Three Babies, Three Very Different Births

I’ve given birth three times – each time a different way. So, which way would I choose if I had to do it again? Naturally, hands down, and here’s why. With my first son, I was given Pitocin and an epidural. I did not feel in control of my body and after the delivery my legs felt numb, I shivered uncontrollably and I remained in a fog well into the next day. The trauma of that birth ricocheted into an undiagnosed case of postpartum depression that lasted for some time. I’m not suggesting that an epidural will cause postpartum depression, I’m simply saying it didn’t help my situation.

My second son was born via cesarean section. I was given too much pain medication and the sensation that my lungs were collapsing made me have an anxiety attack on the operating table. I cried through the whole procedure and insisted I was dying. Ultimately, my baby, with his perfectly round head, came into this world swiftly and safely, but a cesarean section is surgery and the recovery time was worse than I had expected.

I was happy to learn with my third pregnancy that it was safe to try for a vaginal birth after a cesarean section, or VBAC. It was not easy, but birthing my daughter with no medical intervention was the single most empowering and exhilarating moment in my life! I know that C-sections are an amazing gift from science and I appreciate that some women just want a pain free labor, but having a midwife for a mother made me want to experience natural childbirth and I am so glad that I did.

With my natural VBAC, I was able to labor and birth my daughter, completely in control of my body the entire time. I was able to move in and out of positions, in and out of the birth tub and shower, and was able to walk around my labor and delivery room and the hallway. I could labor like that for days. Oh wait, I did! Two days to be exact. Who ever said that your third baby will fly out was way wrong in my case. Actually, the delivery itself was similar to when I had an epidural, but different in that I had complete control over my body. And the recovery time? What recovery time? I was ready to jump out of my bed and run victory laps immediately after her birth.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate science. After all, my second two babies were IVF babies. But, when science can be left in the hallway and mother nature can do her thing, especially when it comes to birthing a baby, I say mother nature is the best way to go! Let me be clear. My opinion is based solely on my own experiences and not on any medical expertise. However, since I am the daughter of a well–respected midwife, I would like to get her perspective on the topic of child birth, including her thoughts on women who wanted to try for a natural childbirth but ended up with an epidural or a cesarean section, whether there is a way to have a cesarean section in a more holistic fashion, why there is so much fear surrounding natural childbirth in our society today, and whether WaterBirthing is safe for mom and baby.

Check back for our upcoming blogs where my mother Donna Roosa, CNM, co-founder of Avalon Midwives addresses these questions and more. 

Jennifer Watt