Her two deliveries are very typical of the birth experience of American women. While much is changing, the majority continue to give birth in a hospital setting with some level of medical intervention and/or support. Amanda's birth experiences have both been positive ones.
What were your plans for the delivery of your first child? What did an ideal birth look like for you?
Epidural. Epidural. Epidural. :)
I was newly married with no friends who had children thus, my experience with having a baby was limited to what I saw/heard in movie and to me that always equated to pain. And honestly, If I had dedicated the time to researching and educating myself on all the places (and ways!) to have a baby, I still would've felt like having my baby in a hospital was right for me.
An ideal birth meant feeling no pain, whether vaginal delivery or C-section, and allowing the nurses and my Ob/Gyn to do the job we entrusted them to do. We had every faith in our medical community!
What factors influenced the decisions you made concerning your delivery?
Besides the fact that I was scared to death of the unavoidable pain that was to come, that no one could ever properly prepare your for, we had just relocated to CA from TX in my 8th month of pregnancy and there really was no time to get enrolled in a birthing class to explore all pain management options. There was barely time to get into an Ob/Gyn practice, find a Pediatrician, locate the hospital & drive the route one time, much less unpack all the boxes and put together a nursery!
Tell me a bit about your actual birth experience...
Everything went as I had hoped, which was to feel no pain. I went into labor at 4:30am at home. As instructed, I timed my contractions and once they were less than 5minutes apart for an hour and I began to feel out of breath and in pain, we drove to the hospital. I was admitted and once in my private room, I was give the epidural I asked for and spent the next 8 hours in a joyously pain-free state of anxious excitement as I waited to hear those magical words; "okay, you are ready to push!". I pushed less than 10 minutes and out came my gorgeous little Emily Claire on September 10, 2006.
How did that experience shape any future births/birth plans you may have had?
I knew I would have my second child in the exact same way with the exact same hope: to be pain-free so that I could soak in every moment of excitement and rest in between. I also knew I wanted to have my baby with the same Ob/Gyn practice and in the same hospital that took such exceptional care of us before. And that's exactly what happened. I had my son, Nolan Sean, on June 2, 2011.
Have you ever felt judged for the way you gave birth?
Never. No one has ever placed any judgement on me (at least not to my face) regarding the birth of my children.
How did you find resources for your birth after you moved? (Did you rely on personal recommendations, the internet…?)
Pixar Animation Studios (the job we relocated to CA for!) provided us with a full relocation package, which included a 3-ring binder of information about everything from restaurants, public transportation, which Bay Area cities employees live in and why they love them, to online resources (think the zoo&museums, how to rent a house, turning on your utilities, local school info, etc.). There was a link to The Berkeley Parents Network, an online database of reviews and advice on EVERYTHING that has anything to do with parenting. We used that and what our Insurance would cover (thankfully a PPO so we could go anywhere we wanted!) to find an Ob/Gyn practice and they told us the hospital in which they had privileges to delivery our baby. I also used TBPN to find a local support group for breastfeeding and new motherhood once Emily was born. So, in short, we used both personal recommendations and then, online resources/reviews to choose.