From childbirth classes to pregnancy magazines to parenting websites, everything that I learned before I gave birth for the first time warned against the slippery slope of medical interventions during labor and delivery.
The cautionary tales were everywhere and it was drilled into my head that once I agreed to even one intervention, I would blink and end up needing a Caesarean section, which was my biggest fear going into labor.
That mindset, combined with my complete awareness that I would need an epidural, battled in my mind in the months leading up to my delivery.
We chose to have a midwife for our labor and delivery, as my husband and I both knew that she would guide us through our journey and offer us a sense of calm amongst the chaos.
But, I worried that when the point came when I couldn’t handle the pain, she would try to convince me to keep going without pain relief.
She put my concerns to rest and assured me that I knew my body best…that this birth was my experience. She never judged me for eagerly accepting the epidural at 6 centimeters.
My labor and delivery reminded me that things are rarely black or white, but are most often in various shades of gray.
It was okay to want pain relief, yet still ask my midwife to massage my perineum to prevent tearing.
It was fine to use a bit of Pitocin, but still ask for my baby to be placed immediately on my chest after birth and left for a bit.
Birth is, and should be, different for every woman.
My birthing experience empowered me.
When I gave birth the second time, I was much more self-assured and my labor and delivery was another lovely shade of gray.
Childbirth is such an incredible moment, and I’d love to know what went through your mind when you held your baby for the first time? By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and a $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs October 17 to November 13, 2011. A random winner will be announced by November 15, 2011.