I checked out a bunch of the birth books that I had looked up. And then I started reading them and was bored nearly to tears. It turns out that the best way to get through labor without drugs is to breathe deeply and relax. If you believe in hypnosis, you can read all about that and they’ll tell you to breathe deeply and relax. If you’re more of a meditation person, you can read all about that and they’ll tell you to breathe deeply and relax. Or maybe you want to go the yoga route. And then you can read all about that and learn that you should breathe deeply and relax. I don’t know what I was expecting from all this reading, but it turns out that I figured it out the first time. Of course, a refresher on what labor actually is and does is always appreciated, so it wasn’t a complete wash.
I will say that the one I enjoyed most was Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. I didn’t finish, but I thoroughly enjoyed the birth stories. I’d love to get through the delivery and be able to describe my experience as “psychedelic” and “holy.” (Not that I don’t think giving birth is a holy experience, it just wasn’t very close to the top of my list of adjectives last time around.) Reading it also makes me grateful that we live in a time where you don’t have to move to a commune in Tennessee to have a natural childbirth. Because really, Tennessee? And if Micah had to grow a beard like the men in the book, whoa boy, we’d be in trouble.
And I’m also really glad I’m reading Childbirth Without Fear by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read. I appreciate his passion for the subject and the insight into the history of the natural childbirth movement. I also appreciate that he made me feel so much better about how, um, vocal I was at the end of Simon’s labor. “You’re just like Maria Sharapova,” he said, “or maybe one of the great weightlifters of the world. It’s not pain. It’s just the hardest work you’ve ever done. No need to be embarrassed by a nice strong yelp every now and then.” Okay, so maybe he didn’t say it quite like that, but you get the idea.
Finally, I just saw this trailer on our friend Becca’s blog. I know many of you would be interested in it if you haven’t seen it already, so I thought I would share it as well:
I have had some people express concern that I am birthing with midwives this time around rather than with a doctor, and I hope this adequately expresses some of my concerns with the medical establishment. Maybe next time (assuming there is one) I’ll take it a step further and try for a home birth. Maybe.