Five years ago, I found myself pregnant with my first child. I was 24 and didn’t know squat about babies and labor and all that hootenanny. Like a lot of women, I desired to have a natural birth — but I soon learned that I had no idea what I’d be up against to achieve one in a hospital in the state of Maryland. Had I done my research (more diligently), I would’ve learned that the hospital I chose (a reputable one in Baltimore and also the one where I had been born) had close to a 50 percent C-section rate. Though that number seems outrageous, it’s not that far off from the U.S. average.