MAYD to Birth: At Your Doorstep

Promoting gentle, empowering mother journies…

Understanding Painless Childbirth

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This blog post from a Hypnobabies mom talks about what painless childbirth means.

Carter

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Danielle, age 23:

It all started around 6 am on Saturday April 17th. I was so excited…it was only one day past my due date and I couldn’t believe that I had actually gone into labor all on my own.

I woke up feeling crampy, so I decided to walk around the house to see if it was really it. I felt one pressure wave and began to time, they were around 5-7 minutes apart. I decided not to wake anyone up yet and kept walking …watching the clock as I felt each wave.

Finally at around 7 am I woke Jason up and told him I was going to call the midwife and tell her what I was feeling. I called her and she said she would be over as soon as she got showered and dressed. I told her I would keep timing and just relax until she got to my house.

Just a couple of days before I had an appointment with her and told her that I would like to be checked, she checked me and I was already at 2-3 cm but only about 25% effaced, so I didn’t know if I would go quickly or not. I was hoping that once labor started it would go by pretty quick…but I was wrong :)

I jumped into the shower because the water helped me relax, I was probably in there a good half hour. It felt so nice to have the warm water run on my belly and back. I got into my birthing outfit and started listening to my Hypnobabies CDs. I relaxed on my birthing ball while doing this and it felt so nice to just close my eyes and just feel the pressure waves that would be bringing me closer to meeting my little man.

As I was relaxing on my birthing ball, my midwife and her apprentice showed up. I didn’t even notice that they were there. I was so in tune with my waves and relaxing through each one. After about a couple of hours of relaxing on my ball I went into the living room to join everyone else. I ate some lunch and than just relaxed on the couch watching movies. LOL.

As the day progressed I decided to get into the birthing pool to see if that would speed anything up. The hours passed by and it started falling into the evening…still no baby. I was starting to feel the tiredness from laboring all that time. I got out of the pool, because it felt like I could feel my waves more intensely out of the water. I sat on the couch and listened to more of my CDs to help me relax.

After a few hours of being out of the pool I felt like I had the urges of pushing. I labored with that feeling for a couple of hours and than my midwife started getting the pool warm again. I was hoping that the end was almost near and I would get to hold little Carter soon.

I got back into the pool…the waves were getting more and more powerful. I just let my body do its own thing. I couldn’t believe how long it had already been. I think I was in the pool for about another couple of hours. I didn’t really know what time it was. Probably about 1 or 2 in the morning the next day. With every wave it felt very pushy. My midwife was so supportive staying with me the whole time and just letting me do my own thing. With one wave my water broke…the next a little more pushy. I was finally full on bearing my baby down, trying to breathe him down.

My midwife had to push me a little to give it everything I had. I could feel his head start to crown she told me to put my hand down and feel his head. I was a little hesitant at first, but I did. His sweet little round head was right there. I gave another big push and out came his head, than with another little push he slipped right out. I quickly put my hands under the water and lifted my sweet little boy out of the water. I cuddled with him and he let out a cry. It was amazing. I just held him looking at him, talking to him, kissing him.

Carter Jay was born at 4:51 am the next morning of the 18th, in the comfort of our home. He weighed 7 lbs. 7 oz. and was 20 in. long.

1. When did you decide you wanted to deliver your baby naturally?
I had a terrible experience with my first baby. The hospital was being very un-supportive of my choice of going natural. I ended up getting an epidural with the first because they were threatening to do a c-section, even though baby was fine and I was fine. I had just been in labor for much longer than their liking. With the second I knew that I didn’t want to go near a hospital, so I opted for a homebirth with a midwife. It was the best decision.

2. What reasons or factors went into your decision?
I guess the first part sums it all up. And I did a lot of research on homebirths and knew it was the right thing to do for my baby.

3. What did you do to prepare for natural childbirth? (midwife, classes, methods, books, etc.) Hypnobabies

4.What was the hardest part of your experience – before, during, or after childbirth?
I guess just how long it took. It was another long labor for me.

5.What was most helpful to you during labor to help make pain from contractions manageable?
It wasn’t pain for me it was pressure. Definitely Hypnobabies helped tremendously. It’s a great program for those that want to go natural.

