Setting the Bar Higher

After posting yesterday about my birth plans for baby #2, there were a couple of great spin off posts written in the community regarding birth experiences and the different expectations that women have for how they hope their birthing times will unfold. Honestly, it was hard for me to read through the comments without getting fired up, mainly because it felt like there were a lot of the same old “just be grateful” mantras being repeated – as if women who are pregnant after an ALI journey don’t deserve to hope for the perfect birth experience for them that includes feeling loved and supported and validated AND includes a healthy baby at the end. This definitely isn’t the first time I’ve read comments like these – it just brought it to the forefront of my mind since I had just written my post!

A few points I feel I need to throw out there:

  • Having birth preferences doesn’t mean your ultimate goal isn’t a healthy baby. 
    • It’s as simple as that. I’m sure this is something I’m overly sensitive about, but it hits me wrong every time I see someone say “well all I wanted was a healthy baby at the end” — as if that isn’t true for all of us! 
  • Having birth preferences also doesn’t doom you to devastation and remorse if things don’t go exactly according to plan.
    • For me, we even had a plan in place for if a c-section became necessary for any reason, and I had my “change of plans” HypnoBabies script ready if I was feeling upset about how things were going to help remind myself that things were happening that way for a reason and that was okay. I’m a planner, and for me, it made me feel good to know that my husband and my midwife and my nurses were all on the same page as me and to know what to expect if different situations arose.
  • No woman should have to lower the bar on her expectations and hopes for her ideal birth experience just to avoid getting her hopes dashed if things don’t go exactly according to plan.
    • I read this over and over as well – that it was somehow better to go in with no expectations so that you didn’t risk having the experience not match your expectations. I call bull shit on that, because I think it totally depends on the individual. I’m a “shoot for the stars and plan and hope for the best” girl on most stuff, and you’d better believe I’m going to plan for the best experience possible for me and this baby! However, I get that not everyone is like that. As a commenter and friend on my last post said, she’s a “plan for the worst, hope for the best” person, so for her, her ideal birth experience looked totally different than mine. That’s fine! But can’t we all just support each other’s plans – whether it’s for an OB delivery in a hospital with a level 4 NICU or a midwife assisted home birth? We all have to do what we feel best and safest about!
  • We all have different views on birth.
    • In my opinion, it’s not a scary, painful event to fear – it’s a natural, normal part of life. I truly believe that. I think having that mindset about it has completely shaped what kind of birth experience I hope for – just as your feelings about birth have shaped YOUR birth experience expectations.
  • And maybe most importantly, I don’t give a rats ass how other people choose to birth their babies.
    • If you are winging it and showing up and seeing how things go – fine.
    • If you are want an induction and an epidural – fine.
    • If you are having a c-section because of some high risk situation – fine.
    • If you are doing it all natural because it feels right to you – fine.

My point? You gotta do what feels right to you. The important part is feeling supported by those around you (your partner AND your care providers) during the experience.

The judgement and condescension and “just be grateful” mantras need to stop. I hear it in real life from my friends as much as I read it in blogs, and it’s so pointless and does nothing but make people feel bad and defensive about their decisions and birth experiences. We all deserve to be supported during our birthing times, and that can start by us supporting one another! I’m sure some people think I’m crazy for the type of birth experience I’d like to have. I don’t claim to understand people who want a total opposite birth experience of me. And again, that’s fine! I can’t say that enough.

Let’s just work on supporting one another and saying “YES, I wish the best for you. I wish the best for your baby. I pray you get to experience the perfect birth experience for you.”

Let’s quit lowering the bar just to avoid the potential fallout, and instead work on holding the bar up a little higher for each other to make sure we’re there to catch each other if we fall.

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50 comments

  1. mcmissis · · Reply

    I almost didn’t click over to my reader just now since it’s a Friday night, but for some reason, I had a strong feeling that you had posted something. I’m glad I did! I’ll be interested to see what kind of comments you get here.

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  2. Here’s my view. People are scared shitless. Like head stuck in the sand because holy shit if they look up they might see the end kinda scared shitless. When I read your birth plan I was smiling because I could hear you smiling as you wrote it. However at the end – I kinda wanted to vomit – because when the bottom drops out its virtually impossible to see anything but *hospital, teams and TEAMS of doctors, drugs, machines and all the help you *think* you may need.

