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Thread: Why is a natural birth so important???

  1. #1

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    Lightbulb Why is a natural birth so important???

    I was having a conversation tonight with my mum & two sisters about having a VBAC. The conversation was basically along the lines of my sisters asking all these questions & me explaining everything to them. My mum kept very quiet, she BTW had 4 c/s and neither of my sisters have kids. So my older sister has this thing about my not being able to give birth naturally, just like mum our pelvis' are too small (this is in her opinion). So I mentioned about how birth support is really important & I think that's what did me in.

    I spoke to mum at that stage & was saying remember how everything was all fine (she was with me in the labour room) and then when the midwife left everything went downhill. She said yes & it was like all of a sudden a light switched on for her. She said the same thing happened with her first birth. She had this great midwife that was just like Sue (my midwife) and when she left everything started to go wrong. She said my labour was almost a mirror image of hers. I just felt so angry for her having thought that she was too small to deliver a baby for all these years when to me it clearly looks as though it was a support issue. I just can't believe that these things have been going on for at least 30 years. I asked mum few questions then - were you on your back? yes, were you encouraged to move at all? no. And she then mentioned how Sue kept reminding me to walk, although I don't remember that LOL! I am so annoyed that she wasn't given any information that would help her birth her baby naturally. Add to that the x-ray, yep x-ray not even an ultrasound, that she had had a few weeks earlier saying that her pelvis was too small. Arrrrrgh, just makes me so so mad.

    Anyway my older sister starts asking about drugs etc assuming that "of course you'd have an epidural though" and I said I'd decide at the time whether I would or not. She tells me that she will definitely have one & I said that's fine, but I won't be making any decisions about that until the time. Then came the big one....

    "Why is natural birth so important for you anyway?"

    I'm not really sure how I responded, just said something like "it just is". But I thought about it afterwards & really it's not that important to me at all. The birth isn't important at all really as long as bub is happy & healthy. It's all about control. It's about being able to make the decisions for myself & for my baby. It's about not having a Dr tell me that I must do something just because they think it's right. It's about being able to say no I want to do things my way. If things don't go the way I want it's about being informed enough to be able to have a c/s my way as well.

    My sister questioned me because I said if my Dr didn't agree with me that I would go elsewhere until I found someone that would be willing to help me achieve a VBAC & she said that it was dangerous to go against the Dr thinks. I asked what about what I think? And she just said oh so you're a doctor now No I don't think I need to be a Dr to make an informed decision about my next birth/s, I have researched and am continuing to research as much as possible & will do so until the day I go into labour. I won't do anything stupid to risk mine or my baby's life, but I won't just blindly go by what a Dr says, no matter how many babies s/he has delivered. How can I justify changing my plans because a Dr tried to predict the outcome of my pregnancy right from the start. How could any Dr know what will be happening with my body/baby nine months down the track. Well unless of course they are psychic

    So in the my mum is quite happy for me to try & do it my way, of course as long as I don't do anything silly. My older sister, not so keen as she thinks I'm going to go against the Drs & do what I want regardless of the risk. My younger sister, well she said "slice & dice & get that baby outta there, who cares". So we'll see what happens.... Wonder what they will say if I do get my VBAC......


  2. #2

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    I think that it's one of those things that if you haven't been there, you won't understand. Your sisters might "get it" some day when they have babies of their own. Of course, you are right - the most important thing is that the baby is out and healthy, I understand your desire for a VBAC. I'd want to avoid the surgery myself! BTW, you can tell them that doctors often disagree about what is the right thing to do with a VBAC, and so there is no way of knowing which one is right, unless you do research on your own, and come to your own conclusion. My mom had me (#1, in 1980) as a c-section, and was not offered a choice again (once a c-section, always a c-section!) until her 7th baby (1997). That doctor was willing to give her a trial of labour. At that time, she decided that the risk of rupture was too great, and she didn't want to have to go through labour and then have surgery after that. I mentioned my mom's history to my OB when I had my first, and she was horrified that someone was going to take the risk of allowing labour after 6 previous c-sections. So doctors will not always have the same opinion about what is the best course of action.