6. What do you wish you would have known going into delivery?
I kind of knew everything I could have being it was my second.

7. Is there anything you would have done differently?
Nope.

8. What did you feel were the positive benefits to your natural childbirth – were the benefits what you expected?
I could let my body do what it had to do. I ate when I wanted to. Moved around if I wanted to. I had a supportive birth team, which helped a ton. I had great midwives. I also had a very special bonding moment with my baby that I don’t think I would have gotten in a hospital.

9. Is natural childbirth something you recommend to other mothers, or something you’d do again?
Yes, I definitely recommend it to other mothers, and yes I would do it again.

10. What advice do you have for other mothers interested in natural childbirth?
To do your research and know all of your options. Also take classes, this really helped me.

Contact Danielle at her blog: jasondaniellemcdonald.blogspot.com

Wyatt

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Amanda, age 27:

When I was pregnant people kept saying to me ‘you must be terrified’ and when I said not really they told me, with a knowing nod, that I only felt that way because I didn’t know better. And when I told them I wanted a natural childbirth I was told I was crazy and only felt that way because I hadn’t given birth yet. I mean I wasn’t thrilled about birth because, you know, I had heard it’s no walk in the park! But I wasn’t really scared either. I was certainly a bit apprehensive but I really tried not to dwell on it. I didn’t want to psych myself out or make myself crazy [or actually scared] envisioning all of the worst possibilities.

I really just focused on my sincere belief that women are built for this and that women have been birthing babies since the beginning of time. I tried to just trust my body. It had been making a baby for 9 months with little help from me – I figured it could handle the rest too! Adam and I took a class and read a lot and tried to be educated about the processes and options but also to keep an open mind about the experience. I felt avoiding preconceptions was also the best way to avoid panic if something didn’t go according to plan, which it didn’t, exactly.

Wyatt ended up arriving 11 days late and the midwives were all getting antsy about how late he was. The week before Wyatt was born they scheduled a non stress test, which he barely passed (he wasn’t very active in the mornings but always kicked and wiggled up a storm when I was trying to go to sleep!) and they had me in for another one on Thursday. I ended up being there ALL day because they couldn’t get a good enough reading and then sent me for an ultrasound and I had to wait and wait until they finally (6 hours later) let me leave. But not before telling me they were scheduling me to start an induction Monday morning. Nooo!

The midwife suggested a local acupuncturist that she said had helped some women ‘get things moving’ as a last ditch effort, so I made an appointment for the next afternoon. I had never had acupuncture before and was a little nervous (which is funny considering I was going to be giving birth soon) but the woman laid me down, explained what she was going to do and why it would convince Wyatt that it was time to come out. She put needles into my swollen legs, ankles and feet (to release the fluid build up and relieve the swelling) and into my lower back (it had been hurting for days) and I fell asleep until she came to get me, removed the tiny needles, and sent me on my way. Whether it was the acupuncture or just Wyatt’s ‘time’ I will never know but the fact remains, I started having contractions at 3am that night. It would only be another 2 days until 10am on Monday morning when the midwife on call would finally give me permission to come in. At which point I was 7cm and they all congratulated me on being a first time mom and working it at home for that long!

I was supposed to have my baby at the Cambridge Birth Center but when my water broke, only 15 minutes after getting settled at the Birthing Center, there was meconium in it and according to MA law I was required to transfer to a hospital in case my baby needed immediate medical care. My amazing midwife just packed me up and wheeled me across the street to the hospital, pausing for my contractions. She stayed with me the entire time, guiding me through birth and was wonderful about looking out for me and my interests, given that I had been planning an intervention-free water birth at the birthing center. I was disappointed for a moment but then there wasn’t any time to think about it and besides, what was to be disappointed with, I was about to have a baby!

I was amazed by how much my body just did on it’s own. It was incredible. My mom was behind my head wiping my forehead with a cold washcloth between pushes (ladies I highly recommend assigning someone to this task – you don’t realize how hot you are until that cloth touches your forehead and feels incredibly cool and refreshing) and Adam was holding one leg while a nurse held the other. Adam was unbelievable. When I was having really strong contractions he stood in front of me while I was sitting and I just squeezed his middle and pushed my head into his stomach while he held my head and rubbed my shoulders. He reminded me when to breath, gave me encouragement just when I needed it and really kept me grounded and focused. I can’t imagine doing it without him. We had a doula scheduled but never ended up calling her because everything happened so fast once we got to the hospital and because BD and I were doing well on our own, it was really special.

