After the essential oil blog exploded on Monday, I decided to continue hippie week, hoping to recruit as many of you to my little card-carrying club as I possibly could.
Which is why today, I'm going to tell you why I chose to have both of my children with a midwife—and zero drugs.
Now, you have to understand, I'm the girl who acts like the world ended when I get a paper cut. Cramps lay me out in bed with a heating pad, the rarity of headaches called for immediate Aleve (before essential oils!), and I tend to be a teensy bit dramatic when my son Moses drives his dump truck over my toe. So you can imagine when I found out I was pregnant for the first time three years ago, I shamelessly went around announcing to the world:
GIVE ME THE DRUGS, BABY.
And then I made the wonderful mistake of watching the Netflix documentary The Business of Being Born produced by Ricki Lake. If you'll take 2 minutes, I promise you…..this is a trailer you need to watch:
[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DgLf8hHMgo[/youtube]
Up until that point, my only education on childbirth had been television shows and movies, and after watching enough women scream, yell, and appear as if they were enduring an exorcism, I was more than petrified of giving birth. In fact, the whole ordeal was a huge mystery that I wasn't even sure I could physically handle, especially since the sight of blood in most movies made my stomach churn into knots. And the term ‘midwife' instantly conjured up pictures of a grey headed woman with a bun who probably wanted to deliver my baby in a barn somewhere in Kansas. I had no idea there was an option to have a natural childbirth, or even had any idea how my body was created to birth life.
After watching The Business of Being Born, seeing a natural birth where the woman looked completely peaceful, and hearing the truth about my body and what it was created to do, I made the decision…..
I don't want to lay on my back numbed from the waste down, induced into labor, or have a C-section. I don't want to scream, huff and puff, and act like I'm demonized. I want to educate myself, know what I'm getting into, and enjoy the experience of birthing a life that I helped to create.
And that's exactly what happened.
1. EDUCATE YOURSELF
I can't tell you how important it was for me to understand the birthing process, and how this sucked out and eliminated most of my fear. Studhubs and I were living in Nashville and chose to use The Midwives of Vanderbilt, and the midwives offered weekly meetings, which I attended and took a book full of notes, and then we enrolled in a local Alpha Course which was a Christian birthing class taught by a doula. I know that Bradley Courses have been highly recommended and give the same birthing info, without the spiritual aspect.
I can't say this enough….STAY AWAY FROM BOOKS THAT EDUCATE YOU WITH WORST-CASE SCENARIOS. I don't want ever want to publicly come out against a book, but there are a couple of EXTREMELY popular books that I had to put down, simply because every page was laced with so much fear. If you're reading a book about childbirth and it keeps causing your body to jump into fear, then do yourself a favor and put the dang thing down. Your poor little baby is feeling all of your worry and anxiety.
One of my favorite books to read was Supernatural Childbirth, chronicling the stories of women who experienced zero pain during childbirth. And even though this wasn't my experience, it's definitely something I'm still believing for in my future!
2. MIDWIFE V. DOULA
My husband always says that the doula we hired was the best money we had ever spent—especially since neither of us had been through a labor experience before. The midwife makes sure you're okay medically and will actually birth the baby, but the doula never leaves your side. My beautiful doula Michelle Cash had her hands on my body the entire 12 hours of my labor, praying for me, massaging my shoulders, letting me know when I was holding tension in a part of my body, and coaching me to relax and breathe. She could answer questions that my husband had asked, and was helping us navigate the emotional, spiritual, and physical waters of labor while the midwife worked her magic.
3. GOING TO HEAVEN DURING EACH CONTRACTION
Alright, now this is where I might sound a little weird, but I don't even care because it absolutely worked.
As I was preparing spiritually and mentally for childbirth, Father started speaking to my heart about Ephesians 2:6:
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”
If my spirit is currently raised up and seated in heavenly places with Christ, the veil has been torn, I can approach the throne with boldness and confidence, then my goodness—there's no better place to be while giving birth!
Every few minutes as my body moved into the worst pain I'd ever experienced called contractions, I did the opposite of what I wanted to do. The thing is, fear causes way more pain than anything else during labor, and if your body resists the contraction out of fear and anxiety, you're only going to tense up and feel even more pain. So every time a contraction began, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and embraced the deepest pain I'd ever experienced—heading straight into the throne room. During every contraction of my 12-hour labor with Moses, I hung out with the Trinity—with Jesus on my left, Father in front of me, and the Holy Spirit on my right. We talked about the pain. We talked about my coming son, and all the plans they had for him. They coached me, encouraged me, and held me tight. Jesus looked deep into my eyes at one point and said, ‘Girl, we're here with you—and you've got this.' After each contraction released, I would open my eyes, smile, and hang out with my husband, doula, mother, and midwife.
If you saw my birthing video, it's actually quite comical. Because I would be laughing, joking around, singing at times, and then the second the next contraction would hit, I would close my eyes, let my body fold INTO the pain (instead of resisting), and allow my spirit to hang out in the throne room—the most peaceful place in existence. Did the contractions still hurt? Of course they did, but I let them fall over my body like a waterfall as I stayed peacefully inside the throne room. Something in me felt invincible, being stronger than I knew I was capable of, and aware and present within each moment. It's almost as if giving birth forged a strength inside my heart that I didn't even know I had—letting the true essence of my femininity rise up for the first time.
The second I held that little bundle of sunshine wiggling inside my arms, it's incredible how in an instant, memories of labor sucked out of my brain and I would have gone through it all over again.
When I looked at the span of my life, and thought about how insignificantly small 12 hours would be on my timeline, I decided that I could pretty much do anything for a day or so—even if pain was involved.
A few extra hippie things to consider. Find a chiropractor who specializes in the Webster's technique—aligning your body throughout your pregnancy. I sat in the office of Dr. Jennifer Rousseau while she explained how her adjustments would take my labor from the 12 hours I had experienced with my son, to just a couple of hours with my daughter. And after going to the chiropractor faithfully every week during my second pregnancy, my labor was only about an hour long. (Now, whether that was the adjustments or just Jesus, I don't know. Anencephalic babies aren't supposed to drop easily, and Luca was ready to pop out in such a short time! I would recommend to any pregnant woman—find a chiropractor that works with preggers. It took away so many aches and pains during my pregnancy!).
Also, if your baby isn't positioned correctly, sunny-side-up, or breech, this Spinning Babies website has incredible information.
Good grief, hippies talk too much. And once again, this is entirely too long. But if you know someone whose pregnant, send them this blog. If you're expecting a baby, then try a few of my suggestions. Labor was one of the best experiences of my life—which was the exact opposite of what I expected after watching movies over the years.
I didn't scream.
I didn't cry.
I didn't tense up.
I didn't freak out.
And I didn't make a single sound either time.
The only sound that happened in my birthing room were the sounds of worship, prayer, laughter, and eventually, the crying sounds of life with my son. God created our bodies, ladies, and He gave us everything we needed to birth children. Do we need doctors and hospitals? YES YES YES. Do we need modern medicine? YES YES YES. But we also need to know how our bodies work, educate ourselves thoroughly when pregnant, and make the decisions that are best for us, and for our children.
If this pain wimp can do it, believe me—I promise, you can do it, too.
THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN FULL FILM:
[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvljyvU_ZGE[/youtube]