I’m due with my second child this March, and unlike last time, I’m planning a med-free birth. It’s pretty safe to say birth has been on my mind a lot lately! Planning a birth in general can bring up lots of emotions. For me, it’s mostly excitement and fear. I had a very difficult birth my first time around, and am looking forward to being able to go through the process again and this time be a more active participant. For many, subsequent births can be “healing” after having what could be described as a traumatic birth.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I wasn’t a part of the awesome attachment parenting community that St. Louis is so lucky to have. I didn’t know many people who had natural births, and I had absolutely no intention of going without an epidural. I didn’t know what the benefits of going med-free were, or what all the potential risks of interventions were. I figured I’d just go into labor, get an epidural and things would be a breeze. I knew I wanted to avoid an induction and/or c-section if at all possible, but trusted my doctor and the hospital staff to make whatever calls were necessary.
After things didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped with my first sons birth, I started thinking that next time, I might want to take a more natural approach. Even though I was afraid of going med-free (and still am a little bit, only in a different way), I decided to go for it and really started preparing myself. My husband and I just finished up taking an 8 week Birth Works course with Sarah Baker from Purple Lotus Doulas. It’s been an awesome resource for me to get a better idea of what to expect physically and emotionally, and also how to advocate for myself. It all seems much more real and “do-able” now, rather than this scary and abstract idea.
If you think a med-free birth might be for you, there are some great resources out there. Amber Sky offers the Birth Works class that I mentioned before, as well as hosting the Friends of Missouri Midwives (FOMM) meeting on the first Tuesday of every month. This meeting is open to the public and is a great place to meet local birth professionals and others who just share a passion for birth advocacy. AmberSky is home to the FOMM library and have their own small library as well, which together contain a wealth of information.
Support is also really important. Sometimes family and friends can be a great source of support. Other times, it can be a source of skepticism and criticism. Whether or not you have a foundation of support from those close to you, you will probably find it helpful to reach out to other moms who either have had or are planning natural births. You can build connections with other like-minded moms, ask questions and read (and share!) empowering stories. There are some awesome Facebook groups and organizations out there that you can jump right into.
St. Louis Natural Birth
Attachment Parenting International of St. Louis
Not directly related to natural birth, but many of the members have experienced and are knowledgeable about med-free and low/no intervention birthing.
ICAN and ICAN of St. Louis
ICAN stands for International Cesarean Awareness Network. ICAN is a great resource for mothers who have previously had a c-section and may be interested in pursuing a VBAC or natural birth.
Improving Birth.org-St. Louis Missouri