Even though I come from a medical background, so much of pregnancy, delivery, and the aftermath comes across to me as foreign. I remember when a set of new parents was asking me about crib bumpers last year during residency. They had heard that crib bumpers had been called under question by medical authorities because of concerns for smothering or entrapment in bumpers. My first question to them was “Why would you even consider needing bumpers in a crib?” – What I had pictured were not the aesthetically pleasing cutesy bumpers, but large aerated bumpers akin to bowling bumpers. Why on earth would anybody want such a thing in a crib? And of course, now that I am going through pregnancy myself, I am going through the same debates and yearning for cuteness when practicality and safety truthfully trump this ideal!
Likewise, delivery seems very foreign to me. I still remember yelling out to a mother when I was at her delivery as a medical student. “Push really hard, like it’s the biggest bowel movement you’ve ever had” I cried. And I never really got what this event meant for the moms. Of course I had some understanding, but now that I am almost there, I am nervous about delivery. It is crazy to think that the little creature inside me will one day be out in the world, and then it seems crazier that he could get whisked away to the NICU at the slightest whim. The epidural that seemed so natural and easy during medical school – heck, I remember putting one in – now feels like the farthest thing from what I could want. Millions of people have delivered babies without them, after all. Why are they so necessary? But preparing for my desires for a more natural delivery is a challenge. The majority of classes offered where I live are very short – perhaps 1-2 sessions if that many. As a doula we are interviewing mentioned, they basically teach you how to bend over for the epidural. So choosing a good class comes across to me as a challenge. And even figuring out what we want to get out of classes is another challenge. We haven’t read enough yet to know what questions we have. And I’m trudging through the Bradley method book (my husband has yet to start), but how will it really go for us? Will we have the challenge of hiring a doula and planning on a natural spontaneous vaginal delivery – and unexpectedly end up with a cesarean? Will other unexpected events unfold?