The "thing to do" these days is to create a birth plan. Basically, a document with all your preferences and desires in order to outline your ideal labor. Sounds reasonable I suppose, but it seems to me like people get these ideas of how EXACTLY they want their labor to go, and they write it all down, and expect it to actually go like that. In some cases, it might. But I think in many cases, your labor and birth are not really going to be exactly like you anticipate. Especially for your first baby. Like, I hear about all these people who wanted to go all natural, drug-free, but then if they end up getting an epidural, they are so disappointed and feel like they failed. WHY?? See, for me, I actually am one of those people hoping to have a natural childbirth. I say "hoping" because, well, I've never actually experienced childbirth. I don't know what it's like, I don't know how my body will deal with it. I may very well be able to have a natural birth, and my midwife and husband are going to try and encourage me to do so, because that's what I'd like to happen. BUT, that said, if I get there and I am in such unbearable pain that I just can't do it, well, then drugs it is. And I won't feel like a failure, I won't be disappointed... I tried, and it just didn't work out.
Now you might be curious as to why I want to try and have a natural childbirth. Before getting pregnant, I always thought those people who wanted to go all natural were (1) crazy and (2) hippies. Seriously. Like why not use the marvels of modern medicine, was how I figured. After a little more research, I have come to realize a few things which are inspiring me to TRY and have a natural childbirth. First, have you SEEN the needle they stick in your back? See below... YIKES.
More reasons... it's been shown that people who get epidurals are more likely to need a c-section or have worse degrees of tearing. Basically it does its job in reducing pain, but can also reduce your urge to push, which means you just kind of end up pushing not based on any real input from your body, which can cause more tearing. Not always the case, but an epidural increases the likelihood. And, the epidural does actually affect the baby, although obviously if it wasn't safe then it wouldn't be allowed, so that is actually not high on my list of reasons why I don't want an epidural. There are other potential more serious side effects, but I think they are pretty rare so those aren't really factors for me. But those are my reasons, in case you were curious.
So this whole natural birth is an ideal situation for me, but I'm flexible. If I get there and am like, WOAH, this is not what I expected, then maybe my plans change. We will have to wait and see! But seriously, look at that needle again. So, don't call me crazy, don't tell me I have no idea what I'm in for, or that I won't be able to do it!! :) Just smile and wish me luck, and we'll see how it goes. And if I get an epidural, then so be it! Only 7-ish more weeks to go! It is getting so close!!!!