I’m a big supporter of natural birth. Being a naturopath means that I see the great intelligence in the universe and believe that humans should live in harmony with nature, and so I prefer the gentler approach.
It is my hope that sharing my story will encourage those of you who are considering a natural birth. By “natural birth,” I mean a vaginal birth free from unnecessary intervention and medication (including pain relievers).
When I was pregnant with my first child, I felt that society wasn’t very supportive of natural birth. Movies depicted women screaming and cursing; it made delivery seem like a scary, horrible experience. When I mentioned that I wanted to deliver without pain medication, people looked at me as if I were crazy. I heard comments like: “You say that now, but wait until you’re in the middle of it” or “Yeah, good luck.” And this from other mothers!
Eventually, I delivered my baby at a hospital. I had to get IV antibiotics
and was under the care of an OB/GYN with my midwife providing support. I was given Pitocin, a drug used to stimulate contractions, because labor wasn’t progressing rapidly enough. Because my body wouldn’t have time to release endorphins (natural pain-relieving chemicals produced by the body), I was told I would feel the pain much more intensely.
My nurse suggested an epidural; I thanked her and said I would do without. My mother-in-law – a medical doctor – also urged me to consider it; I gave her the same answer. Finally, my midwife came and mentioned it once again. At that point, I was starting to think I really needed one. However, there was a part of me that really, really didn’t want to get an epidural. So I stuck to my guns – and ended up not even noticing a difference in terms of pain after taking the Pitocin.
My son’s birth was a little more complicated than expected. There was a knot in his umbilical cord, so we had to extract him using suction. I avoided pain medication and a C-section, but some things didn’t go as planned. Giving birth is not a straightforward process. Thankfully, I got what every woman wants in the end: a healthy baby.
So believe in yourself. If you’d like a natural delivery, do the research. Be confident and don’t let others tell you that you can’t do it. Surround yourself with positive images and messages, and people who will encourage you. You can do it!
Got a question?
Melissa Rodriguez is a mom of two and a wellness consultant. She also works as a naturopath at International Medical Center. Check out her website at www.drmelissarodriguez.com
photo courtesy of Flickr user Sandy Pell
This article originally appeared on p26 of the beijingkids October 2013 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com