If you've been reading our blog, you'll know that I'm definitely the less strict one when it comes to diet and nutrition. Still considered to be a Nazi by friends and family but compared to Jenny, I'm totally the Homer. Since becoming knocked up, however, I've had to re-think pretty much everything. See, I had this vision of how my next pregnancy would go. Organic, vegan, heavy on the raw, diet that would lead to that radiant pregnant glow. I was so sweet and so stupid. It wasn't a week after I saw those two little pink lines that I became permanently sprawled on my bathroom floor (most often with my head in the toilet). Food? What food? Oh, you mean the 25 boxes of saltines? Or something like that. For 12 weeks! My dream, my green organic vision, gone. Or so I thought. But little by little my desire for fresh food began to return. There were a few times that I became too eager only to have my green shake end up in the toilet. But by the time I hit the 15 week mark, I had exited vomitville. The produce section was my canvas (except for that week I was in Boston and ate so much lobster I became part crustacean). And by the way, it doesn't matter what I eat while I'm pregnant. I don't glow. I swell.
As of today, I'm proud to report that I've been able to ditch the saltines and clean up my diet. Not to the point that I had imagined, but I think that's my point here. Pregnancy is one of those unpredictable times in life when you just have to roll with it. Attempting to control every little detail is a surefire way to set yourself up for disaster. And it still kills me to think about how different all my pregnancies have been. You JUST CAN'T predict how it's going to play out. I'm 19 weeks into my 4th pregnancy and I've been surprised by just about everything. Especially at my ultrasound last week when my baby appeared to be either giving me the thumbs up or flipping me off. The hubs and I seem to have perfected the recipe for temperamental offspring.
And here's where I'm REALLY going to grab your attention and change the subject while I'm at it. I've recently become interested in the possibility of attempting a drug-free birth. I have to guess you either just rolled your eyes (in which case I would completely understand and kind of agree), or you swooned over my incomprehensible courage (but don't, because I haven't really done or committed to do it yet). I know. I'm all kinds of awesome. Okay I'm not. But you know who is? Jenny. She would never be all soap-boxy about it but she totally birthed her last baby without the help of an epidural. Or a friggin Tylenol for that matter. SUPER. WOMAN. And a bit of an inspiration if you ask me. At some point I'll get her to tell you all about it but trust me on this one. Her story will leave you wondering, "hey, maybe I could do that". Which is kind of a delusional thought in my case because I just so happen to be the queen of epidurals. No, I'm serious. When I had my last baby I demanded an epidural before I would even allow the word pitocin to be uttered in my presence. Yep. I'm totally that woman.
So why the drastic change of heart you ask? Well, for me it's complicated but I'll try and condense it for you. I've gone through three childbirth experiences, two of which were short, sweet, and fairly painless (let's not talk about the 32 hour one, after which I sat on a doughnut for like a year). But I've always had that feeling that I might have been missing out on something. I've never even been able to accurately describe it. I just felt like something about the experience wasn't quite complete. Well, that and those excruciating headaches I got after having had an epidural. Not to mention the fact that that epidurals also make me swell up like the stay-puff marshmallow man on 'roids. Come to think of it, it might be more that than the "missing out on something" I mentioned. But also, haven't women been doing this for like a zillion years?
According to suite 101 there exists a lengthy list of reasons why drug-free births are the superior choice:
- 1. Mothers who labor naturally can move freely, go to the bathroom, walk and change positions throughout labor. According to the Cochrane Review, recent studies have shown that getting medication makes changing positions even after birth more difficult.
- 2. Since you can feel your body's reflexes in natural childbirth, mothers can push better and generally faster. In fact studies show that getting an epidural prolongs your pushing time.
- 3. The pain during labor serves a purpose by guiding the mother to seek certain positions. For example, if her back hurts, she will naturally seek positions off her back which can help to turn her baby. Having back pain is one sign that the baby might be posterior and needs to rotate.
- 4. Mothers often describe that their recovery after a natural childbirth was faster and easier since they could get right up and walk and shower. Usually they eat right away and their appetite is normal.