Well, I'm tackling the big one. What parenting blog is complete without a post on how the children arrived? I'll try not to overshare, because no one wants that.
I was lucky enough to give birth naturally to all three of my children. I know I was lucky; I don't think I'm special or anything. My midwife said there are three different kinds of pelvis structures out there, apparently, and obviously mine is the kind that is good for giving birth. I knew my hips had to be good for something!
I'm not going to lie and say there wasn't any pain. There was definitely pain. As a friend said, "People say you will forget the pain. Well, I won't. I will NEVER forget that pain!" And honestly, I don't think I will either. But after the first experience and you are handed your new little child, it all seems worth it.
My first labour lasted a very long time. I had initially wanted my mom, sister, and a doula, but my husband got all sentimental and said that this would be a special moment for the two of us, and it should just be him and my midwives. So it was...until my husband left me during labour! (Sorry, honey, you know I love you...) It was too hard for him to see me in pain. Apparently he went to the waiting room where family members were waiting, and sat down and said he couldn't go back. I believe it was one of his sisters who roughed him up and forced him at a quick march back to the labour room, but I'm not sure. Anyway, even once back inside the midwife told me he needed to rest and put him on a chair in the corner. I was thinking, but I was far too tired to yell it: "HE needs a rest??" Anyway, my mom and my sister then came in and my sister helped until my son was delivered. (I should say right now that my husband was a star for my next two labours, which were much shorter and easier all around.)
I couldn't have done it naturally without my midwives. I can't say enough good things about midwives. I had them for all three of my children's births and they were all great. I found that using the tub, breathing exercises and focusing was all very helpful. I think you really need to be prepared for the pain or it will be too hard to manage. It was so nice to be able to get up and shower afterwards, and be able to walk around.
And I just have to say, so people know that it can be done, that my last child was 11 lbs (all my children were heavyweights and also extremely overdue) and I still gave birth naturally without a single stitch and it was all fine. And there weren't any problems, either - no diabetes or anything else for either of us. Sometimes I think women get the message that they can't do it naturally, which I wish didn't happen.
I've heard women who have had C-sections complain that other women judge them. I don't think moms should judge other moms at all. It's just like when you have all these smug thoughts before your children are born. Crazy things like how your house won't be so messy and chaotic with kids. How YOUR kids will never talk back or throw terrible tantrums or engage in inappropriate talk. And then you have your children, and everything changes. And even though we're moms, we're still not the mom of someone else's child. That child could be spirited or sensitive, and we don't know how our decisions would change based on those different experiences. Obviously the baby's health is the most important thing. Labour can be an amazing experience, but it's really holding your baby for the first time that is life-changing.