This is a guest post by Lauren at Warrior Mama Life. Learn more about Lauren below!
Mindset is everything.
Why is it that we place so much fear in labor and birth? After all, women have been giving birth since the beginning of time. Shouldn’t our bodies know how to deliver a baby without any intervention? Aren’t our bodies made to handle any pain? Why is it virtually unheard of to hear a positive natural birth story among our friends?
Society scares women into thinking we are incapable of handling childbirth, and it needs to be treated like an illness with intervention, drugs, and monitors. What people don’t tell you is natural birth can be a extremely positive experience if you let it be. What exactly does that mean? Let the body do it’s job!
I always knew that I wanted to have a natural birth. I was fortunate enough to hear several positive natural birth stories between my mother and grandmother. My mother had a natural birth with both my brother and I. She gave birth in a hospital, but had no epidural. My grandmother gave birth at home for 3 of her children (no epidural). My mindset early on was confidence in my ability to do what it needed to do. However, I knew I needed to educate myself as much as possible.
Positive affirmations. Building your confidence.
I had heard my Mother and Grandmother’s story on their positive natural birth experiences, but was that it? As I mentioned, most friends my age didn’t have a positive experience. It felt like everyone had to be induced, epidurals, and c-sections. I decided to search for as many positive natural birth stories I could find. I came across the most amazing book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. This book starts off with dozens of women who experience beautiful positive natural births. It helped me understand multiple different scenarios in birth, and how I could help my body adjust to ensure a natural birth. For me the biggest thing was knowing natural birth was possible, manageable, and worth it.
How To Prepare. What Now?
I knew I wanted to give birth in a hospital. As much as I trust my body to do it’s job, I felt safer being in a place that could save my life. Hospitals and doctors save lives, however this shouldn’t be the majority of stories you hear. They are there for you in the rare chance something goes wrong. Not to intervene with the beauty of nature. For this reason, I decided to choose a midwife affiliated with a great hospital in my area. There were two midwives in the practice, and I had great chemistry with both of them! I chose midwives over a standard doctor because they are there to support you throughout labor. Providing coaching and natural birthing techniques. I was so happy with my choice!
The more I researched positive natural birth stories, I knew I had to put a birth plan together. I received the Mama Natural pregnancy book as a gift, and read it week to week! Every week that went by, I couldn’t wait to read about all the amazing changes going on inside my body. This book made me feel so confident about the process, and what my body can handle. My favorite part of this book is the birth plan template that helped me organize the most important items during natural birth. You should download the template ASAP, and work with your care provider on all your wishes. I chose to go 100% natural with no interventions. My midwife seemed on board!
Bumps in the road.
Realizing that no one’s situation is perfect is key. Everyone will have their own set of challenges, and that’s what makes all of our stories so powerful. However, when you are in the heart of it, it’s not as easy to digest. The biggest challenge I endured was the change of tone in my midwife. We went from totally in sync, to speaking completely different languages. My midwife wanted to prepare me for all that go could wrong, putting all the negative thoughts in my head. She even told me there was a good chance I wouldn’t have either of the midwives I was going to see, and it could be a completely random person. I left each appointment more scared and uneasy, than before!
The scariest experience for me was around my 33 week mark my midwife told me my baby was breach. Rather than coaching me through all the positive ways to help turn him, she emphasized all that could go wrong, and that I may need a c-section! Luckily I took matters into my own hand. I used an amazing chiropractor a few times a week to completely turn him around (I will write a detailed post about this)!
My journey. My story.
I needed to take control, and let the negativity go. I decided that my experience was my own, and I control my outcome. It didn’t matter who was in the delivery room. As long as my husband and I were together, I was strong enough to fight through.
I continued to read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and found a few key things that stayed with me. Relaxation is key. Think of each contraction as waves, or a flower trying to open up. Ride the wave, take the journey. If you are tense, your labor will not progress and you will not dilate. Relax your face, hands, mouth, and body. I kept thinking about that, and focusing on that as much as possible as I was getting closer to my due date. I felt confident and ready. Rereading a positive natural birth story, rebuilt the confidence I needed.
It gets real!
I started to work from home about a week before my due date. My belly was huge, and we were ready to meet our baby! I was doing everything I could possibly do to induce labor naturally. Walking, pineapple, exercise, you name it! About 4 days before my due date, I had my check up with my midwife. Of course the message was negative and I was barely dilated, sitting still very high, and that “most people like this have long and painful labors. So prepare yourself for an epidural.” I had prepared myself enough to let the negativity go, so I tried to ignore it as much as I could!