    I think what happens when people who have had the bottom drop out is they fear this type of happy post so much that their anger bursts out and the crazy takes over. Also known as crazy ass jealousy. I think this is probably the most important part of why those posts that dish posts like yours happen. Crazy, seeing red jealousy. The women who think “what about if you need blah, blah, and blah are women who have needed it and may not have gotten it.

    Some people never get over that fear and lash out at people who embrace their dreams. It’s stupid and petty (and you bet they know it) but I can see how it happens. *I believe* it’s the loss part that kills dreams for many. Most can’t see anything but the scary “what ifs”.

    That being said – those willing to jump in your comments and dis your beautiful birth plan obviously still need to work out their own shit 😉

    Everyone deserves to dream big but I think it’s just important to remember that when they say something like “I just want a healthy baby” in response to something beautiful like your birth plan they are really saying “I have had something horrendous happen to me and I don’t know how to deal with it yet and please excuse me for being a douche on your blog”.

    Love your plan girl 🙂

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    1. Hey Traathy – I should clarify that people haven’t been rude at ALL to me on my last post in my personal comments. I asked for people’s experiences and they’ve been sharing them, and I love that! It’s more as a general theme (both IRL and URL) that I see over and over that people seem to fear that which is different, and I just get SO TIRED OF IT.

      I also should clarify that I am TOTALLY GUILTY OF THIS AS WELL. Before I got pregnant the 1st time and was deep in the TTC trenches, one of my best IRL friends here had a home water birth, and I privately told my husband that I thought she was crazy and endangering the child’s life and … ya. I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. I’ve tried to take experiences like that and learn from them though – that it’s really easy to judge when we don’t have all the information and that maybe we really are just “Scared Shitless” like you say. 🙂

      **As a side note – I deleted a couple of comments from this thread this morning b/c I don’t think it was anyone’s intent to start a war here! People who are unaware of your background of late term loss have no idea what you went through – but I read your comment knowing that’s what you were referencing, and I think you’re right about a lot of things! You’ve had the bottom drop out, and that obviously affects your feelings about birth in a negative manner, and that fucking sucks. 😦

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      1. My bad…I thought you meant people were being rude to you!

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      2. LOL, well they have, but not in the last couple of days. 😉

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  3. I think I view the, “I just want a healthy baby” mindset very differently from, just be grateful.”. For me, it was very simple. I wanted a natural birth, I was told that that couldn’t happen for good reasons (I got second & third opinions), I mourned the loss of the experience I’d hoped for, and I moved in a different direction. Maybe it was easy for me because I knew weeks in advance that my plans/hopes weren’t happening – I don’t know. But for me – given the situation I was in – it was as simple as, “I just want a healthy baby.”. I don’t think that statement about MYSELF assumes that you or someone else does NOT want the same thing – it just states that I had risk factors that made that decision very black and white for ME.

    As I’ve said on the other posts, I have noticed a trend LONG before your post implying that natural is better. I heard it from strangers as they asked about my own birth experience, I heard it from family members, I heard it from bloggers, I heard it from everywhere – and that is frustrating to someone who who requires c-sections. It’s so frustrating to be told by someone with no knowledge of your medical situation that your c-section is elective as if I woke up one day and asked for it out of convenience – but that was how I was treated.

    I am very envious of people who get to try the natural and/or home birthing route. It’s obviously not for me, but I wish it could have been. I feel just as judged as you seem to feel – and that is sad to me. I think comments like, “just have a VBAC,” or, “you could have delivered your breech baby naturally,” or, “you should have tried the ECV” are triggers for me like, “I just wanted a healthy baby” is a trigger for you. It’s clear that we’re all feeling judged, and for good reason. There’s lots of judgment in comments of tons of blogs. Lots of advice pushing people in directions that may not be warranted given the bloggers personal situation. Etc.

    I think this is a great discussion! I think it was time for it to be put out there. I appreciate everyone’s courage in posting these recent posts.

