up to having her.
I had a really special, personal, empowering birth with Bella – at a hospital. With an epidural. I know, right? Because so often nowadays we’re told that can’t happen. I had a doctor who was a breastfeeding advocate, a comfortable, private birthing suite, a whirlpool tub, and staff that listened to my thoughts and desires.
Well, one nurse didn’t want to – but I had enough knowledge and confidence about what I wanted that she eventually just let me be. And stopped suggesting I supplement with formula. 12 hours after giving birth. :/
I went in hoping for a natural birth, but it didn’t happen. I’d been in premature labor/bedrest for 6 weeks, was 3 weeks early, high risk, and took a full 4 hours to get from 2-7cm while in fairly active labor. Her heart rate dropped as my blood pressure went up, and I just couldn’t take any more.
I honestly could have married the anesthesiologist right then and there. Having that epidural was like Christmas in a needle.
I still felt everything after that. Just at a very low level, which I loved. I pushed for several hours and at the end they turned the epi off/down so I could feel it all. We had immediate skin to skin contact and they waited on the eye drops and washing her till she breastfed.
We got to co-sleep and I had round the clock breastfeeding help (which was fine at first, then was awful when I got home). Sam and I stayed another night and had our “Last Meal” as they called it (how true it was I didn’t know at the time), where we got to order from their menu and have a table set up for us with roses and candles as the nurses held and cooed over Bella in the nursery.
I’ve never had any real regrets about it all. At first I was like, “Oh, I’m not going to do it natural.” ::sadface:: But once the epidural was in I was like, “DEAR SWEET MOTHER – CAN I HAVE TWO?” I had a hard, long birth but I knew I did what was best.
I realize this isn’t always the case with hospital births – that there are situations that go wrong, or end up even more high risk than I was. But most of the women I’ve spoken to that learned beforehand what their expectations were – and how to let them go if needed – were very happy with their hospital births.
And if we decide to have more, I’d do it again – hands down. I’ll choose a Dr I know is on the same page as me (possibly midwife if I can and they have hospital access), tour the local hospitals, and ask questions about their policies. I’ll have a bag packed and get ready to be pampered for 2-3 days while someone else cooks, cleans, and takes care of me.
Would I try to do it natural next time?
Well, probably not. For me, it just wasn’t a big deal. Maybe it was the books I read, how Sam thought I did amazing no matter what, how much I trusted my Dr to make choices with my interests in mind, or the birth class that was open and encouraging about doing what was best for us – regardless of what that meant. But I left happy with the outcome – a healthy baby and mom.
I had my best birth, and felt proud of what I did. Then I focused on the really hard part. Motherhood. And getting your kid to stop throwing dinner on the floor. Again. While smirking at you.