    BTW - my mom also said that she had the x-ray to determine pelvis size (those are OK in late pregnancy) and everything looked fine. I asked her what happened and why she had a caesarian, was I (the baby) in distress? She said no, but I (the mother) was! Sounds like it could have been a support issue too.

    All the best for your delivery! Here's hoping for a successful VBAC, but a healthy mom and baby over all.

  3. #3
    Percy Guest

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    I've been asked this question a little bit lately as well as I have been making it known to those aorund me that I wish to have a drug free birth.

    TBH I'm not really sure why I want it - I just know I do.

    I think part of it for me that I didn't have a really very natural conception - needed a bit of help - so i would like the rest of the baby's life to start of as natural as possible.

    Another thing that has swayed me was watching a DVD of a baby after a drug free brith and one where the mother had all the drugs available. The drugged birth baby was in a daze and had trouble latching on where the drug free baby was alert and knew exactly how to latch on after its brith.

  4. #4

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    Sarah, just reading that, and before I got to the end I "knew" you were talking about your older sister. Funny seeing as I've only met her once. Just seemed like something she would say.

    Hun you kow as well as I do that there are always going to be people that question your decisions. The ammount of times I got questioned about my birthing plans with Tehya was shocking and even worse once they knew I'd had a previous c section.

    I was lucky, I had my mum's full support. She had a c section with her last baby, under a general. It wasn't a positive experience for her. She told me of a fe things that upset her with his birth and I made sure to avoid them with Noah. With Tehya she backed be 120% and even today will tell proudly to her friends "this is my grand daughter who was born in my dining room"

    Your sister doesn't understand because basically she just doesn't want to. Unfortunately having the option to just go and choose a c section these days turns some people ignorant, for want of a better word, to natural birth.

  5. #5

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    I could talk about the benefits of natural birth forever because it does not interfere with natural processes and hormone production for birth and after .... yes we want a happy healthy baby - but also mums' experience of birth is important too - her feelings count in all this and she should NOT be made to feel guilty to have the birth she desires. Surgery does not come without risks, it is more risky than a normal vaginal birth and a study on VBAC in 2000 showed one mortality for VBAC and one for caesarean related to mode of delivery - so take your pick! Uterine rupture is a VERY low risk, hell if you are going to be so concerned with risk, don't have an amnio (more risk than rupture at 1%), dont have an induction (risk of rupture and even stillbirth) and a midwife told me that 50-75% of first time mothers coming in for an induction at RWH end up with caesarean - so risk of inductions plus caesareans plus pain relief. It's crazy that people are so against women having a normal birth when it's clearly a very, very safe option for most women, and the risks increase as soon as you step foot into a hospital!!!! Interventions are a major reason for complications, how many women have posted lately with failed inductions? Gone in for induction and end up with caesars? Then breastfeeding issues as hormones are all out of whack for mother and baby.

    This is just the way things are. I can't wait until more of this is realised and women get angry and/or serious about what's going on, only then can we have change, and only then women will start having more empowered birth experiences and realise, it's not just about being grateful for a healthy baby no matter how it got here. I dont mean put the baby at risk, but define risk!!! And who's risk is it?!!!

    I think we are so fixated on being grateful for what we have that we have missed the point that women are losing their power and confidence at birth and this has major issues attached to it. They need to be involved in the decision making process, and be given balanced information. There is no shortage of work for Obs, which I think is part of the problem. There is an Obstetric crisis, we all know Obs are hard to book after a few weeks of pregnancy - for most the ability to be able to book in or schedule births must be very seductive, in order to work more efficiently.

    Our mothers gave birth in a very bad time, so its understandable they feel the way they do, they have obviously carried their bad experiences with them and sadly, will carry them forever. There is no-one to de-brief with them, so they can honestly express how they feel. Sadness or disappointment can often be expressed as a 'tough' front and I was discussing this with a client last night who was experiencing the same and she said it exactly - its as if they want you to go down the same path so there is some justification in the trauma they went through. Not saying this is for all, but a very interesting thought.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by BellyBelly View Post
    I think we are so fixated on being grateful for what we have that we have missed the point that women are losing their power and confidence at birth and this has major issues attached to it. They need to be involved in the decision making process, and be given balanced information.
    This is exactly what I'm talking about Kelly. For me this time around it's not about the birth, it's about being empowered by the research I have done, being empowered by making my own decisions & not being pushed into anything. About knowing that I can do this with the right support & information. I am realistic though, if I have another c/s then so be it, I'm not going into my VBAC gung-ho thinking that it will 100% definitely happen. I know that there is a possiblilty that I will need another c/s and I'm fine with that.