In the end it just happened. I was pushing and pushing and then Wyatt was just there. Like I said, my body just knew what to do. And besides, the second Wyatt was born nothing else mattered. I felt incredible and invincible with him in my arms. I know that things come up and that there are exceptions and emergencies but overall I think that society, bad press and rumors are scaring women out of thinking they can do this. We can. We are strong and empowered by nature. Trust your body, trust your baby and trust yourself.

Whether you are planning a natural childbirth or not, be educated so that you can know your options but be open minded about the actual day – you aren’t in control, baby’s calling the shots on this one! But be confident in the fact that he wants out too and that you and baby are working together to bring him into the world.

We need to share our positive stories to create an environment of positivity and encouragement – rest assured – you can do it Mommies To Be!

1. When did you decide you wanted to deliver your baby naturally?
From the very beginning. I always knew I wanted a natural childbirth. And it was double confirmed after sitting down with my baby daddy to watch The Business of Being Born.

2. What reasons or factors went into your decision?
I wanted to fully experience the birth, didn’t want to be drugged, didn’t want my baby to be drugged and I believe women were built to do this and that we are capable of doing it without the medical intervention that has become ‘normal’. So many people said, ‘don’t be a hero, get the epidural’ and I am just against that type of thinking. I mean everyone should make their own decision and I don’t judge anyone for how they gave birth (we all incubated a baby and got it out – we deserve high fives all around for that task regardless of how we each decided to go about it). But for me I wanted to meet this challenge head on. And I wouldn’t want anyone to be robbed of the incredible amazingly joyous high of that moment your baby comes out and is put on your chest.

3. What did you do to prepare for natural childbirth? (midwife, classes, methods, books, etc.)
We took a natural childbirth class but it spent a lot of time talking to everyone about the other options and how hospitals might intervene. At that point we were planning on giving birth at the birthing center so we wished there had been more on coping. We had wanted to take the hypnobirthing class but hadn’t signed up in time – I hear it’s great though!

4. What was the hardest part of your experience – before, during, or after childbirth?
I did not like being pregnant. I didn’t like being slowed down or crazy swollen and uncomfortable (I spent the whole summer really really pregnant) and didn’t feel very much of a connection to my baby while he was growing. It was a really stressful time since Adam and I had just moved in together and I was super hormonal and he was changing jobs so it was very hard to be going through so many adjustments at once – but we persevered and everything got done, even painting baby furniture which I was sure, at one point, wasn’t going to happen! But the hardest part of labor was nigh time during the two days I spent in early labor. There weren’t any distractions and I had to sleep sitting straight up (very difficult) because the contractions were really strong and more frequent when I was on my side and waking [barely] through contractions and then immediately falling back asleep.

5. What was most helpful to you during labor to help make pain from contractions manageable?
Foot rubs. Sitting on the floor of the bathtub with a really hot shower going. Adam rubbing my shoulders while I squeezed his middle and pushed my head into his stomach. Him helping guide me when and how to breath.

6. What do you wish you would have known going into delivery?
That actual birth wasn’t going to hurt. That pushing, while hard work, is sooo natural and actually feels really good – and that your body just does it and that it isn’t just ‘up to you’ to get this baby out – nature is on your side!

7. Is there anything you would have done differently?
More foot rubs. But really, I don’t think I would change anything – it was amazing. Though it would have been amazing to have a community, such as this, to hear and read positive and supportive birth stories. I have birth 7 months ago and I just can’t get enough of these wonderful tales – I wish I’d had a few of them to encourage me and I’m so glad that other women will have this great wealth of encouragement.

8. What did you feel were the positive benefits to your natural childbirth – were the benefits what you expected?
I tried so hard not have any expectations. I just knew that I didn’t want any interventions (I was more afraid of that than anything else!) and that I would just take it one moment, one contraction at a time and that this was going to happen whether I was afraid or apprehensive or not so the best thing I could do was just take it all as it came with as few preconceptions as possible. The benefits? The incredibly powerful sense of accomplishment. The look of pride in my Baby Daddy’s eyes. Knowing that my baby and I were both completely coherent and aware of one another in those first few moments. It was amazing. A feeling unparalleled by any other.