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    1. Yeah, that’s what I mentioned on jjiraffe’s post as well – I wonder if the fact that you knew you HAD to have a c-section for the safety of your child fairly early on (positively) affected you ability to grieve the other birth experience you had hoped for. I would guess it’s the hardest for women who have an emergency-c (like a close IRL friend of mine) because they don’t get time to process it. I don’t know…

      It’s interesting you mention your trigger phrases, b/c I’m sure I drove you nuts on Belle’s recent posts (obviously without trying to)! To me, YES, you need to follow the advice of your caregiver — but that’s assuming you have the best caregiver for the job. I think too often a woman WANTS to try to spin her baby or try an ECV or breech birth and too many OBs haven’t been trained in that anymore so they aren’t comfortable with it and say “nope, c/s is the only answer.” I’m just an advocate of getting 2nd opinions. 🙂 If the 2nd opinion also says that a c/s is the way to go though, by all means, do it! I’m sure glad you followed your gut and trusted YOUR providers!

      You know (I hope!) that none of this is a commentary on your birth plans and choices. You have always done what is best for your boys, and anyone who reads you or has met you should know that! I’m sorry you’ve gotten flack for any of it – that’s just not right. 😦

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      1. I did struggle for a little while with the loss of my desire to deliver naturally. My mother delivered all of us naturally, declining spinals and what-not. From the time I was a teenager, my mom told me that of course I could deliver naturally, because she did and we all have high pain thresholds (very true). I’ve wanted to deliver naturally since I was in high school, but it wasn’t to be so I let it go. But there were some tears, but not for long.

        I have no idea where these OBs are who offer no options. I was offered the ECV, chiropractic care, and links to exercises to turn my baby from my OB. I know Dr. H is awesome, but he and his entire practice can’t be that unusual!

        Thanks for a great post and conversation. I think the last couple days have been very productive.

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  4. I sincerely did not mean anything by my comment that I want a real live baby at the end of this. I know that in the end that’s what everyone wants. I didn’t mean that you or anyone else didn’t ultimately want that too. I said it simply because that’s all my birth plan entails at this point. I apologize if I offended you. I really do hope you get your perfect baby and your perfect birth experience, just like I hope that everyone does.

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    1. If it makes you feel any better, that’s all my recent birth plan really included as well. 🙂

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    2. I absolutely agree with you Courtney that when people say they just want a healthy baby at the end that they aren’t implying that others who want more aren’t entitled to that. If someone feels that way about the statement then it’s about them and not about what the statement itself. I believe that is almost ALWAYS true about implication (that it’s about the person who feels something is implied, and not about the person saying it).

      That is not to say that there aren’t people out there in the IF community who judge women who want a natural birth and chide them for not just being grateful to have a healthy baby at the end. I’m sure people have been subject to that sentiment very clearly and directly. But I don’t think that should be confused by what others are trying to say when they talk about their own limited desires about birth. If someone is truly only focused on having a healthy baby at the end, it’s not necessarily a commentary on others having higher hopes for the experience.

      The birth experience means different things to different people. And there are myriad reasons for that, including access to certain types of medical care, what they can afford, what they are comfortable with, how their pregnancy has progressed, how past pregnancies progressed, any prior expiences with birth (their own or someone else’s), what they were taught growing up, what is available in their area, what their partner wants/is comfortable with, what their medical provider recommends. Women who are able to purse their dream birth experience because each and everyone one of those factors lines up are incredibly fortunate. For many women the ideal birth experience is not accessible for any number of reasons. I think that reality has to be acknowledged as well. (And that isn’t to say that women who are able to plan for their ideal experience don’t deserve it or should apologize for it in any way, I’m just trying to recognize that not everyone has the same opportunities).

      Finally, I recongnize that I cringe whenever I read about ANYTHING that is being touted as “natural” when it comes to motherhood. The “natural” is best movement is one I take a lot of issue with. Partly this is due to articles and books I’ve read that plainly admonish women who don’t pursue the most “natural” approach to a given situation, and I take issue with anyone ever admonishing someone else’s personal choices. But I also recognize that a lot of the judgement I feel when people talk about their “natural” preferences is about me and my insecurities. As I said before, when I feel that judgement is implied, it’s about me and not about the person or what they are saying. So when I feel someone else’s choice about how to birth their child is a judgement on my own choices, I know I have to look at my own insecurities and figure out why I feel that way. I’m not saying judgement isn’t intended in some cases, but if it’s not being directly stated I TRY to remind myself that probably it’s my own issues coloring how I hear something. I’m especially sensitive to this when it comes to “natural” parenting/birthing etc. and I’ve come to recognize this sensitivity in myself and react accordingly.

