ETA: My baby is six months old and definitively not a boy. But I still wanted to put up all these pregnancy posts, as written, so I’m scheduling them to post twice a week for the month.
ALSO added for the sake of this post: I labored with no drugs for 32 hours, then had an epidural so they could try to get Ayla out with forceps because she was stuck in the birth canal and ain’t nobody sticking salad tongs up my hoo-ha with no pain medication, nah nah. Then ended up with an emergency c-section when her heart rate went down and she pooped in the sack. I would still do it the same way all over and try for a natural birth. The pain wasn’t what got me in the end, I just couldn’t get her out and various nurses, afterwards half jokingly told me things like, “50 years ago, you might have died…and your baby definitely would’ve died!”
Women in Chile have c-sections. Not all of them, but c-sections are the norm. When people in Chile talk about a “natural” birth, they don’t mean a birth without drugs, they mean a vaginal birth. I don’t understand why so many women not only accept being cut open to have their babies, but request it (and the doctors all say yes!!! Anybody can just program a c-section for no reason, no questions asked!!!). It’s all very confusing to me. 72% of women in the private health care system have c-sections. SEVENTY TWO PERCENT!!!!
The first ob-gyn that I scheduled an appointment with when I first got pregnant went on a tirade when I told him I wanted a natural birth. He said that would be great if I didn’t end up laboring for longer than 6 hours, but if I was going to labor for longer than 6 hours, he’d have to do a c-section, because women’s body’s shouldn’t have to labor for that long. He told me if I were his daughter he would forbid me to have a natural birth, and flat out refused to give me a recommendation for another doctor. He laughed condescendingly when I said I meant naturally birth referring not only to a vaginal birth, but to a drug free birth and sneered, “Your body isn’t made to handle that.”
My body isn’t made to handle birth? Isn’t that pretty much the only thing that my body was made for?
He told me to schedule an appointment with his secretary on my way out so he could add me to his official roster of patients. Ha!
Outside of the medical world, the vast majority of women I know who have given birth, have had c-sections. And in every case, their doctors told them it was necessary and that they had no other choice. Most often the story I hear was, “But I had been in labor for 15 hours and wasn’t dilated, we had to do a c-section.”
One mother, talking about giving birth to her first, said that after she had been in labor for 5 hours her doctor said, “You’re not dilating and your whole family is out in the waiting room, you don’t want to keep them waiting, do you?”
This culture of telling women in labor that their bodies are flawed and not functioning properly during birth is absolute bullshit. And has resulted in a generation of females who believe it, believe they can’t stand labor for longer than 6 hours, believe they will never dilate if they haven’t dilated after a half a day, and are absolutely terrified of the pain of natural birth, even just vaginal birth with an epidural.
What about the women who live in the countryside of Chile? They don’t go to doctors when their time comes. They labor. At home. For as long as it takes. It’s perfectly normal to labor for days on end before having your baby, just like it’s perfectly normal to labor for just a few hours before having your baby. Some women dilate quickly, some women dilate slowly. THERE IS NO NORMAL. But I’ve been completely disgusted by some of the stories that I’ve been told, about doctors telling women what their bodies should or should not be doing during birth. Pro-medical intervention! More technology is better!
I don’t think the fact that I’m in shape means I will have an easier labor. I won’t be able to push the baby out faster because I have strong abs, that’s not the way it works. My baby will come in his or her own time and in his or her own rhythm. I don’t think the fact that I’ve always done sports means I will have a higher tolerance for pain. I think it’s going to be painful and hard and I might have moments of thinking I can’t do it, but I know I can, because women have been doing this since the beginning of time.
The one and only thing I believe about birth is that I trust my own body to do what it’s made to do and bring my baby into the world safely. I refuse to have a doctor who pressures me to do things that conform to his or her idea of what “normal” birth looks like.