9. Is natural childbirth something you recommend to other mothers, or something you’d do again?
Absolutely.

10. What advice do you have for other mothers interested in natural childbirth?
Find out your options, get educated, and then stick to your guns. People will try and tell you that you don’t know what you’re doing and that you need the medical interventions and how much pain they were in – but none of those things have anything to do with you. You and your baby are on your own journey and you get to do it your way. Plus I would read a couple of books that I meant to read but never made it to – like one by Ina May and The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. And bask in the support and love of those around you.

Contact Amanda at her blog: http://mommyinthemaking.tumblr.com

Moms of Multiples Meeting in Provo 5/6/10

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This is from a mom who took my Hypnobabies classes with her twins last year:

I recently certified as a La Leche League Leader and decided to start holding special meetings for Moms of Multiples. Our first meeting is this Thursday, May 6th at 3pm, in room 308 of the Provo Library (same room as the regular La Leche League meetings).

If you have multiples, know of anyone with multiples, or just want to come learn more about breastfeeding multiples, please come!! Feel free to email or call me for more information. emily@frogley.name 801-471-9283

Emily

La Leche League Leader and mom of 5, including twins.

Nola

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Kelsey, age 24:
Fear of the unknown, this was one of my motivating factors in choosing to try for a natural birth. I am a planner and I like to know what to expect, especially when it comes to how painful something might be. The sensation of being numb is something my body abhors to say the least. For a longest time I figured child bearing wasn’t for me because I didn’t think I could handle the epidural and not having feeling in my limbs. That seems backwards, but it was how I felt. My mother had birthed 5 children naturally and even though she had never pressed me to do one method she was always positive about me having an un-medicated birth. Her example was what I held to for hope that maybe an un-mediated birth was something I could accomplish.

Friday Nov 13, 2009, I was 5 days past my due date and feeling fairly normal. My pregnancy had been smooth. I exercised by doing yoga and jogging throughout my pregnancy and I think this assisted me in feeling good. My mother was overdue with all her 5 children and I took that into consideration when I was told my due date. I figured this date was what I’d say to those inquiring of when I was due. This was not a date I would hold accountable for making me go into labor. I had been to a routine non-stress test earlier that week and everything looked great. I had a doctor’s appointment Thursday and was 80% effaced but only dilated to a 1. This meant I probably wasn’t going into labor soon, especially since I’d yet to feel a contraction, even though I was having them (as told by the technician at my non-stress test). After my appointment I even made one last run up to Park City to the outlets for some more baby shopping. While driving and shopping, I felt cramping in my lower back and thought this was because of the rather harsh pelvic exam I had earlier at my doctor appointment. No one told me that contractions could feel like menstrual cramps, if I had realized this I probably would have taken measures into my own hands and tried a little harder to go into labor on my own.

Alas Friday morning came and I was scheduled for a second non-stress test. My previous test took less than 45 minutes so I thought I’d schedule this test early in the morning. I didn’t eat a big breakfast, didn’t shower, I put my hair up in a messy bun, didn’t wear makeup and dressed in leggings and a sweater. Oh how I wish I’d known the events to come, breakfast and the shower might have helped. My husband had the car at work so I asked my parents if I might borrow theirs so that I could do my quick test and come back home. My dad is quite doting and said that since the weather was cold and I was alone, he’d be happy to take me. I tired to assure him that I was a big girl (quite literally) and felt confidant that the test would be quick and I didn’t need him to bother coming. Thankfully he really likes to take care of his daughter and he said he’d love to sit in the waiting area and do some work.

