natural or not

Natural or not? That’s the question of the weekend. Dave and I spent all day Saturday (8:30 to 5:30 ) and half of Sunday (12:30 to 5:30) in a childbirth class in Bellingham. Yes…. Bellingham. We love the area where we live, but Bellingham does tend to be a bit more "hippie" than we might prefer. While we did receive a MINOR amount of information about epidurals, pain medications and being induced, she really focused most of the class hours on meditation, relaxation, labor techniques, discussion of massage, etc. That information, I would like to add, was VERY helpful and some of the massage techniques will actually help me with the back problems I have (from before pregnancy). But I feel that she really glossed over the reality that some women WANT that pain relief and that doesn’t make them a bad mom. Some women can’t or really don’t want to breast feed – and again, that doesn’t make them a bad mom. So I’m just hoping that everyone who was in that class with us this weekend is aware of that.

But back to my question – natural or not? I must admit that I was absolutely TERRIFIED of the grunting and groaning (those low "gutteral" sounds) that the women in the videos were making during their active labor phase. Yep. Terrified. I even had a NIGHTMARE on Saturday night after seeing the videos. Funny…. watching the baby actually come OUT was not terrifying… it was the hours of walking and hot baths and squatting and kneeling and moaning and groaning BEFORE the baby came out that terrified me. So natural or not?

I’m very thankful that the weather was pretty crummy all weekend – made it a bit easier to be "stuck" inside at this class. It did get pretty nice on Saturday evening, though, so after our class, we ran a few quick errands and then went for a walk at Boulevard Park (where we got engaged) to try to work up an appetite for dinner at The Keg (a super yummy steak & seafood restaurant that we only visit about 4 times a year – our birthdays, our anniversary and Gottathink’s Christmas dinner). In the last few years, the city has "extended" Boulevard Park by a long bridge so it’s a really nice walk out "on" the water. It was nice to be outside in the fresh air and to be up and moving around and to talk.

It wasn’t easy to return to class that second day (two couples of the original eleven) didn’t return! But I wanted to give it another try (and Sunday is the day we learned about epidurals, episiotomies, pain meds, induction, etc.). I need to add that I didn’t feel well, either. I woke up a LOT during the night (at least 5 or 6 times) so I didn’t sleep well and I felt sick – like I had a full pocket of acid in my stomach. We had actually only been in class for about 20 minutes when we were watching a video and I felt like I was going to fall over and pass out…. yep…. felt like I was just going to slide right out of my chair. So I laid down on the floor with my pillows and really tried not to fall asleep. The "faint" feeling didn’t pass for about an hour, despite lying down, relaxing, drinking water, etc. Dave was a bit scared that I would pull a "stunt" like I did on our flight to Rhode Island two years ago (but let’s not get into that now). I fought hard, however, and was able to stay conscious the whole day. Not sure what it was, but it was NOT a good feeling there for quite awhile.

There were some fun moments throughout the class – especially when we got to "play" with the baby dolls. I know it’s an unflattering photo, Kim, but you and Will are so darn cute with that little Asian baby! And here’s Dave and I with the little black baby… SO CUTE!  We even got to practice swaddling them, though that was a wee bit difficult with the way their arms kind of stick out! (I think Dave and Will are going to be master swaddlers in just a few short days of the birth of our babies)!

Were the two days worth it? No. Not for me. But I DID get some good (and REALISTIC) information from the classes. Would I have preferred to have had that all on one day so I could skip the other day? You bet. But I do feel as though I learned a few tidbits of information (or was reminded of certain things that I had chosen to forget), so I’m glad we attended. Will we do it again as a refresher course with our next child? Heck no!    But that’s okay. I don’t feel that it was a total waste of money. And who knows, maybe all those handouts that I have received but haven’t read will actually provide some useful information.

But the question remains: natural or not? Only 6.5 weeks until we find out!!

7 thoughts on “natural or not

  1. I think just go into the whole thing with an open mind – you’ll know what’s best for you when the times comes. =) Wow, 6.5 weeks…yeah!

