Read all of my Spearmint Baby posts here.
Before my last doctor's appointment, I talked to my aunt who lives in Arizona about where I would be giving birth (in a hospital) and why (it is 100% free with my insurance - yes, that's one reason to become a teacher). She shared her daughter in law's birth experiences with me (two natural births in a birthing center with a midwife) and when I told her I had some pretty strong preferences for how I wanted to give birth, she advised me to talk about it with my doctor sooner rather than later.
So what are these preferences? Well, I hesitate to share because I know how passionate people can be about birthing choices and I don't want anybody to think that I'm trying to say that my choices are the best or better than anyone else's. I've come to conclusions based on things I've read and people I've talked to and I think these preferences are best for me. Not best for everyone, just for me. So please be gentle in the comments, ok?
Photograph by Emily Weaver Brown Photography
If I had a bunch of extra money and didn't have amazing healthcare benefits, my ideal birth would be at home with a midwife. I would go through as much preparation as possible to avoid interventions and after the baby was born, I would eat birthday cake and drink champagne in my own bed with my husband and our new addition. I do know all the risks involved with home births, but I believe the benefits outweigh the risks, for me.
Since our funds are limited and a hospital birth wouldn't cost us a dime, no matter what interventions were necessary (no extra for a c-section), a home birth that could cost over $2,000 if my insurance decided not to cover it was out of the question. Instead, I'll give birth in a hospital which makes me a little sad, but makes my husband and our families much more comfortable.
Knowing that interventions are more readily available in a hospital, I'm realizing that it is going to be much more difficult to avoid them than if I was at home or in a birth center. The first of these interventions I wanted to discuss with my doctor was induction. I let him know that I'd rather not be induced unless it was medically necessary. I know that when I'm nine months pregnant, I'm going to want that baby out. I'm going to be uncomfortable and anxious to meet the little one, but, if I can, I'd like to go into labor on my own without pitocin.
Photograph by Shot in Vancouver
My doctor's first answer was that I'm the boss and ultimately I would make the decision, which was a decent answer. Then, he asked why I felt that way and when I expressed my concerns about the counteractivity of pitocin and an epidural (which I would undoubtedly have due to the intense contractions that pitocin creates) and how it can often lead to a c-section (something I'd really like to avoid), he told me that the whole process was an art and seemed to allude that he had mastered this art. While I trust that he's a very competent OB, I know that he can't guarantee that an induction won't lead to a c-section - to be fair, there's no guarantee that a natural labor won't lead to a c-section, either, but I feel that inductions increase the chances.
I also told my doctor that I anticipated being late with this pregnancy because my mom was two weeks late with both me and my brother. Then he got into size and I started getting nervous. See, doctors can supposedly tell how big the baby is going to be from ultra sounds and fundal measurements late in pregnancy. However, I've known several women who were induced because their doctors thought their babies were too big and they ended up having small to average sized babies. Well, I was 9 pounds 12 ounces when I was born. Yep, I was the biggest baby in the hospital and when my family would look for me in the nursery window, I was easy to find because I was so much bigger than all the other babies. When I told my doctor this, he said I'd probably have a 10 pound baby. While I don't doubt that my genes will play a part in the size of our baby, I am a little concerned with how he jumped to that conclusion so quickly. Isn't that a bit presumptuous? Since my husband's family has small-ish babies, couldn't that even things out for us?
Photograph by T. Lawrence
While this whole conversation has raised a red flag for me, I'm trying not to worry too much about it yet. I plan on taking things one day at a time and if induction comes up, I'll deal with it then. For now, I'm starting prenatal yoga next week and hope to sign up for birthing classes soon. I'm still deciding between The Bradley Method and Hypnobirthing (anyone have experience with either? or something better?), but I do know I want to start early as I tend to have a problem with anxiety and relaxation techniques can only help!
Did you have an idea of your preferences early in pregnancy or did you start thinking about it much later?