My test was the first to be performed that morning so everything was a little slower than I wanted. The major bother was the technician wasn’t thrilled that I was over due. I still don’t know why she thought this was abnormal, but she quizzed me endlessly why I had not been induced. I explained my mother was over due with all her children, my doctor doesn’t induced first time births till after 41 weeks, I wanted to go into labor on my own and the lastly I was trying to go unmediated and an induction can make that harder. She looked astonished that I was trying for an un-medicated birth and this is when the turn of events came. She pulled herself up to the computer monitor and said, “oh this isn’t looking good I’d better call your doctor, just plan on staying here and you’ll probably be induced”. I got nervous because I had heard stories about patients having pitocin to “speed things up” and I knew that this might be what hinders me from a natural birth. I chose to give birth in a hospital because I felt it wise since this was my first child and there were a lot of unknowns. I also knew that by doing this I’d be fighting the medically minded system. For a split second I contemplated running out of the hospital while the technicians back was turned. I really didn’t want to have to be induced, but it looked like that’s what she was set on me doing. I feel lucky my dad was with me so that I was not alone.

The tech came back and told me my doctor’s office wanted me to do another test for longer duration to see what the baby’s heart rate was doing during my contractions. They were worried because in the previous test her heart rate did take a slight dip and hadn’t fully recovered, but all of the other contractions were normal. She explained I would be admitted to a delivery room and monitored for an hour and then potentially I’d be induced. The doctor on call came to see me in the delivery room before I had even started the long non-stress test. He told me that I would likely be staying to be induced. Boy did I feel picked on in a sense because this really wasn’t what I had imagined. I had created a labor scenario and this wasn’t it. I took two classes, a Lamaze class and the other given through the hospital. Both stressed the fact that women come too early to the hospital. I was in the mindset to labor at home by taking a bath, blowing out my hair, doing my makeup and showing up at the hospital at the very end so as to be there the shortest amount of time possible. Un-medicated births in the hospital can be tricky because ideally the mother should be in bed, continuously monitored and unfed. These are all opposite of what can assist in natural birth. In my case it didn’t help that I was also to be connected to an IV for fluids and pitocin, which makes the contractions a lot stronger and less time between sets. The hour-long test finally ended at 12:00 pm and I was told it would be in the best interest of both the baby and me to be induced. My husband Jesse was still at work at this time, but I called him to tell him what was going on and that he should come to the hospital since they were putting me on pitocin. Luckily I had my bags packed at home and the car seat and other items were ready so Jesse went home, showered and brought all our things.

I kept telling myself that I should continue to let my wishes be heard to the nurses and my Doctor that I planned to go un-medicated even though I was going to be on pitocin. Since I didn’t know what level of discomfort I could handle I wasn’t sure if I’d reach my goal of an un-medicated birth. My yoga practice had taught me that there is much to the saying “mind over matter”. I started blocking out any negativity towards to me going un-medicated. I was going to be seeing by daughter within a few hours and I still had control, albeit slightly less than desired, over my labor. While I was being prepped for the IV, I read an email written by my dear friend. I had sent her a text early that morning saying that I was in the delivery room, but not in the ideal situation that I wanted. She has birthed two children and she knew that I preferred an un-medicated birth. I read her words of encouragement. She reassured me to not worry because God was in charge and He knows EXACTLY what he is doing, he hasn’t lost His footing and He is the only source of comfort during this time. She said to stay focused because my daughter is the prize and she will exceed all the feelings I’ve ever had in my life. Oh how this brought me right back on track. I realized I get to see my baby soon and that no matter medicated or un-medicated she’s what I get at the end.

I asked that my water wait to be broken till I was at least dilated to a six, this wasn’t’ what the doctor wanted and I was continually asked if my water could be broken before then, but from what I had learned while on pitocin it’s best to wait till you are fairly dilated so that the contractions don’t go crazy from the get go. I put my bed into a chair-like position and was fairly comfortable through most my contractions. I was doing so well that I urged Jesse to go to a class, while he was away I chatted with my mom and sister. Jesse returned from class and my family left so that it could be just Jesse and me for the rest of the labor. My dilation progress was slow even though I was on pitocin and fully effaced. The Doctor told me that if I didn’t progress with in the hour he’d likely have to do an emergency c-section. The baby wasn’t necessarily in any imminent danger or risk and I felt great, so this is when I mentally tuned the doctor out. The nurses had warned me that this particular doctor usually told his patients that he’d do an emergency c-section if they didn’t progress in a certain amount of time. I was glad that they let me know this so that I was prepared and subsequently whenever the Doctor came and was negative I just zoned him out. I actually couldn’t even talk to him because he just impeded my concentration. I gave him the thumbs up sign when he needed me to acknowledge something. This may seem so silly, but as far as I was concerned I was doing fine and the threat of a c-section wasn’t helping me in any way.

