So much of life comes down to the choices we make. Sure, people are dealt unfair hands, some things are out of our control and bad things happen to good people–duh. But our choices absolutely shape the trajectory our lives take and pregnancy and birth offers plenty of those choices!
to use the midwives in the ob/gyn office I’ve visited for six years. I knew they’d take more time with me and partner with me to get the pregnancy and birth I wanted. And not hassle me about my hippie-ish tendencies!
to have a Blessingway to pray for me, Kate and our labor and birth. I know it made a tremendous difference!
to eat well, rest plenty and take care of myself throughout the pregnancy.
to refuse extra ultrasounds other than the diaganostic one at 20 weeks.
to refuse almost all extra testing including tests for my blood type, STDs and more. I know my blood type and I’ve only had one sexual partner.
to forgo the traditional glucose tolerance screening. I instead did one blood test, then finger pricks at several visits afterward.
to refuse the flu shot for myself and my family.
to birth at a highly recommended hospital with baby-centric policies that align with my philosophies.
to have my membranes stripped at 41 weeks so we wouldn’t have to be subjected to additional testing or interventions.
natural child birth with as little intervention as possible.
to have my water broken when I was at 9cm–sure enough, the urge to push immediately followed and she was born ten minutes later.
delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin and breastfeeding ASAP after the birth.
to have our two sons present in the delivery room for her birth.
to allow our oldest son to cut Kate’s cord!
to not bathe Kate until she was about 2.5 weeks old. Her skin is perfect, by the way!
to refuse all baby testing and immunizations at the hospital.
to leave the hospital after 27 hours despite paying for another day.
to breastfeed exclusively.
to take Kate to the pediatrician when WE were ready at three weeks old.
to take two weeks “off” after her birth.
I am proud of my decisions. They were not taken lightly and I wouldn’t change a thing.
To have no regrets is one of my life philosophies so I am diligent about doing my research and praying things through. Once I make up my mind, I stick to my guns. This was my third natural child birth despite plenty of people questioning me on it. Who am I kidding, I get questioned on a lot of things.
My pregnancy was 99% issue free. I refused a LOT and I’ll admit–I was a little smug when the tests they ran all came back normal (despite my “advanced maternal age”). I did allow them to test my thyroid levels and my iron because they were concerned about my age and my size (I gained about 23 lbs, by the way. Very respectable!). My iron was a little low so I took a supplement during the 8th and 9th months. Other than that, I had one time on the day before Kate’s birth that my blood pressure was elevated but it went down within the hour. I had ZERO issues other than that. I was never sick and no one in our house was ever sick for the entire nine months. I never even took a Tylenol.
Kate’s labor and birth were absolutely perfect. Her heart rate wasn’t fluctuating, which was a concern, so they monitored her, then administered an IV and oxygen to me. I wouldn’t have preferred that, but obviously I did it for Kate.
You can read her whole birth story here.
The nurses and midwives all commented on how “easy” I made it look, and how calm I was. Those decisions listed above? They gave me peace and I believe that translated into a peaceful labor and delivery.
As my oldest son commented once Kate was born (we’d warned him about how much work it was to give birth and that Mom might not quite be herself), “You didn’t even scream, Mom. You just grunted a little.” Plus when you assemble a team of people who are there to support you and your decisions, of course you’re going to have a better experience!
Naturally there was a part of me that was nervous up until her birth, wondering if all of these decisions were the right ones. My first birth, after all, resulted in an emergency hospital transfer, despite all my planning. Sometimes we just have to walk in faith. I made the best choices for myself for that time and I am glad I did.
I’m writing this simply to say, when you work so hard to do what you believe is best, you should celebrate when it turns out well!
I am incredibly grateful to God, to my support team (my mom, husband, certain friends and family), to my midwives and nurses and to the women who have taught and encouraged me over the years on everything from breastfeeding to childbirth to homeopathic remedies and beyond. And all of those who believed in me and told me I could have the pregnancy and birth I wanted. I had an incredible experience and I am so thankful!