At this point in my pregnancies, my thoughts turn toward birth. I've had a pretty tumultuous journey this pregnancy with my Obstretical practice. My local OBGYN decided to close his doors, leaving the only option "in town" to be the local Planned Parenthood. For multiple reasons, I could not in good conscience join this practice. One of my girlfriends said it best "it'd be like delivering your baby into the hands of King Herod himself." Exactly!
God knew best though, and sent me to another practice a little farther away, but with all the services I could want and/or need, above and beyond my former practice. I've had two appointments with this new practice and they're amazing. Plus I was able to witness one of the Obstetricians first hand as I was a labor assistant for my girlfriend who went here for her pregnancy. Despite a very difficult labor and a delivery that did not go according to plans (she wanted a natural birth, a VBAC, and wound up with a C-section) the OB on call did everything she can to accomadate my very distraught friend, going above and beyond her personal comfort level, and maintaining professional decorum the entire time. She was very impressive, and brought a beautiful baby into the world.
I don't really want anything fancy for my birth. I've made no birth plans. My husband and I who are advocates for Bradley Birthing haven't been practicing our relaxation techniques. We used to do both for the entire pregnancy for our other children. But the last birth I had was the simplest, and to date my best, labor and delivery so far. It started out to be typical...I was 10 days late, and was scheduled for an induction the next day. I didn't want to be induced, it was the biggest fear I had (and still have) regarding delivery. I was induced for my first son out of medical necessity (I had developed toxemia and the night I went in to the hospital my Diastolic was reading around 300 - I can't remember my systolic, but I was not supposed to be able to be moving...) I believe that it was for the life of my son and for myself that I had medical intervention - and that we're both alive today because of it. But the induction was hard work, and I was exhausted at the end of it. My body labored through drugs the entire 16 hours that I worked to birth my son, and it was unnatural. I had an epidural for him, along with everything else...It was a very intense labor and delivery. But I was okay with it as I felt it was needed to protect my life and my son's.
My next son was also induced, supposedly for being "late". I do not have normal 25 day cycles, so my dates have yet to match up to the spinning wheel that they use to give you that 'magic number'. But after 14 hours of induced labor, when they went in for him, my water was clear, he came out average weight and length, and indeed he was not late. So again, I went through that tremendous work (thanks to pitocin) to deliver a baby that could have been born on his own without the use of drugs. This was a very hard labor and delivery for me, and I was not as well suited to bond with this beautiful baby.
For my third son I gave them the wrong date with which to gague his due date. They didn't give me an early ultrasound to confirm my dates, so I allowed myself an extra 10 days margin based on my own cycles. Looking back, I know this was risky and dishonest. But I couldn't fathom a third induction in 30 months. My son came out precisely on my due date (and would have been late by their "spinning wheel") without the use of pitocin. My OB at the time came in at one point during my labor and told me I was "failing to progress" at the speed he likes to see. He told me he was going to have to give me some pitocin. I told him he was not to come near me with that drug until I had an epidural. I got my epidural, progressed from 4-10 cms in 4 contractions and was pushing within an hour. They got the pitocin in me in time for me to contract my uterus down...Great...;) My faith in this OB was shot, and I decided it was time to move on.
I chose a new OBGYN practice for my daughter and had a pretty positive experience. The OB there was very laid back, but the midwife was a "Doctor light". I tried to give them the wrong dates again purposely, but this practice did an ultrasound for dating and bumped me back the 10 days I had tried to tack on. My midwife decided that I needed to be monitored continuously during this pregnancy because of my weight, and so I had to juggle babysitting for my other three in order to go in twice a week at the end for NST's, in addition to my regular pre-natal appts. I'm not against additional monitoring, when needed, but my blood pressure was always low (it got to 100/70 a few days before I delivered) and my blood sugar came back right on. The baby was always confirmed right on for size and development. I did not see a need, outside of the preventative medicine that haunts OB's in CT, for all this additional testing. And with the other children, and homeschooling, and maintaining some semblance of a life, it was burdensome to say the least. When I went past the assigned due date, my mid wife told me she'd give me 3 days past that date before I was induced. I panicked and told her that I'd need at least 2 weeks to give my body a chance to go into labor naturally. She gave me 10 days, and it was on the ninth that my husband and I prayed for me to have the grace to accept God's will if I should go in for an induction. The next morning I was in labor. I progressed well (they had telemetric monitoring, so I didn't even have to get into bed until the very end of my labor for transition) and was able to stay ahead of my contractions with my husband's help. They broke my water at 4 cm's, but I was confident that I would go. Same thing happened as with my son. Four contractions later I was pushing. The funniest part was that my OB kept coming in to offer me an epidural and I kept telling her there wasn't enough time. Sure enough, my daughter was born "drug free". I'm not against drugs to help manage pain during birth. I had used them for three out of four of my labors, and will use them to augment my labor if needed this time. But what a joy it was to have full use of my legs after my daughter was born! I could get up and shower within an hour of her birth. The nurses didn't have to come in my room again to monitor my vitals from the epidural, so my husband and I got a restful night's sleep (note: that's not the same as full:). I was "more myself" right after birth than I had ever been.
This practice does not believe in pitocin, even for the case of induction. They like to work with the mother to insure she gets a birth that she wants. They don't even like to induce if they don't have to...All very positive signs to my ears! I don't have concrete plans for this delivery, but I hope that I can make it as natural as possible. My husband is the best resource I have for "pain management", as he knows me so well and can tell when I'm not relaxing as I should. I look forward to bringing our child into the world together again. And this hospital is very low tech (for a hospital), so that makes me happy. I'm excited about the birth, about meeting our beautiful daughter, and about working with the medical staff that I've gotten to meet.
Of course, these are just my thoughts:)