September 26, 2009

Birth Choices

We all have to make choices about the way we give birth – up to a point. I’ve made two distinctly different choices in my two birthing experiences and have to say, I vastly preferred the home version. Both were a learning experience and of course, I wouldn’t trade the little person I gained in each situation!

The first time I chose to birth in the hospital because my husband wanted it. Knowing I could birth “naturally” no matter where I was, I agreed. We created a simple birth plan letting the hospital staff know we’d like the birth to be as free of interventions as possible. Twenty-four hours after my water broke with no discernible progress, I chose pitocin and an epidural though my baby wasn’t in distress and I had no fever. My doc gave me the option of continuing naturally but I was so tired after having had labor for a few nights I was afraid I wouldn’t be strong enough to push. At my suggestion, my husband was asleep on the couch!

Four hours after choosing the drugs, I gave birth at the complete direction of the doctor (since I had no feeling in my legs). I suffered a deep tear since my daughter weighed almost ten pounds and I was lying down to birth. The tear took weeks to heal and the codeine I took for the pain had strong side effects on me as well as the baby.

By far, the deepest hurt I felt came from the narcotics in the cocktail I chose to take. They left me feeling ambivalent about the birth experience, disconnected from my daughter and a little like clawing the ceiling. It was weeks before I felt the connection I expected to have with my daughter. Also, I seriously struggled with post-partum depression after this baby.

I don’t live in regret over this experience. But I knew after this delivery that next time, I would make some different decisions.

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