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!
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.
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