    A natural birth is important to me for all the benefits it gives to mum & bub, absolutely. But what I'm trying to say is that if I do have another c/s the important thing will be that I did it with knowledge, things would be different to Zander's birth because I will make them different. It will be on my terms & that's what it's all about for me. It will be empowering, because although it's a c/s it will be done on my terms. I am hoping though that it doesn't come to that.

  7. #7
    pholmes Guest

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    Hi Sarah,

    I had an emergency c/s with my first and had a VBAC with my 2nd. My ob was extremely supportive even encouraging me to try for a VBAC. I ended up having a forceps delivery as Lachlan was 5 weeks early and had foetal brachycardia. However, I had a great midwife and the experience was so much better (painful but better) than the c/s because I felt I had some sort of control over what was happening. I had a healthy baby and a much quicker recovery time. I agree with everyone else about your sister. I truly think you cant make judgements about peoples birth plans at least until you have had a child of your own. Support is so important, with my third the midwife was hardly in the room and I had a horrible labour and I think I was actually traumatised by it, I put this down to the lack of support. I think you are making a good decision because it is informed. I am sure you will find an ob to support you. Good luck with everything, your sister will figure it out one day.

  8. #8

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    Hi Sarah,
    My thoughts are with you as you work towards your goal of an empowered birth. That should be a given for all women everywhere. But actually, we daughters of mothers who had their dignity and choices stripped from them on those stainless steel delivery tables of the high-tech, low-touch age of birthing, end up dealing with a kind of secondary post traumatic stress syndrome, when in our generation, we say, "I'd like to have a natural birth, I'm planning a VBAC or EBAC." It's easy to see why we have a culture of fear - but there is a culture of ancient knowing that precedes the fear and I think we have to re-connect with that, to find out what is OUR truth about birth?

    I don't think that blindly trusting medical experts is the way to resolve the fear. Fear thrives on misinformation, and there is too much of that.
    "Only about 15% of medical interventions are supported by solid scientific evidence...This is partly because only 1% of the studies in medical journals are scientifically sound and partly because many treatments have not been assessed at all."
    - Richard Smith, editor of the British Medical Journal

    So I think that the idea that "going against the doctors" is unsafe may not necessarily be so. The assistance of medical knowledge and technology can be of tremendous value in genuine life-saving situations, but in normal births, involving blood, sweat, tears and a heck of a lot of effort and perserverance (and therefore, HEAPS of continuous support!), interventions can do more harm than good. So, if you totally throw out medical science and only go by instinct, that would be foolhardy. Is anyone at risk of doing that? Not lately that I've noticed! But what about the opposite - trusting in medical science to the extent that we don't listen to or really trust the other key expert in the story - THE MOTHER? Do we see that kind of over-balance happening? In my opinion, yes.

    For us Aussie birthing women to have more empowered births (which will naturally lead to a higher occurrance of natural births), a mutually honouring balance of power must exist. There has to be a shift in how responsibility, control and power is apportioned when it comes to women birthing.

