My Birth Experience, In An Ideal World

You rarely get to pick how your birth will go. An elective caesarean is probably the closest you get to being able to plan how things will unfold, and even then, unforeseen circumstances can easily crop up. I know, for example, of several women who’ve unexpectedly gone in to labour ahead of their scheduled section date and ended up with a rather more rushed caesarean than they’d been expecting.

But if I could pick and choose, lining up the exact birth that I’d most like to experience, then I know exactly what I would select. I know, absolutely, that my chances of experiencing this are infinitesimally tiny. I also know that no matter how much I think this is how I would like things to go, if by some chance it does happen this way, I might hate it and be begging for the caesarean that right now I want less than anything else in the world! But let’s suspend reality for a moment, and deal with my hypothetical ideal.

Ideally, I’d want to not be induced. I don’t think many women truly *want* to be induced. I think many women want to go in to labour sooner, or at all if they’ve gone well over 40 weeks, but the actual process of induction isn’t something that people would really pick. Not wanting to be induced is, for me, a bit tied up with the fact that it seems to be exactly what is expected to happen for all diabetic mothers. Sometime in the past few years since I’ve been contemplating having children, I’ve developed an elaborate day dream about going in to spontaneous labour instead, probably in the middle of the night. I’d like to have the opportunity to stay at home for some time. The opportunity to wake my husband up and tell him that the time has come. I’d like our baby and my body to be mutually ready to do what they need to do.

And then, obviously, I’d like a straightforward, intervention free labour. I’d like to be mobile and upright, not tied to two drips and preferably not tied to a monitor, be that via intermittant monitoring, or via mobile telemetry.

What I really don’t want most of all is an epidural, for reasons that are a bit complicated, but relate to previous problems with lumbar punctures and damage to a spinal nerve. This is also a major part of the reason that I don’t want a c-section – because if I can’t have an epidural or spinal, I would need a GA, and I don’t want to miss that moment when our child enters the world and we discover who they are.

Truth is, though, I don’t really want pethadine or diamorphine either. Because opiates do funny things to my head. They make me dizzy and more often that not sick, itchy and freezing cold. I’d prefer to avoid the potential side effects.

So really, in a nutshell, I want a natural birth with minimal pain relief. TENS and Gas & Air being my main options. It’s not about being “hard” or wanting to prove anything to the world (maybe to myself, a tiny bit). It’s simply that the alternative options don’t appeal to me for reasons that are, I believe, very valid.

I have an odd attitude to birth, though. Rather than fearing it, I’m actually excited by it. I can’t wait to see for myself what it feels like and to see if I can handle it. I want to find out what it’s truly like, after years of awareness of sterotypical attitudes towards giving birth. Oddly enough, I sort of assume that I will be able to handle it and that I can have a positive experience. I don’t believe that it is always painful, scary or terrible. I’m lucky in that I’ve been exposed to a number of very positive birth stories. In fact, surrounding yourself with positive attitudes to birth, and avoiding negative references, is one of the key messages in most self-hypnosis for childbirth programs. It’s something I’ve not had to work at at all, because even when I watch the huffing and puffing and screaming on One Born Every Minute, or hear a tale of woe about a painful labour, I somehow don’t see it as being relevant to me.

Call me naive if you want. I’m well aware that I haven’t done it yet. But positive births do happen and for now I’d rather wrk with the belief that it could happen for me too, than dwell on the negative possibilities. It will be interesting to see how things really go, but I’ve been having regular words with Flangelina, and with my body, and no we’ll just have to wait and see.

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