I thought of the phrase while preparing for the recent birth of my second child. It was really important to me for this birth to go the way I wanted. My first birth was not traumatic, it just wasn't ideal for me. I decided, sort of late in my pregnancy, (I'm sure I'll write more about that in future posts) that I wanted minimal medical intervention. I wanted my body to control the birth process, but it didn't work out that way, because I ended up getting induced.
By the time I was fully dilated, It felt to me like the machines had taken over my birth. I didn't need to produce oxytocin with a machine was steadily dripping pitocin into my blood stream, and there were monitors on me to make sure it was the right amount. I didn't need endorhins because another machine pumped pain killers into my back, I didn't even need to drink or pee because the machines fed me IV fluids and drained my bladder. I had five different tubes/wires connecting me to machines during my birth.
There are times when all of this medical stuff is necessary, but unfortunately, this birth-by-machine model has become the norm in our society. For my second birth, I wanted something different. I wanted to give birth of my own body's power. I wanted to birth unplugged. Unplugged from the machines. Many people don't understand natural childbirth because they are looking at it in terms of a choice between pain and no pain. To me, it is more about power than it is about pain. It is not just about not using pain medication, but about avoiding a whole host of other medical interventions that usually come along with pain relief and take away the woman's body's control over the process of birth.
I am a music lover. I was familiar with the term "unplugged" in reference to acoustic music performances. I did some looking around and found this definition at the Encyclopedia at traditionalmusic.co.uk:
unplugged (see buzzwords) implies some sort of essential purity and back-to-the-roots. In fact, it means that the performers are using microphones and acoustic instruments instead of pickups or electric guitars. (http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/traditional-music/ency/u.htm)I love the "essential purity and back-to-the-roots" part. I think that birth without unnecessary routine use of technology also fits this definition. Acoustic versions of songs are beautiful for their intimacy and simplicity, the same direction I would love to see childbirth go.