The Birthy Side Of Me: A Perinatal RN’s Perspective On Natural Birth0
It’s a true fact that I’m a total birth junkie. I’m one of those all natural, yodelling, hippy birth people. I am a specialty trained perinatal RN and I believe that, when possible, natural birth benefits both the mother and the baby and is the way to go. I think that natural birth leads to less interventions, and less interventions leads to a higher chance of a low key vaginal birth and a smoother post partum recovery and possibly an easier start with breastfeeding.
I am trained to attend high risk deliveries but my true love is the low key hippy birth. I believe that when the first intervention in labour occurs, more and more interventions are likely to keep on happening. For example; an induction often means Oxytocin, which can lead to need to an epidural, and then maybe a fetal heart decel or slow progress happens and then off to the OR for a Cesarean birth. In fact, over the years I’ve been present at many inductions that go this way.
Sometimes nature doesn’t run smoothly and interventions are beneficial and necessary to have a healthy mama and healthy babe. I know that if we didn’t have access to safe Cesarean births or inductions, more deaths in childbirth would occur for mum and baby. That being said, I also believe that most women are innately capable of having a natural birth with no to low intervention if properly supported and educated about their choices. Too often we are quick to jump to certain interventions, like medication that makes you less ambulatory, and that can change the course of a birth.
I think that women who are keen on having a natural birth, need to have a constant support person present through the whole labour and birth. Whether that support person is a trained doula, partner, sister, mother, friend it doesn’t matter. As long a that support person is constantly present and available to keep the labouring mama focused and help move them through each stages of their labour.
I truly love it when I get to be that 1 to 1 support person in a labour. I always get a surge of excitement when I’m paired with someone who wants to head down the path of an all natural labour, and I enjoy being the RN and the doula for my patient. My passion for being ‘all natural’ in the birth room is huge, and I’ve been known to get pretty close with my patients when needed. I feel that whatever gets you through the moment, is what becomes important for me at the time.
When I had Ben, I had many many interventions because of what my circumstances were. The fact that I had a vaginal birth is really amazing considering I was induced at 36 weeks. I was a type 1 diabetic with elevated blood pressure and they thought it was safer to keep on growing my baby on the outside. From my own knowledge, I knew that was the smart thing to do and I fully consented.
Pre-induction fetal heart monitoring.
I had a Cervidil induction that moved to Oxytocin, I needed to have my membranes ruptured artificially and the contractions were out of this world and lasted a long time. Considering all of the interventions I needed to have, I was very lucky to be able to give birth without rushing off to an operating room. I remember being told, ‘this is the last chance’…for a vaginal birth and realizing how helpless I felt at that moment. But, I had a warrior nurse and a very attentive partner and my own inner strength pushed me through till the end.
Start of the Cervidil induction, just the start of things to come.
Just before moving on to the Oxytocin augmentation.
Ben at 1 minute old, handed to the pediatrician to be checked out. Pretty good looking for 36 weeks!
Since my own birth experience, I feel committed to helping each woman have the birth that she wants. Even though I feel passionate about supporting a women through a non medicated birth, I still understand that there are choices to be had and there are so many available. It’s excellent to be educated on the types of medication available and I love when my patients know what there is to offer at each stage of labour.
If a women truly has wants an epidural for her birth, I am in no position to force a natural birth upon her or withhold pain medication. Instead, I switch into a different mode where my goal is to get her as comfortable as possible and do the monitoring and nursing that I’m trained for. I’m happy that I can switch focuses like that because I do enjoy knowing that their choice is being met and honoured.
I go to work on Monday and I actually feel excited to see what birth I might be present at. I wonder who I’ll meet?