I was advised to lay down on my side to see if that could speed up my advancement. I closed my eyes, started doing some yogic deep breathing and squeezed Jesse’s hand during the contractions. I had Jesse talk to me. He did a great job explaining that the contractions were the method, which the baby could arrive. Jesse reminded me constantly that labor is a good process (he never said easy). Jesse told me about some of our happy memories to help me, relax and smile. He encouraged me by reminding me how exciting it is that we get to see our daughter. Jesse knows me so well he even gave me a good incentive by telling me I could eat whatever I wanted when it was all over. The contractions picked up greatly and now I felt like a deep throb in my lower back. They felt like strong menstrual cramps that come in waves. They were uncomfortable but with breathing and lots of pep talk from Jesse I took each contraction one at a time.

The cute nurse who taught our hospital birth class saw Jesse in the halls while he was getting ice for me. She recognized Jesse and asked if she could come to the room and say hi. She will never know what her optimistic visit did to help me. Since I had been laboring on my side, eyes closed, facing away from the nurses, doctor and monitor I didn’t really necessarily know how I was doing. I sat up when she came in and she was astonished to see me talking through contractions. She praised my efforts of doing what I wanted by going un-medicated and said that if I had made it this far then I shouldn’t worry, I’d do fine with the rest. This is all I needed to hear, even if it wasn’t true. I now felt great, like I could go the rest of the way and accomplish what I wanted. Just those few affirmative words were the ticket to helping me focus and feel confident. I can’t emphasize enough just how beneficial positivism is for a laboring woman.

The pitocin had slowly been turned up throughout my labor. I had hoped that things would pick up so I would not have to reach the maximum dosage, but I ended up needed it. I was checked and was only at an 8 and so the dosage was turned all the way up. Luckily the hardest of the contractions were for the shortest time. The nurses left us a lone for longer than normal and this is when I felt like maybe I couldn’t go on any longer. The funny thing is, even if I had tried there is no way I could have gotten up, hunched over and held still for an epidural. Just wasn’t going to happen. It took all I had to concentrate and breath through the contractions,

Finally I felt like I needed to push. I had read about this and never understood what people meant. Well, now I did. But it was just Jesse and me. The nurses weren’t there so I didn’t really know what to do. I told Jesse, I really felt like I needed to push so he flagged down a nurse, she checked me and finally I was fully dilated. It’s amazing how many times I have heard that the time when women think they can’t go on is actually right before they are fully dilated and it is the end of labor. Since this was my first birth and I hadn’t been checked for a while I didn’t quite realize this, but I was just like everyone else. It was 11:00pm and the nurses did the mad scramble to get everything ready. The Doctor came in, turned on the spotlights and explained to me about pushing. And I quote, “push like you’ve never pushed before, and then push some more”. A better indication for me of how I was doing was Jesse’s voice. He could see the baby’s progress so his voice would get really excited when I was making improvement. It was so fun for me to hear Jesse tell me she had hair. Yes, I was very concerned that she would be bald. For me pushing was magnificently better than the previous part of labor. I felt like something was actually getting accomplished and finally at 11:45 pm I gave my final push and I met my daughter Nola.

There might not be a better feeling than being done with labor, holding your newborn and not being pregnant anymore. To put it simply, I felt like wonder woman. I honestly don’t know if I could have done it without Jesse reminding me this was all worth it. I had the chance to hold Nola right away and she latched on and nursed fairly easily. Meeting your child for the first time is a huge thrill because you’ve bonded with your baby for 9+ months, but finally you get tactile and visual contact that solidifies your relationship. It’s like meeting your pen pal. You feel like you know them so well, even though you had never met. I was honored to be Nola’s mom.

