Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The where

Above: 33 weeks pregnant!

If you're not interested in reading about the cool place where our daughter will be born, feel free to stop reading now. No hard feelings!

After hearing a million horror stories about women's negative experiences with hospital births, and after reading lots scary pregnancy-book chapters about how every freaking detail every goddamn step of the way will involve fighting to have our wishes respected, Ben and I toured the birthing center where we'll be welcoming our daughter into the world. It was such a relief to see for ourselves how progressive and welcoming the place is! It's a birthing center within a hospital, which is becoming more common these days. I feel good about being in a hospital in case anything goes wrong, and about giving birth in a birthing center that gives us the opportunity to customize our experience.

They don't ask you to wear a hospital gown! You're allowed to eat and drink during labor! The place is full of yoga balls, bars, whirlpools, rocking chairs, and anything else a pregnant lady might need. I'll be encouraged and expected to get up out of the bed as I wish. Rooming in is 100% standard. Would I like to listen to a CD or watch a DVD? Enjoy some aromatherapy? No problem.

I don't think I'm a crazed, demanding pregnant lady (although you should check in with me again around the due date), and I don't think Ben and I have any unusual or extreme instructions* for the birthing team. Whenever I'm asked what kind of birth I'm planning, I say something along the lines of, "My plan is to just see how it goes." I mean, I've never done this before, so how can I possibly know, for example, how I will react to the pain, or what position I'll want to be in? Flexibility seems to be the best policy. I'd love to have a drug-free labor, but making that decision beforehand seems a little weird. How can I know what I'll want before I know what labor is like?

All of that being said, there are a couple things I know I want, or don't want -- I want to be able to move around, for example, and I don't want our baby taken away and vigorously scrubbed before Ben and I have had a chance to meet her! So seeing the birthing center and finding that I don't have to worry about these kinds of things has given me (conflict-averse me) considerable peace of mind.

* Although I suppose no one, even the most crazed and demanding pregnant ladies, think that their unusual and extreme demands are either unusual or extreme.


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