I’ll be honest, my motives for seeking out natural childbirth started many years ago and sprang from a very rational fear of gigantic needles. I was scared senseless by the idea of a lightning rod going into my spine, and thought the pain of childbirth had to be preferable.
I realized this was silly, and slowly worked my way to an uneasy tolerance of needles. As I resolved my needle abhorrence, I looked again at childbirth. This was years before I actually got pregnant, mind you, but I became obsessed with researching labor and birth. I read birth stories online, watched The Business of Being Born, and asked as many pregnant women as I could find about what it was like.
The more I filled my head with childbirth, the less I feared it. It changed for me, into something natural and empowering. The direct result of this change was that the idea of an epidural no longer made sense to me. I felt strongly that my body was made to bring a child into the world, and I wanted to feel every minute of it (as ridiculous as that may sound to those of you who have actually experienced contractions).
When I brought this up to my OB-GYN, he surprised me. I’d been seeing him for about four years, and thought for sure he would deliver my children. When I asked him how he felt about natural childbirth, he looked uncomfortable and said, “I support it, but I don’t really see the point.”
That’s when I strayed.
I started looking into other options. I considered hiring a doula for the labor, but ruled this out when I added up the cost of a doula as well as the cost of a hospital birth. I considered going it alone, relying on my husband and mother for support, but put the kibosh on that when I realized neither of them has helped a laboring woman before and it could all end in disaster.
I knew I didn’t want to do a homebirth, so I looked into using a midwife and having the baby at a birth center. I fell in love, and I fell hard. When I looked at the cozy birthing suites, I could totally picture myself surrounded by candles in the giant jacuzzi tub. I could easily envision laboring in a relaxed environment where no one would try to hurry me along. Most importantly, I could visualize myself succeeding in having the birth I’ve been working toward in that environment.
I booked a meeting with one of the midwives at the center and she was everything I wanted a midwife to be. Warm, compassionate, enthusiastic about babies, and knowledgeable. I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that she’d be able to help me through my first labor, and furthermore that I wanted her to be there.
My husband and I looked at each other after the meeting and we simply knew. And just like that, my vision of giving birth changed from my husband and I in a hospital room to my husband and I and my midwife in a birthing center suite. My husband and me, and my midwife makes three.
I called my OB-GYN and broke up with him the next day. I told him it was nothing personal, I’d just found someone else. Someone who saw the point. We’re on excellent terms, and he respects my decision (even though he doesn’t like it). Now I have a new care provider, and let me tell you. It’s exactly what I hoped it could be.