“Trust yourself to do what’s in your best interest
Then be brave enough to do it”
At the age of 31 I fell pregnant with my son. There were a few things that I knew with absolute certainty in that moment. The first was the fact that I wasn’t prepared and the second was the decision to have my baby naturally.
I knew of my sister’s experience giving birth to her two children some years before and I was convinced to take my chances with a home birth instead of the hospital. With the first pregnancy, she was almost denied the opportunity of being supported by our mother during her entire stay in the hospital. That was simply because of the hospital’s policy about visitors and how long they could stay at any given time. Furthermore, when my sister requested pain relief, she was given gas and air but to her surprise the apparatus had neither gas nor air. She discovered this after using it for about 15 minutes. Then she was left to labour for hours while a disinterested nurse simply watched as my sister writhed in pain and grew increasingly tired. Lastly, when the nurses determined that my sister was not going to make any further progress in cervical dilation, they promptly gave her a disclaimer to sign before proceeding with her C-section. Of course the hospital had to make sure that they had their backs covered in case something went wrong and they were slapped with a malpractice claim.
Now you would think that the second pregnancy would be any better. Unfortunately, it was worse. She had a very attractive but useless doctor stick the epidural needle in her back four times and the needle bending each time upon entry was testament to his failure to get it in her spine. Then she was finally put under alternative but heavier sedation which resulted in her waking up groggy with a severely sore throat (from the oxygen tube inserted) and with a serious case of gas which caused searing pain everytime she moved. The only positive from both ordeals was the fact that the children were born ok but only just. My nephew apparently swallowed some fluids during my sister’s C-section which left him with a horrendous wheeze and rattle for months. As for my niece, she was pretty much left unscathed. The most I can remember is her raising a hand towards me as I went to hold her for the first time. Eventually, I realised on closer inspection that she was actually giving me the finger. She’s remained cheeky ever since.
So what was my battle plan? I was going old school. The beauty about having my grandmother play a pivotal role during my care and development was the stories that she shared. I learnt that she had all 7 of her children at home with the help of an elderly woman. This woman had years of experience delivering babies in the community and did so successfully without the help of a degree or formal education. I also learnt that there was very little use of pain meds and the deliveries were all straight forward. Now that I was pregnant, I seriously contemplated these facts and came to the following conclusion: provided that I had the right nutrition and exercise, my body is and would remain fully equipped to birth a healthy baby with little to no medical intervention………………………..