Here’s my experience; you can decide for yourself
When all my friends had their first babies, they all had c-sections, as that was the norm in South Africa, where I’m originally from. It’s not only the women’s choice whether to have a ‘natural’ birth (usually accompanied by an epidural or ‘Just give me everything you’ve got!) or a c-section, but it is also encouraged by the gynecologists. There is a running joke that the gynies plan the c-section, AKA the delivery of a baby, around their golf days.
I only received my residents permit (verblijfsvergunning) when I was already five months pregnant. I lived in the UK for nearly 9 years prior to moving to The Netherlands with my Dutch husband whom I met in London, and whom I later married in Las Vegas! So I wasn’t familiar with the birthing culture of Holland at all, and to say it was a shock to my system is an understatement!
I had it in my head that I, the same as all my friends, would have my baby delivered via c-section. I was made to believe that not only was it the safer option for the baby, but also because it being a scheduled procedure, there wouldn’t be any surprises. Add to that the bonus of there being no labor pains, and my vagina being “saved”, I was ready to be signed up straight away!
But it didn’t quite work out that way as Holland is against having a baby delivered via C-
section if there is no medical reason to do so. I get it: after I had come to terms with the fact that my only option was a natural birth, I had done a tonne of research and found there to be way more cons than pros to having a c-section as opposed to a natural birth after all. I was indeed not too posh to push. Coming to terms with it though was the tricky part, and believe me; I tried every which way to get around it at first. I ventured down all avenues, even considering having a c-section abroad, as it is allowed in some European countries, such as Belgium, Germany and Portugal. We even considered going to SA just to have the baby delivered there. But in the end, and thankfully so, we decided that the effort of getting all of the family ‘there’ for the birth as well as the logistics (having family in South Africa, Russia and Holland) would’ve been too expensive and just wasn’t worth it. Looking back on it, it caused a lot of unnecessary stress and worry. As they say: Hindsight is 20/20.
After having made the 180 from c-section to natural, I was completely zoned in! I read
everything I could find on natural births, and when I came across an article about water-births, I knew that was how I wanted to have my baby delivered. If you haven’t yet read my blog on a water-birth, you can also read it here https://www.alylfotografie.com/post/is-a-water-birth-worth-it-hell-yes.
I did everything I could do in my pregnancy to assist with an easier childbirth: I ate healthy, I exercised (which included loads of squats to strengthen my legs and posture), I drank plenty of water, I did Kegel exercises as the stronger your Kegel muscles are, the easier it would be to deliver the baby, and I had written down positive birth affirmations. There is a lot of information on the internet, baby books, magazine etc. The more you know, and the better you’re informed, the more at ease you’ll feel.
As my due date approached, I also started adapting my diet. I ate dates (or at least, hidden loads of dates in my smoothies as I don’t really like eating dates), pineapple, spicy food. I used aromatherapy oils, the ones that are meant to induce labor (DISCLOSURE: PLEASE DO NOT use any aromatherapy oils during your pregnancy without first consulting your doctor/gynecologist/midwife) and got my husband and sister to massage my feet’s pressure points with the oils (yup, also meant to induce labor). I even convinced my husband to have sex with me albeit reluctantly from both sides, as believe me: past 41 weeks of pregnancy, it is not super appealing to either!
So at 42 weeks I got ‘naturally’ induced in hospital by having a balloon type thingy inserted in my uterus which inflated gradually, the point being to help you dilate and to encourage contractions……. And boy did it perform it’s function well! I was fully dilated within hours and naturally delivered my baby on the bed.
To show you how things can change, have a look at the below points
I wanted to have a c-section
I then HAD to have a natural birth
I wanted to have an epidural, but got talked out if it
I decided on a water birth
I ended up having my baby on the bed
Wild ride, right?
To conclude: I’d say have a broad and open idea as to how you would want to deliver your baby. It is not worth spending loads of time on, and stressing over, every last detail of how you would want it all to happen, because chances are, it won’t go exactly to plan anyways. Mother nature has a way of doing what she wants, and although babies are born every second, every birth is unique, so it’s best just to roll with it.
Best of luck to you, you can do it!
My husband and I on the day before our daughter Lyla was born, I was 42 weeks pregnant!
Amateur video taken by my sister 😉