    Henci Goer writes:
    "Reluctant doctors like to believe that they haven't much influence over their patients, but that is clearly not the case. Several studies have found that when doctors genuinely encouraged women to have VBACs, most of them did, and when they said nothing or acted neutral, most women didn't. Finally, when obstetricians discouraged VBAC in women who wanted to try it, none of them did.
    "A study of interactions between women and obstetricians offers an explanation. It described three levels of increasing power imbalance: In the first, you fight and lose; in the second you don't fight because you know you can't win. However, in the highest level of power differential, your preferences are so manipulated that you act against your own interests, but you are content. Elective repeat cesarean exemplifies that highest level." - Henci Goer, Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth

    Because of the fear in our culture, and the way that fear has caused many women to simply hand over their power and hope for the best, you can end up bombarded on all sides by pretty scary stories that are not founded in truth: "all the women in our family have shocking births"; "I was cut from here to here!"; "Your pelvis is too small - mine was, too"; "Get the epidural. Why suffer. (To partner) Make sure she gets everything!"; "Mother Nature doesn't always get it right, you know"
    To listen to your heart and to go for what you know is possible deep down inside when you hear messages like this all around, takes an incredibly strong internal compass.
    Sarah, you're in the company of women who have shaken out topographical maps of their own and are using their own compasses for the first time.
    I wish you strength and courage and joy - may your next birth be all that you have hoped and dreamed of. Yes - YOU CAN!

  9. #9

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    Sarah I know EXACTLY how you feel. Because I was exactly the same. For me I really wanted to *try* a VBAC and most definitely preferred to birth my baby vaginally. But ultimately it was more about the power I had during the birth (however it turned out). I needed choices, I needed to be informed and needed to know I would be heard. And I got all those things as well as a Drug-Free Vaginal Birth! Now I've had one I'd definitely want one again, but like you if something happened and I had to have another c/s I wouldn't fret I would demand to be a part of the decision making process but I would be ok so long as I was ok and my baby was ok. But I honestly can't see that happening again unless there is something really wrong

    But you know what I can't wait for... I can't wait for the day when we as women don't get questioned for choosing something so natural, something our bodies were built to do...

    And Thank you Kelly for giving back all the members of BellyBelly the Power that comes with knowledge and choice.

    *hugs*
    Cailin

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    I dont get the c/s thing cause obviously I haven't been there. Having a forceps birth was hard enough for me emotionally.
    But what I will say is that there is something very empowering about being able to use your body the way it was intended. Imagine having legs and not being able to walk? Or having ears, but not being able to hear?
    To be its synonamous (sp) with having a vagina and not using it for birthing. Or breasts that can't be used for feeding.
    I think to know that your body has done what it was designed for is quite simply empowering - and thats where it ends.
    Now whether you choose not to take up those options is another matter. We are all given voices, but many of us choose not to sing with them. There is nothing wrong with making that choice, but its important to know the joy you may miss by not singing along to music, or being in a choir.
    Everyone has the choice, but it needs to be an educated one.

    I think if you remind your sister of this conversation down the track Sarah (like when she is pregnant or haivng children), she may feel very, very differently. Its about the experience.

  11. #11

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    Sarah, I so know what you mean. I wanted a VBAC with jess, was determined to have a VBAC, but she turned sideways in my tummy and I wasn't allowed home again once they found that out, or else I would have came on and asked everyone here how likely it was that she'd go head down, what the stats were about going into labour with her sideways. Looking back I wish I had've kept pushing, but they scare you by saying the baby might die etc etc. At the time, we lived 10mins from the hosp and I STILL wasn't allowed to go home and pack even! I was scheduled for another CS, the only choice I was given was which day within the next week. Looking back I think my body knew she'd turned. All the signs of impending labour stopped a day or two before the appt. That was when she'd turned and I knew she'd turned. Just didn't know which direction. I'd been walking and sitting forward etc.....part of me thinks she'd have turned back when it was time. That my body would have done what it needed.
    I agree it comes down to empowerment. Both my births, the power was taken away from me, however, the second birth I was much happier with as even tho I felt I had no choice, it was calmer and smoother.
    Next time, I am going to push for a VBAC again. If the baby turns, I will say "Yeah, keep me in, but I am having a VBAC and I will only contemplate a C/S if I go overdue/baby is at HIGH risk/something drastic happens (IYKWIM)." They can monitor me etc, but I want every possible opportunity to have a VBAC this time. I can't thank you girls here on BB enough for highlighting facts and helping empower us! Could you imagine what the world you be like without Kelly and the other girls here? The information you give and the advice is priceless! You are shining lights on the dark areas that dr's ruled and challenging their hold over us! You are improving our lives by giving us back the primal right of giving birth how we want, where we want! Thank you all so very much!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by katkins View Post
    I can't thank you girls here on BB enough for highlighting facts and helping empower us! Could you imagine what the world you be like without Kelly and the other girls here? The information you give and the advice is priceless! You are shining lights on the dark areas that dr's ruled and challenging their hold over us! You are improving our lives by giving us back the primal right of giving birth how we want, where we want! Thank you all so very much!
    Awww Katkins that is just beautiful And so very true! I'm sure Kelly will be very touched!

