Saturday, January 14, 2012

Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

...a very good place to start, right?

Initially, I thought I'd write about breastfeeding first with my return to blogging, but we need a baby to begin.  Before I share my oldest's birth story, it might be helpful to know why I wanted to attempt natural childbirth. 

Even before the baby, there were ideas I had swimming around in my brain about how parenting should be done correctly.  Ha!  Reality begins as soon as you see that bundle of joy.  Some of those ideas stick and others don't go over so well when you're dealing with a real life human being with his or her own ideas.

Throughout my childhood, I had the idea that I would be a working mom until I had all the children I wanted.  Only then would I stay home with them.  My mom had worked until my brother (five years younger than myself) was about six months old.  She then stayed home eleven years.  I also had the idea that I would have plenty of experience in whatever career path I had chosen so that once all of my children were in public school, I could return to the workforce outside the home.  Other than wanting a bigger family, that's really the only "solid" ideas I had before going to college.

I was required to take a childhood development class for my major, elementary education.  Dr. Bob Gaddis was my professor, such a godly man.  In the textbook we used for the class, there were reports of the findings from studies on early childhood (duh!), some of which were about the first year of life and the importance of the early attachment process for children with their moms.  Ironically, while preparing for a career, God convicted me that I needed to be home with my children during their most formative years of life (preschool age) and possibly even longer.  My mind was firmly set.  This wasn't even taking into account how I need to be my husband's helper, and I was completely oblivious to how much work is required to be a pastor's helper.

Now, this class was also a summer course.  I really enjoyed my summer classes, with even smaller groups than normal and more time for discussion.  At some point, Dr. Gaddis talked about being in the room when his wife gave birth to their two daughters.  He spoke with great pride how his wife had given birth both times completely naturally (no paid medication) and one of their daughters had been breech!  He wasn't trying to influence the girls in my class to do the same, but I so loved to see this man so proud of his wife.  I just couldn't help thinking my future husband (then boyfriend - we weren't even engaged) would be so proud of me if I went without medication.  Again, my heels were firmly set.

The next summer, I was married to my husband, and almost three years after that, we had our first child.  In the months leading up to her birth, I became further convinced I could give birth the old fashioned way without pain relievers of any type because of all the other new moms surrounding me.  There were many couples in the same stage of life we were in, with most of the same convictions because my husband was in seminary.  I listened to others' birth stories, heard the joy they felt, both medicated and not.  My best friend from that stage of life had her first child three months before me.  It was fun to be pregnant at the same time, and we were two of four teachers at our school expecting babies one right after the other.  Another very close friend had her first child four months after me.  Again, what fun days those were! 

Anyway, the first friend I mentioned was medically required to deliver her son without the aid of an epidural.  She had time to prepare herself that it just wouldn't be an option no matter what.  After she came through her son's delivery without medication, she encouraged me that I could do it.  I took a Lamaze class with my husband to prepare for the big day.

Birth story to come Monday!  Was that abrupt? I feel as if I'm saying, "Tune in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel"....

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