When I was cleaned up, Jesse left with Nola to the nursery. The nurses weren’t use to a fully functioning patient and didn’t quite know what to do with me. Usually the mother is numb and they have to assist her and wheel her in a bed. I could stand and move fairly well. The endorphins were amazing. This was one excellent perk of un-medicated childbirth. Yes I was exhausted, but I didn’t have the linger side effects of an epidural. I ate, went to the restroom unassisted and could get in and out of bed on my own. I actually I felt so good it was hard for me to settle down and sleep. I spent the rest of the night bonding with Nola, resting and soaking in the reality that I accomplished something awesome and had become a new mother. No matter the method, childbirth is a miracle and an amazing achievement for both mother and father.

1. When did you decide you wanted to deliver your baby naturally?
I had always wanted to avoid a medicated birth, but I never new how I’d handle labor discomfort so I prepared myself for both natural and medicated. Throughout my teenage years I listened to those women who would tell their natural birthing stories. In high school when I had to watch the birthing videos I was moved by the women who chose a natural birth and I felt that this method was for me, it was what I wanted. Very few people ever encouraged me in my desire and this is when I doubted myself. When getting pregnant was an option I really started doing my research. I read, planned prepared so that I would be ready for whichever method I ended up using.

2. What reasons or factors went into your decision?
I don’t enjoy the hospital, the atmosphere of medical devices and the fear of the unknown. I figured that not all medicated births go as planned and I wanted to be prepare myself for a potential natural birth.

3. What did you do to prepare for natural childbirth? (midwife, classes, methods, books, etc.)
I tried to not let those with negative views sway my decision. I took it upon myself to search out information and form my own views. I took the hospital class to know what to expect when I delivered there. I took a Lamaze class through a birthing center. Read personal birthing stories and researched various birthing methods via the Internet. I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin. This book has a lot of great stories. One of my goals for pregnancy was to exercise is some form throughout the entire pregnancy. Nothing vigorous, but by staying active helped me throughout my pregnancy, delivery and post pregnancy. I worked on breathing and visualizations and positive affirmations. Kegels. Healthy eating also aided me to feel good.

4. What was the hardest part of your experience – before, during, or after childbirth?
The unknown was the hardest part for me, I didn’t know how I would react to all the elements of childbirth and since it was my first I didn’t have prior experience to base any decisions off of. Worrying can be very hard on a soon-to-be mom but that is why I continued to prepare. I didn’t like that I was embarrassed to tell people that I was preparing for a natural birth and thus this made me doubt myself. I’m glad that my spouse was supportive 100% and was willing to prepare and learn with me.

5. What was most helpful to you during labor to help make pain from contractions manageable?
While pregnant I had tried to prepare myself mentally. Yoga was one of my personal helps because it is all about being in tune with the body. I relied on my husband to talk me through every hard contraction and we had been to a Lamaze class that taught different techniques for the husband to help alleviate pressure.

6. What do you wish you would have known going into delivery?
I knew that I’d find resistance from the hospital by wanting an un-mediated birth but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to make my desires known all while being in labor. For me maybe having a doula or midwife would have helped make my wishes known so I could just focus on giving birth.

7. Is there anything you would have done differently?

Definitely, next time I will choose a doctor that I love and that will support and facilitate my un-medicated birth. Especially if it is a group practice, I will need to like every single doctor in the group so that I will enjoy whoever delivers my baby. I’d love to deliver in a hospital that supports other methods of birthing other than medicated.

8. What did you feel were the positive benefits to your natural childbirth – were the benefits what you expected?
My recovery was fairly smooth. I have a hard time dealing with numbness; so an un-medicated birth was excellent because I was able to attend to my newborn 100% after giving birth. I think I was very surprised to feel as good as I did.

9. Is natural childbirth something you recommend to other mothers, or something you’d do again?
I would definitely have another un-medicated birth and I hope to be an advocate of un-medicated births, yet I’d never want someone to feel like I disagree with medicated births. I support un-medicated births and I would love there to be more support for those who are seeking to have a natural birth in a hospital setting.

10. What advice do you have for other mothers interested in natural childbirth?
If a natural birth is what you desire, please don’t let the negative views of others make you feel like its impossible. I believe that husbands and wives should be able to achieve the type of birth they desire and not be swayed by others who may not even be educated in un-medicated births. Again, I felt like learning as much as possible was beneficial for me so I’d suggest doing research and preparation. There are so many great methods that one might fit you better than others.