The next book I’ve made my way through is The Best Birth by Sarah McMoyler and Armin Brott. It focuses only on the birth process, if you’re looking for pregnancy facts or tips and information on what the heck to do once you’re out of the hospital, this is not the book for you.
But if you’re wanting a complete run down of many different scenarios for what to expect with giving birth in a hospital then this is the book to pick up. I really liked that the book has sections throughout geared towards dad/spouse/birth partner. There are boxes in each chapter called “DadBox” which highlight just the essentials of what the person supporting you during labor should know and focus on. This is great for those husbands who want to be supportive but don’t have the time to read an entire book. Chapter 4 is written for the dads and is straight and to the point.
The McMoyler method focuses on hospital births with the mantra of “healthy mom, healthy baby, however you get there”. There is no one right way to give birth – vaginally, with some drugs, all the drugs or no drugs, c-section, whatever gets you to the end result of a healthy mom and baby – that is the right method for you and you shouldn’t let anyone pressure you or make you feel bad for choosing your own process. She also focuses on the role of the husband during labor. Gone are the days of shooing away the husbands to the waiting room. They are now expected to step up and be up front and center getting you through each and every contraction. In fact your husband is the most important person in the delivery room (besides you).
I enjoyed the chapter examining how hospital births have changed since our parents generation and how the right medical staff is to be trusted and partners with you to create the birth you want. You shouldn’t feel as though you are walking into the hospital armed and ready to defend yourself against the medical team. Gone are the sixties and seventies where a hospital birth was a by the book procedure that went the same for every woman coming through the door where you always had an IV or always received an episiotomy no matter what the situation.
Our generation has doctors who operate on a case by case basis with the health of the mother and baby at the center of their methods. There are certainly exceptions to every rule but the overwhelming majority of medical staff out there will have your best interests at heart, desire for you to have a smooth and safe birth and only recommend procedures if they are truly in your best interests at that moment. You need to do your homework and find an OB that is a good fit for you, but once you’ve done that you should trust yourself in their care – they’re the ones with the years of experience delivering babies and your hours of reading birthing books shouldn’t make you suspicious of their expertise and motivations.
I recommend this book to anyone trying to figure out what kind of hospital birth experience they want. I’m personally okay with having drugs during delivery, sure a “natural” birth is ideal and sounds great but when you’re in your 20th hour of labor maybe it’s okay to go for the drugs and have a break to be able to rest up for the final phase of pushing. Funny enough, all the women I’ve personally spoken to who have had natural births had relatively quick labors. I’m sure it’s much easier to go without drugs when the whole process takes less than ten hours. For the rest of the women out there you shouldn’t feel like a failure if you need relief or extra help to get your baby out into this world. There’s no medal given out for un-medicated deliveries. As long as your baby is healthy that is all that matters. My biggest take away from this book is an emphasis on the role of your birth partner during labor and the importance of being flexible on your thoughts of what kind of birth you want to have. If you let go of a ridge birth plan and focus on the end goal, you’re memories of the biggest day of your life will be much happier in the end.