Finally, that night when we went home at around 10pm, I started to feel some tightening in my lower back. I was feeling braxton hicks contractions early on in my labor, and knew this was different. My husband rubbed my back for me, and I decided to try and sleep. I knew if they were real, they would wake me up eventually. Around 2am I kept running to the bathroom, and feeling the tightening intense much more. I started to time them, and they were about 5 mins apart.
I woke my husband up 30 minutes later, we called the doctor and knew to hit the road! The car ride to the hospital was surreal. I needed complete silence and darkness to breath through each contraction. The movement of the car and my breathing made me feel like I had an outer body experience. I felt calm, my mindset on point, and I knew I prepared myself to create my own positive natural birth story.
The journey begins.
We finally got to the hospital at about 4am. They checked us in right away, and checked to see my progression. I was already 4 centimeters dilated (only 1 centimeter a few hours earlier). The nurse told me my baby was low, and coming very soon! My midwife was clearly so wrong! At this point I realized that no midwife from my practice was on call, and that there would be a random person delivering my baby! She then asked if I wanted an epidural, and I told her no. She rolled her eyes and tried to convince my husband to have me get one! Thank goodness I used Mama Natural’s birth plan, and prepared myself for this pressure at the hospital. I stood strong and knew I was a fighter.
The first hour in the hospital I rocked in a chair, and tried to walk as much as I could through each contraction. I continued to focus on a wave crashing down on me for each contraction. Relaxing my body, hands, mouth, and face. Letting my body open up. I would fight through a contraction, and then pass out and fall asleep. Wake up and fight, then fall asleep again.
The power and beauty of labor.
My saving grace was when we had a transition in nurses. My new nurse came in and said “you are strong, you can do this, you don’t need anything.”! I looked at her and felt like crying, and asked her where she was at 4am! She got me up, and put me in the shower. I stood there for about 20 minutes letting the water crash on my lower back.
I got out of the shower, and the nurse helped me in different positions to alleviate the pain naturally. She put me on all fours, leaning over a peanut shaped ball on the bed. Then she had me on my side with the peanut in between my legs. My husband massaged my back the entire time. I knew the different stages of labor, and based on the intensity transition was near. I felt contraction, then I took a breath, then contraction, then breath. This continued for what felt like hours (reality it was less than one). I was in another world.
Just when I felt like I couldn’t continue, at about 8:30 am they came back in to check me and I was fully dilated. The saying is so true “you are given what your body can handle”. We were shocked because my water didn’t break! We assumed it must have happened it the shower. Everyone was shocked with how quickly I progressed, but said this is how our bodies are suppose to work! When we don’t intervene, the progression happens as it should. The nurse constantly told me how strong I was, and building up my confidence. It is exactly what I needed!
The final push. My beautiful positive natural birth story.
Before I started pushing, I looked at my nurse and my husband and whispered “I am scared”. I didn’t know what to expect, and felt terrified that this was going to be the worst part. I began pushing at about 9 am, and to my surprise it felt great! What a relief! I ate a banana, drank water, and had a bar during labor. I had the energy I needed, and my adrenaline was running high to give me the long hard pushes needed. My doctor and nurse let me push when I felt ready, sitting back and trusting my body to finish the amazing job it was doing. They kept telling me “this is how labor should be”. There were so many other women that were sitting through labor for over 24 hours, and had every intervention possible.
I had pushed a few times, and my last push I knew I wanted to meet my baby. I kept looking at my husband and said, “can you see anything?” “What is happening?” As I pushed, the nurse realized my water never broke! My baby was coming out in the amniotic sac! I told myself, this is it. I am pushing one more time, and this baby is coming out. One final push and bam, they had me reach down and grab him! A beautiful baby boy! My husband and I looked at each other. Eyes glistening. Happy, healthy, beautiful baby boy.
On cloud nine.
Immediately after I felt amazing. My son nursed right away. I held him in my arms, and he slept. After all, he had quite a journey! The entire hospital staff told me that 9 out of 10 women all have epidurals. They couldn’t believe I had no epidural, IV, pain medication, etc. My recovery was quick and smooth, and I left the next day!
My nurse is an angel to me. She is a huge reason my experience had been so positive. When we left the hospital, she stopped me and said “Tell your story. Other women need to hear a positive natural birth story. This is how labor should be.” Her words stuck with me, and pushed me to share my experience. Having my son was one of the most amazing moments in my life. I hope my positive natural birth story inspires you to trust your own body as well. Experiencing natural birth makes me feel like I am capable of absolutely anything. After all we are mamas, and we are warriors.
WANT MORE LIKE THIS?
Check out the Growing Our Family Birth Stories Section for more awesome stories from other moms!