      I for one don’t really care how anyone else chooses to have their child. I don’t really care that much about birth experiences, it is not a passion of mine. Having said that, I do feel concerned when I see women get very upset over birth experiences gone awry or not being able to plan the experience they wanted (because of a breach presentation or placenta previa or anything else that might interfere). I will admit that when I see women so distraught over the loss they perceive I the ideal birth I wonder if the pressure to have the perfect birth plan has contributed to their distress. That is my only concern. I hate to see women so upset over something they can’t control and I wonder if there isn’t a way to ease their suffering. But I don’t think expressing my concern over how I’ve seen people be absolutely devastated by their birth experience is a commentary on women who do pursue their ideal birth plans. Nor do I think relating my experience comments on anyone else’s. I’m just trying to share what I went through. If it’s different than what you went through (or similar, but you rocked it and came out feeling empowered while I got my ass handed to me and came out feeling defeated) then all the more power to you. I absolutely believe that every women is entitled to exactly what they want. I just hope they realize they might not be able to have that.

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    3. Oh no! This wasn’t directed at you SM (or anyone else) in particular at all.

      In reference to Esperanza’s response, I HAVE been told directly by certain people that I’m being foolish for having birth preferences and should “just want a healthy baby.” That’s what I was referring to!

      Also, I get that not everyone can afford whatever their ideal birth experience is. For us, it’s all going to be out of pocket no matter what, so doing a home birth will actually SAVE us money. I know that’s not the case for everyone. We won’t hire a doula (can’t afford it) so that part has been cut from my “preferences” – but that’s okay, because I’m realistic that money is an issue and we’ll have to pick and choose what’s most important to me to hopefully incorporate into my birth experience. The ideal birth experience is different for everyone – I can’t state that enough!

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      1. I’m curious. Do you think you need a doula given your awesome midwife? I would think he’s a doula and midwife all in one!

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      2. The doula I wanted was also my HypnoBabies instructor! My midwife (while being awesome) knows nothing about the specific HB program, so it would have been nice to have someone there who is focused only on ME and knows the HB “cues.” The midwife will obviously be focused more on the kiddo! It will be fine though, I’m sure, I’ll just have to make sure Char is remembering to do all the cues / help with pressure points / etc. 🙂

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  5. Good post.

    I am totally rooting for you, lady. I hope you have a fabulous birth experience!! 🙂

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    1. Thanks. 🙂

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  6. I love your candour and openness about this. I love that you are planning your birth for your next baby! Ahhh! I hope you get to pull this one out yourself as welll. that was very awesome. Too cool about midwife veing a guy. he sounds great. Thank you for your last comment…very reassuring…and for having time for Little Livi with so much gong on in our life. I am very greatfull to have you as our follower and friend.

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  7. I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA. I went back and read your last blog. LOVED IT! There were a lot of great things about Seedling’s birth, but there are things I would do differently if we are blessed to become pregnant a second time. I was nodding along to that, just as I found myself nodding along to this. I don’t know why people feel the need to say “Just desire a healthy baby” as if you would be so wrapped up in a water birth that you would ignore you midwife or other caregivers if real concerns arose. It is a given – if these people have read your blog AT ALL – that you will keep your baby’s well being in mind.

    You’ve got my support and encouragement a hundred and ten percent! HOO RAH! YOU GO GIRL!

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  8. You’ve said many things here that I lack the courage to.

    It frustrates me that as a community we fully support (and allow) the mourning of an ideal conception and pregnancy, but not so much the birthing experience. I’m not sure why this is. I know that I did not feel I deserved it as the pressure to “just be grateful” was enormous for me, and moving past it greater still.It speaks to an under current of guilt (and the expectation of guilt) in the community that needs a closer look.

    I hope these conversations truly do foster a greater understanding as to why these experiences matter so much to some of us.