  2. 6.5 weeks? Are you kidding me? I guess I was stuck on the 8 weeks number. The thing that got me through those terrifying thoughts of labor and delivery was knowing that women HAVE MORE BABIES ON PURPOSE. They willingly submit themselves to the whole process even after experiencing it once. You will do just fine, Tam. I know it’s easier said than done, but try not to expend mental and emotional energy worrying about it beforehand. It’ll go the way it’s going to go and you’ll tackle it head-on when the time comes. I refuse to say that the moment you have the baby in your arms you’ll forget all about the process of them arriving there (my sister had told me that, and the first thing I said when I called her about Cami’s arrival was “It’s been 45 minutes and I still remember!!!). But over time, as you get to know your little miracle, the memories of the process become much less important. :) I have confidence in you. Love you.

  3. I totally agree with you on the whole grunting and groaning thing…didn’t like it that much. the whole active labor part was quite disturbing but i guess we really can’t avoid it. but i know we will get through it, whether we do it naturally or not. i’m just keeping it open because i definitely don’t want to limit myself or be disappointed in myself later on if you know what i mean. yeah, that photo of will and i isn’t that flattering, maybe because of the angle of the photo but i look like i’m about to burst! anyway, glad to have you and dave in the class with us so we didn’t have to suffer all by ourselves. i don’t think we’ll be doing this class thing again either.

  4. No matter what Tam, remember that God has fashioned and created you to be able to do this. He will be there with you through every step of the way and you know that He never provides anything more than what you can handle. That said, I will say that I chose, ahead of time, to have an epidural. There was nothing in me that wanted to go natural. I believe in modern medicine and felt like there was not much that I would gain by going through the process naturally. Kudos to those who do, but I am not one of them. If I had to could I? Sure. Because I know my God would sustain and strengthen me. But after lots of prayerful consideration ahead of time I just felt like there was no reason why I shouldn’t. By the time I had my epidural I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours. Once I had it I was able to get a nap, which I believe helped greatly during the delivery. And I absolutely loved my delivery. I could do it again tomorrow with no hesitation. I felt so great. But that’s me and my experience- who even knows if the next one (Lord willing) will be the same? But I firmly believe that every woman has to make her own choice, and that there is no wrong choice. I do believe in having a plan before you go in, one that you have discussed with both your husband and your doctor. You have no idea what you will be going through in those moments, and it was nice for Mark and I to know that we were on the same page, and that our nurses and our doctors knew too. That said, no plan is guaranteed, so you have to hold on to it loosely. I am confident that you will make the right choice for you Tam.
    PS- Totally unrelated. A thank you note will be on it’s way soon, I promise. Thank you so much. Markus loves the monkey and I love the shirt!

  5. Tam,
    You may be nervous about all the hours leading up to the actual birth, but it goes by quicker than you think. It’s hard to imagine now but it will. I only had a little pain medication and that was enough. You’ll know when it’s time. And don’t let the Dr.’s pressure you into anything. They tried with my and I’m so glad I didn’t give in. A friend of mine did and she regrets it. Good luck. I’ll send you my new address if you can email me you email address

  6. Wow… you had pillows and babies at your class. Crazy! We just had 3 sessions of information and a hospital tour.

    And I second the “glorious-labor-after-the-epidural” experience, LOL! I was dead set against an epidural going into the birth, but 18 hours and only 4 cm later, I decided to go for it. WOW. Suddenly everything went smoothly and 2 hours later I had a beautiful little girl. I’m absolutely convinced the epidural was what sped everything up. I would still try for natural with a second, but I won’t discount the epidural if I need it!

  7. Tam, go with your heart. I had 3 great experiences with an epidural. I thought about trying to go natural with #3, but ended up changing my mind. There’s just nothing like taking a nap while you’re in active labor! However, I really admire women who go natural. I feel like they should be able to wear a badge declaring that they did it!! You’ll know when your time comes. PS–I think going into labor is kind of like Christmas morning. Once you realize that it’s the real thing, there is an overwhelming feeling of excitement that takes away all of the fear!

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