I've been following the discussions on this birth (which was broadcast live via webcam) on Facebook, and it's been really interesting!
I've also found out a few more details about the birth:
Lynsee was intending a natural, hospital birth, attended by a midwife. She labored in water for the first part, but accepted an offered epidural at around 8 cm. After that, it was a pretty typical medically-managed hospital birth, though thankfully it was vaginal.
I can derive two lessons from this for mamas who want natural births.
Lesson #1 - The hospital is not really the best place to have a natural birth.
Frankly, the temptation to take drugs is usually too powerful. There are simply not many women out there who can refuse an epidural when it's offered during transition! That's the stage when almost everyone says, "I can't do this anymore! I want out NOW!" I know I did!
Sending a woman to a hospital for a natural birth is like sending an alcoholic to a liquor store for a lemonade. Yes, it can conceivably be done, but it almost never happens. If you want to get a lemonade and avoid the booze, go to a lemonade stand. If you want to get a natural birth and avoid the drugs, have your baby at home or in a freestanding birth center.
Lesson #2 - Your birth team will make or break your birth.
Lynsee's birth team has received a lot of online flak for their handling of Lynsee's labor, and, I believe, quite rightly so. Their support simply didn't cut it for a mama who wanted a natural birth but was having a hard time with contractions (who doesn't?). They disturbed her labor and then offered and/or encouraged drugs rather than giving encouragement and suggesting non-drug options.
In a lot of ways, getting a drug-free birth isn't really up to the mom. Okay, yes it is, BUT.... in many ways, it's really up to the birth team. How do they handle the mom's emotions? Her discouragement? Her need for support? Do they give consistent encouragement and the help she needs to make it through the hurdles of labor? Or do they plant seeds of self-doubt in the mother's head and encourage her toward the use of drugs for pain relief?
My birth team was instrumental in my birth. They never mentioned giving up, giving in, going to the hospital for an epidural, etc. Instead, they brought drinks, washcloths, chapstick, hair bands - whatever I needed for my comfort. They gave massage, counter-pressure, a hand to hold, their voices talking me through each contraction, encouragement ("You are doing this! You are great! You look so beautiful!") - everything I needed. If they had said, "Gosh, I don't like to see you in pain. Are you sure you don't want an epidural? Would you like to go to the hospital?" - I'm not sure I could have gotten through.
So.... Choose your birth team with great care. Make sure you have an awesome care provider, and spend a LOT of time picking a really great doula or doula team. Birth plans.... have one, but don't depend on it. Spend the bulk of your time getting a top-notch birth team who will protect your space, your rights, your privacy, and your birthing ability.
More later, most likely....