Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jonathan Gabriel's Birth Story - Realizations

As I look back on my second son's birthing story, recalling what I experienced during that time, I can't help but compare it with my first birthing.

Ever since I became pregnant with Jack-Jack, I wanted to have a natural birth. Natural birth meaning no interventions, no anesthesia, just me, my body and my baby, the hospital staff on stand-by to catch the baby and at the ready in case something happens during the birth. J and I even went to a Childbirth Preparation class by Rome Kanapi so that we would know what to expect and we would have ideas and tips on how I will overcome the pain associated with childbirth. Alas, my birth plan then was not followed (though it might be partly because I didn't print it). Looking back, I realize what my short-comings were before that birth:

1. I wasn't well-prepared. Yes, I went to a class but that was all. I didn't read other books. I didn't scavenge the internet for information, for other birthing methods. I didn't read blogs or articles about other moms' experiences, what method or belief they used, etc. I only knew the tip of the ice berg and because of that, it led me to the next reason.
2. I didn't push with what I want, with how I wanted my birthing to be. I told my OB then that I wanted no anesthesia and no episiotomy. She said she'll have an anesthesiologist ready in case I change my mind and if I were Caucasian, she would consent to the no episiotomy. I just accepted what she said.
3. I didn't realize (or didn't want to accept) that my OB wasn't that supportive of natural births. I should have interviewed her thoroughly or asked questions to those who gave birth under her regarding her drug-free birth rate or on how she is during the actual birthing.
4. I should have gone and went to other doctors before settling to one. That way, I can compare our rapport and choose who I feel more comfortable with. Although doing so at that time was not feasible due to my limited finances.

Add to these, Jack-Jack's birthday was the day my OB then was to go to Paris and attend a convention. And I guess she wanted my birth "on the way" already so I was given pitocin, broke my water bag, and epidural to help me relax so my dilation would progress. I was also IE'd several times (which I learned later on as unnecessary) to check my dilation and because it was uncomfortable, I was trying to control my reaction to the examination which prevented the progress of my dilation. So many interventions just so my OB could be the one to deliver my baby.

With my second pregnancy, I really wanted it to be drugs-free. No anesthesia. That was just my requirement, along with Unang Yakap. And yes, someone who was within our budget and participates in the hospital's maternity packages. I was still with my previous OB then, but after discussions with J, our budget for this pregnancy and all that, plus my previous experience, I started searching for another OB who would listen and support what I wanted when I give birth. I found her when I was already four months pregnant, just before I was due for a congenital scan. And the hospital is perfect, too as it's just a stone's throw away from my place of work and very near our house.

Aside from changing doctors, I also wanted a different childbirth experience than what I had so I was weighing the pros and cons of buying the Pink Kit when I saw Jenny tweet about wanting to buy a home study course of hypnobirthing(?). I became curious as to what it was about so I searched the internet and happened upon Hypnobabies. There's another hypnosis birthing home study kit I found but after reading reviews and comparisons, I decided upon purchasing Hypnobabies. I had to convince J that I was going to buy it and that I fully intend on using it and practicing it.

I was also reading and arming myself with information, especially after going through the Hypnobabies materials on the different choices a woman can make when giving birth. And I told my choices to my doctor and she was very encouraging, especially during the last few weeks of my check-up, when she was "stripping" me and I wasn't crying out in pain. I was actually practicing my hypnosis techniques already by then, so the IE procedures were a test-run for me.

Because of these, my birthing time this time with Gabby was more to my liking. It was how I envisioned my birthing time to be. I was more knowledgeable. I let known my preferences and insist on it. I printed my birth plan and showed it to my doctor (who advised me to bring a copy of it during my actual birthing time so that the staff would know what I want and what my plan was). It was quite funny, actually, looking back. When I pushing out Gabby, that the doctors and nurses were all just standing around and looking at my spread legs, waiting for him to come out as I did all the pushing. Unlike before, someone was pushing on my stomach to help with the descent of Jack-Jack while I push.

This birthing experience is definitely something I would gladly tell over and over again as it shows what a woman is capable of, what we're made for. But this wouldn't come out how I wanted it to be if it weren't for:
1. my OB, who is very supportive and open to the different birthing methods available;
2. the information that I gathered while pregnant, reading up on the different procedures being done while giving birth and knowing which ones I don't want to have;
3. Hypnobabies which taught me the relaxing techniques that helped me birth the way I wanted (maybe not fully pain-free as I wasn't able to master the anesthesia technique); and
4. J who supports me on how I wanted to give birth and who convinced me to look for another OB who supports and encourages natural birthing.

Jonathan Gabriel's Birth Story - Part 1
Jonathan Gabriel's Birth Story - Part 2
Jonathan Gabriel's Birth Story - Realizations

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