Thursday, July 04, 2013

{Becoming Mother} Our Birth Places

IMG_1665We are wrapping up one of my favorite blog series ever on different birth stories. If you missed any of the other posts be sure to check them out. You will be encouraged and in awe of these strong mamas and their beautiful births. Also, feel free to contact these mamas if you have questions or are considering a birth similar to theirs. I'm sure they would love to talk more with you!

{Becoming Mother} A Hospital/Unmedicated VBAC Birth Story
{Becoming Mother} A Home Birth Story
{Becoming Mother} A Birth Center Birth Story
{Becoming Mother} A Hospital/Unmedicated Birth Story
{Becoming Mother} A Hospital/Epidural Birth Story
{Becoming Mother} A Hospital/C-Section Birth Story

I have been blogging since long before I had children, or even got pregnant for that matter. So, my pregnancies have been well-documented on the internet. I've shared lists, photos, and my birth stories for both Cannon and Cason. I'm so glad I wrote those down. I don't think I could ever forget the events of July 8, 2010 or January 6, 2012, but reliving the details is always surreal. The biggest difference in my two birth experiences was the location. Cannon was born at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano (barely) and Cason was born at the Allen Birthing Center. Both were natural/unmedicated and both were quick labors.

Why We Choose Natural Childbirth
I did not set out to birth my babies naturally/with no medication. In fact, the first half of my pregnancy with Cannon, I was a big believer that the epidural was going to be my best friend in labor. I signed up for the Bradley Birth Classes because I wanted to be fully educated about birth. I wanted to have tools to cope with labor before I got the epidural. In fact I was fully intending to take the information I liked and leave the stuff I didn't. Well, those darn Bradley classes are like 12 weeks long. Week after week of learning about childbirth, becoming more informed about the pitocin/epidural cycle, and watching childbirth videos wore me out and I finally decided I would try this "natural childbirth" thing just to see if I could do it.

Why We Choose a Hospital
While many couples in our Bradley class were birthing at birth centers and even at home, I just wasn't comfortable being outside the hospital. This was my first time having a baby, and I just wasn't sure that my body would work like it was suppose to. I wanted to be close to doctors in case of an emergency, and so we decided to have Cannon at the hospital.

We grilled our doctor about natural childbirth, episiotomy rates, c-section rates, etc. He responded with vague and "safe" answers. He said things like, "If all is progressing okay then you can move around," or "If we have no reason for alarm, then you don't have to have an episiotomy." His answers were not very encouraging, but I still was uncomfortable leaving the hospital. So, we simply decided to labor at home as long as possible and as long as my water hadn't broken. Well, obviously you know how that turned out, Cannon was born 25 minutes after arriving at Plano Presby. I had the episiotomy I didn't want and I received IVs and even a pitocin drip AFTER delivering my baby even though we asked for none of that. I felt like the delivery was traumatic and chaotic (mostly due to our late arrival . . . very much our own fault). Despite all that I absolutely LOVED my post-partum stay.

I was so glad there were nurses coming in and out all the time. Every nurse was a trained lactation consultant and I think I asked every single one of them questions, even at 2 am. I also adored room service. Meals brought to me. All I did for three days was cuddle my baby and eat good food (yes, after birth even hospital food tastes great!). I don't even think I left my hospital room to walk the halls.
Why We Choose a Birth Center
So, when we found out we were expecting Cason, I fully intended on returning to the hospital. I wanted someone to take care of me after going through childbirth, especially knowing there would be a toddler to look after. However, the more we talked about it, the more we realized that we wanted to labor somewhere we felt safe. Danny didn't want to feel like he had to push against doctors to achieve the birth we wanted, and I didn't want to have to labor at home until the last minute to avoid unnecessary intervention. We soon realized that the only reason we were considering the hospital was for the post-partum care and that it would be cheaper to check into a hotel after our baby was born and order room service three meals a day.

So we made an appointment for a tour of the birth center and quickly decided that it was were we would welcome our second child into the world. I was excited to labor in the water and hoped for a more peaceful birth than one in which I was being rushed into a delivery room at 9 1/2 cm with nurses flying every which way.

While Cason's birth wasn't all I had dreamed of, I loved my post partum experience infinitely more than I ever expected. Cuddling my baby at the Allen Birthing Center for a few hours was something akin to holding my newborn in the comforts of a bed and breakfast. My parents brought us food, our midwife lit candles around the room, and we rested in a king-size, four poster bed. Within six hours of delivery, I then went home to spend the next three days sleeping in my own bed and cuddling Cason almost non-stop all while Danny and our mothers cared for Cannon and the house. I was much more comfortable snuggling Cason skin-to-skin at home because I knew in advance when guests were coming over. There were no nurses or unexpected guests walking through the door like at the hospital. Our three-day post partum and newborn visit also occurred in the comfort of our home. It was wonderful not to have to cart my new baby out to the car. The one thing I was afraid I'd miss most about the hospital (my post partum care) was actually better and more comfortable at home.
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Was I Glad I Had a Natural/Unmedicated Birth?
During labor with both boys there were moments (hello, transition) when I was regretting my decision for a natural labor with fierce intensity. The pain seemed too much, too endless, too relentless, too out of control.

However, the moment they were born it was literally over. There were no side effects from an epidural. I could get up and walk to the bathroom or shower by myself within the hour. I could feel my legs. Was I sore and achy and uncomfortable? Of course, but that comes from squeezing out an eight pound human.

With Cannon's birth at the hospital, I had a much longer recovery from the episiotomy, but Cason's recovery was night and day better thanks to minimal tearing and no stitches. I couldn't believe how much easier the recovery was after not having been cut.

I try to keep reminding myself of the beauty that is a natural/unmedicated post partum recovery when I get overwhelmed and anxious about the pain of labor/delivery this time around.
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What About the Next Stiller Baby's Birth?
It was never really a question about where we would deliver the third Stiller baby. We knew we wanted another natural/unmedicated birth. I also knew that I wasn't comfortable delivering our baby at home. We just don't have the space and I didn't want to stress about how clean (or dirty) the house was those last few weeks of pregnancy. We only live five minutes from the Allen Birthing Center and so we just felt more comfortable going there, delivering our baby, and being able to come home. The tub is already set up, I don't have to worry about a clean environment, and I can come home and not having to worry about any clean up (although I do know the midwives would help with that in a home birth).

Our hope is to get to the birthing center a little earlier on in labor than 9 cm this time around. I'm still very, very hopeful at the thought of laboring in a big tub of water. And I'm even more excited about the thought of snuggling an itty bitty newborn in the comfort of my own home with my boys running in and out to check on their new sibling.
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