    *hugs*
    Cailin

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    WOW reading this is a reminder of my last month Sarah . I was told so many times by the OB's at the hospital & relatives that I was putting my baby's and my life in danger by attempting a VBAC. My reason for staying so full on towards a VBAC was I wanted to choose, I wanted to be sure I was making an informed decision & that I was listening to what the actual risks were compared to the threats. As you read a few weeks ago my Mum went nuts freaking out crying & telling relatives that the baby was going to die etc etc, she had no idea. I sat down with her over the last few days & told her about c/s and natural birth, I gave her a bit to read about natural births & c/s and their effects on our bodies. She now understands so much more. And she said if she knew what I knew beforehand she wouldn't have worried so much... its the not knowing that scares so many of us into making decisions that are uninformed & in the end not really the best things for us or our babies.

  14. #14
    kel Guest

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    hi sarah
    wow to read such wonderful support has made my day.i have had 2 natural births and got a way with no stitches and no i dont want a gold medal but peole can say some insensitive stuff it is just assumed you will have every drug and when you dont your a freak of nature.i am damn proud my body birthed the way it did and i felt i made those choices for baby and i.i had a supportive partner and a ob who new i wanted it that wy BUT in the need for a healthy and safe baby i was willing to do it another way if intervention was needed.just say well done dont make me feel bad because i naturally birthed and breastfeed,im extremely supportive to people who make different decisions than me.thank you kelly your words were great.sarah i wish you every success and i hope i can share my 3rd story with you oneday.
    kel

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    Sarah I say more power to you for going after what you want. I was one of those lucky freaks who had a natural birth despite being in a private hospital and having an OB (ended up with an epi and syntocin and directed pushing and oxytocin drip towards then end though, but we will correct THAT situation with the next birth when I am planning on a birth centre and midwife birth thankyou very much!!).

    I think you are very brave to contemplate what you are doing, heck I was scared enough and I wasn't facing the "risks" of a VBAC (hence the OB and pirvate hospital, but I diigress!). I think you are brave cause you are seeking to inform yourself about the possibilities in the face of such opposition and recived wisdom. Good on you!

  16. #16

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    Aurora, a natural birth is one with no intervention (i.e. no medical assistance like forceps/waters broken/drugs). Not to be picky just explaining - what you had was a vaginal birth. Many people do get it confused - just more proof about how much things have changed in that people interpret natural birth as being a birth that is vaginal...
    Kelly xx

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    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  17. #17

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    Hi Sarah
    I've been contemplating this issue for the last week or so as my EDD approaches so it was very interesting to read your post and the responses. Do I want a natural birth because it suits the control freak part of me? Because I want to 'prove' that I can do it without 'resorting' to drugs? I am by nature a researcher, especially when it comes to my health and am not content to just let things happen to me. I have found this to be empowering when managing the various chronic and acute health problems I've had over the years so continued the pattern with conception and pregnancy.

    What I want is to give our bub the best possible start in life and feel like I have a responsibility to put in some 'hard yards' towards making that happen - a natural birth. This is in the context of not putting either bubs or myself at risk and accepting (well trying to) that if in the end, some form of intervention is absolutely necessary, that I won't have failed in some way. I have had long discussions with my OB about this and he is happy to work with me on this and only intervene if he feels the risk is too great. I've been doing some hypnotherapy to learn to just trust in my body as well as develop relaxation triggers.

    I'm starting to get a little scared now that it could happen any day but reading about all your experiences gives me strength so thanks for sharing.

  18. #18

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    Great post blackbird, you've said it exactly the way I hoped it to get across...
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

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