In my current class we were discussing birthing experiences. I have four children and with each child I had a different experience—some faster and less painful, but each experience was wonderful nonetheless! Since I have four children, I’ll just discuss the birthing experience of my first child to save time…
With my first child I had a pretty normal pregnancy; however toward the end my pressure was a little high and she seemed to be sitting on a nerve (my face had sort of twisted as seen with some individuals after suffering from a stroke) so needless to say, I was put on bed rest for the last two weeks of my pregnancy. My labor was induced so I was not awarded the opportunity to be taken by surprise by unexpected labour pains or the breaking of my water; instead I arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. with my husband, my mother and my overnight bag (packed with my clothes, my bible, a CD player—which I did not use— and baby’s first outfit). I knew I was going to be induced so I pre-registered with the hospital, as my doctor had instructed, so that morning I only had to sign in at the registration desk and then up to my room we went. I changed into my hospital gown, answered some questions the nurse had for me and the induction process began.
Now I know a lot of women who made the decision to take no medication during their labour, but I was not one of those women. I opted to take medicine at the first sign of pain, which at first was just some type of pain reliever medicine (I didn’t do the epidural in the very beginning, that came in hours and multiple severe contractions later). After taking the pain reliever medication I fell asleep and stayed asleep for hours. I awoke to severe contractions and by this time I requested the epidural, thankfully I safely received that and dosed back off to sleep. This time, I stayed sleep until about 30 minutes before it was time for me to begin pushing….I kid you not!
When I awoke, my delivery room was full of family! Being that I was the baby girl in my family and my husband is an only child, it seemed as though everyone came out as soon as they could to witness this event. My mom and dad were there, my four sisters were there (my brother had to work—I am one of six children), three of my nieces were there, my grandmother was there and my husband’s mother and father were there—when I say the room was full of family, believe me it was packed! Since I had been sleeping through my labour, I had no idea when they had all gotten there, but I remember feeling loved and especially supported (I was surrounded by wisdom, women who had been through this once or several times before me)!
My family did not all remain in the delivery room during the delivery of my daughter, but they did stay right up until the moment the nurse said it was time to start pushing. I remember right before leaving my grandmother gathered everyone to say a prayer for the safe delivery of my baby girl and then there was just my husband, my mother, the nurses and myself; the doctor didn’t come in until the baby was ready to make her appearance and at that point, I remember she had to hurry and put on her gloves because my darling girl was coming much faster than she’d (the doctor) expected! Finally after about 14 and a half hours of labor, my daughter was born safely into this world. I remember crying the moment she came out and in the background, I could hear the music the hospital played every time a baby was born. Moments later they placed a bushy-haired, 8 Ib 11oz, 21 inches long, baby girl into my arms! I stayed in the hospital for two days (only because my daughter did not pass her hearing test on the first try, so she had to be retested the next day) and my daughter stayed in the room with me—according to the nurse, the nursery was reserved for babies who either had medical concerns of their own, or their mother’s had medical issues that did not allow her to properly care for her child.
I, of course, am in the United States and I was born and raised in the United States and while this is only one (and probably a very common method) of the child birthing methods that many women in our country share, I know that this may not be the same in other countries. As I was researching birthing experiences in various parts of the world, the one that stood out to me was the Netherlands. According to an article I read (Parents.com), women are actually encouraged and referred to a midwife practice by their family doctor. In the event that the woman has complications during child birth or she experiences a high risk pregnancy, the doctor will intervene; however most women give birth at home and even if the decision is made to give birth in a hospital, the midwife generally determines when it is an acceptable time to go to the hospital. Now in my case, I opted to have an epidural, but in the Netherlands, epidurals are usually not given as it depends on whether or not it is deemed necessary, or the anesthesiologist is available to give the epidural. I stayed in the hospital for two days, which would have been only one day had my daughter passed her hearing test; however in the Netherlands, the woman may go home the same day if of course all is well and she gives birth early in the day. Another difference is that my husband and I went home to care for our child on our own (of course still with the support of our family, but we lived on our own so we were obviously solely responsible for caring for our daughter), but in the Netherlands, the mom usually receives help from a nurse, I guess based on whether or not she has insurance, for about a week. The nurse not only helps in caring for mom and baby, but she also cleans the house, cooks and “controls” the number of visitors mom, dad and baby receive—wow! Now I don’t know about anyone else, but this seems like a pretty good birthing experience…even with the “no epidural” matter!