Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Child Birth: The Natural Way

The miracle of child birth. It's a pretty amazing and spectacular thing. 

It's also one of those topics like breast feeding vs bottle feeding, cloth diapers vs disposables, natural vs epidural/c-section, etc. It tends to stir up a lot of opinions and stories.

I had both my children the natural way. Well, I was induced with the first one and opted for no pain meds. The second one, I went into labor naturally and had her with no pain meds.

I struggled, when I was pregnant, to find anyone who was a real person, that could tell me how to go through it. I wanted some honest stories about what to expect and what they used to cope.
I don't have any photos of me doing it. These guys look way better than me anyway!

Most people couldn't really tell me anything. I found some solace with Ina May Gaskin's Guide To Child Birth. She's delivered lots of babies. I mean LOTS! She was also very honest. I found that there were a few pieces of information in this book that really sped up my labor process and helped to change my frame of mind. 

I have several people in my life who are currently pregnant. A few I know, are planning to have a natural labor and delivery. I've tried to be honest with them about what to expect. As I was telling my story for the second time, in about a week, I thought it might be nice to share with all of you. So, here it goes. My honest, true, story!

First off, it does hurt. Everyone has different degrees of pain, so to answer how much, is kind of hard and difficult. Also, every one's labor is different. With my son, I had all back labor (this is the kind you don't want!). With my daughter, it was just regular contractions. Also remember, God designed us to do this. He'll help you through this!

I had two, six-hour labors, with the deliveries of both my children. Like I stated before, with my son, I was induced. My water broke at noon and six hours later, he arrived safely.

With my son's delivery, I felt that I had missed out on something. I didn't get to experience the exciting rush of, "Honey, it's time to go to the hospital, we're having the baby!" I guess I've seen too many movies, and I felt, well, cheated out of that birth experience. I know that other mothers have felt the same way in regards to having an unplanned c-section. Some where along the lines, they felt they just missed out on the child birth experience. And, it's understandable, and totally normal.

With my daughter, however, I was bound and determined  not get induced. With her, I had, had contractions on and off for a full day. Because I had missed out on this with my first one, I felt like a new mom. I had contractions four minutes apart, but they didn't really hurt. I didn't want to go to the hospital to be sent home (I've heard a few mom stories about that too, and I didn't want to be embarrassed by being sent home either!).

I was lucky enough to be around two, off-duty doctors who basically told me that if I could easily walk through and talk through my contractions, because they weren't really causing discomfort, that I was fine not heading to the Labor and Delivery ward right then. I needed to go when I couldn't easily talk or walk through the discomfort or pain. (We live 5 minutes away from our hospital, and I totally understand that there are towns with people, who have to drive an hour or more to get to their hospital for delivery.)

With my daughter, I hopped into the shower, and it instantly kicked my contractions into hyper drive! I was having some intense, cramping pain, that I no longer could talk through so I knew it was time to go.

Upon my arrival with her at the hospital, I was at 5 cm dilated. Whoo hoo-half way done!

With both kids, I used the hot tub method to deal with the pain and discomfort. Also, squatting like a little frog, helped a lot as well!

I didn't have a birth plan, other than to just get through it without meds. If music would have been playing in the back ground I could have honestly told you I wouldn't have heard it. 

With each contraction, your natural instinct is to almost tense up and "fight through it." It hurts. Imagine the worst menstrual cramps ever-then magnify it. By A LOT!

However, the tensing up, counteracts the whole thing. The best things I got out of Ina's book, was that you need to mentally tell yourself that this needs to happen, and that you're "opening up," and that you're not fighting it! Pretty much need to keep that taped to your head and have your coaching partner repeat that to you. Your cervix needs to open! Period. Try and work with it as much as you can and when it's over, rest. Try not to focus too much on the last contraction.

I'm going to say that this was 99% mental. Women have been having natural child birth for centuries. (Your mother probably had you this way-you'll have a new respect for her after your children are born.) We were blessed/cursed at the same time with this. You see, we are strong enough to endure this (and forget all about it!), and repeat it!

The contractions get more intense after your water breaks. With my son, I actually heard a little 'Pop!' After that, I felt a gush, like I had accidentally peed my pants! Thank goodness I was in the hospital gown (which by the way--don't waste money buying a cute fancy gown, because birth is MESSY!!!!!!).

With my daughter, I was sitting in the hot tub and kind of a felt an extra surge of water, and looked down and saw I definitely had my water break. (It's not just clear water that comes out, it comes with either red blood, or can look kind of greenish. If it's greenish, the baby has had a bowl movement inside you at this point. You can learn more about that later.)

At that point, you're headed toward the final stretch.

During the time between 7 cm and 10 cm, for me, was the most intense. I started to shake with adrenaline and get really hot. I also started to throw up and go potty, because it was my body's way of getting ready for the final push (pun intended!). This was also where the contractions were coming really fast and hard. With that, also meant, they were intense in pain. I would sway my hips, I would try the ball, I would try just about everything to get through each one. I even stopped talking for a period of time (which, for anyone that knows me, is pretty much a miracle!).

