Welcome to the world baby DMM! And high five to your mama (KLPM) for doing it without meds! (Hey friends/fam- please tell me if you prefer me to use your initials or names in my blog).
I am a big fan of natural childbirth. Having done it (twice) myself, I know that it hurts like hell, but there is something really special about it. And it feels good to be in the company of so many other strong women (mom, grandma, nea, nbreeno, Liz, KLPM, Nicole A., and others).
I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with epidurals, C-sections, etc. I believe in modern medicine. And I know not everyone can safely have a "natural" childbirth.
That being said, I think the importance of the birth experience is often overlooked by both doctors and mothers. True, the most important outcome is a healthy baby and healthy mother. But I think the experience is important too. It bonds us with our mothers, grandmothers, and ancestors who all did this the same way. And it seems that doing it all naturally makes for a healthier outcome, stronger bonding, and easier recovery.
And speaking of modern medicine, I believe in evidence-based medicine. In childbirth, that means fewer routine IVs, continuous electronic fetal monitoring, and artificial rupture of membranes. These interventions might seem mild, but they also contribute to the cascade of intervention. Being less mobile due to an IV or electronic monitor might mean that a woman can't use certain non-pharmaceutical pain relief methods (hot water, different positions, etc.). So that woman might be more likely to ask for an epidural, which may slow down labor, and ultimately lead to a C-section. Studies show that the use of these interventions increases the chance of having a surgical birth. And there are few, if any, studies showing that there is any benefit to the mother or the baby.
I feel very passionately about this. I wish we would reserve medicine for people who are sick, not normal women experiencing normal childbirth. It would certainly reduce costs and would probably result in more women having satisfying birth experiences.
Stepping down off my soap box...