While I’ve not yet had an epidural for childbirth, I’m quite grateful that my friends opt for that route. While I was in an all-day training, my laboring friend was able to keep me abreast her recent developments. I never knew that one could be texting the anticipated joys of chicken tenders while at 6cm, after the water broke. 

Couple that with the fact that I started reading Babycatcher (doing a pre-read to see if it could be part of a possible midwife appreciation gift) and I woke up thinking a lot about birthing decisions. Well, sure, the fact that I’m about 8 weeks away *probably* has something to do with it as well. 
I’ve mentioned before my own tendencies toward childbirth au naturale; I realize I could spend 9 cm. watching The View (or, as I tend to be a night laborer, Criminal Minds), but there’s something to the entire experience that I want. Much like running, I suppose it’s that I’m a glutton for punishment. But after 2 times, both with quick recoveries, I’ll have my sights set on that version again. Sigh. That doesn’t mean it’s any easier. I really do put it next to running half-marathons (if I’d ever run a full I would’ve put it in that category, I’m sure): no matter how many you have under your belt, it still requires a bit of mental and physical preparation and endurance to actually complete. 
But not everyone likes to run and not everyone wants to feel excruciating pain, and I’m not one to say they have to in order for life to be complete. I’m a mere advocate for having the option to do whatever works best for the woman. I’m sad that this has not always been (and still isn’t now in some settings) the case.  
The current book opens with a story of a young woman who, after successfully laboring for several hours, was strapped to a cot and forced into a gas mask to knock her out. This was basically as the baby was making an appearance; the doctor continued to gas her to prove a point: she was not strong or capable enough to do this on her own. She needed a doctor to save her. Once sedated, he actually called her an “animal” saying, “they shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce.” (So much of this story is appalling, but I promise the book as a whole is very good). 
These stories make me realize how fortunate I truly am; no one is forcing me into feeling like I can’t do something I wish. No one is keeping JE from numbing the things she wishes not to feel. The experience of welcoming a baby into the world is our own, with no one to force it otherwise. And we both enjoy the comfort of a trusting relationship with our midwife (we go to the same practice), so that if something were to go awry and she says, “THIS needs to happen” we know that it’s in the best interest of mom and baby’s health, not an agenda to prove what we can and cannot do. 
I might have a tendency to have strong opinions on some things (not all things, mind you. Ask my husband. I have only 1/8 of an opinion on movie selections). But not because I think my way is the only right way, or that it’s even better than someone else’s. Lots of people live lives different from our norm, and they’re quite happy, healthy and successful. I suppose I’d just like a bit of breathing room to explore an alternative that just might work better… at least, for us. And, in the off chance that a few others in the world are considering an adjustment or two, I appreciate that I have the freedom to share our experiences. Which is why the 6 of you continue to read this blog.
But back to the gratefulness and the freedom and the ways that we all gain a bit from learning there’s always another option, an alternative… and to healthy new babies and chicken tenders! That’s the way to end a post.
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