I should also mention, that at this point, if you're modest about being naked, in front of anyone, you won't be. I was literally naked with both children, from that 7cm point on and I didn't care who saw me. My focus was directed entirely on something else. I also had my children during shift change, so there was literally, about 12 people in my room.

If you can imagine, 12 people (adults) in a room, with me naked, and they are all staring at your bottom, waiting for your little miracle to arrive. That sounds weird, but you don't even notice they are there and you don't CARE!

Pushing went pretty fast for me. About 15 minutes for each kid. I have that personality that when I'm done, I'M DONE! When I was told it was time to push (and trust me you'll know, your body will start to do it for you), I was like a sumo wrestler taking a stance. I HAD, HAD ENOUGH OF THE PAIN. I put my game face on and I was ready to go!

If you need tips about pushing or are interested in knowing what that is like, ask around. Or send me a private message. I'm always honest and willing to share.

In the end, once that little awesome, amazing, miracle's head and shoulder's pop out, the pain is gone. Seriously. It's instant. You don't really have to worry about the placenta either. That will pretty much just slide right out and you don't have to worry about that, and you don't even notice, because you have a baby in your arms. Or he/she is being passed around the room being checked by nurses and doctors. What an amazing distraction, huh?

Basically, what you need to know is this. YOU CAN DO IT! Don't focus on the pain, focus on the part that you've been building up too-your baby! Keep the mental part about trying to not counteract the contractions fore front! Read Ina's book. She has so much to share on it. Really, can you ever be overly, mentally prepared? I don't think so!

Hope you've found this helpful. If it's a friend, or a sister that is about to go through this, be a champ and have something waiting for her at the end. Champagne, her favorite candy, a gift certificate for a mani/pedi! She's a hero-even though she doesn't get a badge, she's just done an unbelievable, amazing job, bring a life into this world. She should be celebrated too!

Need more ideas or tips on that upcoming arrival of a baby? Check out my post here

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He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Isaiah 40:29

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  1. Thank you for sharing this! I am a first timer and plan on going natural! Lord help me!

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  3. I love this post! I did it naturally as well with my first (and plan on with my second) and this post could not explain it better. It doesn't have to be scary and you don't have to do 12000 birthing classes to be prepared.

  4. I'm pregnant with my first baby and I am planning to have a water birth at a birthing center (so hopefully everything goes as planned!). I'm super nervous, but I also know that God designed our bodies for this. Thank you for your post, it definitely helped alleviate some of my worries!

  5. I had my 1st baby at home with a midwife all natural. It hurt but I walked around my house from start to finish. When I would have a contraction I would call my husband and he never knew what room I was going to be in haha. I also had a 6 hour labor. I wanted to wait to get in to the water birthing pool until I felt like I couldnt handle the pain anymore. When I decided to get in the pool was because I felt my body start to push. I pushed for 20 min and my little girl was born. To me those few days after the birth that I was stiff and hurt to move. I am now preggers with my 2nd due this June and am excited to be doing a home water birth again.

  6. I was hoping you could share with me the pushing portion of your story? Did you tear, all the fun details. :)


  7. I read your article carefully and I have to say I feel offended by it. I wanted to try to have a 'natural' birth but it ended with a c section. My doctor broke my water by mistake after I passed my due date by a week. After 12h I wasnt progressing so they gave Pitocin and it was horribly painful. After a few hours of the worst pain I asked for an epidural. After another 12h it was time to push, I tried but couldnt understand what the doctor wanted me to do. It was like my body didnt know what to do. Then the baby was in distress and we decided to go with a c section. So I had all worse of both: a loooong labour and a recovery of a c section. 'natural' childbirth is an insult for all the moms who had c sections because it make them feel like their births wasnt natural. I still birthed my baby and was in pain for weeks after the c section. Next time I have a baby I wont try to be courageous and have a 'natural' birth...

    1. If you're offended by a mom giving her own personal birthing account, and using a term that has been around for decades (since modern medicinal intervention) then you really need to grow some thicker skin. Or maybe you are just misusing the word "offended". Hopefully.

  8. When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I was dead set on giving birth naturally. I plan to do the same this time. I did not know of anyone who had a natural birth either. About a month or so before I gave birth a movie called "The Business of Giving Birth" was on Netflix. The movie shows several women giving birth naturally and some giving birth in their own homes. I will say I feel the movie bashes doctor's, so you will have to take the bad with the good.

    1. Correction the name of the movie is The Business of Being Born

  9. I had a 32 natural labor/delivery, pushed for two. Had back labor, unusual positioning of baby, cervical lip, the whole nine yards. Your summary is very accurate!!! Great info for first time moms.

  10. Thank you for sharing! I had my son by c-section a month early. It was exciting, scary, and beautiful, but I had plans to have an all-natural birth. I do feel like I missed out on something. Some people call me crazy because it HURTS! My response? I still HURT! For weeks afterwards. And it was so... unnatural. But in the end, he's here and is the light of my life. That's all that really matters. :)


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