So we're out of the first trimester (Whew!), and I am finally starting to feel human again-- as in, food is not repulsive, I can cook and change diapers without gagging, and I do not fall asleep sitting up on our futon watching Gossip Girl (Yes, I watch Gossip Girl. It is my one guilty pleasure).
And now it's starting to really hit me-- we're actually having another baby. And let's focus on the verb there. HAVING. As in, there will be labor.
I had preterm labor with Gabriel, and I contracted for seven weeks before I was induced with our first little nugget. My husband and I had signed up for breathing and relaxation classes that were scheduled for while I was on bedrest. As in, we never went to them. And in all the fear of "I'm not ready to be a Mom of a preemie," etc., our plans for an epidural-free birth went out of the window.
And now I'm not scared. Of preterm labor anyway. If it comes again, I am not going to let it intimidate me from having the birth I want. And I will say that Gabriel's birth was beautiful-- I was very clear that I would only go with induction if I had extremely good odds of it working well (I was dilated to 3 cm before any pitocin, and Gabe was very low-- I had very good numbers in the "this will work well" column), and things took off once my water was broken. I had a vaginal birth, which was the most important thing to me in the world, and I am so glad for that.
What was awful? The epidural. I was stuck more than five times. Whatever the resident did to me made me feel like a metal straw was being stuck into my vertebrae over and over again. The head anesthesiologist of the hospital then came to patching things up, and things went uphill from there... but the mere thought of an epidural sends crampy aches through my lower spine. I just can't even imagine thinking about epidurals while in labor. I just want to labor.
Is that reason I want a natural birth? No. I want to experience natural birth because I feel strongly that I want to experience the full-natured embodiment of child birth. I want to birth a baby without drugs going into his or her little body. I want to be able to walk right away without nurses hovering at my sides. I want a lot of things.
And so now, we're figuring out how to do this. We have decided, and to some natural birth mothers this may seem odd, to remain in the care of our OB team. I really have enjoyed working with these doctors, and they are in full support of letting us go natural. They have agreed to allow us a low intervention experience at the hospital without the constant monitors and IVs (so long as there is no emergency). And I do think this practice roots for vaginal birth. And they did a few things that made me happy while in labor with Gabriel-- one of them being a massage of oil for my perineum while I pushed rather than an episiotomy.
But what now? How are we planning to cope with the pain? Will I be able to get the room with the tub at the hospital so that I can labor while in water? What about water birth? Lamaze? Bradley? Hire a doula? Can we do any of this without spending a bagillion dollars? Is anything natural covered by insurance? What?
These questions all seem awkward, because a lot of the classes and things are meant for first time parents. And I have already been in labor and been coached and pushed. My husband and mother were amazing. My husband was such a calm, loving, and encouraging presence, and my Mom was empowering-- she always let me know that the head was coming closer or that she could see more. They helped me along so well. So I know that as my husband undertakes the role of a hands-on labor coach (I'm thinking massages and the like), he will be amazing at it. We just need the details.
So here we are... looking for the details. Any suggestions on our quest for a natural birth, including books, etc., would be great!