Too often, medical doctors are portrayed as the bad guys in the birthing world. In truth, there is a lot we don't see and which they really can't talk about. We are excited to share this guest post today from Jessicca Moore, a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA. Jessica is currently raising money to help finish a film all about medical personnel who birth at home. (There are more of them than you would think!) You can read more about her film, "Why Not Home?", on their website. Her words are wise and incredibly helpful. Happy birthing!
If you’re planning a hospital birth in the US, you’re likely seeing an OB/GYN. Some of you are seeing a family doctor or a certified-nurse-midwife (CNM) who will attend you at the hospital.
Doctors and nurses are trained not to impose their own values and beliefs onto their patients. To the woman who says she doesn’t want to feel any pain during labor and wants an epidural as soon as possible, our training tells us to accept this as her choice and support her in it. To the woman who says she wants an unmedicated natural labor, our training tells us to accept and support this choice as equally valid.
Your provider is supposed to maintain some professional distance and remain unbiased toward her patients. Because of this, she likely won’t tell you about how difficult her recovery from her c-section was and how she couldn’t pick up her toddler for weeks.
She won’t tell you about the intense rush of emotion and joy that came over her when she gave birth to her daughter after a long 30 hour unmedicated vaginal birth. If she did, you might feel like you should do it the way she did, or do it differently, depending on her story.
In your 10-15 minute visits, it can be hard to delve deeply into all the possible risks and benefits of each decision, the research, and your personal values and preferences. Even if you did, the chances that that provider is going to be the one attending your birth are pretty slim.
So much of birth is out of your control. Once you’re in labor, things can go any number of ways.
If you want to have a natural birth, here are some things you can do to stack the deck in your favor.
Get prepared. There are lots of great childbirth preparation programs out there. Try a few and see what fits. Knowledge is power when it comes to birth.
Read birth stories. Positive ones. Listen to your friends who had great births. Focus on those. Your birth can be great too.
Get support. Hire a doula. Don’t think you can afford one? Call and talk to a few. You may be surprised. If you can’t get a doula, ask friend who has experienced birth and knows your plan to be there to support and advocate for you. Your partner will be having their own experience. Don’t rely on them to be everything for you.
Get informed. What is your hospital’s c-section rate? Trying for a VBAC? What’s the VBAC success rate at your hospital? Birth by the Numbers has a great site for getting this information. www.birthbythenumbers.org
Ask questions. Especially if something doesn’t feel quite right. Is the induction necessary? What if we wait 2 more days? It’s your body and your baby. You’re allowed to ask questions.
Take care. Rest. Eat well. Stay active. Try prenatal yoga. You’ll be that much better off entering labor if your body is strong and healthy.
Do all that, and then let go. Birth is big. Birth is beautiful. There’s no one right way to do it.
You are powerful. You are capable. You can do it.
If and when you need help, it will be there for you.
No one can tell you how it will go for you.
You and your baby are starting your journey together. You’ll have your own unique experience.
Your doctor may have seen hundreds or thousands of births, but they’ve never seen yours.
Jessicca Moore is a family nurse practitioner and filmmaker in Petaluma, CA where she lives with her husband, two children, and two sheep. She is currently in production on her first feature-length documentary, “Why Not Home?” The film follows hospital birth providers who chose to give birth at home. You can watch a trailer and get more information here: www.whynothome.com and support the project on kickstarter at bit.ly/whynothome through October 10th.
Follow the project on twitter and instagram @whynothome and facebook at facebook.com/whynothome
You can find Jessicca on twitter @jessicca_moore
(Photos by Erin Wrightsman, used with permission.)