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    1. I honestly don’t think this particular conversation has been about anyone in this community not allowing other women to mourn their ideal birth experience. I think this discussion was born out of a very real concern for the well being of women in this community who have been deeply hurt.

      I absolutely support any woman’s grieving process about her birth experience. Your first experience sounded hellacious and it makes my heart smile that you were able to heal some of those wounds the second time around. I hope that other bloggers I read who also had traumatic first birth experiences are able to find some healing and closure in their subsequent birth experience(s).

      I actually thought this conversation was really eye opening and it helped me to understand yet again, how different we all are and how those differences play out in our hopes and dreams and even our grief.

      I wish every woman nothing but the best birth experience, whatever that looks like for them. The purpose of my post was to better educate them about what that experience might be (by sharing my one small experience). I hope that is what Josey’s post, my post, and all the comments and other posts ultimately do.

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      1. Perhaps not these posts, but certainly others I’ve read over the years. Most definitely comments I have personally received (from within the ALI community) and let languish in moderation so they don’t hurt others. They did hurt me deeply and some of that has resurfaced. But I have felt some comments on these posts diminish negative feelings about less than ideal birth experiences and it reminds me of an attitude I’ve seen about birth in general. This is entirely my perception though I don’t think I’m alone. As a result, I’ve moved away from some spaces which is my responsibility as a reader. I do think we, as a community, can shore up support and understanding for birth preferences and experiences, myself included. I very much appreciate this conversation, even if it makes me revisit things I find difficult.

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      2. I can understand that you (and others) saw parts (or this entire) conversation to be dismissive. I am learning what all of this means to others and I think I have a better understanding and appreciation of that now. I’m sorry if my points came across as dismissive. That was not how I was feeling or my intent but I understand that sometimes opinions can carry more than what was intended.

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  9. I totally agree. Everyone wants a healthy baby. You are allowed to hope for more without jinxing yourself.

    The same thing drives me crazy when you ask if people have a preference for the sex of the baby and the answer is Oh I just want a healthy baby. Well, so do I, but I knew I would prefer a girl. If you don’t have a preference, just say that, no need to get judgy about other people’s preferences. And I kinda feel like it goes without saying, that you want a healthy baby.

    Sorry for the rant, but that is the answer I can’t stand during the whole process.

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    1. LOL, I totally agree with this!! I always knew I wanted a girl, but it was scary to say that b/c people would always say “a healthy baby, right?” as an immediate follow up when they asked what we wanted. Now Charlie and I are both open that we would like another girl, and it truly shocks ppl sometimes I think when we say it! of COURSE we’d love a boy if this baby is a boy – but we have all the girl stuff already and SISTERS!!

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      1. People looked at me almost cross-eyed when I would tell them we wanted another boy. It was like they thought I was saying we’d put a girl up for adoption. Ha!

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      2. Sissssssteeers!! 😉 I totally wanted one of each and was initially disappointed when we found out it was two girls. Now I’m all SISTERS ARE THE BEST! (Perhaps I can manage a more meaningful comment below, ahem)…

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  10. I think your birth plan for baby #2 is amazing. Honestly, I am planning on using your birth plan with Stella as the template for my birth plan.

    I would love to have a home birth, it’s always been my fantasy, but it freaks my husband out and I am worried that because of our insurance situation, it’s just not possible. (Our ins. has excellent coverage for a hospital birth – it’s only going to cost us a few hundred dollars. But a home birth would be entirely out of pocket and my husband feels like we’re stealing from the kid’s college fund if we do it that way.) So. I don’t know. I’ve never ever wanted a hospital birth but I guess that’s what I’m getting. Maybe I should reevaluate and do more research. I do have a wonderful labor coach who will act as my advocate and protect my wishes. I also intend to labor at home for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE since I’m only 10 minutes from the hospital. But oh my goodness if I could deliver at home – what a dream come true.

    I am so happy you have the opportunity to experience this. Big hugs and love to you and your family.

    xoxo
    t.

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    1. it’s hard to strike the balance when your hubby is nervous about home birth, I totally get that. It’s why we did a hospital birth with Stella.

      That being said, if it’s truly something you want to do, definitely look into it more! We spend thousands and thousands of dollars on random things over the years – vehicles, furnishings, vacations, whatever! – and I’d say spending a few thousand dollars now on getting the birth experience you’ve dreamt of is totally worth it.

