Yesterday I registered for one of the classes we are taking at the hospital where I will deliver. We’ll be taking a cesarean class as well as a class on infant CPR/emergencies. We’ve opted not to take the regular childbirth class. As I’ve talked with different women it seems that most found them marginally helpful at best or just a waste of time when the rubber hit the road. Given my odds of a regular birth I’ve decided to just do a lot of reading and trust that if I actually do give birth normally that I’ll get through it.
One of the things I’m grateful for is that I really trust my doctor. I know that is so-not-with-it in many circles (both secular and Christian) today. It seems so many people are suspicious of the medical establishment and probably with good reasons in some cases. However, I do trust my doctor. He has his own practice (not a group practice) so I know that unless there is some really strange situation, he will be the one to deliver my baby. That was important to me and one of the reasons I switched doctors when I realized I was pregnant. My former doctor was part of a group practice and I could end up with any of the six or seven doctors in that practice delivering my baby depending on who was on call. I didn’t want to deal with that X factor when it was time to deliver. I wanted the same doctor who had seen me at every visit from the very beginning. There is great comfort to me in not having an unknown in that aspect of the delivery. There are enough unknowns as it is!
One of the other reasons I trust my doctor is that I know how much he values life. When we went in for our first appointment with him he was very open that he doesn’t do abortions and he doesn’t refer for them. Instead of the examining rooms being filled with the freebies from the contraception companies, he has brochures about adoption, crisis pregnancies, etc. He is Catholic and has several of his own children. He is the most openly pro-life doctor I have ever met. I am thankful for that.
Because of his attitudes towards life, pregnancy and babies, I know that he really hopes I will be able to have a normal delivery. I think he feels kind of bad for me that I probably won’t have that experience. But he also takes seriously that my life and my baby’s life is in his hands (so to speak – I know we’re really in God’s hands). I am very confident that he will advise us to do what he thinks is safest and best. He mentioned the other day that things seem to come in threes. He said he can go for a year or more and not have any patients have the issue I have and then he’ll have a cluster of them. Right now there are three of us and I was the third. The way he talked about it told me that he is not someone inclined to find an excuse to do c-sections and I found that encouraging as well.
Home or Hospital?
It is interesting the different attitudes women have about where to give birth. Hiring a midwife and having your baby at home has become more popular (although it still represents a small number of births). I’ve heard many women who promote this say that the most comfortable place to give birth is in your own home instead of surrounded by people you don’t know, machines, etc. Well, that may very well be true for some women but not me! The most comfortable place for me to be will be in the hospital! We have one of the best hospitals in the state just a few minutes from our home and that’s where I will give birth. I am a lot more comfortable giving birth knowing that just a few feet or floors away are all kinds of experienced experts in their fields who can assist me or my baby if something goes wrong. Yes, there are dangers of picking up infections and such in the hospital. But nothing is risk-free when you are talking about childbirth and I’ll be much more comfortable knowing that there are so many talented and gifted medical personnel around me.
I also find interesting all the discussions about “women have been giving birth at home for thousands of years” and “women have been giving birth without medication for thousands of years.” Very true. However, to use one of my favorite quotes, “Just because it’s faster, easier, cleaner and more attractive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worse.” I bet if we could go back and ask those millions of women who have given birth over thousands of years, especially those that suffered horribly and/or died, they would probably be more than willing to take on the risks associated with a hospital birth as opposed to the ultimate risks they took when they had their babies. But I for one am profoundly thankful to have the choice and don’t feel like any less of a woman for accessing the technology and knowledge available to me and my doctor.
The Power of the Ultrasound
There are different levels of knowing. I know New York City. I’ve never been there, but I’ve seen it in movies, read about it, and seen pictures. But, of course, I don’t know NYC the way my husband does. He’s been there, ridden in cabs (YIKES!), seen a show on Broadway, and been to the Statue of Liberty. Of course, he doesn’t know NYC like someone who was born in Michigan, moved to NYC, and has lived there for the past ten years. And of course, the Michigan transplant doesn’t know NYC the way the native born and raised New Yorker knows NYC. There are different levels of knowing.
This point was driven home to me when I reflected on my experience with my first ultrasound. Although I knew I was pregnant for weeks and weeks before that, I knew I was pregnant in a different way after I saw our baby on the screen. Hearing the heartbeat a few weeks earlier had helped me cope with the morning (read: all day) sickness. It did help. But it wasn’t until I saw my baby moving around on the screen at the ultrasound that I felt emotionally bonded to that baby. I fell in love with her. There is no other way to describe it. It COMPLETELY changed the way I felt about my pregnancy. It was no longer an abstract idea that I couldn’t fully grasp. For me, seeing was fully realizing the reality.
Having this experience made me understand in a deeper way why crisis pregnancy centers place a high premium on women seeing their babies on an ultrasound before they make a decision to terminate their pregnancy. Yes, I imagine there are still women whose consciences are so seared that even seeing their own child waving and moving around won’t change their mind. But I can only imagine how many children are alive today because of the power of the ultrasound image. I praise God that he has given to men and women the ability to discover and use this technology.
Do I Love Technology?
So do I love technology? Have I turned my back on the way “God intended things to be”? Some people would probably say so. (Although I have to wonder if those same people ever go to the dentist for a cleaning or have their mouth deadened when they have a root canal. But I digress…) But, no, I don’t love technology. I sure do appreciate it though. And if God has seen fit to allow me to live in a time and place where I can benefit from technology, then why in the world would I turn down the opportunity to use it?
It does take wisdom and discernment to know what to use and how often. Technology needs to serve me and not the other way around. But if I’m going to use an oven, drive a car, blog to the world via a wireless laptop, sleep on an adjustable bed filled with air, and use drugs when I have a root canal, why wouldn’t I also choose to benefit from technology at one of the most important times of my life? To me it is simply consistent with how I live the rest of my life. I see these as incredible gifts of grace in my life and so I am profoundly thankful.