Many thanks to our readers' responses to my query for natural labor book recommendations. You all are fantastic!
I have greatly enjoyed your suggestions. Husband Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley was soon to be found on my nightstand thanks to our speedy local public library system. I have been digesting it at lengths during daily elliptical jaunts and am almost completely through. The real question is: how have I made it to birth #4 without reading this book??? Red brought this up the other day on the phone and we shared a good laugh about it.
I think the true answer to this question is I've been scared stiff of labor and delivery! Who isn't afraid of pain?!? I had little information and therefore felt extremely unequipped to deal with the challenge. There are likely so many women in this boat. Thanks to Dr. Bradley, I now want to educate them and empower them to make different decisions about their bodies and birth!!!!
My first labor occurred completely by surprise at 36 weeks because of an extreme spike in my blood pressure. Medical induction and various interventions galore followed. My husband and I were like pawns in a chess game. We had no prior knowledge and as a result, had no opinions about how we wanted the process to proceed. To some extent, we were probably better off not knowing much seeing as the health of the baby and myself were in danger. Thankfully, the outcome was a good one--we had a healthy baby and a healthy viewpoint of the epidural. I think my husband called it the "marriage saver," which it was for us in the middle of an induction!
Birth #2 was no picnic. I went into labor on my own, but opted for early pain meds and them breaking my water, which only sent things downhill. The cord was around my son's neck and I was in a race against the clock to see if I could dilate fast enough before they decided to do a C-section. I did. Out he came with the help of a vacuum extraction. It was possibly one of the worst experiences my husband and I have shared as parents. Was my baby alive? Breathing? My husband broke down into tears after everything settled. The stress had been so overwhelming. We were just grateful to have a healthy baby in the end, but growing ever-leary of the mighty epidural.
Then baby #3 came too fast by the time they found me a bed in the hospital. I had taken a baby aspirin that morning (at the rec of my midwife back in the midwest) which bought me enough time to ride out the last hour without drugs. It was frantic. I felt helpless. But I had a natural labor. The wonderful aftermath showed me I never wanted to go back. It was an incredible experience. And now I knew I could conquer it.
Onto baby #4. Pelvic rocking has begun to fill my days. I have been squatting more and finding more comfortable positions for deep relaxation. My C-shaped "Snoogle" will be on my packing list for the hospital. Conversations of Dr. Bradley fill our evening hours. My hubby is getting on board. He, too, knows I can do it. I'm readying for battle.
I'm grateful to know it is a battle worth fighting.