      Either way, I’m sure you’ll have a great birth experience. It’s nice you’re so close to the hospital too – easier to relax and labor at home when you’re not worried about making it to the hospital!

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  11. I hate it when people say I should be grateful for the healthy baby I got if I ever DARE to complain about the fact that I went from planning a homebirth one minute to being induced in a hospital for preclampsia at 38 weeks the next minute. OF COURSE I’M GRATEFUL. Duh. But I still would have loved to have my homebirth damnit! So excited for you and the path you are taking for baby #2, I’m hoping and praying (and a little jealous!) that your homebirth experience is amazing!

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    1. Ugh, THAT is exactly what I’m talking about. You deserve to mourn the loss of the experience you had been hoping for and dreaming of. It’s not that you didn’t want your baby to arrive safely! Maybe you’ll get a chance to try home birth again someday. 🙂

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  12. One of your comments on a post yesterday really stood out to me- about education and empowerment. My birth experience pretty much had every intervention I wanted to avoid- a 41 week induction, an epidural, 3rd degree episiotomy and forcep delivery. That being said, I had a great birth educator so I felt confident going in and a supportive hospital team of nurses so I felt empowered the whole way, I was the one making the decisions and I felt confident that each intervention was necessary. My birth story sounds traumatic when I share it with people, but I always clarify that to me, it was amazing. It definitely wasn’t close to my ideal birth plan, but that’s where the “I just wanted a healthy baby” thing came in for me and I since I felt so supported and in as much control as one can be (my son’s 95+% head called the shots pretty much), I didn’t mourn my original plan. I do however, notice that I get defensive about having an epidural, always adding “..after 22 hours of back labour” as if that makes it acceptable. I am trying to get over that, but I agree with others that “natural” is definitely held as better in our society, and I think that people being defensive is what drives them to be critical of others.
    Pregnancies, babies, mothers’ bodies, husbands’ opinions, hospital practices etc are all so different that comparing two birth plans or birth experiences is apples and oranges in my opinion and one wouldn’t expect them to be the same so I don’t get how there is room for people to critique each other. I love reading about every different plan and experience and I look forward to reading about you experience this time around!

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    1. Exactly!! I feel like even if things went awry from my initial birth plan last time (or did this time), I’d have felt better about things b/c I knew WHY it was important that certain interventions became necessary to do – instead of just feeling like they were happening TO me. Education and empowerment FTW. 🙂

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      1. I think that was the big thing we took away from Bradley classes– that no matter what birth we ended up with, it was one that we were fully informed about and we could feel that we were making the best choices we could under the circumstances. If I’d ended up with c-sections, then we’d know they were necessary c-sections. I had agency.

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  13. So I’ve been reading all these posts and comments the last couple days and my reaction has been so interesting (to me) because to everything I read (even if it’s conflicting), I think “yes! I totally agree!” Which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Should we aim the bar higher? Me: yes! Should women do the research and advocate for the birth they want (however it may look)? Me: yes! Should we maybe chillax on the whole BirthPlan expectations? Me: yes! Is the birth experience a very important huge deal? Me: yes! Is the birth only one day and is what really matters the healthy baby? Me: yes! WTF, Me? Make up your mind. So yah, I really wanted a specific type of birth and yah, when I found out it was twins, my desire changed a lot. Someone once told me “these babies will determine the birth plan” and man, that was comforting somehow. If I were to be pregnant again (with a singleton) I would have ideals in mind, but flexibility was the greatest lesson I learned from my birth experience. I was disappointed I had to have a csection for quite a while afterwards- i felt like I missed out on something, and it took a bit for me not to feel “less than” because of it. But I have to say that lately that’s been but a blip on the radar screen for me. All that rambly nonsense being said, I am a huge proponent of seeking out and getting the care you need and deserve from your birthing team, your partner, your doctors, etc. and *attempting* to have the experience you desire. And if things don’t work out just right and the baby has other plans, that’s okay too. 🙂

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    1. Okay, I think your comment is hands down my favorite comment of every single one I’ve read over the past three days. SPOT ON, Gemini Momma, SPOT ON. This is why I love you. 🙂

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      1. Haha, well good! And to think I wasn’t going to comment at all because my thoughts felt so wishy washy rambly on the subject. I’m totally pulling for you to have the birth you want (but how bout first you just stop puking up your breakfast, you poor thing…) 😉

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    2. Love this comment so much!

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  14. I feel like I might come off as anti-everything based on a few posts and comments. I’m really not. I want every mother to have the birth experience she desires & to feel empowered and supported in her choices, but I do worry that there is such an overwhelming emphasis on natural right now that some women are bound to be disappointed or judged for the outcome. That’s what I object to. Birth is a beautiful but complicated process and I don’t want any woman to feel depressed by not meeting some standard or forever feeling less than because she had a c-section or epidural or whatever.

    It sounds like you have a great plan in place and won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work out. That’s what is important!

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  15. I think I have just tried to stay out of this debate! they had special on home births on one of our tacky current affairs program and my husband was all hoity toity about it but because of what I have learned from you and my friend Zoe and SRB I feel much more educated about it all. I know you would never put your babies life at risk and if you were told that you needed to go to hospital because there were some serious complications then that is what you would do and I know that giving birth is a beautiful empowering thing and doing that home can make it even more so relying on your own body and your team to do it. So, thanks guys for opening my eyes up!!

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    1. You nailed it, Chon. When you know first-hand about something, through an open and caring dialogue, you learn. Through learning, you support and reflect. That’s why it’s so important to have conversations like this on any “hot button” topic – too reduce judgment and feeling judged. I couldn’t have had my home birth without the support I found here because I didn’t get it in real life, though now I think IRL folks feel more comfortable about it by seeing me do it. All good things!

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  16. I really love this post. Lots of food for thought. The two things that I identify with here are the deviation from the plan and the different people have different views.
    My birth experience was not good, and I think I still have a little PTSD from it. But it wasn’t because I deviated from the plan, I think it was more poor planning on my part. We had different preferences in place for natural birth and some interventions, but a c-section was so far off my radar I didn’t plan for it. So when that’s what it came to I was wholly unprepared. Part of this too was having a provider who wasn’t really in tune with what I wanted, so pushing intervention was what she did and we were too intimidated to question anything. My normally calm and level headed husband totally shut down the second I went into labor. So I like that you had a back-up. And I will be MUCH more vocal this time as well as having a doula because they are helpful especially when husband = useless.

    The second point about differing views is something I’ve intuitively felt, but you say it so well. My SIL had a totally different feeling about birth than me and sometimes it was really hard to keep my mouth shut, but I know that this is deeply personal, so unless directly asked I say nothing. And she had the experience she wanted, which is really all that matters.

    I’ve been lucky to never have had rude comments, except from my mother, but that’s just how she is… but we have this strange lack of tact when it comes to pregnancy in society. “When are you having a baby?” “You shouldn’t wait too long?” the TOUCHING of the belly by strangers, “You shouldn’t complain, just be happy you are pregnant.” “Why would you do it that way?” There is this projection of everyone else’s idea of what you should do when it comes to children and some warped idea that it is ok to share. It’s odd that this judgement seems to cover the whole range of parenting from conception to birth and beyond, but I don’t really see it in other areas.

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  17. I think it’s great we live in an age where we have CHOICES regarding labor and birth. And what one person chooses isn’t what another will.

    What I 100% can’t stand is when women have to go in for an emergency C-section and are told “At least you’re both okay!” or “at least the baby is alive and healthy.” Every. Single. Friend. I have that has had to have a c-section has NOT been okay with it. These words minimalize their feelings. These words make them feel like they shouldn’t be sad that they didn’t get the experience they wanted — pictured even! It’s not cool.

    I hated being told “Get the epidural” when I was pregnant with G. Even J was pushing it until he learned the pros and cons during a 3hr natural childbirth class we took. I know that not everyone wants an unmedicated birth, but I knew that most of the people pushing the epi on me didn’t do much reading on the pros and cons of them. I’m mostly a stickler for that: being educated when it comes to this stuff.

    I didn’t go all natural like I had wanted. My epidural wore off to push and that compromise is what saved me from 100% hating myself for getting the epi. However, my epidural was no walk in the park like the husbands and other mothers described when they told me to get it prior to G being born. There were issues with the IV and I got dehydrated. I was uncomfortable despite not feeling contractions. By the time I pushed I think I’d had 4 hours of sleep in 48 hours; I’m still surprised I avoided a c-section.

    But I had choices then. And I have them now. This time I’m a little more open to an epi, but am going to do whatever I can to go all natural. I’m taking my previouos experience and hoping to make things better for myself.

    And I 100,000,000,000 x infinity % agree with you: you have to feel supported by your team (doctors, family, spouse). That makes the ultimate difference in everything no matter what path you choose.

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  18. theyellowblanket · · Reply

    I love this post, and resonate with everything you have said. I was a labor doula for 4 years, and I fundamentally agree with what you said about women having to do what they feel is best for them. i think if a woman wants a planned c-section and that is what makes her feel confident, go for it! I agree that birth is not something to fear. I’m not afraid of it at all. I also am the sort of person who hopes for the best and plans for the worst, so I’m going to keep my birth plan fairly short and concise.

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  19. For me, the key to all of this is: “I don’t give a rats ass how other people choose to birth their babies.” Honestly, I don’t. And I don’t really understand why everything has to be made so public. I don’t understand the facebook status that says, “Baby boy was born at 12:07am after a drug-free, home, water birth.” Or, for that matter, the opposite, “Baby girl is here after a terrifying and gut-wrenching emergency csection.” Do I want to know the details if it’s someone I love and care about? Of course I do. But do I really need to know that about my second grade teacher’s daughter-in-law? Yeah, not so much. And those kinds of posts and/or comments in real life just remind me that in many, many, many ways the pregnancy/birthing/parenting interactions/exchanges are based in insecurity and judginess:

    – I had the most natural birth of all natural births (I, too, hate calling them “natural.”)
    – Well, I had the scariest, pre-term emergency csection birth!

    It’s this very mindset that then reappears when “mommies” talk breastfeeding vs. formula and vaxing vs. not. People seem to think that their way is THE way. But, what’s more troubling, is that they also think they need to make sure you know that. When the truth of the matter is, as you said yourself, “I don’t give a rat’s ass” what they do. I know this comment probably went totally off topic, but the truth of the matter is, for me, this is something very personal and very private and those around us neither need all the details nor have the right to judge those details.

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    1. Honestly, I’ll probably write something along the lines of “birthed at home blah blah blah” assuming all goes well with this birth experience. At the same time, the ppl I’m friends with on FB are people who I’d talk about it IRL with. I routinely go through and “unfriend” people to keep my list to close family and friends, b/c that’s how I like FB to be for me!

      All that being said, I truly DON’T care how you birth your baby – I just hope you (and that’s the general you) feel satisfied and supported and the end of the birth experience, and I don’t think enough women feel that way. I know it’s not for everyone, but I wish everyone could be exposed to the HB program (no matter if they want an epidural / c-section / whatever) because it’s the overall mindset that was really the most beneficial to me, and I wish everyone could feel that calm and confident going into a pretty intense experience!

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  20. I’m sure you have heard about it but Kate Middleton is planning on doing a hypnobabies birth. I am sure after she does it, it will be the ‘cool’ thing to do and become increasingly more popular in the next few years. I had my first without the epidural and my second with it and its not all its cracked up to be. At least not in my experience. I still feel most of the pain. I think that’s your birth plan is awesome and if I didn’t suffer from OCD and extreme anxiety I would do it too!

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    1. Suffer is not a good word to use. I think a better way to say it would be I ‘deal with extreme anxiety and OCD’ felt that needed to be clarified!

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      1. I hadn’t heard that about Princess Kate & hypnobabies, but that’s pretty awesome!

        On a side note – I think the HB program would be really helpful to you with anxiety and OCD. A large part of the benefit of the program for me had to do with my mindset and anxiety levels pre-birth, not just during!

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      2. Just reread my comment and my grammar was awful! Way too many typos!! Lol

        If we are lucky enough to have a third I will research hypnobabies for sure!!

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  21. […] to pursue the route of a midwife assisted homebirth. I followed it up with a fired up post about Setting the Bar Higher and my frustration with the “just be grateful” mantra instead of just supporting one […]

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